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Ludwig Mares was born in Pula-Austria on january 10,1898. His family emigrated from Czechoslovakia.

Later he studies in Vienna. In 1917, Ludwig served in the Austrian Navy. One of the naval bases was in Pula, where Ludwig was a diver.



In the years 1920's, Ludovico became increasingly enthusiastic about free diving and especially for underwater hunting.

Austria was one of the war loser and, after the 2nd World War, Pula belonged to Italy.

Ludwig, after the end of his naval career, started to work as a professional diver and adoped the italian name Ludovico...Ludovico Mares.

After World War II, he moved to Rapallo. He has became a freediving champion. He started to develop and build diving equipments. The demand for his equipment has rised, so he decided to professionalize the equipment construction.

In 1949, in Rapallo, Ludovico founded Mares Sub as a small company with the support of former diver colleagues. The first products were for free diving  masks and spearguns).

In 1959/1960, the first double hose regulator "Air King" was made in a first version and, in 1962, an improved version appears.

It has since expanded to become one of the largest scuba manufacturers, having merged with US manufacturer Dacor.

Ludovico Mares died in 1984.



Model Air King 60 and B 60

The models Air King 60 and Air King B 60 are a conventional balancing membrane single stage regulator (double stage monobody).



The regulator reducer assembly is fixed with a standard connection in the central part of the fitting. On request the mouthpiece can be provided with a special closing valve that prevents water entering in the corrugated.

The air from the tanks, which can be loaded at a maximum pressure of 150 atmospheres, passes through the tap and the reservoir valve enters the first stage that reduces the high pressure to a pressure that is constantly higher than six atmospheres at ambient pressure.

The reductor is part of the same block of the regulator box, and is located near the valve.

The air, reduced to pressure intermediate by first stage, enters the regulator and is manipulated in the way we will see. This regulator is made of the same type of model Air King 61 air valve model.



During inspiration, a depression forms inside the pressure chamber (1), the membrane pressed on the other side by the external pressure deflects and constricts the lever (3) to lower.

But since the lever (3) is hinged at point (4), when it is lowered it moves to the balance by raising the other end, the one held by the spring (5), and interrupting the pressure exerted on the piston (6) which, pushed from the air pressure coming from the duct (7), it is raised, thus opening the flow of air which, through a right-hand corrugated hose, reaches the mouthpiece.

So the air jet is calibrated that during the whole inhalation phase the pressure chamber is kept almost constant and therefore that the air flow is continuous.

As soon as the inhalation ceases, the incoming air, no longer inhaled, cancels the depression inside the chamber, returning the membrane to its resting position. Then the lever (3) no longer forced downwards by the diaphragm and pushed upwards by the spring (5), is ticked by pushing down the piston (6) on the bottom with a rocking motion and the flow of air coming from the conduit (7). The cycle repeats with each inhalation.

The peculiarity of this regulator consists in the exhalation circuit: the spiration air through the left corrugated hose, as the model Air King 61, in the pressure chamber and exits them through the rubber disk valve.


The two corrugated hoses serve separately one for inhalation and the other for expiration and for this purpose each is equipped with a non-return valve.

The sensitivity of the appliance is easily adjustable by adjusting the screw (8) which compresses the spring (5). By slightly turning the screw you can also cancel any piston leaks. The reserve is controlled at the loins with the usual steel rod. Strap and position of the regulator are the usual ones.

Those models broadly follow the Spirotechnique Mistral scheme.



Model Air King 60



Model Air King B 60





Model Air King 61

The model Air King 61, built by the Mares of Rapallo as the previous models Air King 60 and Air King B 60, is a single stage (conventional double stage monobody) regulator similar in its constructive parts and in its operation to the famous Mistral.

The bi-cylinders, painted completely in yellow, is equipped with a connection to a single tap built in a single block with the reserva valve.

