Jet Pack Jetpack belt Buckle / U.S. DIVERS Buckle.

intwenothor

Well-Known Hunter
Some Jetpack /U.S. DIVERS information for you. Factual corrections are welcome, as always.

I was looking for a real U.S. DIVERS buckle; the search was taking years and was somewhat on the back burner. I was also giving consideration to the jetpack harness and reasoned, not unlike many before me, that this could well be part of some kind of Scuba Harness. The logic being that the buckle and the harness were an original marriage. In my quest to further that idea I started looking into all sorts of old scuba stuff. A lot of the images I was finding featured backplates for tanks and air cylinders and I was wondering if the jetpack frame might somehow be part of one of those backplates and maybe a structure concealed inside the plastic (it isn’t so far as I can tell before you get excited). So I bought myself one of these old backplates to see if it concealed such a frame. Here is what I bought:

IMG_0852_zpsb0bb8772.jpg


and it came with this buckle:

IMG_0853_zps04eff275.jpg


IMG_0854_zpsaffac971.jpg


The buckle, I suspect is not original but it did make a penny drop: I'd always been searching for a 'U.S. Divers Weight belt' and I had seen a few in my time. The trouble was that they generally came with the weights attached and sellers often weren't willing to send the heavy item to me (or just selll me the belt and buckle without the weights somewhat strangely). I realised I wasn't looking for a weight belt at all but simply anything with a U.S. Divers buckle attached. Since researching this I have learned that at least some of this information was contained within the old Wiki but as it is no longer there cannot see if any images were provided (KAM “EZ” PAK – see below).


Here’s some background information for you…
We all know of the U.S. DIVERS buckle I am sure; it sounds suspiciously American to me but no: French. Most will be aware that the origins of Modern Scuba equipment lie in the hands of the famous Jacques Costeau and the slightly less famous engineer Emile Gagnan. Together they sold their mid - late forties invention under a company name of ‘Air Liquide’ and that subsequently made a sub division called ‘La Spirotechnique’ (stop me when this starts to sound familiar). La Spirotechnique then coined the term ‘Aqua Lung’ to market to English speakers and this phrase and term was subsequently re-branded as ‘U.S. DIVERS’. All five of the original North American Scuba equipment companies U.S. DIVERS (AQUA LUNG), DACOR, HEATHWAYS, SWIMASTER and VOIT are inextricably linked to one another (Technisub = La Spirotechnique = Aqua lung = U.S. Divers…. = “Air Liquide”). My explanation oversimplifies some of the issues but it would otherwise be too easy to get weighed down in details and licenses; best to accept that the U.S. Diving equipment we are looking for is French in origin or made by French owned and run companies despite the name of the firm or place of manufacture.


What I’m posting here are effectively the positive hits and not the negatives as they would be too numerous to go into but rest assured that there are a healthy number of backplates and tank harnesses in my house. Remember although I've always wanted the U.S. DIVERS buckle I was actually investigating the harness; I took a punt on one thing and got a result on the other - 'swings and roundabouts' as we say in Britain. Credit for the original 'U.S. DIVERS CO' find goes to C17LM way back in 2002.

Please excuse the old sheet; some of these items are filthy.


Here are the results:

1). ‘Aqua-Lung-Pac’ (U.S. DIVERS).

This is the ‘KAM “EZ” PAK’. Made in USA Patent No 3033431. Patent design filed 8th August 1960 and apparently granted 8th May 1962. In use Early 60s/early 70s.

IMG_0862_zps64d2a4c6.jpg


IMG_0864_zpsfee66adb.jpg


This is a back plate set up for a single tank and it featured the following buckle:

IMG_0865_zps808651cf.jpg


IMG_0866_zps7bcc9582.jpg


IMG_0867_zps6a789a7d.jpg



2) ‘AQUA-LUNG, U.S. DIVERS’.

Another ‘KAM “EZ” PAK’. . Made in USA Patent No 3033431. Patent design filed 8th August 1960 and apparently granted 8th May 1962. In use Early 60s/early 70s.

