VOIT (W.J. VOIT RUBBER COMPANY) was founded in 1922 by William J. Voit in Worthington, Indiana. The company was specialized in the production of rubber products, developing and specializing in the manufacture of sports balls. In the 1940s, Voit also manufactured rubber equipment for water sports (inflatable boats and floats).
Companies Owen Churchill and Sea-Net Company, who worked in the line of free diving, outsourced their production of masks and fins with VOIT. In 1946, Willard Voit, son of William, took over the company and in the 1950s VOIT already had its own line of masks, fins and diving accessories.
VOIT, along with Rene Sports, Sea Net and Fisher Sporting Goods, advertised the first issue of Skin Diver magazine in December 1951 as a supplier of diving equipment.
In the following years, VOIT witnessed the rapid growth of diving activity and developed a product line for underwater hunting activity.
After an agreement that was reached in 1956, in exchange for rubber products such as hoses, fins, masks, etc., VOIT obtained authorization to use two projects of double hose regulators from US
- DA NAVY APPROVED - Two-stage double hose regulator;
- DW OVERPRESSURE - Single stage double hose regulator;
VOIT engineers made changes to the initial designs of US Divers regulators and, after creating their own visual identity, the VOIT LUNG VR1 (single-stage) and VOIT LUNG VR2, two-stage, were launched.
The two parts/ "cans" of the regulators were fixed by 7 "C" clamps. The hoses used, the mouthpiece/nozzle, the Kleer E-Z type, and the tinnerman type clamps were green in color. The labels were also green in color. In November 1955, the company's first color catalog showed the VOIT product line for the year 1956, and included the VR-1 and VR-2 models.
For the first time, the regulators appeared on the Skin Diver in February 1956.
VOIT LUNG VR-2 - MARINER
The VOIT LUNG VR-2 had a green label containing the inscriptions VOIT LUNG TWO STAGE NAVY APPROVED - U.S. PATENT 2.485.039 - W.J. VOIT RUBBER CORP. - LOS ANGELES - DANVILLE, ILL - NEW YORK - USE WITH COMPRESSED AIR ONLY - SACAPHANDRE AUTONOME - COUSTEAU GAGNAN. The patent number was placed on the label by requirement of U.S. Divers.
Each VR-2 had a four-digit serial number stamped on the label and was made of shiny chrome at the top (label side) and matte at the bottom (yoke side). They had two stages, being the first stage of the upstream type and a second stage of the downstream type.
In 1957, VOIT named the Voit VR-2: MARINER VOIT LUNG VR-2, but this name never appeared on labels. The production of this model occurred from 1956 to 1958. Serial numbering began at number 1,000 and it is believed that no more than 2,000 units were produced.
VOIT LUNG VR-1 - SPORTSMAN
The VOIT LUNG VR-1 (over pressure breather) featured the green label, containing the inscriptions VOIT LUNG OVER PRESSURE BREATHER - WJ VOIT RUBBER CORP., in addition to the three locations - LOS ANGELES - DANVILLE, ILL - NEW YORK - the US patent number US PATENT No. 2,485,039, and the term USE WITH COMPRESSED AIR ONLY - SCAPHANDRE AUTONOME - COUSTEAU-GAGNAN (as provided in the agreement with US Divers). In the label, also, the serial number with four digits appeared.
The body of the VOIT LUNG VR-1 was shiny chrome at the top (label side) and matte at the bottom (yoke side). The internal mechanism was single-stage Upstream type. In 1957, the VR-1 is renamed
SPORTSMAN (it was never printed on the label or anywhere else on the regulator). Production of the VR-1 occurred from 1956 to 1958. Serial numbering started at 5,000 and is believed to have been produced around 3,000 double hose VOIT LUNG VR-1 SPORTSMAN regulators.
Several films produced at that time gave great visibility to VOIT products (Underwater - Kingdom of the Sea). VOIT provided masks and fins for underwater scenes. But nothing compares to the big spread with the TV series - SEA HUNT - starring Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson in 1958. The company provided all the dive equipment used by the actors.
Lloyd used the VR-1 and VR-2 - Green Label - in the movies. In the earliest episodes, the VR-1 Sportsman was used and in 1959, Mike Nelson appeared with a new design of the VR-1 with the blue label.
In 1958, W.J. VOIT RUBBER CORPORATION was purchased by AMERICAN MACHINE AND FOUNDRY, known as AMF. AMF was founded in 1900 and was one of the largest sports materials equipment companies in the USA.
