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Britmarine
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Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:55 am

While surfing online recently I chanced upon a couple of artefacts from the 1950s appearing to show that the phrase "vintage double-hose" might be applied to a snorkel-mask as well as a scuba regulator.

1. Nemrod Haiti. PS/2069.
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I am grateful for the above images to the excellent Nemrod Museum at https://www.facebook.com/nemrodmuseum/?rc=p and more particularly for the speed and expertise of response to enquiries about the history of Nemrod diving equipment. I am equally grateful to the Musée Dumas at http://museedumas.fr/, whose collection of "livres & documents" includes the following advertisement from a 1954 issue of France's Skin Diver equivalent L'Aventure Sous-Marine:

2. United Service Agency Super Aquascope.
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So Nemrod's "Haiti" "double-hose" snorkel-mask was not unique. The Super Aquascope" wholesaled by the United Service Agency of Nice on the French Riviera bore a close, though not exact, resemblance to the Spanish "Haiti". I wonder whether any other diving equipment companies of the 1950s contemplated adding a similar snorkel-mask to their product range.

The Nemrod company, founded by the Vilarrubis brothers in 1935, is probably already well enough known on both sides of the Pond for me to expand on its history. If not, I refer you to the Nemrod Museum for further enlightenment. The United Service Agency is likely to be an unknown quantity to many of us, however. Despite its name, the United Service Agency was a company headquartered in the French Mediterranean city of Nice. It was founded by American underwater swimming equipment inventor Charles Henry Wilen and Russian expatriate Alexandre Kramarenko. Wilen is known for the patents he took out in the early 1940s, e.g.
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"Alec" Kramarenko is mentioned in Guy Gilpatric's famous book The Compleat Goggler, where he is credited with the invention of a "fish gun". Their company, the United Service Agency, marketed "Palmes américaines" fins, "L'Américain" masks and "Fusils américains" spearguns, emphasising the American heritage of company partner Charles H. Wilen.

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Bronze06
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Re: Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:16 am

Proof that there is nothing new under the Sun.
"Where'd ya get that ol' thang, don't cha' know them thare things ill kill ya!"

Live From the Red Sea,

Russ

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couv
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Re: Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:04 am

Thank you Britmarine,

Very interesting.
A sincere THANK YOU to all at VDH who make this wonderful resource available and to all the thoughtful contributors.

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Britmarine
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Re: Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:18 am

Thanks for the positive feedback, guys. Yes, there's nothing new under the sun and the diving equipment designers and inventors of the pioneer era were just as prepared to copy their rivals' ideas in the interests of making a buck as would be the case yesterday, today and tomorrow. I fear it were ever thus! :)

I mentioned Charles Henry Wilen in my original posting, but I omitted to show the couple of drawings accompanying another of his American patents (US2317237A) that may be more germane to this thread:
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These images show clearly two tubes exiting from the mouth and nose area with the option of a third for an "auxiliary air supply".

Wilen's US2317237A patent was granted in 1943. The idea of a snorkel mask with separate tubes for inhalation and exhalation didn't end there, though. In 1967, twenty-three years after Wilen's patent, George Katehis was granted his US3345984 patent for a "Diving mask with snorkel":
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Although the main point of his invention was the exclusion of the mouth from the device and the separation of the eyes and nose into different chambers within the mask, I can't help seeing this design as another "double-hose snorkel mask", based on appearance alone! By the way, so far as I know, Katehis's invention never reached the market place.

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couv
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Re: Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:48 pm

I think the one above was invented by John Crapper. :-)
A sincere THANK YOU to all at VDH who make this wonderful resource available and to all the thoughtful contributors.

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antique diver
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Re: Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:20 pm

couv wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:48 pm
I think the one above was invented by John Crapper. :-)

I was just thinking that it looks like something found in a toilet tank. Speaking of John, aren't you glad he didn't invent a diving regulator that eventually inherited his last name as a generic term.
The older I get the better I was.

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Britmarine
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Re: Vintage Double Hose Snorkel Mask

Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:58 am

I've looked at plenty of patent drawings recently, and if there's one conclusion to be drawn it's that hyper-engineered solutions to perceived diving problems seldom reach the mass manufacturing stage.

Moving on, I've found several products that may have been inspired by the elaborate designs in my original posting. They aren't "double-hose" snorkels per se, but they bear more than a passing resemblance...

France: Hurricane Supermatic Snorkel Mask
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UK: Typhoon Super Star Snorkel Mask
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USA: US Divers Snorkel Mask
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These three items were all on sale during the 1950s.

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