Basic gear from mid-twentieth-century Italy: Other manufacturers

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David Wilson

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A 1976 issue of Mondo Sommerso returned to this Longo sub "maschera parabolica" (parabolic mask):
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Italian: "MASCHERE - Realizzata in neoprene morbido e con ghiere colorate, la maschera Parabolic ha una particolare forma anatomica che consente grande visibilità e minimo volume interno d’aria, ed inoltre una maggiore adattabilità ad ogni viso. Viene realizzata in due versioni: una in vetro unico curvo (anche se per la verità si tratta di un doppio strato di vetro con foglio di plastica in mezzo), l'altra a due vetri particolarmente utile a chi deve fare la versione ottica."
Rough translation: "MASKS - Made of soft neoprene and with coloured bands, the Parabolic mask has a particular anatomical shape that allows great visibility and minimum internal volume of air, and also greater adaptability to every face. It is made in two versions: one in single curved glass (even if in truth it is a double layer of glass with a plastic sheet in the middle), the other with two lenses, particularly suitable for those who have to make the optical version."

So the mask now has a product name - "Parabolic" - not particularly original in the circumstances considering the lead-up, but a name nevertheless to confirm that the mask design was now a manufactured entity with a photograph to prove that reality. Many claims are made about the benefits of the model, including wider visibility, lower internal volume and better facial adhesibility. Note the availability of the Longo Parabolic in two versions, one single-lens, the other twin-lens, the latter being suitable for anyone wanting to install optical enhancement.

Another Mondo Sommerso review during the same year contained an illustration of the two types of Longo Parabolic mask placed side by side:
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Italian: "LONGO SUB: LA MASCHERA «PARABOLIC». La maschera «Parabolic» ha un vetro curvo che le consente un eccezionale campo visivo, pur avendo un volume interno ridottissimo. Viene prodotta dalla casa bolognese in due versioni: una con vetro unico e l’altra a due vetri, specialmente adatta per chi deve portare la versione ottica. La carcassa è in neoprene nero, il telaio reggivetro in plastica colorata."
Rough translation: "LONGO SUB: THE "PARABOLIC" MASK. The 'Parabolic' mask has a curved lens offering an exceptional field of vision, despite having a very low internal volume. It is produced by the Bolognese firm in two versions: one with a single lens and the other with two lenses, especially suitable for those who have to wear the optical version. The body is in black neoprene, the lens retaining band in coloured plastic."

That must suffice for today. I shall return at the weekend with a review of the Longo sub range of fins. In the coming days, stay safe and keep well.
 

WeRtheOcean

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I would be grateful for any help or suggestions in filling these gaps in the text.

intended to meet [...] expert divers.

Well, the most obvious suggestion is "to meet the needs of expert divers," or possibly "to meet the standards of expert divers," although I don't know the Italian for that. You would likely need to have some idea of how much page space was omitted, and hence how long a word or series of words could fit.
 

David Wilson

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Well, the most obvious suggestion is "to meet the needs of expert divers," or possibly "to meet the standards of expert divers," although I don't know the Italian for that. You would likely need to have some idea of how much page space was omitted, and hence how long a word or series of words could fit.
Thanks for the suggestions, WeRtheOcean. I was thinking along the lines of the two columns being likely to have equal breadth. I agree with you that something like "le esigenze dei subacquei" (the needs of divers) might be the missing words.

And thanks to Jale and Angelo for the likes.
 

David Wilson

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And now for Longo fins. Let us start with Longo Coralline fins, which appear in the advertisement above. "Coralline" is Italian for "pertaining to coral". I have a pair of Corallines in my collection and they have passed muster on comfort and efficiency:
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They were also available in yellow and at some stage Longo must have agreed to collaborate with the West German diving equipment manufacturer Barakuda in the production of these fins:
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David Wilson

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Our second Longo fin of the day is the Lota:
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The above from a 1970 issue of the Italian diving magazine Mondo Sommerso. A very similar-looking fin to the Coralline. I have found little other information about the model. Incidentally, the word "Lota" is Italian for "burbot", the name of a cod-like freshwater fish.

I am going to leave matters there for today, returning at the weekend, further upgrades willing, to review the remaining two Longo sub fins Kayman and Semiprofessionale. Until then, keep well and stay safe.
 

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Thanks, Jale, for the likes.

On now to the final two fin models in the Longo range. First up is the Kayman fin, which made its début in 1973:
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This full-foot model is Longo sub's answer to the success and popularity of vented-blade fin technology in the wake of Beuchat Jetfins in Europe and their Scubapro counterparts under licence in the North America. Note the instep strap for additional security in strong currents.

The name "Kayman" may come from the Dutch word Kaaiman, crocodile, or refer to the Cayman Islands, which are located to the south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

In 1976, a second version of the Kayman was introduced:
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Kayman Mark#2 came with more robust instep straps, closed toes and longer blades. This model has been described as "pinne lunghe e pesanti adatte a persone allenate" (long and heavy fins suitable for people trained to use them).
 

