Otis Barton

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Frederick Otis Barton, Jr. (June 5, 1899 – April 15, 1992) was an American deep-sea diver, inventor and actor.

Born in New York, the independently wealthy Barton designed the first bathysphere and made a dive with William Beebe off Bermuda in June 1930. They set the first record for deep-sea diving by descending 600 feet. In 1934 they set another record at 3028 feet.

Barton wrote the book "The World Beneath the Sea," published in 1953. He also acted in the Hollywood movie, Titans of the Deep. In 1949, he set a new world record with a 4,500 foot (1,372 m) dive in the Pacific Ocean, using his benthoscope (from the Greek benthos, meaning 'sea bottom', and scopein, 'to view'), which he designed himself.

Like Beebe, Barton was also interested in exploring tropical rain forests, and spent considerable time in places like Gabon. In 1978 Barton successfully tested a (actually an airship) that was intended to film wildlife.


  • Brad Matsen. "Descent - The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss", Pantheon Books, (2005).
  • Otis Barton, "Adventure on land and under the sea", Longmans, London, (1954).

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