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Basic gear from mid-twentieth-century Australia: Turnbull etc

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by David Wilson, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
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    Техника подводного спорта | Серебряницкий СС | download
    (not 1962, but 1961) Спортсмен-легководолаз (Подводный спорт) | Меренов И.В., Лазарев-Станищев Б.В. | download
    Thank you!
     
    David Wilson likes this.
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    Thanks for your input, Sam, John and АлександрД; it is much appreciated.

    On now to the fins in the Turnbull range of basic underwater swimming equipment. Let's begin with "Turnbull Swim Flippers".

    Turnbull Swim Flippers
    Swim_Flippers_Lilly1954.png
    This model appeared in the 1954 edition of Lillywhites underwater catalogue, where it was captioned "Swim Flippers. Australia’s most popular and successful fin. In black natural rubber. Senior model. Junior model (for children only)." As Turnbull's first swim fin, it shows a resemblance to other early post-war fins, e.g. Hans Hass fins, made in Austria, Germany and the UK:
    oLDWAKX.jpg

    The oblique-cut blade tips of the Turnbull Swim Flippers is also reminiscent of early Churchills:
    $T2eC16VHJHYFFkOG-5uPBS,FUb14RQ~~60_57.JPG
    which in turn may have inspired the Model 1 fin from the Mosrezina plant in Moscow during the Soviet era:
    1389822217-jpg.389378.jpg
     
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    Next up for review are the F1 Continental Flippers, which appeared in my catalogue scan at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bw7z_4bLjOOEcVVBT09INkJqNEU.

    F1 Continental Flippers
    F1Continental-1.png The description reads: "F1 Continental Flippers. Available in three sizes: junior, medium and large. Made in extra special NON FLOATING QUALITY black rubber; Green, blue, yellow and gum salt-water FLOATING QUALITY rubber. These flippers are the ultimate in design and feature the inclined paddle, which eliminates effort and prevents leg cramping. Cut-out toe permits easy foot fitting and reduces the possibility of toe cramp."

    These fins had a remarkably long shelf life. Here is an ad from a 1960 issue of an Australian skindiving magazine:
    1960-02_ASM.png
    There are the Continentals at the bottom left. Note how the pricing is in shillings and pence. "39/3" means 39 shillings and 3 pence, nine pence short of two pounds sterling. So Australia used the same name for its currency, but not the same value, as the United Kingdom of pounds, shillings and pence. The Australian pound, introduced in 1910 and officially distinct in value from the pound sterling since devaluation in 1931, was replaced by the dollar on 14 February 1966. The rate of conversion for the new decimal currency was two dollars per Australian pound, or ten Australian shillings per dollar. So there.

    Continental flippers were proudly Australian, if the map of Oz on the top of the blades is anything to go by. I don't know of any other fin in the world embossed with the shape of the country where it was manufactured. Even so, Continentals were clearly inspired by Cressi Rondines, the first fins to feature closed heel and open toes: $(KGrHqN,!o0FG3JgjtE(BRybwM07R!~~60_58.JPG
    When Hanimex took over Turnbull, the company kept the Continental model going right up to 1976, when this ad appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald of Sunday, October 24,1976:
    The_Sydney_Morning_Herald_Sun__Oct_24__1976_.png
    What distinguished Turnbull/Hanimex Continental Flippers from Cressi Rondines was their ruggedness and the heel tab enabling them to be donned and doffed more quickly. They were heavy fins with tough blades, thick side rails and soft, comfortable foot pockets. They also came in different solid and contrast colours:
    4961e2a_20.jpeg
    $T2eC16h,!)YFIb76RFD3BSRlQEWITg~~48_20.JPG
    The version above was made in Malaysia after outsourcing of manufacturing in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many fin manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere sent their fin moulds to Malaysia, where natural rubber was produced and labour costs for manufacturing rubber products were lower.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    Third Turnbull fin of the day: F2 Super Flippers.

    F2 Super Flippers
    SuperFlippers-1.png
    Catalogue description: "F2 Super Flippers. Made in pure gum FLOATING QUALITY rubber in one size only, to fit the medium and large range. Extra-long paddle recommended for the expert."

    These fins were billed in the 1958 Lillywhites catalogue as “Giant Turnbull Fin” widely used in Australia, giving extra power and smoothness underwater."
    Giant_Turnbull_Lillywhites1958.png
    Giant_Turnbull_Swim_Fins.png

    No prizes for guessing who else's fins Super Flippers most closely resemble. Here's a clue :):
    31.jpg

    That's it for this weekend. Back with another three Turnbull fins in a few days' time.
     
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    On to the next three Turnbull fins. First up the Giant Continentals.

    F3 Giant Continental Flippers

    F3GiantContinental-1.png
    Catalogue description: "F3 Giant Continental Flippers. In blue only. For maximum comfort and propulsion specially designed for large fittings, wet suits, and sandshoes. Made out of a special salt water FLOATING QUALITY rubber with the famous foot comfort and paddle rigidity. A special ankle strap with a rustproof buckle is added for absolute security."

