You can download many of the Scubapro catalogs (1962 to 65, 1967, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78, 80, and 1981) and many other catalogs and other documents from VDH.
This particular Optical mask seems to first come out in the 1973 catalog and it was still around at least into the 1980 catalog.
In the 1967 to 1971 catalogs it seems that they were offering the Pinocchio mask with the option of a similar style prescription lenses. Scubapro offered the Cressi Pinocchio in the 60’s.
In the 1972 catalog they show an artistic rendering of the Optical mask that is probably the only the concept that evolved into what it is actually shown in the 1973 catalog and what they actually manufactured.
In the two catalogs posted it mentions nearsightedness or myopia and only negative diopters (which corresponds to nearsightedness/ myopia). That is what I remembered.
The mask is for sale on the English-language page on the Rakuten site at global.rakuten.com/en/store/a-k-k/item/10001302/, where it is described as a "circular" snorkelling mask. The Rakuten page has a chunk of Japanese unhelpfully posted as an image instead of text. I used an online optical character reader to convert the image to text:
An online translator provided the following rendering: "This mask was born for the use of amas (Japanese female pearl divers) who work hard under the sea. This rubber single-lens mask encloses the nose. Since you can adjust the air pressure inside the mask with your own breath, the burden of pain and pressure from water pressure on the face and eyes is light. You can dive deeper wearing the mask on your face. This mask has always been loved and it will continue to be used for a long time."
A online fishing equipment retailer also stocks the mask at www.fishing-friend.com/item/a-37/. The Japanese text here provides a little more information about the mask's specifications:
A single-lens mask suitable for underwater use by amas and others. Because it has a stainless steel frame, it is rustproof and strong. IKARI A-37 circular snorkelling mask. From 12-year-old to adult use. Single-lens mask made of natural rubber. Material ■ Lens: 3.3 mm reinforced glass ■ Frame: Stainless steel Size ■ M Diameter: 12.5cm ■ L Diameter: 13.5cm
DRW, I wonder how long this mask has been around for?
I love Japanese Post-War stuff: the way they put their own spin on things can be so charming, especially when they became "more American than American". Before WW-I, they were emulating all things British...
Post by DavidRitchieWilson on Oct 3, 2018 7:49:08 GMT -8
That ama-style mask design must have been around for ever, JB.
I spent two delightful weeks in Kobe and Kyoto around the time of the new millennium, one week at an educational conference where I was a presenter, the second just enjoying the sights and the culture of the country's ancient capital. I know what you mean about Japanese charm. The conference included fascinating demonstrations of kabuki dancing and Japanese calligraphy and I loved their quirky use of English in retail outlets, e.g. the phrase "Happy Soon!" on a banner in a clothing store.
Thank you for those links. I may order one of those masks, just to dive them in the pool.
I have had this project to make Ama-style goggles too, with the little bulbs that provide compensation to the goggle eye pieces. I could make a set using ear syringes and tubing to a pair of swim goggles. That may be my winter project.
Here's a more modern version of the Ama divers, after the tsunami:
This video was taken, apparently, prior to the tsunami, as it shows a part of the Ama Museum.
Post by DavidRitchieWilson on Oct 4, 2018 2:22:29 GMT -8
Yesterday I mentioned that I had found a couple of Japanese mask oddities made by Ikari. Here are some images of the second curiosity I chanced upon:
The upward arrow caption "下部には空気穴" means "There are air holes in the lower portion", while the downward arrow caption "ス卜ラツプは調整可能" means "The strap can be adjusted".
It took me a while to realise that this "diving mask" was actually an "aquascope", or underwater viewer, fitted with a strap and buckles to attach the device to the face. Western counterparts will usually be longer, made of a material other than rubber and completely devoid of any headstraps:
Here's an English summary of the Japanese text accompanying the following web pages: www.fishing-friend.com/item/a-31m/ item.rakuten.co.jp/a-k-k/10001319/ Ikari A-31M Swim Mate (Medium). Underwater Viewer. This underwater viewer is a long-loved classic. If you mount it on your head with the adjustable rubber strap, both hands will remain free, making it easier to fish. It may be used in a river, sea, on board a boat. ■ Material: Body: rubber / Lens: 3mm thick glass / Frame: stainless steel. ■ Size: Diameter 18 cm / Length 21 cm. ■ Country of Origin: Japan ※ This is a self-assembly product. A tool is required for assembly. Skill and strength are required when installing the glass lens. * Some manufacturers may change specifications and colours without notice.
