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Recently we had to put my 98 year old step grandfather into a nursing home, and while working n the garage, there were several tanks out there. I brought one back with me, and my LDS suggested that it might be worth something. The one I brought back is a steel tank, with a stamp of Rene C12-54 on it. I think its capacity is only 2150 PSI. It is roughtly the size of my own HP 120, I've been told it might be about a 72CF.
There are several more like it, along with some doubles. The doubles are smaller, my guess would be in the 60-65 CF each. The tanks all have J valves on them, and they use what I have been told is a 1/2" valve. It clearly would not work with a modern yoke system. They have harnesses attached to them.
I don't see any value in trying to get these inspected and hydro'ed, most likely cleaned inside, they really don't hold all that much, and presumably the valves would have to be replaced just to make them usable, I'm not sure there is any point in trying to use these. I really don't need to have multiple tanks. If I do a beach dive, it will only be a single dive, and my HP 120 is more than enough for that, and when I go boat diving, my tank is refilled n the boat.
So the question is, what to do with these? My LDS suggested they might be collectors items, possibly for a dive shop. Should I put them up on EBay? I am told they are galvanized steel, so they may not be recyclable.
I can provide a picture of the one tank, but it will be several weeks before I had down to my step-grandfather's house to take pictures of the other tanks.
Real SeaHunt gear there gary! Some shops will fill the 1/2" some will not. There is no reason other than they are "old"; they very likey are in good shape and only need a hydro and VIP. The 72's are very nice tanks I use them as ID's. I've got a 72 with a 1/2" valve put no shop here will fill it. EBay does have a vintage dive gear section. Sounds like you LDS has already pass judgement on them as "collector" items.
I note that you are located in Costa Mesa, OC, California... I made my first SCUBA dive at Divers Cove in 1951 and dove there until retirement a few years back. There is just no one remaining in OC who has experience and knowledge of your Grandfather's equipment. Perhaps as a ex OCer I can help a wee bit..
Based on your description the rene tank (s) have a strong collectors value. Rene Bussoz was the founder of US Divers (AKA Aqua Lung.) He sold US Divers to JYC & company in December 1954- so they are one of the last tanks with "rene" stamped on them- after that date they geerally had US Divers stamped on the neck..They are 1/2 inch pipe thread and if clean ( no interior rust or external damage) should pass hydro. During that era there was two types of J valves --one is common the other very very collectable -but non repariable. Don't let any one talk you out of the valves..
The smaller tanks are probably what we called 60s..generally they were WW11 surplus had a bushing between the tank and the valve..some will indicate they are not safe or can't be filled..they are safe and can be filled. They were very desireable comfortable units to dive.
OC has changed..lots of shops most; are owned or operated by modern late model tube sucking bubble blowers who have little or no knowledge of diving history or historical diving equipment or OCs many contributions to recreational diving-but can speak with great authority for an indefinite period about items then have absolutely no knowledge or experience in diving . May I suggest that you read my article "Orange County -did you know?" (or some such title) at www.portagequarry.com "legends of Diving' - "articles."
You might want to trott the equipment by Mr. John Rice, manager of SportsChalet dive department in Huntington Beach. John has been around a number of years and may be the best and only source for local information.
Last-- The vintage tribes are decreasing every day--would you post or PM your grandfather's name--he is of the age that could have been in my tribe...
Hope this helps...
---------- Post added May 3rd, 2012 at 05:38 AM ----------
No need to search for the "Legends of diving" article...I recalled that I posted it several weeks ago in OC section--along with "You can't go home again." I would suspect that your Grandfather can relate to both articles and can fill in some gaps for you
A few little known facts and a article about diving "Then and Now...."
Orange County was the fountain head of recreational diving in California, the US and for the world.
It had the most manufactures -- US Divers, Voit, Sea Tec, Inflatable systems, JBL, Mares, Spearfisherman, Mark V, Newport divers, Sea Quest, Del Mar, Sea Suits, Water Wear, Kettenhofen Wet suits, Sampson, Sea Pro, Riffe International, Alexander Spearguns, and many more lessor known and now forgotten manufactures
Divers cove/Pick nic cove was selected as the location for the world's first Competitive Spear fishing meet in 1950 and every year to the early 1960s.
Divers Cove was not named as a result of recreational diving activity
Two world record fish were speared off Orange county's coast; the BSB & WSB.
