History of Scuba

1917 – Draeger produces a true scuba system that combines tanks containing a mixture of compressed air and oxygen (oxygen-enriched air) with rebreathing technology. It is sold for use at depths to 40 meters (130 feet).1918 – The Ogushi Peerless Respirator passes field tests at 324 feet. The Japanese device combines modified false-lung style closed-circuit rebreather technology with a compressed air reserve. It supplies air to the diver through a manually controlled on/off valve.1919 – C. J. Cooke develops a mixture of helium and oxygen (heliox) for use as a breathing gas by divers. The mixture enables divers to avoid nitrogen narcosis while diluting oxygen to non-toxic concentrations. It allows commercial divers to extend their useful working depth well beyond previous limits.1923 – The first underwater color photographs were taken by W. H. Longley.1925 – Yves Le Prieur releases a very successful self-contained underwater breathing unit.1926 – An officer in the French Navy, Yves le Prieur, patents the Fernez/Le Prieur diving system based on compressed air carried in tanks. Le Prieur’s device feeds air to a full-face mask worn by the diver. Early models provide a continuous flow of air. Later models use a manual on/off valve to preserve the air supply.1930s – Guy Gilpatrick, an expatriate American writer living in France, waterproofs a pair of pilot’s goggles by lining the edges with glazer’s putty. Commercial versions of his window to the underwater world soon follow.”Swim Divers” and “gogglers”1933 – Jack Prodanovich, Ben Stone, and Glen Orr (later joined by Jack Corbley, Bill Batzloff and Wally Potts) start a skin diving club in San Diego – the Bottom Scratchers. This pioneering group, the first of its kind, helps define the sport and creates its own folk legends. (In an era preceding the availability of swim fins, would-be members are required to dive to 30 feet. They have to capture three abalone on one dive, grab a five-foot horned shark by its tail, and bring up a “good-sized” lobster) Those who pass the test include underwater filmmaker Lamar Boren and Jim Stewart, a diving officer at Scripps Institute.  Across the country, many clubs followed in the years to come.1933 – Louis Ce Corlieu patents the first swim fins in France and later in the US.1935 – Louis de Corlieu patents a broadbladed fin to be worn on the feet by swimmers. The fins make a big splash among free-swimming “goggle” divers. With their help, skin divers and their sport really start going places!1937 – The American Diving Equipment and Salvage Company (now known as DESCO) develops a self-contained mixed-gas rebreather. It uses a compressed mixture of helium and oxygen in combination with a fully sealed diving suit. Using the new system, DESCO diver Max Nohl sets a new world depth record of 420 feet.1937 – Georges Comheines creates a scuba system by combining the Rouquayrol/Denayrouze valve with le Prieur’s system of compressed air tanks. This breakthrough finally brings to reality the scuba device anticipated by Jules Verne in1940s – Owen Churchill helps popularize skin diving, making it a hot sporting craze among cool cats living in coastal areas of the United States.1942-43Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan redesigned a car regulator that would automatically provide compressed air to a diver on his slightest intake of breath. The Aqua Lung was born.1945 – Arne Zetterstrom dives OC trimix to 500 fw in the Mediterranean1946 – Cousteau’s Aqua Lung was marketed commercially in France. (Great Britain 1950, Canada 1951, USA 1952).1947 – Frederic Dumas made a record air dive with the Aqua Lung to 307 feet in the Red Sea.- Jordan Klein starts a small company, Marine Enterprises, Inc., to manufacture spear guns and housings for underwater cameras. His company evolves into a retail store. When he has difficulty finding a good air source, he goes into the business of repairing and modifying war surplus air compressors. In 1956, Klein will start importing parts from Germany’s Bauer organization and packaging his own compressors under the MAKO name.1948 – Otis Barton descended in a modified bathysphere to a depth of 4500 feet, off the coast of California.1948-1949 – Rene Bussoz imports the Cousteau/Gagnan AquaLung® (manufactured by L’Air Liquide through a subsidiary, Le Spirotechnique) for sale in his Southern California store, Rene’s Sporting Goods. When the Hollywood film community discovers his new gadget, interest in scuba skyrockets.1951 – The first issue of “Skin Diver Magazine” appeared in December.Early 1950s – Entrepreneurs in coastal cities all around America launch dive retail operations. In California, Bob Lorenz opens “Water Gill,” presumably the first specialty retail store for scuba divers, in Venice; Mel Fisher opens “Mel’s Aqua Shop” in a Torrance feed store; and Bill Hardy and Bill Johnston open “San Diego Divers Supply.” In Florida, Paul Arnold opens “Aqua-Lung, Inc.” and Jordan Klein opens “Underwater Sports” (originally named “Marineland”) in 1951.

