Scuba Diving Lung Built from Salvaged CO2 Tanks!

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

Yeah, the hot water bottle air tank worked a lot better. At least it did until I blew it up filling it at the gas station from their air compressor. I think maybe that and my cinder block weights are what convinced my Mom to let me get professional grade gear at ten years old.
Oh Gosh!! Yes, what I was hoping for under the Christmas tree when I was maybe 12-14. Dad said…”you will need training for this, my training in ‘54 was informal in Islamorada…maybe something we can do it together one day, THEN I will see about buying gear” I got a demo at 15 and classes at 17. Dad went into the water in mine until..he turned 78 with condominium buddies and got certified. After that we would visit favorite dive locations when I came to see him in Florida. Again the rheumatoid arthritis stopped his diving 4 years later. A neighbor had several tanks stored in his backyard but where to find SCUBA?🤔 A 14 year old without a drivers license or much cash was not inclined to find such stuff even in a Virginia waterfront community. Then how to assemble? Time revealed all later in 1974…then I was ‘hooked’.🤿😎
 
Oh Gosh!! Yes, what I was hoping for under the Christmas tree when I was maybe 12-14. Dad said…”you will need training for this, my training in ‘54 was informal in Islamorada…maybe something we can do it together one day, THEN I will see about buying gear” I got a demo at 15 and classes at 17. Dad went into the water in mine until..he turned 78 with condominium buddies and got certified. After that we would visit favorite dive locations when I came to see him in Florida. Again the rheumatoid arthritis stopped his diving 4 years later. A neighbor had several tanks stored in his backyard but where to find SCUBA?🤔 A 14 year old without a drivers license or much cash was not inclined to find such stuff even in a Virginia waterfront community. Then how to assemble? Time revealed all later in 1974…then I was ‘hooked’.🤿😎
I remember those days. My Mom matched what I earned selling Avocados to the fruit market so I was able to buy some pro grade snorkeling gear. Then I was able to con my way onto the local dive boats taking Yankees out to the dive sites. The boat crews thought I worked for the dive shops and the Yankee tourists thought I worked for the dive boats. They all thought I was a certified diver because I had all of my own gear except for tank/reg.

But hey, I worked hard at it! I watched every underwater movie made and ran the Librarians ragged keeping up with my book requests. I helped the tourists get their gear on, took some of them on guided reef tours, helped drag a few back to the boats, etc. and in return, I got to keep my tip money and get a free tank with reg pretty much whenever I wanted it. What a life for a ten year old kid on the Florida coast in the sixties. Mom blew several gaskets when she figured out what I was really doing on the weekends and finally made me go to dive school. Life was tough.
 
I actually started snorkeling in the mid-1950s, both in the YMCA pool and in local lakes and streams. It was cold though. So in either 1958 or 1959 I started picking strawberries and beans for money, and purchased a 39 cubic foot tank with a K-valve, and a Healthways Scuba regulator (with a restrictor orifice, "automatic reserve"). So I say I started diving in 1959, but in reality if you count snorkeling in the small reservoir at Camp Silver Creek in the Cascades, it was earlier that I was going underwater and looking around.

I remember snorkeling in the YMCA pool with my family in a family swim. I was in the shallow water and my Mom called me over to her and told me that I had blown water into the face of Andrea Lengel, my assistant swim team coach. She had won a silver medal in a breast stroke Olypmyic competition in the 1930s. Here's how I described it in a different forum:
Jaybird,

Thanks for posting the photos. I will describe my first (to my best recollection) set of snorkeling gear in the 1959s.

If you've seen the Voit Churchill fins, they looked similar (my Dad actually had a set of the green ones for years, and I never kept them). But these were blue, with the Voit lettering on top, and the Churchill patent information just underneath, all of it highlighted because of the embossing in the mold. Mine were a bit longer than the original Churchill fins, and had two ribs on each fin. These Churchill's were pretty unique because they had an adjustable strap instead of the molded strap around the back of my foot. That strap was molded on one side with a large rubber piece with a notch in it to keep it from sliding through the molded-in opening on each side of the fin. That opening was a long rectangular slot which allowed the strap to pass through. The foot pocket was flat on the bottom with a one-inch diameter hole with raised edges. The original Churchill patent stated this hole was to provide suction on surf boards, but I never used them surfing. There was a left and right, with the outside extending further than the inside of the fin blade, which is a famous Churchill design. They struck me as "pretty" fins; they looked nice.

My mask was a round Champion-style mask (although I don't remember the manufacturer, but I think it was U.S. Divers Company--did they make orange masks?). It also was orange in color, which was also unique. I have a photo of me with it on a high school dive club dive in the 1960s, with my Champion Deluxe speargun by U.S. Divers Company too. We were on a scuba dive at Hood Canal.