IMG_0855_zps68a6f7ff.jpg


IMG_0856_zps49240d89.jpg



Again this is set up for single tank. The nature of the wording on the brand and the prominence of the Aqualung over US Divers makes me suspect that this is a slightly earlier iteration of the brand markings but I have no proof of this; a hunch.

IMG_0861_zps8034a41c.jpg

(I just couldn't get a good focus on this logo)

Compared with this logo on the first example where US Divers has equal prominence.


IMG_0863_zpsa80a68a7.jpg



The item is pretty much the same as number 1 (above). This featured the following buckle (different):


IMG_0857_zpse2b903d4.jpg



IMG_0858_zps0c0a9ac1.jpg



IMG_0859_zpsf3c7a718.jpg



This buckle does not feature the top groove ont the back and there are also some differences in the typeface and words 'U.S. Divers CO':

The letters are spaced further apart than the first example and the engraving is deeper. The letters also appear slightly narrower and taller. This is easiest to see in the 'O' of 'CO'. On the first example it is 'O' and on the second it is more like '0': O0.

Here is the patent for this model of backplate:
View attachment Patent US3033431.pdf





I suspect the next two back plates are even older than the previous two but cannot fully substantiate this. I have based my opinion on the apparent crudity of the design and by comparing it to an earlier patent. Unfortunately neither of the next two bear a patent mark but they did seem to have more features in common with an earlier patent than the one above. The earlier patent (filed January 27th 1958 and granted 5th July 1960) is here for your info:

View attachment Patent US2864361.pdf

I've looked at quite a few old patent documents in this trail and there are others out there but the two provided illustrate the argument the best. The trouble with patent documents is that every document usually cites at least two other patents and before you know it you're miles off course.

These examples were also in a far worse state than the other two and are truly filthy although that is less conclusive of their age than the patent docs. I do believe these are all original with one slight exception.

3). Unbranded black back plate for twin tanks.


IMG_0873_zpsfff659dd.jpg


The lower black fastener is almost certainly not original. The entire bolt and lower attachment look to be a replacement.
IMG_0874_zpsab981161.jpg



The twin tankplate featured two buckles. They are unbranded but they are almost identical to the buckle of the second pack (2 – above) save that they have shinier finish. These buckles were in a hell of a state when I first got them and needed hours of clean up to get to this respectable state. I think they came up fairly well. These buckles were sewn into the harness and had to be cut out (both).

IMG_0875_zpsc8299982.jpg


IMG_0876_zps46ae8f33.jpg


IMG_0877_zpsc9eb9bd8.jpg


4). Unbranded blue back plate for single tank.

Despite being largley similar to the twin tank set up this plate appears to have a few refinements and improvements and is probably a slightly later design.

IMG_0868_zps0b8e3e3f.jpg


IMG_0869_zps3304960c.jpg


Came with the same type of buckle as the first EZ plate (1 – above). Again this buckle had some serious clean up done.

IMG_0870_zps5ee048ed.jpg


IMG_0871_zpse86353a0.jpg


IMG_0872_zpsf4c6d18f.jpg



Here's a good old fashioned comparison between the two U.S. DIVERS variants alongisde the unbranded model and the Full Metal Fett replica which is, so far as I can tell, the best replica offering presently out there.

Each buckle maintains it's relevant postion from left to right in every shot:

Unbranded------>US DIVERS Pack 2------>US DIVERS Pack 1 with rear groove------>FMF Replica.
IMG_0878_zpsac8729dd.jpg


IMG_0879_zps92f7be98.jpg


IMG_0880_zps41519bd0.jpg


IMG_0881_zps5b677ea2.jpg



and lastly as well as the two U.S. DIVERS CO variants and the unbranded older model there is at least one other know match for this part out there and that is the DACOR buckle; this one being the property of Deathproof and the photo's are reproduced with his kind permission - Cheers Aaron!

