After the war ended in 1945 the company went into
compulsory administration forced by the Soviet Military
Administration (SMA), because they had made war-related equipment
such as compasses. So these were more or less the traditions of
making diving equipment in the GDR, more precisely in Leipzig. So
these were more or less the traditions of making diving equipment
in the GDR, more precisely in Leipzig.
25 years Nitzsche AG, anniversary Medal
In 1952, the VEB of the Central Medical Precision
optics has been assigned and the logo used until 1969 MEDI.
1952 - 1958 Head Office Precision Optics,
1958 - 1967 VVB mechanics,
1967 - 1969 VVB medical, laboratory and weighing
technology (VVB = Association SOEs)
In 1970 the VEB Medical, Laboratory
and Weighing was formed, the logo changed to MLW by1989.
The MEDI diving gear production began in 1954
starting with the MEDI Nixe “Mermaid”, a simple O2 rebreather.
The initialization came from the almighty SMAD that awaited of a
country with submarine escape experience (Dräger U- Boot Rescue)
that they could also build O2 rebreathers. By now MEDI had
developped and produced rescue rebreathers for mining and chemical
industry too and the designing engineers could use these
experiences. The Mermaid was produced until 1959.
This was followed by the first SCUBA gear with a
double hose regulator which was made in 1959: the MEDI 713.
It was exported in small pieces to other CMEA
countries (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) too, such as
former Czechoslovakia. MEDI produced it till 1965. With its two
3-l-tanks (150 bar, but 200 bar later on) it was intended for
short time dives till 20 m depth maximum. The MEDI 713 was a very
hard breather but good to handle.
Cut of the regulator Medi 713 with lever mechanism
The SCUBA lite MEDI 713 was followed 1965 by the
best product of MEDI, the modular (1- to 3- cylinders) SCUBA rig
“Hydromat PTG” (Pressluft- Tauchgeraet =
compressed air diving apparatus), first with a two-stage double
hose regulator “Hydromat 62004 G01” and from 1970 onwards
additionally with the single hose regulator “Hydromat 66”
MEDI produced this family till 1974 with some
light changes. Additionally MEDI/MLW produced cylinder valves,
full face masks, the “Penguin” dry suit and other gear for
MEDI and MLW later ran the structural development
of diving technology always on fairly low heat. The administration
would have preferred an entire stop because diving gear could not
be exported to other countries at least for foreign exchange. MLW
was much better off with medical and respiratory equipment. The
production of diving gear was ceased in 1974 . Only the RG-UF/M as
a LVO task (national defense organization) was continued till
The lack of development capacity, the uncertainty due to lack of tradition and lack of modern
materials and technologies resulted to not so innovative products relating to the world
market. MLW therefore served only for captive consumption in the GDR.
But even that was an illusion. Between the military and professional on one side and private use on the other, there was the GST (Society for Sport and Technology, training organizations,
etc. for diving) and the diving clubs of major industrial companies, the'' centers of the working class'', and their institutions.
Even they suffered a permanent lack of equipment for training. Courses
held at the sea sport schools were dependant to the availability of equipment.
The replacement of MEDI713 by the more modern Hydromat series took many years.
for MEDI-Hydromat 1964
For the private use of sport divers in the GDR was hardly anything left of this production.
Other manufacturers for diving equipment were
not available and they were impossible to obtain in the other socialist
countries as well.
In addition to economic constraints but also resulted from the exaggerated distrust of government,
which they also had for gliders, hang-gliders and ocean sailing boats. Such devices
could be used for escaping to the west. What remained, was the private competition for MLW by “do it yourself” diving gear in
fairly large scale. That was propagated itself in the diving newspaper GDR, POSEIDON,
long time, was normal. The entire range was “manufactured”, double hose, single hose
regulators, suits, fins, cameras, cine cameras, compressors, scooters, navigation devices,
In 1974, therefore, the production of the Hydromat family was discontinued rather abruptly
After the changes in 1990, the combinate MLW was shattered
by the “Treuhand” (Org. for handling the state-owned industry of the ended German
Democratic Republic). The rest of the diving technology disappeared
completely in the scrap presses.
These are the different versions of the Hydromat
in different chromes:
Details of the Version 0
1. VEB Medizintechnik
Leipzig - a German Story by Dr. Lothar
Seveke - www.altes.tauchen.seveke.de