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We only used a Fenzy horse collar for dives deeper than 18m, and for years we dived twin 63s and j valve.
My first jacket BC was in the mid 80s.
I thought these were fantastic, dived one for years.
Nice ad -- straight outta Compton!

We had something similar, in the mid-1980s (?), from Sea-Quest, though it was back-inflating only, since none of us really cared for that surrounding jacket style. It was also only used below 20 meters or so; or, when carrying heavy crap.

Like that Scubapro device, it could be added to a standard backplate, without any tools . . .
 

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What was the training like before the BC? How did you do a drift dive and wait on the surface to be picked up?
I was trained on 1975: twin tanks and no BCD.
It was quite simple: the main trick was to calibrate accurately the lead weights in your belt.
Other tricks were no or minimal wet suit, long and powerful "free diving" fins, proper powerful flutter kicking style (frog kicking was ridiculised at the time) and super streamlined equipment (no secondary reg, no SPG, etc.).
 
I started SCUBA diving in about 68 or 69 or so and we had no buoyancy control system at all other than getting your weights correct. I don't recall ever hearing about them. I moved to Southern Germany in 71 and dove there with a government sanctioned Search and Rescue Squad for a couple of years. Still no BC's or even talk about them. You got your weights close before you started down, then adjusted as needed from the bag of weights hanging on the anchor chain when you got to the bottom.

In 74, we moved back to the Florida coast. I was certified in Europe but got tired of translating it for American dive shops so I took a NAUI course. Holy Jumpin' Catfish! We trained with Horse Collar Buoyancy Compensators. I bought my own pretty quick. Now I could make myself just a little bit heavy on the bottom and adjust it as needed. And they are wonderful on the surface when you're waiting your turn to get in the boat. Just give it a squirt of air and lay back and relax.

I still use a Horse Collar BC for snorkeling or SCUBA. Mine has a power inflator and a CO2 trigger. To me, it's much more relaxing at the beginning and end of the dive when a little air in the BC lets me float face up instead of trying to face plant me and drown me like a "modern" BCD.
 
Anyone ever use the Bend-O-Matic? What was your experience using it?

View attachment 833402
sure!
It is an Italian product, made by SOS in Turin, and then rebranded by various makers. My one was marked Scubapro, it was the luxury model, stainless steel body instead of black plastic.
Bought it in 1978, sold it two years later.
It was acceptable for doing dives well within the NDL. It was entirely unreliable for deco dives with multiple stops, which was the standard way of diving here in the Mediterranean in the seventies (we all started using twin tanks).
It was tracking just one of 12 compartments (tissues), so it was correctly tuned only for dives between 30 and 40 m and with no deco. And it went of out of tuning after slightly more than one year of usage.
So I had to also always use my watch, my depth meter and my US Navy tables, and comparing the results. And almost invariantly I was following the tables, so I understood that carrying with me that bulky decompression meter was superfluous (and potentially dangerous).
So I sold it, and I did use happily my tables until 2018...
But I kept its waterproof plastic case, an ovoidal and rugged plastic container with an O-ring. I use it for carrying with me the save-a-dive kite (regulator parts, zip strip, etc.).

dcb559c24b90e14f04a36d2552616285_2000x.jpg
 
sure!
It is an Italian product, made by SOS in Turin, and then rebranded by various makers. My one was marked Scubapro, it was the luxury model, stainless steel body instead of black plastic.
Bought it in 1978, sold it two years later.
It was acceptable for doing dives well within the NDL. It was entirely unreliable for deco dives with multiple stops, which was the standard way of diving here in the Mediterranean in the seventies (we all started using twin tanks).
It was tracking just one of 12 compartments (tissues), so it was correctly tuned only for dives between 30 and 40 m and with no deco. And it went of out of tuning after slightly more than one year of usage.
So I had to also always use my watch, my depth meter and my US Navy tables, and comparing the results. And almost invariantly I was following the tables, so I understood that carrying with me that bulky decompression meter was superfluous (and potentially dangerous).
So I sold it, and I did use happily my tables until 2018...
But I kept its waterproof plastic case, an ovoidal and rugged plastic container with an O-ring. I use it for carrying with me the save-a-dive kite (regulator parts, zip strip, etc.).

dcb559c24b90e14f04a36d2552616285_2000x.jpg
I guess the reliability of a mechanical device and no way to test for calibration, at least if you stayed within NDL range you could get away from square profiles.
 
What was the training like before the BC? How did you do a drift dive and wait on the surface to be picked up?
My initial training was in 1986 (NAUI/YMCA). Much of our pool training, once we advanced beyond skin-diving/snorkeling skills, utilized a plastic backpack and steel 72 and weight belt (and NO wetsuit). Although our open water check-out involved a full wetsuit (a 0.25" farmer John and jacket, with hood, gloves/mitts, and booties) and Scubapro Stab Jacket (SSJ) BCD, we learned correct weighting--which allowed us do a required three-mile surface swim in full gear, with a completely full 72 and completely empty SSJ, while breathing off a snorkel and towing a surface float and dive flag--training that emphasizes that the BCD is not necessary (though is a useful tool for compensating at depth for suit compression and an emptying cylinder).

Correct weighting means that you would have absolutely no problem waiting at the surface even if wearing a completely full 72 and a completely empty (nonfunctioning) BCD and your weightbelt still in place--if you're able to breathe off your snorkel (which allows more of your heavy head to be below the surface).

You have your surface float to assist you if you need the assistance. And you can always jettison your weightbelt at the surface, if you need additional assistance.

Fundamentals. Not difficult whatsover.

rx7diver
 

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