The diver: Jacob A. Pahlberg
Since most shipwrecks involve damage below the water line, one of the most important members of any marine salvage team is the diver. Among the Tasco photographs are several of an unidentified diver at work or getting ready to go down, wearing the elaborate helmeted diving suit that was worn in the early 20th century. The diver who worked on many of the Tasco salvage operations was the remarkable Jacob Alfred Pahlberg, considered by many to be "the dean of all deep-sea divers in this country" and who once set a record for the longest time under water. Pahlberg was born in Sweden in 1847 and came to the United States as a seaman. He began his 56-year diving career in 1872 with Captain Thomas Scott and and moved to New London where he worked on the Race Rock project. Pahlberg died at the age of 84 in New London where he had made his home for many years with his wife and three children at 30 Spring Street. He is buried in Jordan Cemetery in Waterford. His obituary appeared in The New York Times on March 23, 1932.
To see a photograph and more information about Jacob Pahlberg see the Fall 2005 issue of Historical Diver.