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Sea-Net mask

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by ShawanoDiver, May 3, 2018.

  1. ShawanoDiver

    ShawanoDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Shawano, Wisconsin
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    A relative of mine picked this up for me at flea market last week, I guess from what I could find online they were an early manufacturer of dive gear in the US.
    20180503_124717.jpg 20180503_124732.jpg 20180503_125732.jpg 20180503_124717.jpg View attachment 458204
     
  2. regulator bj

    regulator bj Barracuda

    # of Dives:
    Location: devon u.k.
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    A fantastic find, certainly one to look after, the mask dates from the 1940/50 Skin Diver magazine carried a SeaNet add in their very first 1951 issue
    David Wilson who is the man on all things masks, fins snorkels, posts on this site so it would be an advantage to trawl through his posting.but you might get lucky if he reads your posting to give an in-depth answer.

    john68
     
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    I agree with John (regulator bj), a really fantastic find, particularly considering the superior condition of this mask, which may be over 60 years old.

    I immediately recognised the mask because John sent me pictures a few months ago of the same model to illustrate a discussion on the Vintage Scuba Diving Forum at http://vintagescuba.proboards.com/thread/4634/fin. Do pay this Vintage Scuba Diving Forum page a visit to read the thread illustrated with John's mask images and do consider joining the forum and posting the pictures of your lucky find.

    Two distinctive features of your De-Luxe Sea-Dive mask are its roundness (vintage masks are usually oval) and its mask strap arrangement with the buckle positioned at the back of the head instead of either side of the mask skirt. A picture of the Sea Dive mask can be seen in an advertisement on page 14 of the first issue (December 1951) of Skin Diver Magazine:
    [​IMG]

    Sea-Net was a very early Los Angeles diving equipment company that made gear for other firms, including US Divers. Here is an ad for the company from 1952 with another image of the mask:
    [​IMG]
    There are many more period ads to be seen on the Sea-Net page of the wonderful Skin Diving History website at Skin Diving History - Sea Net - Mfg & Retailers.

    And finally, as John has already said, look after your Sea-Net mask!
     
    iamrushman and ShawanoDiver like this.
  4. Mike Lev

    Mike Lev Barracuda

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    Great find.I have three like that.Not there first model but there nicest.I have seen them go for $100 or more at times.I love any Seat Net items.I have spear poles,catalogs,fins and about 20 of there masks.Also Frankie the Frogman items.That model the rubber is good quality.I will check my Sea Net catalogs to try to find the year. probably 50,s. I have a sports catalog from 1940 that was selling there first model.All of there items are rare.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    ShawanoDiver likes this.
  5. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
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    @ShawanoDiver

    Very interesting that a Sea Net mask would be found in cold Wisconsin and in mint condition !

    At the time of its production run - 1949 (?) to 1954 Skin & Scuba diving manufacturing and most participants were concentrated in Southern California. I suspect there is an interesting story how it arrived in the northern US and who owned it ant why they owned it. I would suggest that you retrace the ownership and collect the genealogy of the mask and document the line of ownership from SoCal to Wisconsin

    Very Rare ! and to a serious Collector - or a Student of dive history very valuable.

    Locally the mask was known as the UDT mask- I don't recall ever seeing the mask so identified - It might have been in honor of Frank Rodecker, which I will discuss in the following paragraphs

    The mask is not the original Sea Net manufactured mask. The original was designed and patented in 1940 by the late great Frank Rodecker* along the lines of the Japanese Ama mask. They were round shape and rather flimsy in construction, but some how, some way, have survived the passage of time and are now also collectors items.

    Your mask is the second and last mask produced by Pops Romano's company "Sea Net" prior to his death in 1954 and the closing of this company by his heirs. (according to local legend his heirs thought there was no future in recreational diving )

    Re Frank Rodecker (@David Wilson note)

    Suggest that you obtain and read .The Frogmen of Burma, Lt.Comdr Bruce S Wright , 1968, Clarke, Irwin & Company, Toronto-- 162 pages, illustrated

    In January,1941 (prior to US entering WW 11 in December 1941) the Canadian armed forces wanted a UDT type operation-- They all were placed on TDY to California where Frank was temporarily made a LT in the RCN and instructed them in surfing and diving.

    After WW 11 Frank also established the "Frankie the frogman club" via Sea Net....From that time forward he was known as "Frankie the frogman"

    We were in the same skin diving club and remained in occasional contact via telephone and old fashioned letter. Sadly about 25 years ago I received a letter from his dear wife Charlotte, that Frank had passed away from emphysema - he was a life long smoker.

    SDM
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  6. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,865
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    The OP is certainly interested

    What a waste of my time !

    SDM
     
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    TheFrogmenofBurma_p65.jpg The image above is from page 65 of Bruce S. Wright's The Frogmen of Burma. The copy on my bookshelf was published in London by William Kimber & Co. Ltd in 1970. Wright is the man in "original frogman gear" in the photograph. Here is another wartime picture of Wright:
    BSW-as-WWII-frogman-from-Wildlife-Sketches-300x405.jpg
    Exploring the Legacy of Leopold's Students | Bruce S. Wright

    Here's what I think is the first mention of Sea-Net in the book on page 23:
    img418.jpg

    and what may be the first mention of Frank Rodecker on page 40:
    img419.jpg

    Here's an image of Frank Rodecker:
    742bfef9f4bc7b744237fe9303048324.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  8. ShawanoDiver

    ShawanoDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Shawano, Wisconsin
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    Thanks for all the interesting info!, sure was a good find for an automotive swap meet, last year there was even a Morse diving helmet. It got bought before I could get to it though.. :(
     
  9. ShawanoDiver

    ShawanoDiver Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Shawano, Wisconsin
    14
    5
    3
    Definetly interested! I just don't log on quite as much as I used to
     
  10. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I don't recall if they mentioned where they got the masks in the book but this cover photo is from the archives when what became the UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) was being formed in early WWII.

    upload_2018-5-8_10-13-0.png

    (For other readers, Sam and David already know far more)
    What became the UDT started as Navy Scouts and Raiders but were known the public informally as Frogmen. The top UDT members were selected for advanced training when the US Navy SEALs were formed in the 1960s and were merged into a single group in the 1980s. SEAL training begins with BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL).

     
    northernone likes this.

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