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Ron
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What year did the octo debut?

Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:52 am

An octopus, or alternate second stage, is first featured in the 1973 U.S. Divers catalog. Swimaster did not feature a dedicated octopus in their catalog until 1975. Scubapro first listed an octo in their catalogs between 1974 and 1976.

There were some devices that could be improvised as a way to share air, but as far as an alternate second stage demand valve is concerned, these were the earliest that I could locate.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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antique diver
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:14 pm

Ron, I appreciate your going to the trouble to wade through the catalogs and give us the information you found.

I was particularly interested in the hose clamps so I could keep my regs as close to original as possible, and had been planning on checking the catalogs... but you saved me the trouble. Now I can do something more fun with my spare time: I think I'll sit out on the patio and drink a beer in your honor.

BTW, Francie thanks you too, since she thinks I spend too much time on this stuff already. :?
The older I get the better I was.

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Ron
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:48 pm

You are welcome Bill, it's the least I could do after all the help that everyone here has given me.
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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1969ivan1
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:53 am

I am no expert but I am pretty sure the VIKING/NORSEMAN octopus predated that by many years, but I do not have a catalog to back that up.

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Ron
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:03 pm

1969ivan1 wrote:I am no expert but I am pretty sure the VIKING/NORSEMAN octopus predated that by many years, but I do not have a catalog to back that up.

The Navy technical manual for the Viking regulator is dated 1962. The Norseman catalog on this site indicates that the "buddy tube" was an optional install on the Viking, though apparently it was not used by the Navy as it is omitted from their TM. Does anyone know how this buddy tube worked? If it has a demand valve in it, then it would definitely be the first octo. I am not sure, however, that I would call it such if it is simply an additional hose plumbed off of the original second stage inside the "beer can". Does anyone have any insight?
The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. -JYC

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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:47 am

I took my certification course in 1975 and we didn't use octo's. Can't say for sure what year they went into general use.
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:05 pm

I also didn't have any octo training in my first scuba class back in 1977, we were taught buddy breathing (which PADI has now officially dropped - circa 2010 - after having made it optional for the last 15 years).

I do seem to recall that octo use had been going on in the cave diving community since the 1960s, as part of their equipment redundancy practice. Don't know if it was later taken up by manufacturers as part of a safety / required equipment push, but it seems to me that the change in first stage LP ports increasing from 2 to ? corresponded with development of both the octo and the power inflation hose for BCs. On earlier first stages, I recall the "splitters" that would enable a single LP to become two or three. ScubaPro used to manufacture its Mk VII first stage with only a couple of LPs, and everybody had a splitter on them. Weighed something like 5 Lbs, but it lasted forever.
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:28 pm

The first time that I recall diving with an "octopus" was early in 1976, and it was only added because we were cave diving. They had been around a while, but that trip might have resulted in the first ones that we sold. We decided that they were a pretty good idea, and kept using them after that. Sales of them picked up after we began suppying them on class regs.
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:22 pm

I have seen pictures of wreck divers in the North East using octopus in the 60’s, but I think that the general preference was the use of pony bottles. In New Jersey there were several dive shops that would buy pallets of portable O2 tanks and put ½”NPT Scuba valves on them.

The wreck divers in general used double 72’s and the nested the pony on the back between the two tanks. The they would attach a wreck-reel a bit to the side.

I have seen a couple of pictures from the 60’s were they had an octopus attached to the hookah port of a DA.
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Ron
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:32 am

So, it would seem that most people agree that octos were made by divers from leftover second stages a long time before they were in catalogs. I wonder why it took so long for manufacturers to begin selling them? Maybe some market based analysis or something.
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:07 am

IMO, they were mostly used by divers that were pushing the envelope… what they call now technical divers (I don’t like that term). The average diver would probably not have felt the need until it was marketed by the industry.

I occasionally used an extra second stage (I don’t think we called them octopus) when our marine biology club was building an artificial reef and I was the safety diver. I had plenty of extra regulators so that sounded like a good idea, but I would take extra second stage of for normal dives. This was in 1975, my last year in high school.
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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:24 am

I also had seen people in the late 60s with an octopus, I don't think it had that name of course. It was just a second "mouthpiece" set. I saw this offshore Louisiana on the rigs and a few other places. it was very uncommon and more importantly, it was not a concept that was taught as part of your diving strategy or gear choices, neither were BC until about the mid 70s.

In the early 70s I saw dual regs being used in the springs on Y valves for cavern diving and independent doubles with dual regs of course or even sometimes two on one tank and one on the remaining tank and of course some homemade isolation manifolds. There was a great deal of experimentation going on in North and Central Florida cave country during that time including playing around with concept wings.

I don't think the octopus second was considered necessary gear, required gear until about 1982 or the early 80s.

It seems I remember Watergill having an alternative second stage available very early on, does anyone have their catalogs from the late 60s?

Nem

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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:28 pm

We were not taught to use an Octo in 1975 but I do believe that both Dacor and Sportsways were selling an octo at that time. I remember the Sportsways octo was based on the W-200 but both covers were orange and had 911 on the purge, Dacor had an funky octopus as a logo.

My first use on an Octo was for my NAUI Sport Diver course in 1977 and I bought a White Stag octo.

John

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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:47 pm

USdiver wrote: I do seem to recall that octo use had been going on in the cave diving community since the 1960s, as part of their equipment redundancy practice.
For someone not educated much on vintage gear - how did an alternate air source, octo, or whatever they were called at the time work before the era of single hoses? Did you have an extra double hose hanging off a pony (which to me doesn't seam like a great idea if you are in a cave (entanglement, etc), or where there single hoses at the time?

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Re: What year did the octo debut?

Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:28 pm

Scotttyd wrote: For someone not educated much on vintage gear - how did an alternate air source, octo, or whatever they were called at the time work before the era of single hoses? Did you have an extra double hose hanging off a pony (which to me doesn't seam like a great idea if you are in a cave (entaglement, etc), or where there single hoses at the time?
There were single hoses at the time. Single hose regulators have been around since the mid 1950s. Early examples include Rose Aviation's Rose Pro and the US Divers' Aquamatic. Many cave divers were using the ScubaPro Mk 5 / 108 combination by the mid to late 1960s when the octo first made its debut.
Too DAAM Many double hoses, It's not a hobby, it's an addiction.

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