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L.G. Arpin Company

 

The company L.G. Arpin Co. was founded by Bill Arpin and Paul Arnold in the city of West Caldwell - New Jersey. The company designed and produced one of the first originally American regulators: the DivAir.

In 1954, L.G. Arpin Company has closed the regulator's distribution agreement with company Diving Corporation of America (DCA), located in Miami. DCA was one of the oldest and largest dive shop in the US.

 

 

 

DivAir's first publicity material, produced by DCA, was published in Skin Diver magazine in July 1954.

In the summer of that year, Ed Fisher stayed 24 hours diving with a double hose DivAir and set a new record. The feat was explored by DCA in advertising at Skin Diver in September 1954, which in the following month made a story about diving.

 

 

At the end of 1954, L.G. Arpin has closed a new distribution agreement with Healthways, Los Angeles - California. DCA continued to market DivAir until the end of its production.

 

           

 

The production of DivAir was made during the years 1954, 1955 and 1956. L.G. Arpin made several modifications to the regulator during this period, mainly in the material used to manufacture the regulator body. Brass, aluminum and plastic were used. The aluminum regulator appears in the Healthways catalog of January 1955. The plastic version would appear at the end of 1955 and was manufactured for only one year (until the end of 1956).

 

           

 

In January 1957, Healthways introduced the double hose SCUBA regulator. This new regulator, designed by Sam Lecocq, has caused discontinuity of the DivAir. L.G. Arpin Co. stopped the manufacture of DivAir and the entire stock of parts was sold to the Unity Service of Jersey City, which continued to provide technical assistance to DivAir until the end of the parts stock.

 

 

There is no mention in the catalogs, manuals or publicity materials about classification of the DivAir's models produced, whether by LETTERS or NUMBERS. There are improvements and innovations of each model in the bibliography.

A L.G. Arpin placed the letters "A", "B" and "C" positioned before the serial numbers to identify a specific design or type of production. Namely: "A" for the first series of regulators produced, "B" for the second series of regulators and "C" for the third series. But, for some unknown reason, the use of letters, in the prefixes of numerical seriation, was ceased when the plastic body was introduced.

It is believed that the Technical Assistance Department of L.G. Arpin used the terminology MODEL A, B, C, E, or F to facilitate identification of parts and parts of various regulator models. Healthways and Unity Service also used this system.

Ed Larochelle, american collector and historian, proposes a classification for the various models produced, based on these terminologies.

The internal mechanisms of the various models were the same. A single stage system of the Upstream Push-to-Open Diaphragm Operated type.

 

 

The serial numbers follow a chronological order from the beginning of production, in 1954, until its end in 1956, which greatly facilitates the determination of the date of production of a particular model.

 

DIVAIR MODEL "A" - 1954

This model of the DivAir has a cast bronze body lined with nickel and weighed approximately 1.3 kg.

The front cover design is different from all other models. The front cover has a cavity added in each of the three grooves where the screws were attached. In the production of the other models, the cavities were removed.

 

 

On the label there is: "DISTRIBUITED BY DIVING CORP. OF AMERICA - MIAMI - FLORIDA". The yoke bolt has a hexagonal head, which allows the use of a wrench for better fixation of the regulator on the cylinder valve (Remember that in 1954 the cylinder valve used a nylon flat washer for the seal).

 

  

The reserve mechanism features a round button that could be reached over the diver's right shoulder and was activated by a push-twist motion. The horns are one inch in diameter, "smooth", without lips / protrusions at the edge of the horn that helped block the hoses (this is why some regulators are found with hoses glued to the horns) .

 

 

The black hoses used were surplus gas masks from the Second War. One end being 1 "and the other 3/4". Small non-return valves are present on both hoses, close to the horns. The mouthpiece assembly is made of "T" type chrome plated brass with a 3/4" diameter and a white nozzle with a small strap for attachment to the "T" mouthpiece. Tinnerman clamps fixed the hoses.

 

 

A production of at least 2,000 double hose DivAir Model "A" regulators is believed to have been produced from the beginning of 1954 until September 1954. The regulators of this model had the letter "A" in the serial number prefix.