The picture above suggests that the Ikari A31 mask was available in at least two sizes, Medium and Large. The presence of air holes close to the device's rubber face flange implies that the device provided full face coverage for its wearer. The text implies that users wanting to observe fish through the glass lens strapped one end of the "mask" onto their faces and positioned the other on the surface of the water, leaning out of a boat or standing in shallow water. Does this device have any function in the diving world? Are underwater viewers with headstraps unique to the Land of the Rising Sun?
I have a few comments to the Rakuten site. I bought some 3M vinyl there about a year ago and it was similar to ebay. What is interresting is that there is a global version and a domestic one and some of the products in the donestic one is impossible to look up in the global one. But if you log into the global one after looking the product up in the domestic it will show up among the "previous watched items" witch then can be opened and baught.
DRW, while I was reading and looking at the images you posted, I was wracking my brains trying to figure out what in the ache-eee-double-toothpicks those ports were:
Anti-fog and EQ(equalization)? For maybe ten seconds I imagined they were for hoses... Gosh, if you cover those holes, well, this mask would be perfect for any diver whose easily distracted, "Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'll look at the shark in a minute, just leave me alone, huh..." CHOMP!
Post by DavidRitchieWilson on Oct 6, 2018 2:13:24 GMT -8
Yes, JB, those apertures intrigued me too. On Rakuten, the item had one of those lengthy cover-all titles that emerge when the retailer passes some Chinese, Japanese or Korean through Google Translate. The title included the word "snorkel" as well as "mask", which made me think the holes might be designed for twin breathing tubes, as in the image below of Eurobalco's made-in-Greece model 558, which is now the world's only old-school mask with inbuilt snorkels still in production:
Post by DavidRitchieWilson on Jan 27, 2019 5:44:07 GMT -8
My winter websurfing finds include two examples of a vintage double-hose snorkel mask from the 1950s.
1. Nemrod Haiti. PS/2069.
For the pictures above I am indebted to the excellent Nemrod Museum at www.facebook.com/nemrodmuseum/?rc=p and I am particularly grateful for the speed and expertise of the response to my enquiries about the history of Nemrod diving equipment. I am equally indebted to the Musée Dumas at museedumas.fr/, whose collection of "livres & documents" features the following ad from a 1954 issue of France's diving magazine L'Aventure Sous-Marine:
2. United Service Agency Super Aquascope.
So Nemrod's "Haiti" "double-hose" snorkel-mask was not unique. The Super Aquascope" wholesaled by the United Service Agency of Nice on the French Riviera bore a close, though not exact, resemblance to the Spanish "Haiti". I wonder whether any other diving equipment companies of the 1950s contemplated adding a similar snorkel-mask to their product range.
Spain's Nemrod company, founded by the Vilarrubis brothers in 1935, is probably already well enough known on both sides of the Pond. If not, I refer you to the Nemrod Museum for further information. The United Service Agency is likely to be something of an unknown quantity to many, however. Despite its name, the United Service Agency was a company established in the French Mediterranean city of Nice. It was founded by American underwater swimgear inventor Charles Henry Wilen and Russian expatriate Alexandre Kramarenko. Wilen is known for the patents he took out in the early 1940s, e.g.
"Alec" Kramarenko is mentioned in Guy Gilpatric's famous book The Compleat Goggler, where he is credited with the invention of a "fish gun". Their company, the United Service Agency, marketed "Palmes américaines" fins, "L'Américain" masks and "Fusils américains" spearguns, highlighting the American heritage of company partner Charles H. Wilen.
DRW, those things are wonderfully insane! I wonder how they perform? For quite a few people there is an optimal size for the barrel, as I'm sure you know Mr. Snorkel, and enlarging that the performance drops exponentially.
