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1962 Voit ad - but that positioning...

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by OldBubbles, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    4,052
    4,071
    113
    Yeah the basic harness kinda sucked for sure, but I was trying to play the part, you know going all “Sea Hunt”.
    Trying to drop the tank low enough with a strap harness is tough because it becomes too unstable and swings around. I thought it was fun though because it proved how little it really takes in gear to actually pull off a scuba dive.
    My Freedom Plate is a take off on the backpack for sure but modernized for new style wings.
    The thin stainless contour is really a take off on the Voit pack I saw once but the Voit was aluminum and as I remember it was thin and the edges were rolled out, that’s where I got the idea to roll the edges on the FP. Plus it makes it strong and miles more comfortable than anything else.
     
  2. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    2,817
    1,381
    113
    The "Basic Harness" was also known as the "Military Harness," and U.S. Divers Company marketed it as the "Twin Tank Harness." It was designed for twins, not single tanks. When used with single tanks (as seen on Sea Hunt in some scenes), because the shoulder straps originate at a single point on the top band, the harness tends to allow the single tank to move around, a lot. "Mike Nelson" also used the "Basic Harness" on his twin 38s, and they held his scuba nicely. (His above water scenes were sometimes made with a set of mock-twins, made of balsa wood.)

    But what a lot of people don't realize is that there were a set of standards for how to assemble this harness. First, each band has an up and down defined. On the top band, the shoulder harness needs to come out from the top, and not below. This band needs to be positioned as high on the cylinder as possible, before the cylinder neck makes it impossible to mount. The bottom band needs to have the shoulder strap coming in from the top, and the waist band from the inside. This allows the band to help stabilize the scuba unit on the diver's back. The bottom band needs to be about a foot to 18 inches below the top band too (depends upon the size of the diver). I just looked at my notes from the Underwater Swimmers School, and I wrote down in 1967, "e. Secured together by two aluminum bands 11 inches apart (standard, can be adjusted)." Too low, and the waist strap interferes with the weight belt being actually on the diver's waist. The crotch strap comes from the middle of the bottom band, usually hooked on the bolt that secures this band.

    If this is done, then the "Basic Harness" on twins is an almost perfect scuba harness, very comfortable, and it secures the scuba unit to the diver's back. For use with double hose regulators, it does not interfere with the regulator sitting as close to the back as possible.

    Below are photos of the "Basic Harness," or "Military Harness" in use myself in Clear Lake, Oregon; by USAF Pararescuemen in Okinawa; and during training at the U.S. Naval School for Underwater Swimmers in Key West, Florida in 1967. Note that the harness is secure, and the twins are at a very good position for use with a double hose regulator. Note also that in the photo from the USAF Pararescuemen (Terry Wetzel and Stephen Samo), the one on the right has a waist strap that is completely loose, and it is still in a pretty good position. The straps for this harness need to be laced through the double D-rings and back so as to produce a quick-release for the strap. If done correctly, the harness has four quick releases through these double D-rings.

    SeaRat
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    4,052
    4,071
    113
    The basic harness actually could be put together and used in a pinch very easily with just a couple can bands and a length of webbing if a person gets creative and can figure things out.
    It would work just fine with a modern reg like a MK2 or something, but not necessarily a DH very well.
    I should dig up a photo of a ghetto make shift harness I put together once in about 10 minutes using the tank as the plate, Hey man it worked!
     
    John C. Ratliff likes this.
  4. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    2,963
    1,225
    113
    AFAIK the term “Military Harness” only applies to double cylinder harness. I don’t know of anyone that would use that term for a single cylinder harness. For a single cylinder the only two terms I have heard anyone use is “simple harness” or “basic harness”.

    To this day the Navy still uses a harness with twin cylinders (now they use aluminum 80’s) on a regular basis. The last time I checked the harness is still attaché to the cylinders with no back plate.

    Double cylinders are inherently stable. Comparing the stability of double cylinders to a single cylinder is like comparing apples and oranges.