photo3_zps382c042d.jpg


dacor-1_zpsfaff4983.jpg


dacor-2_zpse0d8bbbe.jpg


dacor-3_zps576ebf54.jpg


dacor-4_zps8a23f673.jpg


Obviously the name is different but there are also some design features. The lift up flap has teeth to assist with grip and the underside has a groove similar (but differen)t to one of the U.S. DIVERS versions. These features would assist with grip considerably so this would appear a better design for intended purpose. The overall outward appearance appears to be pretty much identical to the other versions featured here so it really makes no odds which one you end up with; given that the buckle can barely been seen most of the time the version (or replica) you use will do the job nicely...

Live the dream

Andy
 
Last edited by a moderator:

intwenothor

Well-Known Hunter
Thanks Danzo, Some or maybe all of this info might have alreasy been put out but so many old threads have lost their images.
 

full metal fett

Active Hunter
Awesome thread. Will go through all the pics when I have my laptop,the phone just don't cut it.

Did you ever come across any examples of the Supertrooper/PP1 version of the buckle in all your research? As far as I know no one has tracked one down yet.
 

intwenothor

Well-Known Hunter
Thanks guys, I didn't find a PP buckle in my search but I wasn't looking and would have easily glanced over it even if seen.
 

TheCaptain

Jr Hunter
I recently bought an Aqua-Lung US Divers single tank harness.
I don't have a model number or any info on it.
What's interesting is that it had 2 US Divers buckles.
buckle harness.jpg

I removed the web belts and one was sewn into a "V" on the top of the harness where it feeds through. (the other is just a straight belt)
belt.jpg

The straight belt is 62 inches long, and the one with the "V" is 53 inches of usable belt (if cut at the "V")
I know the belt texture isn't what was used on the Fett costume itself, but it's more than long enough to be used instead of the seatbelt style

Here's the 2 buckles that came off of it
buckle1.jpg
buckle2.jpg


and the buckle backs
buckleback.jpg
 

intwenothor

Well-Known Hunter
Excellent, these appear to share more in common with Aaron's DACOR buckle than either of the two marked U.S. DIVERS CO types that I found (apart from The writing of course).

Andy
 

TheCaptain

Jr Hunter
I took some pictures of the 5 buckles that I have.
DSCF0544.JPG DSCF0550.JPG DSCF0547.JPG
The first 4 are real US Divers and the fifth one is a BooBooFett replica.
I say the first 4 are real because I bought 3 of them on scuba equipment. One of them was a forum purchase and I'm not sure that it is real.
The one in question is the first one and it has a different font.
DSCF0553.JPG

I find it interesting that all of theses buckle have slight variations, with only 2 matching each other. Those 2 were the ones I just purchased (seen in my previous post)
 

DiveTyger

New Hunter
Some Jetpack /U.S. DIVERS information for you. Factual corrections are welcome, as always.

I was looking for a real U.S. DIVERS buckle; the search was taking years and was somewhat on the back burner. I was also giving consideration to the jetpack harness and reasoned, not unlike many before me, that this could well be part of some kind of Scuba Harness. The logic being that the buckle and the harness were an original marriage. In my quest to further that idea I started looking into all sorts of old scuba stuff. A lot of the images I was finding featured backplates for tanks and air cylinders and I was wondering if the jetpack frame might somehow be part of one of those backplates and maybe a structure concealed inside the plastic (it isn’t so far as I can tell before you get excited). So I bought myself one of these old backplates to see if it concealed such a frame. Here is what I bought:

View attachment 135000

and it came with this buckle:

View attachment 135001

View attachment 135002

The buckle, I suspect is not original but it did make a penny drop: I'd always been searching for a 'U.S. Divers Weight belt' and I had seen a few in my time. The trouble was that they generally came with the weights attached and sellers often weren't willing to send the heavy item to me (or just selll me the belt and buckle without the weights somewhat strangely). I realised I wasn't looking for a weight belt at all but simply anything with a U.S. Divers buckle attached. Since researching this I have learned that at least some of this information was contained within the old Wiki but as it is no longer there cannot see if any images were provided (KAM “EZ” PAK – see below).