They soon face competition from Lou Maxwell’s “Florida Frogman.” Back on the West Coast, Bob and Bill Meistrell start

“Dive ‘N’ Surf” in Hermosa Beach, California, in 1953. That makes “Dive ‘N’ Surf” the West Coast’s oldest diving specialty retailer in continuous operation. In Boston, James Bliss starts retailing scuba gear at his marine products wholesale distributor in 1954.1952 Sam Lecocq joined U.S.Divers Co. USA  Rene Bussoz was beginning to manufacture the “Aqua Lung” in the US1953 – “The Silent World” by Cousteau was published chronicling the development of the Cousteau-Gagnan Aqua Lung.1954 – Al Tillman long recognized as a founding father of recreational dive training in the United States,
developed the first public skin and scuba diver program for Los Angeles County in 1954. This visionary program,co-developed with Bev Morgan, arose when Al brought to the County’s attention the need to provide safe training forthe rapidly growing numbers of people exploring the field of recreational skin and scuba diving. As a result, Al was thedriving force in the development of both the worlds first Public Training Agency and Underwater Instructor Certification Course,models upon which all training in the dive industry would be based.1956 – Gary Salesman & Wally Jenkins make record cave depth record to 250 fw on OC air1957 – First published mention of the yet to be final design and recognized 1960 – Al and Neal Hess took the next step in evolution of dive training when they formed the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).Al served  as President and Hess as Executive Secretary in this innovative attempt to bring standardized dive training practices to a nation-wide                audience clamoring for a safer and more effective way to learn to dive.- Diving remained a passion for Al throughout the decades that followed. With his teaching, the publication of many cornerstone diving texts,                     and the development of numerous other projects, including the creation UNEXSO in Freeport Grand Bahamas Island in 1965, Al remained a pioneer.- Al Tillman, the developer of Los Angeles County’s recreational diver education program and co-founder of NAUI, passed away January 16 in Seattle Washington of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage suffered January 6. He was 76.1961 – Jean Clarke Samazen record OC air dive to 350 fw in Florida, USA- Hannes Keller & Ken McLeish make record Heliox dive to 730 fw in Switzerland1962 – Hannes Keller & Peter Small record heliox dive to 1000 fw in California, USA- Beginning in 1962 several experiments were conducted whereby people lived in underwater habitats.1963 – Hal Watts record OC air dive to 355 in Florida, USA1965 – Tom Mount & Frank Martz set OC air record to 360 fw19661967 – Hal Watts and AJ Muns sets OC air record to 390 fw1968 – John J. Gruener and R. Neal Watson dove to 437 feet breathing compressed air.1970s – Important advances relating to scuba safety that began in the 1960s became widely implemented in the 1970s, such as certification cards to indicate a minimum level of training, change from J-valve reserve systems to non-reserve K valves, and adoption of the BC and single hose regulators as essential pieces of diving equipment.1971– Jim Lockwood is acknowledged as “most deep diving experience” below 400 fw. 1991 about 150 dives to 400 fw.1980’s – Divers Alert Network was founded at Duke University as a non-profit organization to promote safe diving.
IANTD becomes first agency to teach and certify Nitrox divers1981 – Record 2250 foot-dive was made in a Duke Medical Center chamber.1983 – The Orca Edge, the first commercially available dive computer, was introduced.1985 – The wreck of the Titanic was found.1987 – Cis Lunar eCCR test dived at Wakulla Springs, FlaWeighing a whopping 205 pounds. The unit had outrageous “range” and was also fully redundant, meaning it contained two complete rebreathers within the one backpack. Bill Stone used the rig to conduct a 24 hour dive in Wakulla Basin. Only one half of the rig was used for this dive, meaning that a 2-day underwater mission could have been carried out. This was the first rebreather to utilize multiple, redundant computer systems for electronic control of the life support backpack.April 5th 1988 – Sheck Exley establishes new mixed gas record on open circuit to 780 fw1990s – An estimated 500,000 new scuba divers are certified yearly in the U.S., new scuba magazines form and scuba travel is big business. There is an increase of diving by non-professionals who use advanced technology, including mixed gases, full face masks, underwater voice communication, propulsion systems, and so on.March 18 1994 – Dr Dan Manion, OC air record to 509 fwApril 6 1994 – Jim Bowden dives to 925 fw on OC mixed gas. Sheck Exley fails to return from his dive.1995IANTD becomes first agency to attain insurance for technical dive instructors1997 – AP Valves begin mass producing the inspiration rebreather, the first mass produced unit for sale to the general public2002 – Test dives of HammerHead electronics for replacement of the Inspiration electronics begins by Jeff Johnson and 11 others.2004 – Test diving the Dive Rite Optima eCCR.  Jeff Johnson is one of 12 persons to test dive the unit for 1 year prior to distribution2007 – First 12 HammerHead eCCR are produced, Jeff Johnson begins diving his to depths as deep as 400 fw2008 – 10 IANTD instructors, including Tom Mount, Georges Gawinowski and Jeff Johnson develop Expedition Trimix program to 400 fw- 1st tables addressing isobaric counter diffusion issues designed by Jeff Johnson for IANTD

Jeff test diving Optima