The connection is of the standard type. One of the variants of this appliance compared to the others of the same class is a steel bar provided with a joint that runs backwards along the cylinders. This wand serves multiple uses; on the ground to keep the appliance resting in a vertical position; in water to insert special ballast leads which advantageously replace the ballast belt. The system is very practical because in the event of an emergency with a simple click you free the stick and the leads slip away.


The regulator is balancing membrane type that, during inspiration, lowers, crushing the usual two levers which, through a pin, lower the closing piston of the dispensing valve. Once the inhalation has ceased, the membrane returns to its rest position and the piston pushed by the antagonist spring rises against the valve blocking the flow of air.

Unlike the devices described above, they expel expiratory air to the outside through a duck-beak valve. The Air King 61 has an expiratory tube that ends in the pressure chamber (1). When the left corrugated hose exhaust air arrives in the pressure chamber (1) in the expiratory phase, a superpression is formed which forces the rubber membrane (2) to flex and let the air escape through the holes (3 ). Once expired, the elasticity of the rubber and the ambient pressure of the water force the membrane to return to its original position and to close the pressure chamber tightly.

Another difference is distinguished from one-stage models: these to compensate for variations in the air pressure that occurs at the inlet of the delivery valve and the variations in the volume of air required at different depths (and consequently to allow an almost constant delivery sensitivity despite the occurrence of these variations independently of each other), successfully exploit the well-known Venturi tube principle.

The Air King 61, as its name suggests, was launched on the market in the 1961 season.


Pictures:  http://hardhatpeter.com/my-collection/mares-italy/


Model Air King "S" - Spillo - 1962

In 1962, the model AIR KING "S" version was released. With that "S" hanges the heart itself unit. All the mechanisms disappear of Mistral conception, lever controlled piston they give way to a simple horizontal pin, to emulate the two-stage almost exclusively of up-stream type present on the market in those years.

The long pin-spillo is controlled by the movements of the balancing membrane which gently provide the delivery according to the request. There are no seals and the corrugated are no longer such, replaced by smooth latex tubes inside and reinforced rubber on the outside.

Designed and built with absolutely new concepts. All the movable mechanisms, more or less common to the regulators, have been replaced by a single piece: a SPILLO (6), whose gentle turnaround movements, caused by the movement of the balancing membrane, dose the expiration of the air according to environmental and physiological needs of the diver.

Almost all parts of the appliance are stainless steel; the metal parts of the pressure chamber enamelled with a double layer of white plastic paint, the two circuits (inspiration and expiration) absolutely separate; corrugated pipes replaced with smooth pipes in double rubber latex and hard rubber and reinforced with a steel wire; no gaskets; balancing membrane with concentric moldings reinforced by special nails that guarantee a perfectly flat movement; hose clamps in Moplen; adjusting outside screw (1) to minimize the initial inhalation effort.




(1) Dispensing calibration screw; (2) Regulator cover; (3) Balancing membrane; (4) Membrane stiffeners; (5) Rubber fitting for autonomous expiratory circuit; (6) Pin/Spillo; (7) Regulator box; (8) Regulator valve seat; (10) Cover fixing nut; (12) Tube stop nut; (13) Connection nut; (15) Air filter; (17) Standard conection; (19) Box valve holder; (20) Exhaust air fractionator;






1. Just add Water: Mares - Von Frank Werthwein - TauchHistorie 04/2015

2. http://hardhatpeter.com/my-collection/mares-italy/

3. http://blutimescubahistory.com/schede-tecniche/mares-air-king-60 

4. I grandi erogatori made in Italy - Respirando italiano nell’epoca del Mistral - Testo e foto di Luigi Fabbri - HDS NOTIZIE N. 52 - Settembre 2012

5. Mares Air King B 60 - Air King 61 Manual 

6. Fabio Vitale

7. Bob Campbell's Drawings - "Copyright Historical Diving Society"


Air King "S" (1)

Air King "S" (2)



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