Skin Diver's Nuggets of Yesteryear

BY TAMARA COLLINS

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.

1963 - A SPLASH OF COLOR

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.

1957 - DIVERS DOWN

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.