It's waters did contained a variety of shell fish; Mussels, Oysters, Pismo Clams, Scallops, & Lobsters
It has a train and several airplanes, an ocean going barge and several WW 11 landing craft sunk off it's coast.
It has an underwater canyon
It had the second recreational diving ordnance in California.
It had one of the first California game reserves at Heisler park, named after Glen Vedder, the architect and driving force behind the Laguna beach diving ordinance.
It has a number of piers that are dive able.
PADI's first office was in Orange County.
In the genesis of instruction Orange County had more LA County Certified Underwater Instructors than LA County.
It had one of the first dive shops in California; Lyle Hoskins and sons
Three OC residents were honored as "Fathers of Spearfishing" at the 2000 millennium Free diving party
And a story which I published about 15 years ago about Divers Cove and the changes that time has wrought
YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN…”
Dr. Samuel Miller
Several summers ago I visited with some relatives and old friends to reconnect with my roots down in southern California, in “smogsville,” as the smog shrouded area of Los Angeles and Orange County is known by most Californians who reside in other areas of the state.
This visit certainly verified the message in the Thomas Wolfe book “You can't go home again” which I found so difficult to comprehend as a young college student. Yes, Thomas Wolfe was correct! Indeed - You can't go home again.
I spent a very early Saturday morning at Diver’s Cove in Laguna Beach, the fountainhead of American sport diving. It has been a popular diving location since recreational diving began along the California coast in the early 1930s. “The cove” as local divers refer to it, was catapulted from obscurity into international diving fame when it was chosen as the location for the world’s first competitive spear fishing meet in June 1950. The Compton, California “Dolphins Spear Fishing club”, won the meet with a three man team consisting of Ken Kummerfeild, Pat O’Malley and Paul Hoss (of the Bottom Scratcher/Hoss gun fame)
The cove was immortalized for divers through out the world on the cover of the December 1951, issue of Skin Diver Magazine Volume 1, number 1 with a picture of Dr. Nelson "Matty" Mathenson of the Long Beach Nepunes proudly displaying a presentable White Sea Bass he had just speared at the at "the Cove."
Surprisingly Diver's Cove did not receive it's name from recreational diving but from the local youth's habit of diving into the shallow blow hole from the rocks below where the apartments now stand. The apartments were constructed in 1960 which physically separated the cove and Fishermen cove to the north. Prior to the construction and into the 1970s Fisherman's cove was the docking and storage cove for a number of small local recreational sport fishing boats
Lots of other changes have occurred in and around Divers Cove with the passage of sixty years.
In the 1950s the rolling hills surrounding Diver’s Cove were devoid of housing and covered with dry chaparral, which emitted the classic California golden glow always associated with the “Golden state.” Now when viewed from the cove the hills appear almost surrealistic emerald green, blanketed by modern multi- million dollar homes on well-manicured lawns interconnected labyrinth of roads.
It is no longer possible to drive up to the edge of the cliff at Diver’s Cove and park haphazardly. Parking places are now regulated. They are neatly identified with white stripes on the concrete and crowned with a row of coin eating parking meters; silent sentinels waiting for the next quarter for fifteen minutes of violation free parking.
Also absent is the steel cable that provided beach goers and divers to access to the beach. It was a much-appreciated gift from some unknown beach lover who spent their time; money and effort to securely bury one end of the cable in cement and dangle the rest of the cable over the cliff to create a Tarzan style hand over hand beach access. Now modern stairs complete with handrails and a drinking fountain welcomes the divers to the beach
The beach scene I remember so well from my youth is now only a distant memory, but they are memories of gold as were the hills surrounding the cove.
In the genesis of recreational diving the beach was populated with young athletic sun tanned male youths clad in the diving costume of the era, baggy long underwear, tucked in to equally baggy swim trunks, round diving masks on their faces, short green fins on their feet and the weapon of choice a “Jab Stick” (a pole spear powered by the trust of the arm) unceremoniously stuck in the ground.
Like ancient tribes returning from a successful hunt they stood in small groups, wrapped in surplus WWII olive drab army or navy blue blankets, shivering and blue lipped from the cold of the water and the chill in the air. Roaring bonfires fed by WWII surplus tires added much needed warmth as it belched fourth thick heavy black smoke into the clean crisp smog free Orange County air.