    These fins were introduced in the July/August 1962 issue of Australian Skindivers Magazine:
    2011-09-204.png
    The name "Giant" focused attention on blade length and the relative dimensions of the Continental and Giant Continental models were given for good measure at a time when fin length and width measurements were seldom published, either for reasons of commercial confidentiality or just because it did not occur to manufacturers back then that purchasers would be interested in such information.

    As for timing, it is interesting that Turnbull launched their "Giant Continentals" in the same year as artist Alexander Denkov designed a template for a “Giant” fin on the other side of the world in the People's Republic of Bulgaria: the Гигант ("Gigant", Bulgarian for "Giant"). Here is a description of these Bulgarian fins more frrom an earloer Scubaboard thread: "Cast in clay and dental plaster, the fin featured a foot pocket based on the shape of the foot pockets of Cressi sub swim fins in Italy. The fin also came with an elongated blade. A diving equipment workshop in Burgas made the first pairs of “Giant” fins during the winter of 1962. They had an unusual shape for the time, their length being 63 cm. They were well received by scuba divers and particularly well by East European athletes", who went on to win many finswimming competitions with them.
    plavnici-gigant-jpg.437145.jpg
    Incidentally, 63 cm roughly corresponds to 24.75 inches, so the Bulgarian Giants were almost two inches longer than the Australian Giants!:)

    Here are some more pictures of Turnbull's "Giant Continental Flippers":
    $T2eC16VHJIYE9qUcNlGKBRPdfew5jw~~48_20.JPG
    133659548.jpg
    Note:
    • the outline of Australia on the blade showing the product's country of origin and leading to the fin's widespread recognisability;
    • the additional instep strap securing this closed-heel fin on the foot at a time when fin grips were not yet widely available;
    • the availability of the model in different colours, first in blue, later also in contrasting colours when production transferred to Malaysia; black otherwise predominated.
    I have a pair of black Giant Continentals in my fin collection and I can vouch for their comfortable foot pockets and their powerful though narrow blades. Giant Continentals were exported to the UK during the early 1960s; I remember seeing a pair in a diving store in my home town in the North East of England around that time.
     
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  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    The second Turnbull fin to be reviewed today is the Pacific Surfer.

    F4 Pacific Surfer Flippers
    F4PacificSuper-1.png
    Catalogue caption: "F4 Pacific Surfer Flippers. Made from the same mixture of rubber as the Continental flippers in salt water FLOATING QUALITY, blue rubber. It features a heavy adjustable strap with corrosion-proof buckle and can be adjusted to fit all sizes. It has a large paddle area and is recommended for the experienced swimmer and surfer."

    Here again is the Continental fin:
    4961e2a_20-jpeg.489667.jpg
    The inference is that the Pacific Surfer was the adjustable open-heel counterpart of the Continental. As well as sharing the same rubber blend as the Continental, the Pacific Surfer appears to emulate the former's rugged look and construction, right down to the heelstrap, which seems to have been of an inordinate length to accommodate a wide range of foot sizes.
     
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    The third and last of Turnbull's fins today is the enigmically named "Swim Fin Range".

    F6 Swim Fin Range
    F6SwimFinRange-1.png
    Catalogue description: "F6 Swim Fin Range. Available in small junior, junior, medium and large sizes. In blue rubber with an adjustable strap and rustproof buckle."

    So another adjustable open-heel Turnbull fin, this time based on what may have been Turnbull's first model:
    swim_flippers_lilly1954-png.489657.png
    Based, yes, but with significant differences. The F6 had a symmetrical blade with a concave tip. The blade came with two stiff side rails on the top, but seven thin ribs on the bottom. The design of the adjustable heel strap also strayed from convention in having a buckle located at the back of the heel, which was a nod in the direction of the way Turnbull designed their straps on certain mask models:
    m3swimmask-1-png-487280-png.487789.png

    A final observation on the typography of the words "swim fins" on the top of the blade:
    F6SwimFinRange-2.png
    Is it possible to read these words on the blade with the huge "S" at the beginning of the word "Swim" and the end of the word "Fins" without thinking of early Churchill fins embossed with the initial and final "S" replaced with sea horses?
    $(KGrHqN,!g8FDfjTCblwBRJCqlGKZg~~60_57.JPG

    Enough for today. The last three Turnbull fins will be reviewed in several days. Then we'll move on to other Australian basic diving equipment makers.
     
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  8. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
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    bottom right scuba - PORPOISE!
    world first SINGLE hose scuba by Ted Eldred :)
     
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  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    1960-02_asm-png.489662.png
    Well spotted! There it is, next to the Cressi Pinocchio lookalike, renamed the Schnozzle in homage to the late great Jimmy Durante:
    84131_v9_ba.jpg
     
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  10. АлександрД

    АлександрД Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    595
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    And again I can see here eastern style of diving equipment :)
    before I published some posts about laced fins
    Post-Soviet fins: Russian models 2 - fins, still commertially manufactured in Russia
    and small manufacture Scuba with freediving fins

    also I`d offered some ideas for Downsizing fins

    And your post about some Sovied laced fins Soviet fins 2

    And above one more example! Great! :)
     
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