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Last Longo sub fin of the day is the "Semiprofessionale":
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Italian: "PINNA SEMI-PROFESSIONALE. Interessante anche la realizzazione di una pinna indicata come «semi-professionale»: è una pinna che dovrebbe occupare un posto intermedio fra le Coralline (pinne tradizionali di largo consumo) e le Kayman più propriamente professionali. La calzata sarà infatti comoda come le Coralline mentre la pala, lunga poco meno di quella delle Kayman, sarà irrigidita da longheroni. Insomma nelle intenzioni della Longo dovrebbe essere una pinna con un arco di utilizzazione assai vasto: usata cioè da coloro che vanno in mare per diletto ed anche da quelli che si dedicano al nuoto pinnato. Offrirà infatti delle prestazioni che, seppure non saranno esasperatamente agonistiche, possono essere considerate sportive: insomma, parafrasando lo slogan di una nota casa automobilistica, dovrebbero essere le «pinne per famiglia che vincono le corse»."
Rough translation: "SEMI-PROFESSIONAL FIN. Interesting too is the creation of a fin named 'semi-professional', a fin to occupy a place intermediate between the traditional mass-consumption Coralline and the more strictly professional Kayman. Indeed, its foot pocket will be as comfortable as the Coralline's, while its blade, a little shorter than the Kayman's, will be reinforced with side members. In short, Longo intends this fin to have a very extensive range of applications, used not only by seaside trippers but also by dedicated finswimmers. Their performance will never be exasperatingly competitive, but it can indeed be considered as sporting; in short, to paraphrase a well-known car manufacturer’s slogan, they should be the 'family fins to win races'".

The above from a 1975 issue of the Italian diving magazine Mondo Sommerso. The review explains the intermediate position occupied by the "Semiprofessionale" in the range between the general-purpose Coralline leisure fin and the more specialised and powerful Kayman professional fin.

And that is where I shall leave matters for a few days, returning midweek to review a different mid-twentieth-century Italian basic diving equipment manufacturer, probably Mordem. Until then, keep safe and stay well.
 

David Wilson

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Thank you for the likes, jale.
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Now on to the Italian diving equipment manufacturer Mordem. The company logo appears above. The source materials I have at my disposal suggest that the company operated throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The Blu Time Scuba History website has a potted company history of Mordem in English at MORDEM | BluTimeScubaHistory:

MORDEM

Demetrio Morabito was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy in 1925 and when he was still very young, he began manufacturing primitive diving gear. At the outset of the 1940s, he invented the spring speargun, then one with rubber band with rod with square section. At the end of that decade, while studying engineering in Tuscany, he designed greatly appreciated innovative equipment. He collaborated with Egidio Cressi and Ludovico Mares, but he preferred to proceed on his own. In 1954 he moved to Milan where he established Mordem, the name deriving from the first letters of his name. He improved his speargun with its explosive cartridge, its name "Razzomare" suggested by the recoil of its spear; now, it is an extremely desirable part sought by collectors.

His products soon became famous, e.g. a weightbelt with screwed-in lead weights, fins with five channels, a mask with nosepiece with additional external control in 1961. In the meantime, sport federations banned both CO2 spearguns and those with explosive cartridges. So, Morabito designed the short but powerful Molac with water spring, based on the principle of the hydraulic lathe. Other elastic, hydro-pneumatic, pneumatic spearguns followed. He was the promoter of diving target-shooting competitions. For this new discipline, he invented a special elastic gun named Elas, equipped with special sights, handle and stabilising disk.

For an extended period, he devoted himself almost exclusively to his retail outlets; he began manufacturing again at the end of 1990. He presented some extravagant equipment, among them an oxygen rebreather characterised by its transparent canister and by a mouthpiece with automatic sealing.

A brilliant romantic of sea, he died in Milan in 2005. During his extensive career as an inventor and producer, Demetrio Morabito always found an obstacle in his difficult personality, the only hurdle that prevented Mordem acquiring the international fame and status of other companies born in pioneering times.
 

David Wilson

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During the early 1960s, the Mordem diving mask range was simple: a Mordem compensator mask and a Mordem conventional mask with no compensator.

Mordem compensator mask (1960)
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We have already encountered many compensator masks made by manufacturers across Europe, but Mordem's design differs markedly from the usual internal bosses and external finger wells to pinch the nostrils and clear the ears. The Mordem compensator is reminiscent of the old-fashioned nose-clip worn with diving goggles during the 1950s.

Voit's 50 Fathom Diving Mask below has similar metal "equalising levers" on the outside at the front, but there the resemblance ends:
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David Wilson

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Mordem's non-compensator mask was also introduced in 1960 or earlier:
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It was a medium-size mask, basically what the Mordem compensator mask had to offer minus the nose-clip.

Next time, some time at the weekend, we shall review the new range of diving masks introduced by Mordem during the 1970s to replace and update the 1960s options. In the meantime, keep well and stay safe.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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