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Basic gear from mid-twentieth-century Italy: Mares and Pirelli

Discussion in 'History of Diving Gear' started by David Wilson, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. ginti

    ginti DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Lyon, France
    So I think it is not very common between divers because, when staying close to the bottom, the probability of getting some particles inside the valve is more or less high. This is true especially for well-trained divers, who may not lift sand from the bottom in the ocean, but are likely diving in caves/wrecks/other environments where a bit of silt/other suspended particles is always a hazard.

    From what you say, I guess there are still some of these masks on the market...

    Thanks again!
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Thanks to all for the interventions and feedback. It is appreciated.

    On to the Mares Trinidad diving mask, introduced in 1974:
    Another model of a type trending during the 1970s that Lillywhites of London dubbed the "kidney-shaped" mask. Here is the same mask in a mid-1970s catalogue:
    It's Number 2 above, second in the back row on the upper picture.
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    The Mares Viso also came along in 1974. "Viso" is Italian for "face". Mount Viso is a mountain in NW Italy, the highest peak of the Cottian Alps.


    Italian: "MASCHERA VISO. È la maschera più originale e moderna grazie alle sue soluzioni rivoluzionarie. Garantisce il massimo campo visivo ed ha un volume interno ridottissimo (120 cm³.). È la maschera ideale per l'apnea."
    English: "VISO MASK. The most original and modern mask thanks to its revolutionary solutions. Widest field of vision. Extremely reduced inside volume (120 cm³.). Ideal for skin diving."
    German: "BRILLE VISO. Es handelt sich um die originellste und modernste Brille dank ihrer revolutionären Merkmale. Garantiert ein Höchstmaß an Blickfeld und besitzt ein sehr geringes Innenvolumen (120 cm³.). Die ideale Brille für den Schnorcheltaucher."
    French:MASQUE VISO. Grâce aux solutions révolutionnaires adoptées, c'est le masque le plus original et moderne. Champ de vision maximum et volume interne extrêmement réduit (120 cm³.). Le masque idéal pour la plongée en apnée.“
    Spanish:MASCARA VISO. La más moderna y original de las máscaras, gracias a sus revolucionarias soluciones. Máximo campo visual. Volumen interno extremadamente reducido (120 cm³.). Ideal para la apnea."

    So we have to wait a year or two before a product description emerges for this new binocular style of diving mask. Note the use of the adjectives "modern", "original" and revolutionary".

    And here it is in that mid-1970s catalogue:
    It's Number 5 in the upper picture, sitting in the middle of the front row.

    And there we'll leave it for today. The next midweek instalment will focus on masks introduced in 1975, beginning with the Baja and the Diablo. Keep safe!
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Thanks, everyone!

    Right, Mares diving masks introduced in 1975. First the Baja Stamford, captionless in that year:
    Italian: "BAJA STAMFORD. È un modello molto moderno ed elegante che unisce un ottimo campo visivo ad un ridotto volume interno.
    English: "BAJA STAMFORD. Very modern and elegant model combining excellent field of vision and reduced inside volume."
    German: "BAJA STAMFORD. Eine sehr moderne und elegante Brille mit optimalem Blickfeld und geringem Innenvolumen."
    French: "BAJA STAMFORD. C'est un modèle très moderne et élégant qui offre un champ de vision excellent ainsi qu'un volume interne réduit."
    Spanish: "BAJA STAMFORD. Modelo muy moderno y elegante. Reúne las características de poseer un excelente campo visual y un reducido volumen interno. Por su gran campo de visibilidad superior, es la gafa ideal para la pesca 'a la espera'”.

    The product name "Baja Stamford" puzzles me. "Baja" is Spanish for a "drop", while Stamford is a town in the English county of Lincolnshire. My next thought is that "Baja" may be an allusion to "Baja California", Lower California in English, the name given to the long peninsula in northwestern Mexico next to the Pacific Ocean and the southern US border, while "Stamford" may be a misspelled allusion to prestigious Stanford University in the US state of California. Or maybe I'm overthinking the whole thing. Anyway, the mask is presented as a "thoroughly modern" as well as an elegant article of eyewear, offering a low-volume interior, a maximum field of vision and a quality stainless-steel frame. The design was certainly in keeping with many masks of the period, including Mares' own contributions.
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    On now to the Mares Diablo diving mask. "Diablo" is Spanish for "devil", so this is the second Mares mask today with a Spanish name. Here is the mask in 1975:

    And here it is again in 1976:
    Italian:MASCHERA DIABLO MONOBLOCCO. Di concezione completamente nuova; il vetro ed il facciale costituiscono un pezzo unico garantendo una assoluta impermeabilità. La nuova mescola del facciale - atossica ed antiallergica - assicura, inoltre, la massima aderenza al viso. Vetro temperato - ampio campo visivo - linea moderna ed aggressiva - colore rosso.”
    English:MONOBLOC DIABLO MASK. Completely new design: lens and face piece form a single unit guaranteeing an absolute waterproofness. The new non-toxic and antiallergic mix ensures maximum close fitting of the face piece. Tempered glass. Wide field of vision. Modern and aggressive design. Red.“
    German:BRILLE DIABLO. Eine neue Entwicklung: Brillenglas und Brillenkörper bilden eine Einheit und garantieren hundertprozentige Dichtheit. Die neue antiallergische Materialmischung des Brillenkörpers gewährt eine optimale Paßform. Temperiertes Glas, weites Blickfeld, moderne und ansprechende Form.“
    French:MASQUE DIABLO MONOBLOC. Conception totalement nouvelle : le verre et l'élément facial forment une pièce unique, ce qui assure une imperméabilité absolue. Le nouveau | mélange atoxique et anti-allergique de l'élément facial garantit le maximum d’adhérence au visage. Verre trempé - champ de vision ample – ligne moderne et agressive - couleur rouge.“
    Spanish:DIABLO. Diseño totalmente innovador: el vidrio y el elemento facial constituyen una única pieza monobloque, lo que asegura una completa impermeabilidad. Perfecta adherencia gracias a su nueva mezcla atóxica y antialérgica. Vidrio templado. Ancho campo visual. Línea moderna y agresiva. Color rojo.”

    So this model is the embodiment of a new concept in mask design, namely the complete integration of lens and skirt to ensure watertightness. Tempered safety glass is used to create the wide-vision lens, while an anti-allergenic blend of materials enhances the facial seal. And once again a reference to modernity.

    I'll leave it there for today, returning at the weekend to review the Mares Full View and Montego diving masks. Stay safe in the meantime.
    jale and Sam Miller III like this.
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Thanks, guys!

    So the Mares Full View diving mask, here captionless in 1975:
    and here with multilingual captions in 1976:

    Italian:FULL VIEW. Grazie ai suoi tre vetri permette un campo visivo quasi totale. È specialmente adatta per immersioni con autorespiratore.”
    English:FULL VIEW. Almost total field of vision thanks to three lenses. Especially suitable for scuba diving.”
    German:FULL VIEW. Dank der drei eingesetzten Gläser ermöglicht diese Brille ein optimales Blickfeld. Für das Tauchen mit einem Atmungsgerät besonders geeignet.”
    French:FULL VIEW. Ses trois verres permettent d’avoir un champ de vision total. Ce masque est particulièrement adapté pour la plongée avec scaphandre autonome.”
    Spanish:FULL VIEW. Campo visual casi total gracias a sus 3 vidrios. Especialmente indicada para las inmersiones con dispositivo de respiración.”

    So this is another Mares sub contribution to the development of diving masks with side windows. Here is a predecessor, the Mares Panoramica introduced in 1960:
    and here is its contemporary, the Mares Orizzonte from 1976:
    Other manufacturers brought out similar models, here Haffenden-Richborough in the UK:
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    The Full View mask also appeared in a mid-1970s catalogue:
    It has pride of place as Number 14 in the foreground of the lower picture above.

    And now we move on tothe Mares Montego diving mask. "Montego" presumably named after Montego Bay in Jamaica:
    So we have migrated from seaside resorts on the Italian Riviera to the new playgrounds of the wealthy on the islands of the Caribbean. Here is the mask in 1975:
    and 1976:
    Italian:MASCHERA MONTEGO. Maschera semplice, compatta, di elevata qualità tecnica. Ad un’eccezionale visibilità unisce un volume interno assai ridotto ed un facciale molto confortevole. È disponibile nei colori: giallo, arancio e blu.”
    English:MONTEGO MASK. Simple, compact, highly technical mask. It combines an exceptional field of vision with an extremely reduced inside volume and a very comfortable face-piece. Available in yellow, orange and blue.”
    German:BRILLE MONTEGO. Einfache, kompakte Taucherbrille von hoher technischer Qualität. Mit einem außerordentlich großen Gesichtsfeld vereinen sich ein kleines Innenvolumen und ein bequemer Brillenkôrper. Erhältlich in den Farben: gelb, orange und blau.”
    French:MASQUE MONTEGO. Masque simple, compact et de haute qualité technique. Visibilité exceptionnelle, volume interne extrêmement réduit et élément facial très confortable. Disponible en jaune, orange et bleu.”
    Spanish:MASCARA MONTEGO. Máscara simple, compacta, de alta calidad técnica. Posee una visibilidad excepcional junto con un volumen interno muy reducido y un elemento facial muy confortable. Hay en distintos colores: amarillo, anaranjado y azul.”