Here’s some background information for you…
We all know of the U.S. DIVERS buckle I am sure; it sounds suspiciously American to me but no: French. Most will be aware that the origins of Modern Scuba equipment lie in the hands of the famous Jacques Costeau and the slightly less famous engineer Emile Gagnan. Together they sold their mid - late forties invention under a company name of ‘Air Liquide’ and that subsequently made a sub division called ‘La Spirotechnique’ (stop me when this starts to sound familiar). La Spirotechnique then coined the term ‘Aqua Lung’ to market to English speakers and this phrase and term was subsequently re-branded as ‘U.S. DIVERS’. All five of the original North American Scuba equipment companies U.S. DIVERS (AQUA LUNG), DACOR, HEATHWAYS, SWIMASTER and VOIT are inextricably linked to one another (Technisub = La Spirotechnique = Aqua lung = U.S. Divers…. = “Air Liquide”). My explanation oversimplifies some of the issues but it would otherwise be too easy to get weighed down in details and licenses; best to accept that the U.S. Diving equipment we are looking for is French in origin or made by French owned and run companies despite the name of the firm or place of manufacture.


What I’m posting here are effectively the positive hits and not the negatives as they would be too numerous to go into but rest assured that there are a healthy number of backplates and tank harnesses in my house. Remember although I've always wanted the U.S. DIVERS buckle I was actually investigating the harness; I took a punt on one thing and got a result on the other - 'swings and roundabouts' as we say in Britain. Credit for the original 'U.S. DIVERS CO' find goes to C17LM way back in 2002.

Please excuse the old sheet; some of these items are filthy.


Here are the results:

1). ‘Aqua-Lung-Pac’ (U.S. DIVERS).

This is the ‘KAM “EZ” PAK’. Made in USA Patent No 3033431. Patent design filed 8th August 1960 and apparently granted 8th May 1962. In use Early 60s/early 70s.

View attachment 135003

View attachment 135004

This is a back plate set up for a single tank and it featured the following buckle:

View attachment 135005

View attachment 135006

View attachment 135007


2) ‘AQUA-LUNG, U.S. DIVERS’.

Another ‘KAM “EZ” PAK’. . Made in USA Patent No 3033431. Patent design filed 8th August 1960 and apparently granted 8th May 1962. In use Early 60s/early 70s.

View attachment 135008

View attachment 135009


Again this is set up for single tank. The nature of the wording on the brand and the prominence of the Aqualung over US Divers makes me suspect that this is a slightly earlier iteration of the brand markings but I have no proof of this; a hunch.

View attachment 135010
(I just couldn't get a good focus on this logo)

Compared with this logo on the first example where US Divers has equal prominence.


View attachment 135011


The item is pretty much the same as number 1 (above). This featured the following buckle (different):


View attachment 135012


View attachment 135013


View attachment 135014


This buckle does not feature the top groove ont the back and there are also some differences in the typeface and words 'U.S. Divers CO':

The letters are spaced further apart than the first example and the engraving is deeper. The letters also appear slightly narrower and taller. This is easiest to see in the 'O' of 'CO'. On the first example it is 'O' and on the second it is more like '0': O0.

Here is the patent for this model of backplate:
View attachment 42448





I suspect the next two back plates are even older than the previous two but cannot fully substantiate this. I have based my opinion on the apparent crudity of the design and by comparing it to an earlier patent. Unfortunately neither of the next two bear a patent mark but they did seem to have more features in common with an earlier patent than the one above. The earlier patent (filed January 27th 1958 and granted 5th July 1960) is here for your info:

View attachment 42449

I've looked at quite a few old patent documents in this trail and there are others out there but the two provided illustrate the argument the best. The trouble with patent documents is that every document usually cites at least two other patents and before you know it you're miles off course.

