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Healthways

Healthways was founded in the early 1950's by Dick Klein and went bankrupt at the end of 1962. The successor company was Scubapro. Healthways was one of the five original dive equipment manufacturers in the USA (US Divers, Healthways, Voit, Dacor, Swimaster and Healthways).

Kline was the personal trainer for many movie stars in Hollywood, such as Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Henry Fonda, and Bob Hope. Kline developed a wide distribution for weight lifting products and training techniques through sporting goods (skin diving equipment such as mask, fins and a speargun) and department stores, and copyrighted the name, slogan, and logo: "Healthways Hollywood, America's ways to health".

 

 

In 1954, Healthways was contracted by L.G. Arpin to distribute their DivAir regulator and began their scuba equipment line.

 

 

Gradually, Healthways introduced some double hose regulators (all variations of the regulator used the same engineered single-stage, high pressure, depth compensated, automatic air reserve system and lever mechanism)

The company was located at 3669 Seventh Avenue in Los Angeles, California.

 

    

 

In 1953, E.R. Cross publishes Underwater Safety, the first US diving manual, which was later distributed by Healthways. More than 100,000 copies of this 86-page booklet were made.

In late 1954, Richard E. Anderson was hired by Healthways to establish his diving equipment department. He remained a technical adviser for two years and participated in the testing and evaluation of diving equipment, training of equipment technicians and the preparation of technical manuals. Dick Anderson was a famous underwater photographer and one of the pioneer divers in the USA. He was a comedian and was a celebrity in theaters with dive movies.

 

 

With the negociation in 1956, between Rene Bussoz and L'Aire Liquide, for the purchase of the US DIVERS company, Sam Lecocq was offered a position in HEALTHWAYS, by Richard (Dick) Klein, its founder and president, to develop a complete line of underwater products.

 

 

Sam Lecocq accepted the offer to join Healthways, a company that was interested in the most innovative products which Sam was designing.

Since Healthways owned the copyrights on the use of the word "SCUBA," US Divers (Cousteau), began to emphasize popularizing the name AQUA LUNG.

 

Model SCUBA (1957 to 1959)

 

In 1957, Healthways came up with a completely new regulator, designed by Sam Lecocq. Called SCUBA, the regulator was characterized by the use, for the first time, of a tightening ring to hold the upper and lower cases together. The angled upper body had a series of large grooves along its side for water ingress.

The main body case had both intake and exhaust openings. A flexible exhaust diaphragm, clamped on the inside of the main body case, was used to depth compensate the exhaust effort by the intermediate air pressure pressing on the other side of the diaphragm. Most other two hose regulators on the market were using a simple flapper valve located in the main case cover for the exhausting air. 

Due to some problems (some leakage of water entering the exhaust hose), in 1958, Healthways included a small specially designed flapper valve to fit into the exhaust opening of the main body, and held it there with a spring clamp.

The yoke and yoke screw assembly was the same standard design used by most manufactures of scuba regulators. The model "SCUBA" was offered with three color options for hoses (black, blue or yellow). The rare "Transparent" hoses were also offered.

 

Picture: Ed LaRochelle

 

The mouthpiece assembly is the Hope Page non-return valve type, and stainless hose clamps are used on all points of connection.

Healthways also did some custom labeling for the "SCUBA" regulator. The double hose regulator AIR-PAK, made for Richards of New York, was one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Model Scuba Deluxe (1960 to 1962)

The first version of Scuba Deluxe, in 1960, did not have the sticker "DeLuxe" glued to the regulator, it had a straight and thin mouthpiece.

 

 

 

The 1961 Scuba Deluxe version already appears with the label with the expression "DeLuxe" glued above the regulator label. New hoses and a new mouthpiece / nozzle are placed in this regulator.

Significant changes were made. The design of the main body case. The exhaust port was relocated to the case cover, as in the design of the Aqua Lung, the use the mushroom valve for the exhaust opening rather than the more common flapper valve. Finally, the Hope Page mouthpiece assembly was replaced with a smaller streamline assembly, custom made for Healthways.

Stainless hose clamps were now only used at the regulator end, with smaller stainless bands used for the mouthpiece end. Hoses were in black collor only.

 

 

In the 1962 Healthways catalog the SCUBA Deluxe regulator became Model 1962, and incorporated a few changes:

  - The yoke screw was replaced by a turn wheel, which was called a "safe-lock" wheel;

  - It was added a venturi tube to the valve body assembly to direct more air down the intake hose leading to the mouthpiece;

  - The method of securing the main diaphragm by interlocking the case body and cover;

Ed LaRochele in his article, Healthways, a Collectors Review (The Journal of Diving History - Winter 2013, Volume 21, Issue 1, Number 74), affirms: - "The Model1962 would have had a very short life if it actually existed. I have never seen one, or even an advertisement for one apart from the one in the company catalog."

 

 

 

Model SCUBA GOLD (1962 TO 1967)

The model SCUBA GOLD  would become available in June 1962 and was sometimes advertised as the "Professional SCUBA".

It was a more evolved version of the double hose SCUBA. The Model - SCUBA GOLD - was modified internally by the addition of a cover plate to the inhalation valve body, a type of ejector air system. This cap directs a portion of the air directly down into the feed hose where a baffle in the nozzle distributes air to the diver.

Healthways used the interior mechanism with venturi assist, turn wheel yoke assembly, and the hoses with mouthpiece remained unchanged as well. It had a polished chrome case and cover. The word "Deluxe" was removed and the main decal was changed to a black, white and gold.

 

 

 

This third model appeared for the last time in the Healthways catalog of 1967.

 

 

Pictures: John C. Ratliff

 

In 1965, Healthways placed an advertisement in the February issue of Skin Diver Magazine announcing a new model two hose regulator called the "SCUBA MASTER" with a totally new piston-driven mechanism. Healthways added it to their 1965 catalog stating "available June 1965". However, we have never seen this double hose regulator model.

 

 

Snork Air (1954-1957)

The Snork Air was an auxiliary unit for skin diving.

Healthways' Snork-air was a predecessor of today's bailout bottles. Designed primarily for boaters to use while recovering anchors or objects dropped overboard, it had a tiny one-stage regulator with a built-in snorkel. The 12 cubic foot tank was hung in front of the diver on plastic bands.

Biting on a tab in the mouthpiece was necessary to release air.

 

 

 

In August of 1962, Healthways decided to create a professional line of equipment (regulators) and hired Dick Bonin and Gustave Della Valle (who was already director of the company) to develop this mission. They chose the name of SCUBAPRO for this new line professional line. But the company was in financial trouble and declared bankruptcy on December 26, 1962, just four months after hiring Dick and Gustave.

Dick and Gustave have acquired the name SCUBAPRO and Healthways for US$ 1.00. 

In 1974, Dick sold the company to Johnson Wax for $ 11 million. Dick Bonin became president of SCUBAPRO until his retirement in 1997.

 

 

Reference:

(1)  http://www.internationallegendsofdiving.com/Articles/miller_072705.htm

(2)  http://www.internationallegendsofdiving.com/Articles/icorn_090808.htm

(3)  http://www.hanaumabaydivetours.com/diving/about-scuba-diving.html

(4)  Basic Scuba by Fred M. Roberts

(5) http://www.hanaumabay-hawaii.com/scuba_hall_of_fame.htm

(6) http://www.scubaproregulatormuseum.org/History/First_Stage/first_stage.html

(7) Healthways's Catalogs and Manuals;

 

Snork Air

Air Pak

Scuba

Scuba Deluxe

Scuba Gold

Custom



 
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