VOIT has becomed an independent subsidiary of AMF. The first AMF logo, next to the VOIT logo, appeared in the 1959 catalog, but would only appear on regulator logo in 1962.
VOIT LUNG VR-1 - SPORTSMAN - BLUE LABEL
In 1959, VOIT made changes to its line of regulators. The VR-2 Mariner is eliminated from the line and the VR-1 had external changes, with a dark blue label and the shiny chrome at the top (label side) beeing replaced by chrome nickel with matte finishing. The tinnerman clamps started to be chrome plated and the hoses and mouthpiece/nozzle changed to gray. A VOIT logo is stamped on the new mouthpiece format used.
Internally, the regulator mechanism has been upgraded to the same US Divers DW Mistral system. The serial number probably started at 8,500 and is believed to have been produced around 500 regulators.
AMF VOIT VCR-2 50 FATHOM
In 1959, the first regulator developed exclusively by VOIT was launched. Called VCR-2 - VOIT COMPENSATED REGULATOR, this double hose regulator featured its body painted blue, the upper and lower parts of which were fixed by a chrome ring/band. The hoses and mouthpiece were gray in color, with tinnerman type clamps in chrome
A beautiful dark blue label contains the inscription VOIT - 50 FATHOM - REGULATOR - COMPENSATED - EASY BREATHING AT ALL DEPTHS, in addition to the name of the company WJ VOIT RUBBER CORP., With the three locations of the company NEW YORK - CHICAGO - LOS ANGELES.
This model does not have serial numbering stamped on the regulator. The internal mechanism was single stage Downstream type. The VCR-2 remained on the market for only two years - 1959 and 1960.
In 1960, VOIT added a line of equipment called VIKING, which was composed of masks, fins and spearguns.
In 1961, the new version of the VCR-2 50 FATHOM, known as
VIKING, featured a shiny chrome finish. With the exception of the new VOIT monogrammed nylon clamps, all other details were identical to the painted version of blue. This version was manufactured for only one year. As serial numbers were not stamped on these regulators, it is believed that between 2,000 and 3,000 of the VCR-2 Blue Painted and between 1,000 and 1,500 of the Viking Chromed VCR-2 were produced.
V22 POLARIS 50
In 1962, VOIT designed and developed another mechanism for its regulators and called it V22. A single stage system with a venturi system. This new system was placed on the body used by the Viking VCR-2 50 Fathom Chrome. The hoses, the mouthpiece, the ring/fastening band and the clamps were the same.
The Polaris 50 label was POLARIS - 50 - AMF - MADE IN USA, in addition to the four-digit serial numbering. This model appeared in the VOIT catalogs of 1962 and 1963. It is estimated a production of 3,000 regulators.
The Polaris 50 was used by the actor Adolfo Celi (as Emílio Largo), in the movie Thunderball of 1965.
AMF VOIT V66 NAVY
Since the VR-2 Mariner went out of production in 1958, VOIT did not have a two-stage double hose regulator in its line. In 1962, the V66 Navy was launched. Once again, US Divers authorized the use of the mechanism used by one of its regulators, the Aqua Master-1010. The
V66 Navy had an upstream unbalanced first stage, as well as a low-pressure port (hookah port).
The V66 Navy had the same chrome finish as the 50 Fathom and Polaris 50 (shiny chrome on the top and matte on the bottom) with the same types of hoses, mouthpiece, ring / band and clamps.
The gold and blue label contains the term NAVY - AMF VOIT - MADE IN USA and with a four-digit serial number stamped. The production of this model was interrupted for some reason of violation of the existing agreement with US Divers.
After some modifications made on the outside of the regulator, the production returned. The label was now black and gold and contained the phrase NAVY - VOIT MADE IN FRANCE, with the serial numbering of four digits. The regulator body is now entirely finished in shinny chrome.
Around the serial number 1000, the chrome ring/fastening band of the regulator has been replaced by seven clamps. The production of the V66 Navy took place from 1962 to 1964. It is believed to have produced 720 V66 Navy Made in USA Blue/Gold regulators until its discontinuation, and to about 3,500 V66 Navy Made in France Black/Gold regulators.
