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A friend gave me some old publications he kept from childhood..

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by nolatom, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. nolatom

    nolatom Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
    I'm not a vintage gear diver (except I still have my 14-y.o. rookie gear, but that's not old enough) but a friend who had moved gave me some old scuba pubs, I suspect they may be interesting to the historian?

    "Diving With Safety", 73p. pamphlet, by Bev Morgan, red cover, published by U.S. Divers in Los Angeles, 1956

    "Diving with the 'aqua.lung'" 39pp. pamphlet by US Divers, photo of Eile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau on the cover, 1959

    Skin Diver magazine, June 1960

    Small 6 pp catalogue from "Swimaster", "makers of famous DUCK FEET etc and other accessories, "new for 1960"

    All of these are in pretty good condition. I'm not looking for money, I will just keep them I think. But any comments from those familiar with this stuff would be welcome.

    I will give them a read. at first skim-through, reminds me much of Sea Hunt, now on the THIS channel which i watch occasionally if awake at 0430 ;-)
  2. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    "Diving With Safety", 73p. pamphlet, by Bev Morgan, red cover, published by U.S. Divers in Los Angeles, 1956
    ****Written by Bev Morgan on contract to US Divers. Was often used as a basic dive manual of that era. Bev was one of the founders of The LA CO UW Instructors program in 1954. The pamphlet was reproduced a number of times with different color covers and even different authors .
    Bev is the founder Kirby Morgan and is alive and well living in Santa Barbara, California

    "Diving with the 'aqua.lung'" 39pp. pamphlet by US Divers, photo of Eile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau on the cover, 1959
    **** Was included with every regulator sold as a training guide. Once again there was only one effective training program and that was The LA CO UW Instructors program; NAUI was not established until August 1960 and PADI raised it's head about 10 years later. The pamphlet was reproduced a number of times over the years. Read closely you will discover the gentleman's name is Emile, not Eile. Emile Gagnon was the co-inventor of the Aqua Lung that Cousteau took credit.

    There were a number of these pamphlets printed. The first was by Spaco in 1948. It was essentially copied in total and published by Rene Bussoz the founder of US Divers, when he sold US Divers to Cousteau, with backing from a restate mogul and two auto dealers in 1954. Cousteau and Gagnon followed suit and changed the cover with their picture.

    I had a complete set, as I understand the only set in existence that was stolen in a home invasion grand theft robbery by a house guest who took off for his home in Mexico and as of this date has not been apprehended, but there is a John Doe bench warrant with is name on it. See SDM June 1960 page 22 for his picture ( don't you love thieves! )

    Skin Diver magazine, June 1960
    **** This was the first SDM boating issue.
    If you will look closely on the cover you will notice a red "Power cat boat" in the lower left corner- the individual standing is me the driver is the late Jack Waite, who was my diving buddy for a number of years. The picture was snapped off PV in California by Jere Blakeslee the wife of the founder of Skin Diver Magazine, Chuck Blakeslee.

    Page 16&17 "Rare coral discovery" was an account of the first recreational/exploration dive on Farnsworth banks of Catalina island. I "THINK" the diver jumping into the water with double twin 44 tanks is me. The famous "OC twin 44s" Either I or Dick Spencer took the picture of the three divers. It was a very exciting day to locate the purple coral.

    In December of 1960 I organized and led the first recreational dive to Farnsworth off Dick Petter's boat "The Outrider." Lots of sharks! Suggest that you check out Farnsworth on this board for additional information. The boat was sold several years later and mysteriously "sunk" in several thousand feet of water between Catalina and the mainland.

    Also notable in that issue is the article on page 11 "The history and purpose of the DIVERS FLAG by Gene Parker. This is possibly the best synopsis of the flag's history. Please note that Ted Nixon was given total credit for the development and not others who claimed they developed it after Ted went to the big reef in the sky.

    Note the recommended unit size as compaired to the divers flag on the logo of this board== a very thin stripe..

    In 1962 I was summoned as a "expert witness" at the first trial of a diver injured by a boat while flying the divers flag. It was an awesome responsibility but we prevailed and the Divers flag was entered into a court of law as an unofficial flag that denoted diving activity. Now most states have dive flag laws

    Small 6 pp catalogue from "Swimaster", "makers of famous DUCK FEET etc and other accessories, "new for 1960."
    **** Swimaster had just been sold by Swimaster's founder Art Brown to the late Ken Norris of Pacific molded products (PMP.) who hired Harry Vetter (pioneer LA Co UW instructor & NAUI Instructor #4) as his sales manager. This was the first or one of the first Swimaster Catalogs. Ken retained the company for a few years and sold it to Willard Voit of Voit Rubber Company.

    Notable products were the:
    The Duck Feet fins - possibly one of the best for propulsion but the most difficult fin to master ever made. If it was the only fin in todays market 90% of todays hero's would not be diving.

    The Wide View Mask Unquestionably the best designed and most comfortable mask ever made but very labor intensive to produce.

    The Spear guns were designed by the great Bottom Scratcher club member the late Wally Potts. They were the first commercial version of the original California long gun which was designed in 1939 - Check my post on Bottom Scratcher spear guns for a complete description.

    you don't have anything to rare or exciting and not too valuable but certainly worth protecting do to age and place in dive history. Perhaps some day when you give up diving you also can pass it on to another diver. If you do you have the back story according to me..

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  3. nolatom

    nolatom Captain

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Orleans
    Many thanks, Sam, sounds like you've "been there".

    (I mis-typed Emile's name..)

    All of this is great to know, yeah I'll be a good steward of this and pass it forward some day. Meanwhile, interesting reading.

