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Sportsways

 

In 1958, Sam Lecocq founded a new company, based on the Healthways model, called SPORTSWAYS, for the manufacture and distribution of recreational diving equipment. One of its first products was a revolutionary single hose two-stage regulator called WATER LUNG. Sam Lecocq's career started as an employee of Rene Bussoz who owned Rene Sports (importer of Aqualungs and founder of the U.S. Divers company in Los Angeles, California).

 

 

Bussoz employed Dick Anderson to assemble Aqualung regulators, which were initially imported in parts from Canada. Anderson trained Sam on the assembly of Aqualung regulators and by 1955 Sam moved on to work for Richard Kline at his Healthways company.

This regulator's name did not please Cousteau and US Divers Co., who were actively promoting their AQUA LUNG. Consequently, Cousteau and US Divers sued Sam Lecocq and Sportways Co., insisting that they cease and desist from using the name WATERLUNG, which had previously been registered with the US Copyright Office.

A court decision ruled in favor of Sam Lecocq and Sportways. WATERLUNG was really a new name with its own identity for this new and revolutionary regulator.

 

 

In 1968 the company was sold to Pittmann Rubber, and renamed in 1969 to JILCO INDUSTRIES INC.

The equipment continued to be sold under the name SPORTWAYS until 1981. Then the name of the products changed to WATERLUNG in 1982, when a company was sold to Australia.

Sportsways offered several models of regulators, each with their own different and unique features. In 1961, SPORTSWAYS introduced the Dual Air, a double hose regulator, with a unique concept, to accompany the WATERLUNG, the popular single hose regulator. Sportsways took the first stage, used for its single-hose models Master Diver, Sport Diver and Navy Unit, and modified the main casting. sportsways made it so it could be attached to a large second stage case that included a large diaphragm and the second stage tilt valve mechanism, that was used in Sportsways's single hose regulators. The Dual Air was manufactured  for two years (1961-1962).

 

  

 

The first stage of the Dual Air was unbalanced. The low-pressure port, that was used for the second-stage and hose assembly of a single-hose regulator, was now available to be used as a hookah port. A second low-pressure port was used for the safety pressure relief valve that was needed because the second-stage used an upstream tilt valve system.

 

 

There is also a high-pressure port for attaching an optional submersible pressure gauge called Sea-Vue.

 

 

The second-stage tilt valve assembly found inside the case had an elongated lever for a more sensitive action, operated by an extra large flexible diaphragm.

The exhaust system was identical to the HEALTHWAYS SCUBA DELUXE regulator. Both regulators were designed by Sam Lecocq. Later, the sloped valve was replaced by a downstream and renamed Hydro Twin. 

The exhaust was a one-inch mushroom valve located on a metal channel inside the case cover. The cover was held in place by a clamp ring and the label attached to the cover was made of metal foil, glued in place. The label is a large bright red on a highly polished chrome case.

The mouth-piece assembly was custom made for Sportsways with the company name printed on both sides, and the hoses were held in place with four plastic clamps.

The Waterlung Hydro Twin II was manufactured in 1963. The first stage for the HydroTwin was the same as that of the Dual Air, with the exception of the safety pressure relief valve that was no longer available. The second-stage portion of the regulator used a downstream assembly rather than the up-stream tilt valve, therefore eliminating the need for the relief valve. That low-pressure port now came with a removable plug, making it available for other low-pressure service uses. 

 

 

The case, exhaust valve, cover and clamp were the same as the fi rst model Dual Air. The hoses, mouthpiece and clamps were also unchanged. The label was metal foil glued to the cover, but now the color was dark blue and stated Waterlung Hydro Twin.

 

 

The Waterlung Hydro Twin II was manufactured from 1964 to 1968. In 1963 Sportsways was already beginning to incorporate their new designed balanced first stage  into the two-hose regulator used for his "Master Diver" single hose regulator. A balanced unit is when the high pressure seat assembly operates in a space that is equal pressure on both ends of the assembly allowing it to move smoothly back and forth at any tank pressure. Sportsways eliminated one of the low pressure ports. 

 

 

 

The catalog for the Hydro Twin II began in 1964. The second stage was a down-stream lever with case body, diaphragm, exhaust system, hoses and mouthpiece all remaining unchanged as installed on the other models. The label was now orange and black, and was printed on a vinyl type material and glued to the case cover.

 

 

In the 1966 Sportsways catalog Sportsways included the Nautilus double hose regulator. It is a Hydro Twin II with a communication cup mouthpiece assembly. Sportsways claimed it was being used by the U.S. Navy with underwater communications equipment. 

 

 

 

   

Sportsways Waterlung Dual Air

 

 

Sportsways Waterlung Hydro Twin

 

 

Sportsways Waterlung Hydro Twin II

 

   Dual Air                              Hydro Twin                     Hydro Twin II

Picture: Ed La Rochelle 

 

1968 was the last year that Sportsways would catalog their two hose regulator.

Some Hydro-Twin and Hydro-Twin II regulators were not labeled for Sportsways Waterlung but custom-labeled for other companies (New England Divers of Beverly, Massachusetts and MAR-VEL Products Co. from Camden, New Jersey).

 

 

 

Reference:

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

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

3. http://vintagedivertreasures.com/VDTdecalPage2.htm

4. Sportsways a Collector's review - By Ed LaRochelle - The Journal of Diving History - Volume 21, Issue 4, Number 77

5. Sportsways catalogs

6. Book BASIC SCUBA - Fred Roberts

 

 

Dual Air

Hidro Twin

Hidro Twin II



 
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