Friday, June 19, 2009

Scott SCBA

Well - its summer and, like everyone else, I seem to be finding very little time to post anything here due to all the other stuff that has to be done.

As I've started on fire gear I think I'll begin this cycle with the SCBA's that are in my collection and some that I would like to add to my collection.
As Scott Aviation pioneered the use of many of the innovations used in modern day breathing it is only appropriate that the first stop on this trip be the Scott SCBA's (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus).

I have four different Scott SCBA's in my collection. The first is called a SKA PAK and was made in 1957. It was designed for emergency use (SKA = Escape) and its small 2015 psi bottle made it ideal for situations in which quick donning and short term use were necessary as the entire apparatus was comparatively small and light.

While the next three SCBA's are all Scott Air Pak II's the designs of each of them (most notably in the masks) are slightly different. All used a similar 2015 PSI air tank.

The first version from 1972 has a full face mask with a wide window and the hose connection onto the regulator, which was worn at the waist, had the externally threaded (male) connector on the reg and the internally threaded (female) connector on the hose.

The second version in my collection from 1974, while similar, had the female connector moved to the regulator and the male connector on the hose. At the same time the mask had had the addition of metal connections reinforcing the area where the hose connected and the exhaust was located.

The final version from my collection from 1979 featured a new style, two window mask which they dubbed the "Full Vision" mask. Strange as this bug eye mask looks it is very comfortable to wear and does give excellent vision.

The one style I havnt yet added to my collection is the present Scott Presur Pak (They always seem to be out of range of my budget). Their full mask affords excellent vision and is very comfortable to wear. At the same time the mask mounted regulator system frees you from the problems associated with accidentally laying on the flexible air hose when having to crawl through confined spaces. (This image was taken from the net incidentally)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fire Gear - The biggest item in my collection

Hi Everyone:
My appologies for taking so long between postings but life intrudes as usual. I seem to be run off my feet lately with work that has to be done so, by the time I get to the computer, I dont really feel like doing more work.

Since I've pretty much exhausted the diving stuff I have and have encountered I'm going to turn my gear attention here toward the items in my Fire Collection next.

As alot of you know, I am a member of the Fire Collections group at the Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village Museum ( here in Moose Jaw. Eight years ago a group of us (all collectors of various firefighting equipment) got together and decided to buy a 1937 International fire truck and build a firehall at the museum (which is set up like a small town). While the truck still needs alot of restoration work the firehall has been built and, although it still needs some work and paint, its open to the public.

Of course, when you collect gear and belong to a group like that, you need an appropriate way to display parts of your collection. So what would be more appropriate than a 1981 Rescue truck? I
bought this truck last year and have been having a great time digging up stuff to outfit it every since.
The truck Chassis is a Ford one ton with the rest being made by Horton. Originally an ambulance, it was converted to fire use in the late 1980's and remained in service till 2007.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Superlite 17 and 27

While in Victoria last month I got a chance to stop at Aqualung Canada and take a look at some of the new gear. The items that grabbed my attention most were, of course, the Superlite helmets. This picture shows the brand new Superlite 17 (left) and 27 (right). The all brass trim on the 17 was really sharp but I think the 27 would have to be my preference as it is a smaller helmet (I like a close fit) and I prefer the locking system it employs for the neck dam.

More on my holiday to come.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Next Postings

My appologies to everyone that has been keeping up with my blog (I really do appreciate it) but I wont be doing anymore postings till sometime during the week of April 20th as I'm heading for Calgary next week then on to Victoria and Vancouver (for Rubbout). I hope to come back with some interesting gear photos to add here as I have made arrangements for a tour of a diving school in Victoria while I'm there and have several other stops planned as well.


PS - Before anyone asks - no I dont have a laptop - I spend too much on gear to be able to afford one :)

US Divers Full Face Mask

The last of the diving masks from my collection this U S Divers full face mask was made to accomodate both single and two hose regulators. I believe it dates back to the early 1960's but I'm not certain. Can anyone help with a date for it?

