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Vintage Scuba: What is Your Regulator’s Name?

The Voit Sunmaster

Hi guys, Alec Peirce with Vintage Scuba here with some vintage scuba stuff for you today. This is a fun episode today, just for a bit of a laugh, but it is appropriate, too.

As you saw from the title, we’re talking about names of your regulator. I don’t know if you have a name for your regulator: a lot of the regulators I’ve owned over years, I’ve had names for them. I can’t repeat those names because this is in the public domain – I didn’t have any called “Love” or “Deary”. The reason they had names was because the regs from manufacturers often had names prior to about 1975. They don’t today. If you have an APEKS XT-4 that’s not a name: that’s a brand or a model number. An Aqualung D200: that’s not a name.

Waterlung Sport Diver

This is an old regulator from a company called Voit that’s not around anymore. They were great at this – Voit, Healthways, and Sportsways had the best names – and this is the Dolphin 2, which means they had the Dolphin and made it better. (By the way, how many of you have even seen a square regulator or second stage? There’s not too many.)

One of VOIT’s most famous regulators (I don’t know why it was famous because it was cheap) was this one, its named curved around the top edge: Sunmaster: a little gem of a regulator. It was cheap. When regulators cost as much as $35, you could buy this little gem for 19 bucks. The mechanism inside was a tilt valve: easy to make, cheap to make, and it worked reasonably well – if it didn’t, it cut off the air supply, which modern regulators don’t do! Here’s another one from Voit. How’s that for a name? What do you dive with? Well, I’ve got a 40 Fathom. Maybe you’ve got a Viking 40 or a Titan or a Conqueror!

Here’s another company called Waterlung and they had some good names as well. This was a popular one called the Sport-Diver and here’s the Navy Unit, which would be popular in the United States: anything with a military twist to it. Hydronaut! Now that’s a good name for a regulator. “So what are you diving with today?” “I’ve got my Hydronaut!”

This is AMF Swimaster (Polaris II) and Titan II!

Slowly, over a period of time, this changed. There’s a number of reasons. First of all, they ran out of names! There’s a limit and the names were supposed to be related to the water. Secondly, there are so many regulators available today. At one time, a company would have four or five regulators in its line-up. You can only use the name “Polaris” so many times – “Hydronaut 1”, “2,”, “3”, “4”, “5”, “6”, “7”. Now they tend to give them a number.

There’s also a practical reason and I can only give one real example that I’m aware of. Dacor had the Dacor Dart, the Dacor Lympic, and other regulators. Many years ago, they came out with a feature on the regulators called “dial-a-breath”. There was a neat little button on there that you could turn – today we call it a venturi – and it simply pulled the diaphragm and gave you a little shot of air. It didn’t work very well. In fact, it didn’t work at all: sometimes when you turned the lever to give yourself a shot of air, you got some water: it wasn’t a very good feature. It very quickly earned the new nickname “dial-a-death”. Dacor obviously didn’t like that. It impacted their sales and for a long time afterwards they were very shy about using names. It wasn’t long after that that regulators got numbers. Pretty soon we got the 900, 960, 550, 300, the 360.

Anyways, I thought you might enjoy that. I’m going to go for a dive with my “Little Jim” or maybe the “Conqueror”. Now when you take your regulator out, see if it has a name or maybe give it a name! Talk to you soon with some more interesting stuff from a long time ago!

About Alec Peirce:

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Alec Peirce has been diving for more than 60 years. He is the founder and former owner of Scuba 2000, Canada’a largest dive centre, opening in 1969. He a dive instructor, author, public speaker and former member of the PADI IRRA Advisory Council.

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