Post by scubalawyer on Jun 14, 2020 21:59:30 GMT -8
I think thst one belongs to my old dive buddy Alec Pierce. He is selling off large portions of his collection.
I SEE HOW IT IS. WHEN OTHER PEOPLE GO OUTSIDE IT'S "GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH" AND "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED." BUT WHEN I GO OUTSIDE IT'S A "CONTAINMENT BREACH" AND A "HIGH-LEVEL THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY." OK, BE THAT WAY.
Here's a little beauty for you vintage single hose fans (sorry Rob!). The US Divers Aqua-Lung AQUA-MATIC regulator was introduced in 1957 and was an instant hit. The reason for its success was NOT its great performance. I can attest to that since the Aqua-Matic was my first regulator!! I still have it. But it was an early example of a single hose. The 2 hose design was losing its luster plus the Aqua-Matic was cheap - a BIG factor in those days. It featured a very simple, diaphragm 1st stage. Really simple - no ports - just a hose to the 2nd stage. We didn't have any use for ports since SPGs, BCDs and Safe Seconds were decades away. The 2nd stage was pretty neat though - all plastic, rubber covered and with a side exhaust. It too was very simple - no purge button and no swivel hose.
Inside the 2nd stage was a unique system that had never been tried before - or since (good thing!). There was a very complicated diaphragm on the end under the perforated cap. The diaphragm had more folds that a Shar Pei dog! Despite many attempts, no one has been able to reproduce it. Plus, to make it even harder to copy, it featured a center exhaust valve. That design has been used with some success in later regulators, even today. To get air, a diver inhaled which made the smallish diaphragm move inwards. On the underside of the diaphragm was a hard, smooth plastic cone held there by 4 rubber tabs. As that cone moved in, it forced 2 levers, one on each side to slowly split apart. The levers were attached to the Low Pressure seat and, as they moved apart, the seat lifted and the diver got air. If it sounds complicated, just try to service one! Adjustment was a chore, the diaphragm was very thin. The exhaust valve got stuck. All-in-all, it was NOT a good idea. And inhalation was not for wimps. Moving that small diaphragm, the plastic cone and the 2 levers, took a lot of sucking.
But it was quite popular. Mind you, it was the only single hose in the US Divers catalog for a few years. If you wanted a single hose reg, the Aqua-Matic was it!
In 1959 US Divers outdid them selves by introducing a NEW model of the Aqua-Matic. They called it the DELUXE AQUA-MATIC. It had all the same features of the standard Aqua-Matic (and the same issues) but it also has a couple of new features - specifically a purge button and a switchable snorkel. Now they didn't know that it was a purge button. They called it a "Clearing Button" which is a good, descriptive name that was changed for some reason to purge button. That was an improvement over the standard Aqua-Matic. It didn't address any of the problems with the Aqua-Matic but it was a nice addition. Just to finish the rest of this story, many divers, myself included, added their own 'clearing button' to their Aqua-Matic regs by drilling a hole in the cover and installing a small bolt, spring and nut. Done properly, we could push the bolt in to depress the diaphragm and purge the reg. When released the spring popped it back out. Cost about 10 cents!! If you have an Aqua-Matic and there's a larger than normal hole dead center in the front cover, maybe with a bit of rust around it, you have an old-time treasure!
The other feature that made the DELUXE AQUA-MATIC deluxe was the built-in snorkel. Yep! For some reason the engineers at US Divers, probably non-divers, thought that divers wanted to have their snorkel mounted right on the regulator and that it was easier to twist a switch on the front of the reg to go from reg to snorkel than it was to spit out the reg and stick their snorkel in their mouth! So the DELUXE has a knob on the front that can be turned from regulator to snorkel. Oh, and a snorkel that was attached to the side of the regulator. It worked! But the snorkel was small diameter and short. What air you could get was usually wet. And the switch was not easy to turn. You had to find it first (no point taking the reg out to look at it - that defeats the purpose) and then, often with gloved hands, twist it in the right direction (was that right or left??). The switch invariably got stiff from dirt and sand so you ended up twisting the 2nd stage right out of your mouth. Many of the few DELUXE AQUA-MATICs still existing are missing the snorkel. Divers tossed them away or they fell off and were simply not replaced.
Oh, by the way, the DELUXE AQUA-MATIC also has a very nice, bright yellow rubber cover over the entire 2nd stage - maybe the best reason to get one!! By 1962, US Divers had 2 other single hose regs in the catalog and the DELUXE AQUA-MATIC was toast!
This listing is very simple - a genuine, in perfect working-order, unserviced, uncleaned, unrestored DELUXE AQUAMATIC. It is complete in every way with the bright yellow cover looking as shiny as new, the snorkel in perfect condition just waiting for a diver to flip that switch, the smooth operating purge in front, a great hose and perfect 1st stage. The regulator has NOT been used or even tried in over 40+ years. It is the real thing!
I'd be remiss if I didn't refer to Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt as I always try to do. In this case it's an honest effort since the Aqua-Matic regulator (not the Deluxe) appears in at least one episode of that great TV series.
While vintage single hose regulators have yet to take the collecting market by storm, it's starting to happen and when it does, look out. By far the majority of divers today started their diving on a single hose. As they get older and start to look back with fondness, as we have done, they'll be looking for 1 hose regs. The DELUXE AQUA-MATIC is part of that history and MUST be part of your collection or museum. Any diver would be fascinated to have one and to know its background.
Last Edit: Jun 15, 2020 8:14:36 GMT -8 by SeaRat: Ad link to E-Bay sale.
John C. Ratliff Diving since 1959, at age 13. Haven't stopped, and still enjoy getting wet.