 

DIVAIR MODEL "B" - 1954

With minor differences, the DivAir Model B is the same as the Model A regulator.

The label was no longer beige, but the color was blue, with the inscription "DISTRIBUTED BY HEATHWAYS, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA".

 

 

Healthways has developed a new hose set, called AIR-FLO, which was extendable from 9 "to 63". The diameter of the new hose was 1" at both ends. The "T "type mouthpiece, now nickel-plated brass, was also 1" in diameter. Although most of the DivAir Model B uses this set of hoses and mouthpiece, it is possible that at the beginning of the distribution by Heathways were used black hoses and old mouthpieces. The clamps were tinnerman-type.

 

 

At the end of production of DivAir Model B, the reserve button changed its shape (changed from round to hex).

It is believed that no more than 500 double hose regulator DivAir Model B, with the prefix "B" in the serial numbers, were produced in the period from October 1954 until the end of the year.

The Divair's "A" and "B" models were subject to electrolysis due to the use of different metals in their construction.

 

DIVAIR MODEL "C"- 1955

This model features a body shaped in anodized aluminum in light blue color. The material change in the regulator body reduced its weight to almost 800 grams.

 

 

Other changes with respect to the DivAir "A" and "B" models are:

    - The upper chrome part of the front cover has a different design;

 

- The yoke bolt no longer features a hex head, acquiring a rounded shape;

 

 

- The horns / horns diameter are now 1 1/8" and have a lip on the ends to further secure hoses to the regulator.

 

 

- The hoses are still AIR-FLO, with the same mouthpiece / nozzle assembly as Model "B";

- The two non-return check valves were relocated to the other end of the hoses, to either side of the mouthpiece, and were slightly increased in size.

- The reserve mechanism is a 2" long lever, pointed up and driven by lateral movement. Its location is the same as the" A "and" B "Models (operated from behind the diver's right shoulder ) The blue label remains the same as Model "B";

 

 

It is believed a production of 6,200 regulators of the Model "C", probably starting at the number 2.501. The manufacture of the DivAir Model "C" was from January 1955 to October / November 1955.

DivAir was also marketed with Full Face Mask Medusa, which was sold separately.

 

       

 

DIVAIR MODELS "E e "F" - 1956

In these models the regulator body is made of high impact plastic. The weight of the regulator drops to only 680 grams.

 

 

 

The reserve mechanism was rotated 90 degrees to change it to an up/down action. A rod could be attached that ran down to the lower right side of the tank making it easier to locate and activate. A plate with instructions for use was placed on the back side of the regulator

 

 

The label remained unchanged, but serial numbering no longer contained the letter "C", nor any other letter as a prefix. The hoses and mouthpiece were the same as Model "C". At some point in the first four months of 1956, the mouthpiece set became the Hope Page type, with internal non-return valves.

 

 

 

The DivAir Model "F" is the same double hose regulator as the DivAir Model "E", except the hoses and the diaphragm. Hoses are now closer to standard black hoses such as those used on DACOR regulators, with diameters of 1 1/4" at both ends.

The diaphragm design has changed significantly. The old large metal disk changed to a small disk of fiber. The diaphragm shape has also changed.

 

 

It is believed a production of 7,000 regulators of the "E" and "F" models, whose manufacture took place in the period from December 1955 until the end of 1956.

Healthways and Unity Service have offered an upgrade to the owners of the DivAir Model "C", as a guarantee of problems that this regulator presented due to aluminum (corrosion and electrolysis), which were replaced by new plastic models. This explains why there are models of the DivAir with plastic body with the serial number starting with the letter "C". An upgrade to the new diaphragm model was also offered for any of the old diaphragm regulator models.

 

 

Reference:

1. http://www.internationallegendsofdiving.com/Articles/icorn_090808.htm

2. The Journal of Diving History #71 - The Divair Regulator - A Collector's Review by Ed Larochelle

3. Basic Scuba by Fred M. Roberts

 

DivAir Prototype

DivAir Model A

DivAir Model B

DivAir Model C

DivAir Model E

DivAir Model F



 
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