Technisub Tec 1 Full Face Mask

The Technisub Tec 1 Full Face Mask is a descent full face mask at a reasonable cost. It can be attached to any regulator and (unlike the Cressisub) also has a port for attaching communications. While quite comfortable the one drawback I have found is that mask squeeze can result as the oral nasal mask isolates your breathing from the actual mask.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Interspiro AGA Diving Masks

Two different versions of the Interspiro - AGA diving mask from my collection. The earlier version has a high volume face piece while the later one has a much lower volume. Both have rubber skirts in Grey although even newer versions have a silicone skirt in either yellow or black.

The regulator creates a positive pressure within the mask which, not only makes breathing easier, but also reduces the risk of water leakage (Important when in contaminated waters).

Communications can easily be added to the mask simply by changing the plate on the front of the mask.

All in all the AGA masks are very comfortable and one of the most easily serviced mask / reg combinations that I have ever come across.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Beauchat Wet Suit and USD Com Mask 1

My Beauchat extreme cold wet suit, it features skin in seals on the hood, wrists and legs as well as the entire upper body of the farmer john. The jacket has the hood attached to it, reinforced padding on the shoulders, heavy duty beaver tail connections (also reinforced) and a side zipper to limit water transfer. The farmer john has reinforced knee pads and a built in pocket. I bought this suit in 1995 and have never used it. Up untill I took the picture I had forgotten how much of a pain it was to try to get into a wet suit (as versus a dry suit). Now I'm seriously considering selling it as I very much doubt that I'll ever use it for diving and its way too much trouble to put on (not to mention exhausting and too hot) for play. I paid well over $600 for it - any offers? ;)

The mask in the pictures is a U S Divers Com Mask 1. I havnt found much information about this mask other than the fact that it was the free flow version of the KMB masks. I believe it was made in the mid 1970s.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bare dry suit and Technisub

An early diving dry suit by Bare this suit was made in the late 1970's. Made of a vinyl coated material with neoprene neck and wrist seals it is still quite comfortable to wear (although it is showning some signs of its age and needs a new zipper and wrist seal repairs). I've never actually dove this suit as I havnt been able to find one of the valves for it thats missing but it is a very nice suit for the collection.

The mask in the photos is a Technisub Tec 1 mask. Made in the 1980's it was a cheap way of getting a full face mask. Completely rubber (with the exception of the glass and trim of course) it featured a full oral nasal mask inside which was attached to any regulator that you wanted (In this case my US Divers Conshelf 21) and also had a side port for a coms system. The big drawback was that with the oral nasal mask you couldnt easily equalize pressure withing the facepiece itself. This could make things rather uncomfortable at depth.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Whites Commercial Dry Suit and US Divers Com Hat 1

One of the first suits I bought (1989 - used) the Whites Commercial Dry Suit featured 3/8 " neoprene with heavy rubber reinforcing on the front of the legs, heavy duty boots and extra long wrist seals. Its an excellent suit for cold water diving and very comfortable. The only drawback I found was the excessive ammount of weight required to offset the buoyancy of the thick neoprene.

The helmet in the pictures is the US Divers Com Hat One. The predacessor of the Superlite 17 the Com Hat one was made in the mid 1970's. It featured both demand and free flow breathing systems as well as a liquid filled liner which, while being quite comfortable and offsetting the dead air space well, could also be cold. I've never actually used this helmet, even though the regs are in great shape, the liner leaks like a sieve. The neck seal is a simple neoprene ring which seals against the helmet with a cam system similar to those used on the Superlite.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Poseidon Unisuit and Cressisub Mask

Another of my favorites I picked up this Poseidon Unisuit from a surplus store on vancouver island. From the tags on it was old stock and had never been used. It was being disposed of as the military no longer used the Unisuits. When I saw the $200 price tag I had to have it. While the through crotch zipper and attached hood with inner neck seal does make the suit a bit difficult to get into it also makes for a very comfortable suit (and is convenient for ahemmm.......other uses too)

The mask pictured with the suit is a Cressisub full face mask which can be attached to any SCUBA regulator I have it attached to my US Divers Conshelf SEA regs in the pictures. This is an older model, made of rubber. Newer versions of the mask are made of silicone which is considerably more flexible. While I dont find the mask overly comfortable it is still a good mask and a very good buy for the price (usually just over $100 ). A definite must for ice diving (or just play) for those on a budget.