On that mask was my favorite snorkel, a Voit flexible snorkel. I used many different snorkels in my years, and some were better than others. But I liked that blue flexible area on the snorkel because it was reinforced wire under the plastic right up to the mouthpiece. Most other snorkels were molded rubber; I have been diving in river current my entire life (outside my Air Force days), and these molded flexible snorkels were great in still water. But the snorkel performed badly in the river current, bending down around the chin, and chocking off my breathing.

I had these before I got a wet suit, and practiced my surface dives and underwater swimming in the pool. I was also on the swim team, so I got to the Salem, Oregon YMCA a lot. One time, my Mom chewed me out for clearing my snorkel while my swimming instructor was bending over the edge of the pool to look at me. Apparently I blasted water right into Mrs. Andrea Lengel's face. She was my assistant swim team coach, and an instructor at the "Y". She was also an ex-Olympic swimmer from Hungary, having earned the Silver Medal (I believe) in an earlier Olympics. I tried to explain to my Mom that I could not tell when someone was leaning over the edge of the pool, but that went no where. I was on Mom's list for the rest of the night. The dialog went something like this:

I surfaced, blew my snorkel clear, and looked up. Mom signaled with her hand that she wanted to talk to me, so I stood up (we were in the shallow end), spit out my blue snorkel mouthpiece, and said "What?"

Mom looked down at me and said, "You blew water into Mrs. Lengel's face!"

"I did?" I said.

"Yes, and you shouldn't do that again" said Mom.

"But how do I know if someone is looking down at me?" I asked.

Mom replied, "Surface only in the center of the pool."

Well, that was that, and to this day I look up while at the pool and surface while snorkeling, even amongst kayaks, in the center of the pool.

John
Getting back to the OP-ED, here's a photo of me in parascuba gear with the 304th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (Reserve) in 1975. We jumped those twin 42 cubic foot tanks (converted 20-man life raft bottles) which were filled to 2100 psig. I've got one photo of me in parascuba gear, and Stephen Samo diving with the jump tanks off Okinawa in 1968. Note the manifold guard on Samo's tanks, which kept the parachute harness from interfering with the twin tank USD manifold (where the risers could have hit and potentially knocked off the center-mounted on-off valve).


John
 

Attachments

  • Parascuba John at 304th.jpg
    Parascuba John at 304th.jpg
    85.4 KB · Views: 12
  • Samo bagging fish in Okinawa.jpg
    Samo bagging fish in Okinawa.jpg
    79.7 KB · Views: 11
I remember those days. My Mom matched what I earned selling Avocados to the fruit market so I was able to buy some pro grade snorkeling gear. Then I was able to con my way onto the local dive boats taking Yankees out to the dive sites. The boat crews thought I worked for the dive shops and the Yankee tourists thought I worked for the dive boats. They all thought I was a certified diver because I had all of my own gear except for tank/reg.

But hey, I worked hard at it! I watched every underwater movie made and ran the Librarians ragged keeping up with my book requests. I helped the tourists get their gear on, took some of them on guided reef tours, helped drag a few back to the boats, etc. and in return, I got to keep my tip money and get a free tank with reg pretty much whenever I wanted it. What a life for a ten year old kid on the Florida coast in the sixties. Mom blew several gaskets when she figured out what I was really doing on the weekends and finally made me go to dive school. Life was tough.
That was a ‘Great’ adventure. 😁 St. Pete & Clearwater an ideal place for me to dream. Mac’s SCUBA on Mandalay a great place to shop and ‘dream’ for me on my yearly visits. I would eventually get certified there in ‘77.
 
The instructor who initially taught me, John O'Rourke, was a crew member on B-29s during the Korean war. He built his first set of scuba gear from the pages of Popular Science or Popular Mechanics utilizing high altitude Air Force regulators and salvaged O2 cylinders [maybe from these same plans]. By the time he taught me in the 1970s he had passed through the double hose era [where I have been stuck since I learned to dive] and was a certified ScubaPro fanboy. His regulator of choice back then was a SP Pilot [also one of my faves to this day].
Years and years ago, I had a friend in Honolulu who flew in B-29’s during Korea as well. He told me a story of one mission where the crew chief was fixing something down in the bomb bay when a newbie onboard cycled the door system which opened the bomb bay doors.
Frank said he had eye contact with his friend as he just slipped into the airstream, but there was nothing anyone could do once the doors started opening.
 
Years and years ago, I had a friend in Honolulu who flew in B-29’s during Korea as well. He told me a story of one mission where the crew chief was fixing something down in the bomb bay when a newbie onboard cycled the door system which opened the bomb bay doors.
Frank said he had eye contact with his friend as he just slipped into the airstream, but there was nothing anyone could do once the doors started opening.
EGADs, what an unfortunate accident. 😢…although from what I read not a part of this thread…still my support and respect for all those involved and who witnessed this event…🇺🇸🤝
 

Back
Top Bottom