    I have used plenty of double cylinders with just the military harness and I have always found it very comfortable and stable. Even out of the water the open space between the cylinders is very nice that there is no pressure on the center. The stability in the water also comes from the width.

    The big trade-off is that twin cylinders are twice as heavy as a single cylinder. Well you can try using smaller cylinders, but even then, they are still heavier than a single cylinder. In the water double cylinders are great, but most of us start and end our diver from a location out of the water and we have to carry our cylinders into and out of the water.


    BTW John, The Sherwood double cylinder manifold is a great set up. I have several small doubles (twin 50’s, etc) and twin 72’s with that setup, but I would not recommend it for every day diving kit. Just because of the out of the water weight is not practical for every day diving and bringing personal cylinders is also not practical when traveling (flying).
     
    John C. Ratliff likes this.
  5. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    2,817
    1,381
    113
    Luis,

    I had a "Basic Harness" for single tanks, and gave it away to one of our other vintage divers. Your description is correct about it.

    I am not a "travel diver," and have not done this kind of diving at all. I dive locally, and have three different double tank setups.

    Two of my doubles are set up with the "Military Harness," and the other one is set up with my own harness system. My own harness starts out with the Military Harness, but modifies it so that there is no waist strap, or crotch strap. Instead, I have two diagonal straps which attach to my own Para-Sea Buoyancy Compensator harness (see Figure 5 of my patent). I patented that setup in the 1980s, but no one bought it, so it was a very expensive setup (patent costs).

    US4623316A - Flotation vest - Google Patents

    But to me it is still the best setup for both double and single tank systems, and I still dive it (locally).

    The out-of-water weight with the doubles is a great workout for getting back to my car. :wink:

    SeaRat
     
    scrane likes this.
  6. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,971
    3,744
    113
    The dive lung aka SCUBA unit; tank, valve and bands were a very common configuration and was the standard of diving for a decade or more during the geneses if diving .Note on the original imported units there was only shoulder straps and waist straps with the very positive "d" release method .

    In most areas of the US this would have predated all diving activities therefore unknown or very rare , but in Southern in California, were recreational diving began in the US in the 1920s as Spearfishing (oh the Horror --SPEAR FISHING !) and in the very late 1940s with the establishment of Rene's Sports ,( later US Divers now Aqua Lung ) it would be rather common and is some instances still in use

    A the very first units as illustrated :
    upload_2020-4-22_5-30-22-png-581992-png.591420.png

    Note
    the tank size- configuration - round bottom
    the bands basket configuration
    the J valve -- the pull rod must be removed and replaced before and after every dive
    the hoses have no non return valves.

    A rather fast review or my dive catalog collection specify Rene Sports/ US divers revealed that the part of the harness commonly know today as the "crouch strap" first appeared in a photograph was first mentioned as a " jock strap" on page 20 in Rene's 1956, 32 page Diving with the Aqua Lung.


    It was some time in the late 1950s - maybe very early 1960s early one Saturday morning I was visiting the temple of SoCal diving, Charlie' Sturgill's garage to pick up item he had made for me . Much to my surprise and delight there was another diver and his wife in the garage -- it was the then famous and very popular movie star Gary Cooper and his wife Rocky.

    "Coop" as he preferred to be called and his wife and teen-aged daughter were well known as active divers in SoCal and were often seen diving off Catalina or near shore off their boat. And that was the problem ! Six or more units with dangling straps which had been or possible was a tripping hazard on their boat, so on the advice of one of the Mistral brothers,, probably Bob who was an LA Co UW instructor and had taught the Cooper family to dive at their store "Div N Surf" so they had suggested Coop contact Charlie for a solution.

    Charlie fabricated three detachable easy to assemble; back packs from Stainless steel sheets for the unheard of price of $25.00 per copy... that was the beginning of detachable back packs..

