Skin Diver's Nuggets of Yesteryear


Each month Skin Diver looks back through its pages searching for those little nuggets of yesteryear-old equipment, trends of the time, new discoveries-that echo the times and may surprise or shock us. It's good to know your roots and how discoveries of old have helped shape diving today.

1973 - PUMP IT UP

The divers who paved the way for us braved the elements with none of our splendid gadgetry. Even something as simple as a BC power inflator was a major advancement. Before the early '70s, divers had to inflate their buoyancy compensators either orally or by detonating a CO2 cartridge. Skin Diver featured one of the first inflators, Scubapro's Quick-Disconnect, in June 1973. This innovative company, which was already 10 years old in 1973, brought divers safety and convenience with the push of a button. In our race for more technology we often take for granted the little things that bring us comfort underwater.


For 12 years Skin Diver appeared on the newsstands with only its covers in color; sometimes even those were only a duotone. Inside, all those fantastic underwater scenes were displayed in black and white, limiting readers to a murky representation of the real majesty of the underwater world. In October 1963 the cover of The New Skin Diver appeared with the words "Special Bonus: Underwater Color Photos!" It was also the first issue to display something very familiar to us now-the Petersen logo. Two of the photographs that appeared in this issue were taken by men who are near and dear to us now: Paul Tzimoulis and Jim Church.


The Divers Down Flag has evolved into more than a mere safety device. It is now a diver's mark of distinction. But where did the idea begin? The September 1957 editorial mentions a diver from Michigan whose club newspaper included articles on "a divers flag that would...indicate the location of the underwater man...." Skin Diver asked for suggestions on the design of a national flag and created a raging debate. Divers were asked to choose between the Seven Flag, which had a vertical stripe down the middle, and Michigan's Divers Flag, which sported a diagonal stripe. The debate was finally settled in February 1958 and the Divers Flag has been a symbol of diving ever since.