These examples were also in a far worse state than the other two and are truly filthy although that is less conclusive of their age than the patent docs. I do believe these are all original with one slight exception.

3). Unbranded black back plate for twin tanks.


View attachment 135015

The lower black fastener is almost certainly not original. The entire bolt and lower attachment look to be a replacement.
View attachment 135016


The twin tankplate featured two buckles. They are unbranded but they are almost identical to the buckle of the second pack (2 – above) save that they have shinier finish. These buckles were in a hell of a state when I first got them and needed hours of clean up to get to this respectable state. I think they came up fairly well. These buckles were sewn into the harness and had to be cut out (both).

View attachment 135017

View attachment 135018

View attachment 135019

4). Unbranded blue back plate for single tank.

Despite being largley similar to the twin tank set up this plate appears to have a few refinements and improvements and is probably a slightly later design.

View attachment 135020

View attachment 135021

Came with the same type of buckle as the first EZ plate (1 – above). Again this buckle had some serious clean up done.

View attachment 135022

View attachment 135023

View attachment 135024


Here's a good old fashioned comparison between the two U.S. DIVERS variants alongisde the unbranded model and the Full Metal Fett replica which is, so far as I can tell, the best replica offering presently out there.

Each buckle maintains it's relevant postion from left to right in every shot:

Unbranded------>US DIVERS Pack 2------>US DIVERS Pack 1 with rear groove------>FMF Replica.
View attachment 135025

View attachment 135026

View attachment 135027

View attachment 135028


and lastly as well as the two U.S. DIVERS CO variants and the unbranded older model there is at least one other know match for this part out there and that is the DACOR buckle; this one being the property of Deathproof and the photo's are reproduced with his kind permission - Cheers Aaron!

View attachment 135029

View attachment 135030

View attachment 135031

View attachment 135032

View attachment 135033

Obviously the name is different but there are also some design features. The lift up flap has teeth to assist with grip and the underside has a groove similar (but differen)t to one of the U.S. DIVERS versions. These features would assist with grip considerably so this would appear a better design for intended purpose. The overall outward appearance appears to be pretty much identical to the other versions featured here so it really makes no odds which one you end up with; given that the buckle can barely been seen most of the time the version (or replica) you use will do the job nicely...

Live the dream

Andy
Thanks Andy for the great post, I have wondered how old those AquaLung plates are,as I have one
 

intwenothor

Well-Known Hunter
Thanks Andy for the great post, I have wondered how old those AquaLung plates are,as I have one
Wow, here's a blast from the past! Thanks DiveTyger!

When I was looking at this back in '14, I had not realised that the part was already identified as the EZ back-plate [and 12 years earlier]! Essentially, I spent a whole lot of time researching something that had already been covered. If I had been a bit smarter in searching the forum, I might have saved myself some time. Back then, I was happy that I thought I had found something new and interesting; sadly, not the case. In retrospect, it was probably arrogant to think that this might not already have been resolved.

Finding the old patents appealed to my nature, but it didn't really expand the knowledge in any meaningful way, which is in keeping with other old posts I have done, e.g. flare guns and scopes.

The only additional point that was not covered in this thread, and which I could not have known at the time, because I did not have a Dacor buckle in hand, is that the Dacor buckle is the same width as the US Divers ones but is slightly longer. The width is the same becasue the strapping likely works on a common set of dimensions, but the length could have some variation. I think this was covered in other threads, but not in this one. I do not think anyone would notice this variation on a finished costume, unless there was another there for direct comparison. My preference is for the unbranded copies, on the basis that I could never see the US DIVERS text in the remaining costume pieces fromthe gallery [or couldn't at the time]. The guys who have been in the archive might have better insight on that.

I couldn't get that logo to focus because of the reflective nature of the badge. I'm sure a decent photog could have managed it, but not me!

Still, this was a fun little diversion - if you like that sort of thing.

Peace.

Andy
 
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