    Charlie also began using them along with a few forward thinking divers of the era. They became known but not a popular main stream item - I suspect by now the few that were built by Charlie all have been tossed and are now at the bottom of a land fill ( Like the 40 mask Charlie made - 3 remain,,,Google "The Mask)

    Around that time frame Dick Kline, the President of Healthways wanted (Needed!) a spin off company so he established "Sportsways" with Sam (The Crook) - le cocq, as the nominal head of the company. Both "gentlemen" and both companies were well known for their less than ideal business practices and especially for their ability to copy a popular product create a 10 % design change as their own design and product ( Hope- Page., Johnny Carol spear gun etc) and a spin off, modernized copy. The pack pack originally designed by Gary Cooper and so skillfully constructed in the Temple of Diving Charlies garage was also copied by the team of Klein & Le Crook as their own
    (Some of you realize Sportsways was a failure - And SCUBA Pro published one catalog in 1962- then bankruptcy -- Bonin & De La Valle created the modern SCUBA Pro from the ashes )

    The Sportsways version of the Cooper/ Sturgil Back Pack .

    s-l400-jpg.381788.jpg

    In 1957 Cousteau and his investors had acquired US Divers abd published ther first catalog. The cover was the memorable scene from the Silent World and Cousteau on 3 page along with his boat Calypso
    (page 2 on side front cover was my friend and fellow Shakespeare scholar the late Bill Hogan, LA Co UW Instructor. of UW Sports in Long Beach and his son Billy - Who at last report has retired from LB Fire department )

    The "Navy Harness" (original designation or current popular designation? ) first appears as a component as a picture the "tank Blocks" on page 7 of the 20 page 1957 full color US Divers catalog. So far as can be determined the harness was only sold as part of the tank blocks not offered as a separate line item in the catalog.

    That how it all began - that's how I began-- so long ago

    I used this Sportsways back pack for a few years in my classes & had several of the valves but some how have disappeared after 70 years of storage and moving

    I strongly suspect ALL the original units have been tossed away by widows and off spring as dead as a dead pelican can be dead

    Gone ! All gone !

    And that the "Way ir wuzz in the days of our dives "

    Sam Miller, III

    CC
    @Akmbo
    @Scuba Lawyer
    @Luis H move to Kalifornia and discuss diving all day with Akimbo, Scuba lawyer and my clan
    (son Sam IV is NAUI (Life ) Instructor, SSI Pro 5000, & ER & Hyperbaric doctor )

    @John C. Ratliff -- you're invited - but you will never ever leave Or e gone

    and good ole @Marie13 another CE

    @HKGuns for your awe and amazement
     
  7. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    2,817
    1,381
    113
    I might add that Dr. Sam Miller sent me a template of the first backplate from his collection. I haven't yet made that template, but will try for a photo of it to be posted here, if that is okay by you, Dr. Sam?

    John
     
  8. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,971
    3,744
    113
    John.....

    We go way back ..I am certain .longer than ether one of us can recall

    I told you at least one hundred million times
    Call me Sam
    Those I don't know well or very long it is Dr. Sam,
    But the multitude I require them to address me as El Supremo.
    (Which is a title far superior in prestige and authority to the title Dr as in Dr Bill)

    John
    One is either for diving or against diving
    We are for diving

    If possible post the tracing of the 1962 Sea Craft back pack (Plate)
    It will graphically demonstrate the strong relationship of the Sea Craft to the VDH
    (and maybe serve as a pattern for the DIYers on this board )
    '
    Cheers from CenCal

    Sam
     
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  9. Luis H

    Luis H Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Maine
    2,963
    1,225
    113
    Thanks for the invitation.

    I am sure the diving is much better than here in Maine, but I hear it is not really any warmer. o_O
    My dive today was OK... better than staying dry, but just OK.


    At this point, I want to be where I call my original home, the Caribbean, great warm water diving with incredible visibility. :cool:
     
    Scuba Lawyer and John C. Ratliff like this.
  10. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    2,817
    1,381
    113
    Sam,

    I also appreciate the invitation, but will be staying in Oregon until this pandemic is over. I like it here, and have some interesting diving close by. It's not up to Caribbean standards, or even California ocean standards, but it suits me and is very close to home.

    John
     

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