Viking Sport and EXO 26

This is my Viking Sport suit which I usually use when diving. I've had a turbo hood added to it as I think they are way more comfortable than the normal latex hoods. Heavy duty cuffs have also been added as well as attachment rings to allow the use of dry gloves. What attracted me to this suit the most was the colour pattern. The Red torso and black legs fit my style quite nicely. The smooth rubber of the Viking suits also makes clean up after a dive a breeze.

The tanks in the picture are my US divers ABS (Advanced Breathing System) which I purchased in 1990. Inside the case you have triple 30 cubic foot cylinders connected by a manifold. This not only gives you a total 90 cubic feet of air (as opposed to the standard cylinders 80 cubic feet) but also gives you an hydrodynamic backpack which is ballanced on your back, unlike normal cylinders. This creates less drag as you go through the water.

The mask is a US Divers EXO 26 bought in 1992. Comprised of an outer "Exo skeleton" and an extremely supple inner mask this has to be one of the most comfortable masks I have ever dove with. It can be used either with tanks or a surface supply and is equipped to take communications equipment (although I dont have any). I would, however, like to get the matching hard shell helmet, which goes over your hood at some point in the future.

Put it all together and you have an incredibly comfortable set of diving gear which is suitable for most applications you can think of, including ice diving (yes I am qualified for that too)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Viking Pro and KMB 9

Ok - so I'm way behind in doing postings - sorry but life intruded.

I think from here I'll start with some of my diving gear so first up is My Viking Pro suit with the turbo hood. This suit dates to the early 1990's and is one of my favorites for diving . Very comfortable the outside is heavy rubber which makes for easy cleaning. You can wear it in any temperature water as the insulation value depends entirely on what you wear under the suit, not the suit itself. The turbo hood is a double layer hood which gives you a latex hood next to your head (Always a good thing if you like rubber ) and an outer hood of the same material as the suit. This allows for a layer of air insulation between them and is very comfortable. The Mitts shown are Viking 3 fingered mitts which mate to the rings, which I have attached to the suit, giving you a water tight seal. While they are warm and fairly comfortable just for general diving I do find them pretty clumsy for doing any work.

The mask shown in the picture above and here is a US Divers Kirby Morgan Band Mask (KMB9) I believe they were produced from 1973 to 1975.

As you can see from the picture this one is not in the best of shape. In point of fact it not actually usable but does make a nice display piece. Not that it really matters alot to me as the Kirby Morgan Band Masks dont tend to fit the shape of my face very well and I find them rather uncomfortable but that is just personal preference.

To my knowledge the KMB9 was the second bandmask put out by Kirby Morgan/ US Divers with the first being the KMB8 (Though I may be wrong)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Heavy Weight Latex Sleepsack

Now we come to my favorite toy / piece of gear. I bought this heavy weight, latex sleepsack last summer (2007) when I was going through Atlanta. I saw it in the store (Atlanta Leather Co) and just had to try it. It fit me like a second skin and I fell in love with it on the spot. Naturally I had to have it.

I was told that the sleepsack itself is made in Germany but I never did get a straight answer as to the actual manufacturer. All seams are finished very well and, combined with the heavy weight of the latex, it makes for a very high quality piece. Internal sleves hold the arms tightly to your sides while a collar holds the sleepsack snugly around your neck. Three sliders on the
zipper allow access wherever needed yet they can be locked together (and to the collar) by employing small padlocks. Making escape impossible. (Although squirming around is very possible unless tied down - I have become very good at this ;) )

My only regret in this piece is that it doesnt have a built in hood / mask

Thus far the longest period I have enjoyed in it
has been 8 hours. Unfortunately I rarely have anyone here to allow me the pleasure of spending time in it. I have also been able to introduce a number of people to its pleasures and all have loved it as much as I have.

All in all it has been one of the best purchases I've made and I'm very happy with it.