Someone sent me these photos of a very unsual US Divers Mistral and I've never seen or heard of another one. It appears to date from around 1957 or 1958 and has the same blue paint finish as the Sears JC Higgins Mistral (also made by US Divers). The label on this Mistral appears to be the adhesive type, with a white background and green lettering. Can anybody shed more information on this unusual speciman?
"Someone sent me these photos of a very unsual US Divers Mistral and I've never seen or heard of another one. It appears to date from around 1957 or 1958 and has the same blue paint finish as the Sears JC Higgins Mistral (also made by US Divers). The label on this Mistral appears to be the adhesive type, with a white background and green lettering. Can anybody shed more information on this unusual speciman?" [ quote]
I cannot comment why these adhesive type labels were used, but they were noted to be attatched to USD regulators on occasion during the course of the two hose regulator production run.
I personally have a US Divers Aqua Lung "Aqua Master" with a silver label with black lettering which is also an adhesive stick on type.
It was produced on West Warner Avenue which would indicate a manufacture date some time after February 1961, when Delphi Avenue ceased to exist and was changed to Warner Avenue.
It has a low serial number of # 2018. What ever that is worth or indicates!
My regulator demonstrates normal useage and the passage of time.
I not that yours does not appear as presented in the pictures as to have seen much if any useage; no scratches, nicks or bumps are evident.
I also note that the hoses appear almost new and are not compatiable with thinner one piece US Divers hoses shown in the well worn and almost 50 year old Sears and Roebuck catalog.
Perhaps your regulator requires additional correspondence for clarifcation with that "Some one who sent you the pictures?"
re: "J.C. Higgins" aka "Sears" or "Sears and Roebuck" which was it's proper title in the late 1950s.
Sears and Roebuck marketed US Divers regulator(s) rebranded to J.C. Higgins for a period of only three years, 1956, 1957 and 1958.
In the 1956 catalog the regulator is listed as part # 6 H 2765 and retailed for $54.95.
In the 1957 catalog the regulator was listed as part # 6 K 2783 and listed for $62.47.
Like wise in the 1958 catalog the regulator was listed as part# 6 H 2783 and also retailed for $62.47
Therefore there are two different part numbers for the regulators, which gives rise to the question did Sears and Roebuck market one or two regulators?
DW, DW Mistral ? or possibly modified closeout model of the DX, DY ?
Why the increase in cost from $54.95 to $62.47, a $7.52 increase? $7.52 was a considerable sum during that time frame.
It is also noted and acknowledged that all three years the regulators had essentially the same description "has over pressure breathing device" ??
Sears and Roebuck did not market regulators or underwater recreation equipment in 1959, but resumed marketing in 1960 with pool fins, mask and snorkels only.
J.C. Higgins was a real person. But his name was John Higgins...Sears and Roebuck added the "C" for a better sounding marketing name.
Montgomery Wards did not market Scuba equipment until 1961; Dacor and Drager
J.C Penny did not market Scuba until 1971, Voit.
Best I can do on this--
Stronly urge you to contact "Someone" who sent you an almost new regulator with almost no signs of wear and a non compatiable era hoses for clarification.
Thanks Sam! I appreciate your comments. Unfortunately, the person who sent the photos years ago (I don't have the reg) didn't know anything about it and it didn't seen like they had owned it for long. The boxes do look like Overpressure Breathing ones because of the long horns. The hoses look like gray Voits. Thanks also for the information on the J.C. Higgins regs sold by Sears. These must have been sold in very low numbers- I've only seen 2 in my years of collecting. But I hope to have one someday...... Dan
It's really too bad that we cannot look inside the regulator to see which model it really is. I have a feeling that it is not a "Mistral" as such, but is really the same mechanism as the Voit VRC-2 50 Fathom regulator. If so, it would be rare indeed.
Let me say why I think this may be true:
--First, the "Mistral" did not come out in the time period that included the type of top and bottom box used on this regulator. These, as mentioned by both SDM and Dan, are the "Overpressure Breathing" boxes, and would be the DX regulator. But it obviously does not have the venturi hose within the inhalation hose that pumped venturi air to the mouthpiece. That model required a metal mouthpiece, and this regulator obviously does not.
--Second, Emile Gagnan had patented the downstream single stage regulator in connection with a reserve device for a single stage regulator. The VRC-2 50 Fathom came out in 1959. I think it is possible that this one came out prior, and was manufactured in limited quantity to prove the concept.
--Third, the name "Mistral" was not put on USD regulators until after the DW "Stream Air" model. It was an improvement on the oriface of that regulator, which they subsequently named the "Mistral." But I've shown that with the oriface on the VRC-2 50 Fathom regulator oriented down the intake hose (large hole), this regulator would fit the description of the "Mistral," as that is what it sounds like coming down the intake hose.
'Just some late night speculation. 'Wish we could see inside that regulator.
John C. Ratliff Diving since 1959, at age 13. Haven't stopped, and still enjoy getting wet.