By Tamara Collins
1974 Perfecting the Air Ring
Strange things come from hanging off a decompression line. While the nitrogen slowly dissolves from the blood, the mind conceives of some unusual ways to pass the time. Al Giddings had one of these visionary moments while decompressing off Fort Lauderdale in 1969. During weeks of filming, Giddings and the safety divers amused themselves by attempting to blow bubbles which resembled rings. By the time Paul Tzimoulis witnessed Giddings' hidden talent in Truk Lagoon, it was 1973 and Giddings had
perfected the art. Tzimoulis wrote about his complete bafflement,
Giddings' beaming self-satisfaction and step-by-step air ring blowing instructions in the June 1974 issue of Skin Diver. For divers the old adage would be decompression time is the mother of invention.
1964 E.R. Cross Joins Skin Diver
E.R. Cross first Technifacts appeared in Skin Diver in May 1964. By the time he joined the magazine, he had been a diver for 30 years and had written several books and articles on the subject. His first column was subtitled From a Master Diver and was meant to stimulate an interest in technical aspects of diving [and provide] factual answers to questions from SDM readers. A copy of Cross Introduction to Skin Diving and Advanced Skin and Scuba Diving was presented to each of the people who had their questions answered. His first column dealt with underwater communication systems and civilian jobs for Navy underwater demolition officers. Cross continued to be a source of diving wisdom for the next 36 years, and his sage counsel will be missed.
1956 The Pro Scoops the Scubas
Pictures of divers using double-hose regulators and ads of the cumbersome-looking gear can be found in Skin Diver as recently as 1970. Surprisingly, the first advertisement for a single hose reg appeared in the April 1956 issue of the magazine. The Pro was manufactured by Rose Aviation in Ohio by engineers who developed and produced Air Force breathing equipment. The ad claimed the Pro had a pressure reducing valve in the first stage, a demand regulator and exhalation valve, a small flexible airhose and a soft rubber mouthpiece. It was supposed to give divers the most natural breathing [they'd] ever experienced and all for only $22.50! Sounds good to me, so why did divers continue to use those bulky double-hose regs for 14 more years?