This August was my anniversary, my wife and I went to Tomales Bay and did some snorkeling just to be goofy. Tomeles Bay is on the other side of Drake's Bay, as in the Pirate, Sir Francis Drake, and just on horizon due west of there is Cordell Bank... Anyway, here I am looking really tired, trying out my Scubamaster fins, Scubarama mask, Dacor snorkle, and US Divers Enduro wet suit:
The mask and fins are really good performers and liked them better than the ScubaPro Jetfin Lightnings. The mask kept getting water in it due to my mustache, grumble, grumble, grumble
Specifications of AnoSaiyo Snorkel Diving Mask Goggles Handicrafted Hand Made Rubber Glass Fisherman Use Classic
Brand: No Brand
Model: AnoSaiyo Snorkel Diving Mask Goggles Handicrafted Hand Made Rubber Glass Fisherman Use Classic
Warranty Type: No Warranty
What’s in the package? Handmade diving mask x 1. Price: ₱300.00
300 Philippine Pesos amount to almost six US dollars. I've read plenty of anecdotes on vintage diving forums about diving masks being made from scratch in the immediate aftermath of World War II, but this must be the first time I have come across a diving mask being hand-crafted nowadays for online sale. The artefact even comes with the brand name Ano Saiyo.
Last Edit: Aug 7, 2019 8:01:24 GMT -8 by SeaRat: add image, jcr
Okay, I'm going to resurrect this thread, as I just counted and I have 19 masks in my collection. I will add to this post shortly, as in order to get my photos into here I need to go upstairs to import the photos into Flikr.
Okay, here's the first set of photos. I'll comment on each one here, but it will take some time on each, so this is a weekend project (maybe more).
1. The Scubapro three-window mask and Shotgun 2 Twin Valve snorkel.
This mask was a disappointment, as it has a rather narrow field of view. Also, the offset of 90 degrees for the side windows gives about a 30 degree blind spot on the side. But, the improved purge valve in the front is much better than earlier models, as all the purged air vents to the side, not in front of the mask. It is also very easy to purge. This is apparently a small size mask, and from a friend who used to deal in Scubapro, there is a larger size (though I have not seen or used it). Because it is small, perhaps that affected the range of vision, but that remains to be determined. The range of vision forward is actually a bit less than one of the old oval masks. But being made of silicone, it will last practically forever.
The Shotgun III snorkel is one of the best snorkels ever designed, as it takes just a puff of air to clear it once on the surface, and it clears completely and remains dry. This is one of my preferred snorkels. But it has a mask attachment that hooks into a female mating part that is on the mask. You have to change the mask straps retainer in order to switch masks.
2. Dacor Vista-VU mask with Dacor Flexible Snorkel
The Dacor Vista-VU mask is a very light, close-fitting mask ideal for currents or freediving. Because of its close-fitting style, it has great visibility in all directions (side to side, up and down). Clearing of ears is easy with direct access to the nose through the nose pocket. The skirt is made of black silicone, and looks new even though I bought it new in the 1980s from a dive shop in Medford, Oregon. I got a great price ('think I paid something like $5) because, with its pink plastic frame, no male diver would buy it (except me). The strap is original, attesting to its quality. The only thing indicating it's 40 year old age is the loss of the Dacor decal between the eyes.
The flex snorkel is also in silicone, and about the same age. I have two, one of which is on my original whitewater kayaker' helmet I used in the 1970s. Although flexible, the interior has no ripples--it is clean and easy to clear. I have moved the plastic upper tube so that rather than conform to my head's contour, it points straight back. This way, when looking straight down, the snorkel stays out of the water and is easier to clear with the displacement method.
3. TUSA (Tabata USA) Hyper-Dry Mask and TUSA Snorkel
I bought this mask for my wife, Chris after our Maui Hawaii trip in the 1990s. She had a bad experince with water inside her mask during that trip, so I got this one. It has a large purge on the front, is made of silicone, and had a good fit. Well, she decided on a different mask early this year when we were training for another Maui, Hawaii trip. So I inherited this one and added it to my collection. I then found a TUSA snorkel and wedded it to the mask. My impression of the mask is pretty good, but I hate the sight of two large circles in my field of view to the sides. If I ignore this distraction, then the mask is great. That means I would have liked it better if it was black silicone. The field of view is pretty good, fit is excellent, and the purge is really good. One other feature is that the entire purge valve can be taken off the mask for cleaning.
