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antique diver
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"First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:47 am

I would like to hear some opinions on the date range of the "First Generation" of recreational Scuba divers. ???

Please jump in with your thoughts on the subject! I am trying to prepare a report for a talk to a local dive group, and this would be helpful information to include. I don't expect everyone to agree on this, but would like to hear a variety of suggestions and reasoning for picking the range you suggest.

Thanks!
BT
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ScubaLawyer
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:33 pm

Hi Bill,

Not to be too obstreperous,  but I guess it depends on how you define "recreational."  L.A. County was spitting out scuba instructors beginning in 1955. They went on to teach "recreational " classes. Same with NAUI in 1960, PADI after that, etc...

My dad was scuba diving in 1953, breathed off B-24 Bomber O2 tanks in the 40's diving the reefs off Hawaii, and was freediving and spearfishing in the 1930s. He always considered himself a "recreational" diver because he did it for fun and food. One of my old dive buddies, now in his 80s, did lots of trips to Catalina with Mel Fisher on charter boats from Mel's Aqua Shop starting in 1953 (see below). They were all recreational divers.

https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=PVPN1953120 ... N--------1

If you are talking about the push-button wonders of today, I would say early/mid-70s with the advent of the At-Pac.  My 2psi.

So if you want a range I'd say 1945 to 1960. If I am incorrect it is only because I was left unsupervised. 8)

P.S. To be more accurate, since a generation is usually defined as 30 years, it would be 1945 - 1975.

Mark
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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antique diver
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:26 pm

ScubaLawyer wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:33 pm
Hi Bill,

Not to be too obstreperous,  but I guess it depends on how you define "recreational."  L.A. County was spitting out scuba instructors beginning in 1955. They went on to teach "recreational " classes. Same with NAUI in 1960, PADI after that, etc...

My dad was scuba diving in 1953, breathed off B-24 Bomber O2 tanks in the 40's diving the reefs off Hawaii, and was freediving and spearfishing in the 1930s. He always considered himself a "recreational" diver because he did it for fun and food. One of my old dive buddies, now in his 80s, did lots of trips to Catalina with Mel Fisher on charter boats from Mel's Aqua Shop starting in 1953 (see below). They were all recreational divers.

https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=PVPN1953120 ... N--------1

If you are talking about the push-button wonders of today, I would say early/mid-70s with the advent of the At-Pac.  My 2psi.

So if you want a range I'd say 1945 to 1960. If I am incorrect it is only because I was left unsupervised. 8)

P.S. To be more accurate, since a generation is usually defined as 30 years, it would be 1945 - 1975.

Mark
Good information, and thanks for the link to Fisher's store opening. So as to not influence input ideas from other friends I won't comment on my concept of date ranges at this time.

I am particularly interested in hearing more details about your Father's experiences in the 40's. Like stories he related to you about what he did, and any equipment details you can recall. Did they make alterations to the aviation equipment, etc? Also any stories of diving accidents of that time.

Thanks Mark, and looking forward to more stories from you and others! :D
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ScubaLawyer
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:56 pm

antique diver wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:26 pm

I am particularly interested in hearing more details about your Father's experiences in the 40's. Like stories he related to you about what he did, and any equipment details you can recall. Did they make alterations to the aviation equipment, etc?

You and me both. Dad always talked about snaking the emergency O2 tanks from the cockpit of his B-24 (not the huge O2 tanks that lined the walls aft of the cockpit and forward of the bombay doors/Norden Bombsight). He talked endlessly about spearfishing the shallow reefs of Waikiki, the walls off Kahuku, and the reefs off Barking Sand Kauai when he was stationed there during WWII. I never thought to ask him what he used for a regulator, if anything. I have a faint recollection of him saying something about using his oxygen mask from the plane and breathing O2 that way. I can only assume he would open the valve, take a hit, and close the valve again - letting exhaust escape around the face seal. That is only my wild speculative guess as I really have no clue. He passed in 2012 at age 90 and all of his Army Air Corps crew are dead as well. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, but didn't.
1944 Muroc Air Field - Dad kneeling 2nd from left.jpg
M
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"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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antique diver
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:31 pm

That's good info about his diving, and a great photo. I think I see the family resemblance. My Dad was on the test teams that flew all the new B-24's coming off the line at North American in Dallas. First guys to see if the new stuff off the assembly line would actually fly, and that all systems worked. Before that he worked on the line at the California plant.

Thank you for adding to the historical diving story! :D
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:34 pm

I think those early DIYers with the re-breathers and the diluters have to be the first generation. Next you have the age of factory diving equipment... Lots of companies making lots of different kinds of equipment... Starting up and then dying out... Where the consumers hadn't yet settled on what would be the most practical and popular. This period was split by the transition from double hose to single hose. Two other eras I can think of are the BCD and Tech generations... I missed both but from what I read it was an exciting time with the BCD generation discouraging the Tech generation... And then the Tech generation ultimately winning out due them turning out to be BIG purchasers of scuba equipment.
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antique diver
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:15 pm

SurfLung wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:34 pm
I think those early DIYers with the re-breathers and the diluters have to be the first generation. Next you have the age of factory diving equipment... Lots of companies making lots of different kinds of equipment... Starting up and then dying out... Where the consumers hadn't yet settled on what would be the most practical and popular. This period was split by the transition from double hose to single hose. Two other eras I can think of are the BCD and Tech generations... I missed both but from what I read it was an exciting time with the BCD generation discouraging the Tech generation... And then the Tech generation ultimately winning out due them turning out to be BIG purchasers of scuba equipment.
It's hard to define the exact years of each period/era that you identified, (and of course there is plenty of overlap of each) but I'd say the first group was most active from mid-40's to early 50's. I'm speaking in terms of the Texas area, and of course we were probably a little behind California on what was happening in the diving communities. In this country the factory equipment was barely here in late 40's, starting with a few SPACO Aqualung's sold in 48-49, then a little later the USD Aqualungs. Still DIY going on into mid 50's. Not able to afford a Scuba set, I cobbled together a hookah rig in 57 or 58. Seems like the original factory diving equipment surge was probably going good by mid 50's, but no major changes in that type of equipment until 60's with the single hose of the late 50's finally coming into notice. Even in the certification course I took in 1965 half the equipment provided was double hose and half single, so single hose regs weren't yet taking over the market, at least not in Texas. By 1970 they had taken over in my area. We opened our dive shop that spring, and at the advice of the USD rep only ordered one double hose regulator in our original order. He was right. I'm pretty sure we only sold one that year.

I always felt like there were just two major equipment innovations after that really began to change and advance the way we dived. What do you think?
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SurfLung
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:41 am

Would that be BCDs and Nitrox?
SurfLung
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Re: "First Generation" of Recreational Diving ?

Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:59 am

SurfLung wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:41 am
Would that be BCDs and Nitrox?
Thank you Eben. We should add Nitrox to the two things I was originally thinking of!

I was thinking BCs (the perfectly descriptive old term before padi decided 3 words were better than 2) in the 1970's and dive computers in the 80's, but Nitrox in the early 90's was absolutely a blessing to all of us wanting significantly longer dive times within certain depth ranges.

Of course Nitrox was being used way earlier than that, but I'm referring to the acceptance and general availability to the recreational diving market when I mention early 90's. Of course there were still some real fin-dragers and vociferous opponents at that time, such as Skin Diver Rag-azine. What fools they made of themselves in their scathing editorial stance against Nitrox use in the recreational field. Of course all it took for the certifying agencies to get onboard was the opportunity to sell another C-Card... $$!

Notice that Nitrox is still around, but Skin Diver is not.
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