    While reproducing the quinquelingual text above, I have corrected two translator errors. The French word for "comfortable" is "confortable", with a "n". In the German text, "großem" in the phrase" Mit einem außerordentlich großem Gesichtsfeld " should read "großen"; somebody has forgotten the grammatical rules about adjective endings after the indefinite article in German!:eek: A schoolteacher's error-correcting job is never done, even when this classroom practitioner has been retired for well over a decade.

    But back to the mask. The Montego is another, modern for its time, binocular model with a spectacle-like frame and a nose pocket for easy nostril-pinching ear-clearing.

    That's it for today, with the Mares Santiago and Tecnic diving masks in the pipeline for midweek. In the meantime, stay safe. My heart bleeds when I switch on my TV and see those forest conflagrations in Washington state, Oregon and California, wreaking havoc with people's lives. As if COVID-19 wasn't enough...
  8. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Thanks again, guys!

    On to the Mares Santiago diving mask. As for the product name "Santiago", Spanish for "St James", you take your pick from the capital of, and largest city in, South America's coastal nation Chile to a score of smaller settlements around the world, including Spain's famous pilgrimage destination, Santiago de Compostela. Here is the mask, captionless, in 1975:

    and again in 1976:
    Italian:MASCHERA SANTIAGO. Maschera di linea moderna, a occhiale, con buon campo visivo e ridottissimo volume interno. La sagomatura a soffietto del facciale e la testiera, di nuovo disegno, assicurano un confort eccezionale. Il particolare sistema di montaggio, con orecchiette portatestiera laterali, fa sì che sia molto facile la trasformazione in maschera ottica. È disponibile nei colori: giallo, arancio e blu.”
    English:SANTIAGO MASK. Modern line goggles mask with a good field of vision and an extremely reduced inside volume. The special mounting system with side head-piece bearing lugs allows its transformation into an optical mask. Available in yellow, orange and blue.”
    German:BRILLE SANTIAGO. Taucherbrille mit moderner Linie, in Brillenform mit gutem Gesichtsfeld und sehr geringem Innenvolumen. Das besondere Montagesystem mit den seitlichen Trägern des Kopfgestells lässt die leichte Verwandlung in eine optische Brille zu. Erhältlich in den Farben: gelb, orange und blau.”
    French:MASQUE SANTIAGO. Masque à lunettes de ligne moderne avec un bon champ de vision et un volume interne extrêmement réduit. Le système de montage particulier, avec des pattes porte-têtière latérales, rend facile sa transformation en masque optique. Disponible en jaune, orange et bleu.”
    Spanish:MASCARA SANTIAGO. Mascara de línea moderna, de lentes, con un buen campo visual y un volumen interno reducidísimo. Un sistema especial de armado, con pequeñas asas laterales que sostienen el elemento de cabeza, hace que sea muy fácil transformarla en máscara Óptica. Hay de distintos colores: amarillo, anaranjado y azul.

    I don't know about you, but the front of the Santiago mask somehow always conjures up in my mind the image of the opening spectacles logo of the old BBC TV sketch show "The Two Ronnies" starring British comedians Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett:
    Both performers wore glasses; Barker's are on top, Corbett's underneath. Here's one of their classic sketches:

    But I digress. The Mares Santiago's low-volume interior, spectacle-like frame, kidney-shaped skirt and nose pocket ticked all the boxes of future diving mask design with the enhancement of convertibility to an optical mask.
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    And now the Tecnic mask:
    Italian:TECNIC. Maschera a buon campo visivo adattabile a qualsiasi viso.”
    English:TECNIC. Mask with a good field of vision. Adjustable to all faces.”
    German:TECNIC. Eine Brille mit guten Sichteigenschaften, geeignet für jede Gesichtsform.”
    French:TECNIC. Masque avec un bon champ de vision pouvant être adapté à tous les visages.”
    Spanish:TECNIC. Mäscara de buen campo visual, ajustable a cualquier rostro.”

    So a single-lens mask with a split headstrap like the Santiago but with a more traditional-looking front and an emphasis on width of vision and adaptability to a variety of faces. Here is the mask in a mid-1970s catalogue:
    The model is Number 10 on the lower picture, right there in the middle of the mask collection.

    OK, those of the last Mares masks with dates. At the weekend I'll review the Bermudas, the Corallo and the Panther models, which come undated. In the meantime, stay safe.
  10. WeRtheOcean

    WeRtheOcean Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Well, I am also a snorkeler, and I find a smidgeon of water under my nose extremely irritating! I would certainly use the purge valve if my mask had one.
    David Wilson likes this.

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