The snorkel is a "dry" snorkel. That means that the end is protected by a cover, and the water that does get in leaves at the top through a unique grating that channels it away from the tube. If any gets in, it collects at the bottom where there is another purge valve. A heavy exhalation actually produces enough resistance to purge the snorkel too. Clearing this snorkel is easy, and I routinely do flip turns and clear it as I surface. The only "down side" to this snorkel is the slight increase in breathing resistance by the top "dry" feature.
4. & 5. Farallon tri-view Masks and Snorkels
I now have two Farallon tri-view masks, one in neoprene and one in silicone. Both came from E-Bay, and both had problems. The silicone mask had a split along the nose about half an inch (1.5 cm) long along the he nose curve. That made it undivable. I tried using Shoe-Goo to fix it, but that glue wouldn't stick. Then one of you (Jaybird, I think), recommended Clear RTV Silicone adhesive. I tried that, and it worked. Then I started swimming with it in the pool. The neoprene mask was in worse shape, so I first coated the nose with neoprene cement; this worked for that area, but cracks were also in the side and the top. I used Shoe-Goo on these areas, and finally almost got the seal. Now, the skirt itself did not fit on either mask. What many don't know is that the skirt seal can be changed--by inserting a small piece of surgical tubing behind the side edges of the skirt. This narrows the skirt to help fit a leaner face. With these change, I am able to use both these masks again. I may even use them this summer in open water. During the 1980s this was one of my favorite masks, being close enough to my face to provide a fairly large field of view, and having side view too that is not as distracting as the Scubapro mask noted above. It also is a very good mask in current, hugging my face and keeping its seal even in high current areas.
I used two different snorkels on my Farallon masks, one an original Farallon snorkel and one a Scubapro Jet Snorkel. Both are what we can J-snorkels without any engineering to make them "dry." Neither is a traditional "J" though, as both have some adjustable components. The Scubapro has a mouthpiece section and a tube section, and I used it with the tube oriented to contour my head. But this leads to water entering the tube in certain head positions looking down. The Farallon snorkel has a second adjustment just up from the mouthpiece which allows a very comfortable orientation, giving three adjustments possible for the best position dot the tube. Both snorkels clear easily using the displacement method. And do clear, but not always completely using the above-water blast method. Both have virtually no resistance to breathing, as there is no obstruction of the breathing tube (see the discipussion above on the TUSA snorkel). But both will allow water down the tube from wave action; experienced snorkels simply blast it clear when this happens, but inexperienced snorkelers will have problems with these snorkels.
6. AMF Voit Balboa Mask and Techna Snorkel
This Balboa mask was given to me by my LDS. They had not seen one before, and I had owned one in the 1970s. This mask is a neoprene mask, but in very good condition. It looks almost new. The mask is also marked on the skirt as "Made in Italy." The Balboa features a downward-angled double lens setup which has the best down-vision of any mask, even beating out the old oval masks. It also has a very low internal volume, making it ideal for snorkeling. The design features just about the best visibility possible without a tri-view mask, as the side vision is just about the limit of my human vision. Again, this is due to the closeness of the lens to the eye. Clearing the ears is easy, as ther nose pocket allows easy access to pinching, but the other altornative is to simply blow lightly into the mask, as there are two raised areas that actually block the nostrils without much other action by the diver.
The snorkel is a Techna, with is a traditional J-snorkel type, bit with a curve to fit the head and an adjustable mouthpiece rotational feature. It will flood in some positions looking down though, and is without any "dry" features, and so is mostly for experienced snorkelers. Now snorkelers will find this snorkel a rather trying experience unless they learn the displacement method of clearing snorkels, and are willing to learn to stop breathing as water enters the tube and blow it dry (or semi-dry).
Well,this is the first set of masks I am discussing. There are a number more, including four oval masks and several other tri-view masks. Then there are the ones which came out after the oval to try making diving easier. These will be in future posts here.