Now Divers Cove has become a popular diving destination for dive training classes. It is populated every Saturday and Sunday morning by young fuzzy faced certified diving instructors who have arrived before 7:00 to conduct the final ocean check out dive for their classes of aspiring divers. Under the ever-watchful eye of their SCUBA instructor, young and old, male and female don the costume of modern diving. Bright colored wet suits have replaced the long underwear for thermal protection; clear form fitting twin lens masks of clear silicone replaced the black round rubber masks; multi hued long lightweight split plastic fins now adorn their feet replacing the short green Churchill fins. Not a spear fishing weapon is insight, since this area has been a game reserve for over a generation.
Yes, there have been a lot of changes in the last sixty plus years. Tomas Wolfe’s message has been verified. You can't go home again, but you can relive fond memories from the distant past and dream and hope for the future of recreational diving.
Only the sea, the eternal sea, has relentlessly remained the same.............
There is no reason you cannot dive those tanks. I use old 72's all the time and they are my preferred tank.
Please, Please, Please do NOT send them to the recycling center.
I also have a '54 Renee tank. When I bought it for 20 bucks from a retired teacher, I tried to tell him he should keep it for his collection, but he insisted that I dive it with my vintage gear. Let's just say, I didn't put up much of an arguement.
Almost every old '72 I own had air in it when I acquired it and if you try to educate your local LDS, I'm guessing a VIP and Hydro won't be that tough to come by. Some dive shops have told me they cannot hydro the tanks becuase they don't have the correct size fitting. If that's the case, simply take it to a commercial tank outfit and I doubt you'll have any problems.
As far as the yoke valve goes, I use mine with both vintage regs and modern regs. I've not had a problem with sizing, might be something different in your garage though.
Good luck and Dive safe.
Last edited by Sitkadiver; May 3rd, 2012 at 05:07 PM.
Don't move those tanks !
If they have air in them and being that old they could be dangerous to move !
PM me and I will come over and remove them for you, free of charge.
I live in Yorba Linda and can be down to
in very little time.
This is a safety issue. I warn you NOT to move the tanks till I get there.
Bill, when I found them in the garage, I took them all down from the shelf they were on. The first thing I did was to drain them, because I suspect they had been up on the shelf for some 30 years, and was concerned about having pressurized tanks when I did not know the condition of them, not to mention the quality of the air in them. Some had air in them, some did not. I know that can rust the insides, but I really was more concerned about removing the danger of those tanks than whether I might use them. Besides, if they were to be used again, nobody would even consider touching them without opening them up.
---------- Post added May 4th, 2012 at 03:42 PM ----------
Sam, I have been in OC a very long time, since we moved to Dana Point from Santa Monica in 1963 when I was 2 years old. I would imagine that you might even have known my dad, Les Williams, a real water person, mostly known as a local surfer, but he did do some diving as well. He had some old tanks in our garage, and after he died a few years ago, we cleaned out our own garage. I don't recall if we did anything with that equipment, I'll have to check.
I don't recall meeting your grandfather...but generally it was first names. Now there are so darn few of us remaining
I moved from Long Beach to the wilds of OC in the mid 1950s- Was rather involved in the diving world for a number of years- was the 3d or 4th LaCo UW instructor in the county..One instructor passed on prior to teaching and another to my knowledge never taught a class...so 2,3 or 4.
I note you are in CM--I taught Advanced SCUBA at OCC for 14 years
If you by chance run on to any old books drop a PM on me--For some time I have been into diving Bibliophilia..and dive research -- never know when an interesting book will show up.
So now I have some pictures of the tanks. When I went down to his house today, I picked up the rest of the tanks. There were two doubles that appeared to have a stamp on them that say WK & Co and an initial stamp of 3-43. They also have US Govt stamped on them. So these are even older than the other ones. Here's some pictures of one of the doubles: IMG_5298.jpgIMG_5312.jpgIMG_5311.jpg
If anyone is interested, let me know. I do not plan on using these, since the yoke is not like the modern yokes, and I already use a steel HP 120, which is probably more air than I need for most dives. IMG_5306.jpgIMG_5307.jpg
I wish I lived in an area where tanks like that could be found. I would welcome a set but suspect the shipping would be a $ PITA. Please don't trash them though. Whether used for diving or display they are a part of out diving history that cannot be replaced.
These are not the Renee tanks. They are 1800 psi Walter Kiddie fire extinguisher tanks.
The first home made diving tanks with bushings in them for 1/2" tank valves.
These can not be refiled by LDS's, they won't touch them. You can't get parts for the valves any more either.
They are best used as displays of what diving was like in the begging in California.
Keep them the way they are now. I would like to have them for posterity.