    And that "power cat boat" with tailfins and the twin Merc 6's is way cool and must've been a real rocketship boat in those days..
  4. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    Yes I have been around for a while...If your dive shop carries the Dive Training magazine check out the article about me ..

    A little history of times past with Harry Vetter..
    Harry Vetter, He is 84-5 in good health, lives in Oregon. Visited me a short time ago--wrote the following about him:
    little reminiscences --Harry Vetter

    "A friend for 60 years, diving buddy for many of those years. Let me tell you about Harry Vetter....

    Pioneer LA county Underwater Instructor (ever wonder why LA Co types are referred to as "Underwater Instructors" rather than SCUBA instructors? The term SCUBA was not in common usage in 1954 when LA Co was established)

    Harry also has the dubious distinction of being the last of the original instructors who taught the very first NAUI Instructor's course at Houston in August 1960, all the rest are now diving on the big reef in the sky; Dr. Al Tillman, NAUI #1 Al Jones #2, Dr. Andy Rechnitzer #3 are gone- all gone. Only Harry Vetter NAUI #4 remains.

    During his recent two day visit from his home in Oregon Harry indicated he had contacted NAUI HQ and chatted with a clerk about a replacement card. The clerk could not comprehend that his instructor number was 4 and could not locate his records, after all, almost a half a century had passed since 1960.

    A few days after his departure I contacted Cathy Cush at NAUI. She was unaware that Harry had contacted them or that he was still alive. She was very grateful for the historical link to the past. A fast review of NAUI records indicated Harry was the "Oldest Living NAUI instructor" and I as NAUI instructor #27 was "one of the oldest living instructors." A few days ago Harry and I received a very special one of a kind NAUI instructor card in the mail. According to a note it was the first two to be issued

    Lets place Harry's distinction of NAUI Instructor #4 in proper prospective...1960 was 53 years ago, most of you were not alive or if you were you were probably too young to be interested in recreational diving.

    Harry's visit produced a non stop 24X7 conversation of days, events and people of the past.

    The many dives, summer and winter prior to the wet suit with only long underwear and GI sweaters for thermal protection, Churchill fins for propulsion, home made snorkels fashioned from a WW 11 gas mask hose and a piece of aquarium hose, the home made masks fashioned from a piece of fire hose ( see www portagequarry.com ; Legends of diving "The Mask")(Also Eric Hanauer's SDM article about UW artist John Steele- the picture he had painted in the background is a young me clad in a WW 11 GI sweater, wearing a Sturgil mask,Green churchills, diving on a terrified fish)

    The many trips deep into Baja for clear water teaming with game; the many fish and huge lobsters....
    The time we came around a corner on the "old road" near what is known now as "La Mission" and were stopped by a huge bond fire in the middle of the road by what we thought were well armed Mexican bandits, but lucky for us they were military searching for escapees from the Ensenada jail.

    The LA county and later NAUI classes we taught and the laughs we had...the 38 foot diving charter boat "Say when" (Say when are we getting there?, Say when will it stop rocking? Say when will we get back to San Pedro?)... the student who fastened his wet suit beaver tail over the railing and did a back entry and was suspended up side down....The arrogant self impressed gymnast who rather doing a "giant stride entry" attempted a hand stand entry in full gear, but for what ever reason did not let go and came crashing down on the side of the boat. Certainly got the attention of all on board and gave us cause for alarm.

    The many locations we were the first to dive up and down the Baja and California coast, and the famous Farnsworth banks in December 1960--but that is a story for another time.
    So many stories...
    but then who is concerned about the way we were? or how we got to where we are?

    At #4 Harry is the oldest living NAUI instructor
    At # 27 I am the oldest living NAUI instructor in Kalifornia"


    TONY CHANEY Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Mount Holly, NC
    I am and much thanks for sharing your stories...I enjoy them more than anything on the diving forums. Please keep them coming! I love history in general and rather enjoy post dive talks with those who were there long before most of us.

    Question what units were Ted using when describing the flag? "four units high and five units wide" 3 inches right?
  6. LACounty4806

    LACounty4806 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Los Angeles
    Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me.
    dead dog likes this.
  7. DaleC

    DaleC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Leftcoast of Canada
    I always enjoy your comments Dr Sam and appreciate the help you have given me in regards to related books. You've certainly helped to raise my awareness of diving literature and some of the important or little know facts surrounding them.
    I will have to post some of my more recent acquisitions. Perhaps on the weekend...
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  8. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    That has my mental image in a frenzy!

  9. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    Interesting how bad pennies and old threads come back to haunt the author...
    Thanks Akimbo for the heads up...I had totally forgotten about this thread

    Lots of soon to be forgotten history in the thread- it probably is appropriate to repost and comment

    Harry Vetter is 88 years young doing well. He was in a article in the December 1951 initial issue of the world's first diving publication Skin Diver Magazine ; a magazine for skin divers and spear fishermen and was recently featured in the NAUI publication Sources. Both articles are a tribute to Harry Vetter who is a "diver."

    We are still in occasional contact via telephone. Chatting about the dive and divers of old prior to exposure suits, instrumentation, flotation, training agencies and fuzzy faced instructors... But ... Unfortunately... Also so many conversations begin with "Did your hear about.....

    @Marie13 take note...dive often and enjoy every dive,,,some are better than others but all are adventures...but all too soon they too will be golden memories
    @boulderjohn take note...there was diving and real divers, not people who dive, long before your beloved PADI

    Cheers from California where it all began

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
    Akimbo and Marie13 like this.
  10. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    Thanks, Sam. Interesting read.

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