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Dunlop history

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by Mike Lev, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

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    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
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    My gosh ! The article is alive and well and almost bit me ! 50,000

    One of my early diving companions was the late Jack Waite - who is all over Skin diver Magazine Vol 1 Nr, 1 December 1951
    I recall Jack stating he obtained a pair of black Churchill's while stationed in South Pacific during WW11 . Never discussed it any further

    I now question if Churchills were either a part of the Personal Services or purchased at the PX or by trading

    I suspect we will never know

    Sam Miller, 111
     
  2. Mike Lev

    Mike Lev Barracuda

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    Hello Sam or David one thing I believe is.Churchill made black fins for the military.I believe along with another collector that they never made green fins.Only Voit did.I have never seen a true pair of green Churchill fins.All the one I have seen say Voit or have a small v printed at the top of the foot pocket.I saw a pair in the box way back.They only had one patent date on them.They arr very early one’s.They might have been green.If so those were the only one’s iv’e ever seen.Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  3. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,649
    3,093
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    The WW 11 and possibly a short time after WW11 the Churchills were black-- There might have been WW11 surplus that drifted over into the civilian market after WW11.- we will never know

    I purchased my first Churchills from Abacombre & Fitch in NYC in late 1940s or possible very early 1950s-- I don't recall the color but they would have possible been black made on contract for Churchill.-- i did have an use black Churchills for several years

    Concurrently, or there about Willard Voit got into diving - actually molding rubber products-- When Voit entered into a license agreement the compounds and the colors were changed -- but I don't have a time line on the change .

    Possibly the rarest Churchills were the ones made for the 1955 "InterAmerican Spearfishing meet " between US and Mexico...they were Red White and Blue for the US teams and Red White and Green for the Mexican teams.. not too many made and even less survived the passage of time.

    sdm .
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    I've just dipped into "The Frogmen of Burma", whose author Lieutenant-Commander Bruce S. Wright was a World War II pioneer of combat swimming who trained in Southern California, where he was equipped by the "small but energetically managed" Sea-Net Manufacturing Company. When he flew from Canada to England in a bomber in 1942, his diving equipment was transported by sea. Here's what happened to it:
    img495a.jpg

    And here's what then happened, a perfect example of the British popular wartime spirit encapsulated in the sentence "The difficult we can do today; the impossible takes a little longer":
    img494a.jpg

    Interesting for the purpose of the current thread is (a) the reference to loss of diving equipment when a cargo ship was torpedoed, (b) the reference to the captured Italian fins (likely the crude military Supergas below):
    7s-pinne-anni-40-preview-jpg.473299.jpg

    and (c) the reference to the Siebe-Gorman company, headed by Robert Davis, famous for his seminal work "Deep Diving and Submarine Operations". In this case, the manufacture of fins, masks and suits is assigned to the Siebe-Gorman company and not to the Dunlop Rubber Company. In wartime, of course, manufacturing companies were expected to serve the war effort by collaborating with each other and focuxsing on products necessary for the war effort.
     
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    With regard to Churchill fins, let me share the following.
    (a) A US patent for Owen Churchill's fins can be found at US2321009A - Swim fin - Google Patents.
    (b)The Smithsonian museum in Washingon DC has a web page with exhibits about Owen Churchill and his fins at Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers | Owen Churchill | Smithsonian's National Museum of American History |.
    Worth a look for the image of the Churchill fin prototype constructed before creating a mould to fabricate the fins using synthetic rubber, because natural rubber supplies were cut off by the Japanese. You'll also find there a picture of Owen Churchill and also an early image of male lifeguards with fins on.
    (c) Visit the blog at County Recurrent: Are We Having Fin Yet ?!....Great pictures and information about Churchills, but the best bit is one of the responses at the end of the blog by the son of Bob Johnson, who offered to improve the fins post-war using his blend of gum rubber to do so. He also has something to say about what happened after the Voit contract to produce Churchill fins expired in 1957.
    (d) Here are a couple of eBay images of Churchills with interesting detail:
    KGr_Hq_F_o_EFJNVm_NE2h_BS_FUqrqgg_60_57.jpg
    KGr_Hq_N_g8_FDfj_TCblw_BRJCql_GKZg_60_57.jpg

    (e) Here are a couple of Churchill wearer images from early Life Magazines, which have appeared online:
    4cf0ab8c15095371_large.jpg
    Life_5_Apr_1943_Fins.jpg
     
  6. Mike Lev

    Mike Lev Barracuda

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    Hello David I have the Burma book also.That pic of the green Churchill fin is a newer fin.The old ones never had the name in the rectangle type box.I have two other old Sea Net fins boxes also.Will try to get pics on soon.About ten years ago or so I picked up a Sea net spear fishing film.I had it converted to dvd.I had my Buddy Jerry land make a few copies.I gave Sam one and a few other people.It spread an made it on the web later.Also most Sea dive masks were patented by Hal from sea net.Him and Frank the only Americans for that Canadian group.I l’ll post some items of Franks also.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
    David Wilson likes this.
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

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    That's great, Mike. I've just been watching a video described thus: "An early 1944 spearfishing and freediving documentary presented by the Sea-Net Company of Los Angeles. Filmed in Yucatan, Mexico with the Photodive Device for underwater photography. Narrated by Don McNamara and photographed by Charles T. Trego. The film features Apolonio Castillo, who was a world famous Mexican competitive swimmer and competed in the Olympics." The spearfishermen are equipped with masks and fins. Here's the video:
     
  8. Mike Lev

    Mike Lev Barracuda

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    Hello David that is the film.I also have another with Dalavalle from Healthways that went around also.
     
  9. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    4,649
    3,093
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    Apolonio Castillo, was a very popular Mexican diver who has been almost forgotten by the modern Mexican diver ad the diving world .
    He was and is the unacclaimed Mexican pioneer .

    Unfortunately he lost his life in a very early diving accident, prior to modern training and treating facilities .

    Ellis, (E.R). Cross was from SoCal where he established and ran a diving school in Wilmington called the "Sparling School of Deep Sea diving" or a some what similar title.

    In 1957 he closed the school, and took of for parts unknown in his sail boat "Fair Winds" with the intent of teaching diving and researching and writing about diving through out the world.

    One of his stops was at Acapulco , at that time THE diving capital of Mexico . He gathered commercial, military and civilian divers for a formal course in diving, no doubt based on his very popular "Dive Master" Course which had been promoted out of the Chicago Company with the same name since 1955 .(@ dr bill note)

    While lecturing he noticed a lady setting tn the back of the room with tears in her eyes and on occasion whimpering as he lectured. At the break he discovered and was introduced to the widow of Apolonio Castillo,the pioneer diver of all Mexico, who had recently been killed in an unfortunate and preventable diving accident.

    He continued on his journey teaching, researching and writing - One of his most notable discoveries as Taravana which he announced in his SDM column

    During the earlier days of diving I visited and dove Acapulco on several occasions. On the waterfront is a stature of a young diver dressed in a bathing suit with a Sea Net type mask on his forehead and holding Churchill in his hand -- It is statue of Apolonio Castillo...

    Sam Miller, 111

    .
     
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  10. Mike Lev

    Mike Lev Barracuda

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    Thanks for the info Sam.
     

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