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Commander Yves Le Prieur band gun 1938

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by Popgun Pete, May 9, 2019.

  1. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
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    Here is the patent diagram for an impressive band gun devised by Commander Yves Le Prieur who was a diving pioneer, prolific inventor and Navy man and should be as well-known as Captain Jacques Cousteau. Among his many achievements are the first practical scuba, the first underwater “Nautilus” speargun powered by blank cartridges and later by bottled compressed air and the formation of the world’s first diving club using his “Scaphandre” breathing apparatus. Alexandre Kramarenko patented the world's first underwater spring powered speargun in 1937, but hot on its heels was this much more practical and floating band gun which was patented in terms of its priority date in December 1938.

    Unlike many subsequent speargun patents in the thirties and forties this gun actually worked. Note the provision of front and rear targeting sights on the speargun and the eight band power system which even with the relatively weak rubber of the time would have delivered a powerful shot. A floating reel is used with the gun and there is an optional shoulder stock which is similar to the one on the “Nautilus” cartridge/compressed air speargun. A leaf spring item 28 on the patent diagram stops the spear falling out of the gun's side-slotted barrel tube by pressing upwards against the tail end of the spear. The spear has a replaceable tip and a pivoting flopper located behind the spear tip to retain the speared fish, so everything required to successfully spear fish underwater is in place 80 years ago!

    Le Prieur's band gun RT.jpg
    Le Prieur's band gun without float RT.jpg
     
  2. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
    212
    181
    43
    This band gun follows the general layout of Commander Le Prieur's famous "Nautilus" gun, initially cartridge powered, but later gas powered with a gas cylinder slung underneath the gun.

    yves-le-prieur-and-nautilus-speargun-jpg.53054.jpg
     
  3. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
    212
    181
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    Le Prieur gun cocked to shoot plan view.jpg The 1938 band gun fitted with its optional shoulder stock.
    Le Prieur's band gun with shoulder stock.jpg
    Le Prieur's gun shoulder stock bands cocked profile.jpg
     
  4. Johnoly

    Johnoly Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location:
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    Some incredible unique thinking from decades ago. Really makes you wonder what our grandkids will be thinking about our spearguns today when it's the year 2099 !! All the changes in materials, designs and will rubber bands still dominate and stand the test of time.
     
  5. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
    212
    181
    43
    The most impressive aspect is that these early underwater weapons are cut from whole cloth and they are inspired by the submarine weapons of the "Nautilus" which gained a reality in the Williamson 1916 film of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea". Shot from the “Photosphere” underwater camera platform the film audience watched in amazement as helmeted divers with underwater “Leyden rifles” opened fire under the sea.



    Advances in band rubber brought changes as initially bands were scavenged from available materials that could be employed as propulsion bands, such as strips cut from tire inner tubes, but which were seldom ideal.
     
    Johnoly likes this.
  6. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
    212
    181
    43
    Recreational fishing may by then be banned as fish resources come under pressure and amateur hunting in general may be eliminated when the world is crawling with people who all need to be fed. The population pruning wars, plagues and natural disasters are for now a thing of the past and the human race increases exponentially.
     
  7. Popgun Pete

    Popgun Pete Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
    212
    181
    43
    The "declic" trigger mechanism used in the 1938 gun, basically a two-piece trigger with the sear lever also being a leaf spring as it bows downwards when the long trigger is pulled. Long triggers enable more fingers to wrap the trigger, most spring guns had big trigger finger guards to allow two fingers to pull on the trigger as often there is a tendency for this trigger mechanism type to initially move the spear very slightly rearwards against the pull being applied to the spear from the propulsion spring or bands.
    trigger declic.jpg
     

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