VCR-5 BLUE FIFTY FATHOM
In 1961, Blue Fifty Fathom was manufactured with the regulator body made of cycolac plastic in blue. The top and bottom of the regulator were fixed by six chrome screws and nuts. The hoses and mouthpiece/nozzle were gray in color and the clamps were plastic.
Internally, the regulator had the same mechanism used in the VCR-2.
The label/sticker was anodized and silver. It contained the inscription VOIT BLUE 50 FATHOM - MADE IN USA, and featured an illustration of a hunter-sub/spearfisherman. The manufacture of the double hose regulators VCR-5 BLUE FIFTY FATHOM , with this label design, lasted less than two months. VOIT had not included the AMF initials on the label, which required the development of a new design.
The new sticker/label was half silver and half blue. On the left side were printed the initials VOIT and AMF, and on the other side the expression BLUE FIFTY FATHOM. At the bottom of the label is the inscription MADE IN USA. The new label was used on the VCR-5 Blue Fifty Fathom by the end of the year 1961.
A prototype with a chrome finish is designed. Probably, this regulator would use hoses and mouthpiece in blue color. But the project did not go
forward to put the regulator on the market.
V55 BLUE FIFTY FATHOM
In 1962, a new upgrade was made and the internal mechanism of the regulator was replaced by the system called V22, the same used in the double hose regulator Polaris 50.
This new model was called the V55 BLUE FIFTY FATHOM. The production of this regulator occurred until the end of the year 1962. As there was no serial number stamped on the regulators, it is believed that, based on the historical production of the other regulators, there were around 1,000 regulators.
Also in the year 1962, W.J. VOIT RUBBER CORPORATION purchased SWIMASTER.
SWIMASTER was a company founded in the 50's and had a line of masks, fins, knives and spearguns.
In 1963 and 1964, VOIT added the new SWIMASTER manufacturing products in its catalogs. And in 1966, SWIMASTER became the brand for the AMF / VOIT PRO line of diving equipment.
SWIMASTER TRIESTE R22
The double hose regulator SWIMASTER TRIESTE R22 was made in honor of the famous TRIESTE bathyscaphe TRIESTE, from the 50s and 60s, that had reaching 35,797 feet deep in the Marian Fossas (January 23, 1960).
The Trieste R22 was the smallest and most compact double hose regulator on the market, and was made of stainless steel. Its internal mechanism is two stages, fully balanced. It came with black hoses, a mouthpiece with the inscription AMF-VOIT and was also black in color and nylon clamps. The regulator body had two doors, one for the coupling of an optional reserve mechanism and the other an HP port for coupling of a manometer, also optional.
The yoke and regulator knob/screw on the cylinder were chrome plated.
Thelabel was black and had the inscription VOIT - SWIMASTER - TRIESTE - 2 STAGE BALANCED REGULATOR - MADE IN USA. There was also space for the serial number.
The double hose regulator TRIESTE R22 was produced from 1966 to 1969, with production estimated at 8,000 regulators over the four years.
SWIMASTER TRIESTE-J R22-J
This model was the same TRIESTE R22 regulator, with a reserve mechanism already coupled by the factory. The code for this regulator with reserve mechanism was V1-JR. The label contained, in addition to the inscriptions of R22, the letter "J" printed next to the word TRIESTE.
The production of this model is no more than 800 units.
VOIT TRIESTE II V22
This model is practically the same TRIESTE regulator of the other models with some small changes.
The label was a lighter blue color with the expressions AMF - VOIT TRIESTE II - MADE IN USA - 2 STAGE BALANCED REGULATOR, plus the space containing the serial number. A new low pressure port has been added next to the HP port. On the opposite side, the door for coupling of the reserve mechanism V1-JR still existed. The yoke screw now turnned to plastic. The mouthpiece was now shaped like the US Divers (V-Shape) with the AMF-VOIT logo.
The TRIESTE II was manufactured in the 1970s and 1971s, and was probably produced around 1,600 regulators.
The TRIESTE II was the last double regulator produced by VOIT, and in 1972, they were replaced by single hose regulators.
In 1983, the main factory located in Los Angeles was closed and a few years later the AMF was sold to MINSTAR INC. The VOIT factory moved to Mexico, where the manufacture of balls for various sporting modalities
continues to this day.
3. The Journal of Diving History -
Number 68 - VOIT: Nelson's Choise - A History of Voit Two Hose
Regulators by Ed LaRochelle
4. Basic Scuba by Fred M. Roberts