Deep Sea Diving

Desco Sporting Goods

After World War II there was a glut of surplus diving equipment on the market. DESCO was sold in 1946 to Alfred Dorst. Mr. Dorst decided to expand DESCO's product base and introduced products and equipment for the sports market.  DESCO developed a SCUBA regulator called the Airmaster. It featured a double hose which was common at the time. Other items included water skis, masks and fins, and spear guns. The sporting goods line only lasted about 12 years from approximately 1947 to 1960. No sporting goods items appeared on retail pricelists after 1960.

Excerpt a from DESCO history page in a mid 1950's catalog:

After the war, the company branched out from the exclusive professional, commercial and Navy designs to enter the booming craze far underwater swimming and spearfishing equipment. This growth was so successful that it expanded even out of water to include aquaplanes and water skis.

DESCO SCUBA Lungs and Air Master Regulator

DESCO D Lungs - Dolphin Lungs

The DESCO Dolphin Lungs first appear in the 1955 DESCO Water Sports Catalog They featured a DVM Browne Mask with SCUBA tanks. The mask demand valve had a snorkel for surface swimming.

By 1959 the Sporting Goods division was almost completely gone. The company returned to producing commercial surface supply equipment only. The B-lung rebreather hung on for another year or two.

Below are the demand valve masks used on the Dolphin Lungs.

First DVM Offered by DESCO

Light Blue text below is excerpted for DESCO catalogs.


Catalog No. DVM2

This integral part of the Dolphin Lung is offered as a separate unit in order to give a versatility never before offered to the shallow water diver. With this combination of DESCO full face mask and chromed demand valve, both self contained and surface air supply diving is now made practical using the same piece of equipment. It can be used with a small, portable compressor exactly as the DESCO U.S. navy type shallow water mask or combining it with one of the Dolphin lung cylinder arrangements, it becomes a fine, automatic compressed air type lung. The demand valve is mounted on the mask in a position that affords breathing ease no matter what position the diver may be working in. It is designed to work at a pressure of 60 psi therefore requiring a pressure regulator if used with an air supply greater than that setting.

Second DVM Offered by DESCO

This demand valve incorporated a snorkel device for swimming on the surface. The snorkel had a valve on the top which was closed manually before submerging. The purge button could be locked down for the mask to free flow.


Catalog No. DVM

The DESCO full face mask with demand valve is made available to those who especially want a piece of equipment that can be used in several ways. The unit as it stands can be used as a full face mask with surface feed air from either a large or small air compressor. In this way it will be similar to the DESCO mask used by the Navy. If it is to be used with regular compressed air bottles, it is important that a pressure regulator adjusted to 60 pounds be used, if a greater amount of pressure is to flow through the demand valve.

DESCO produced a third DVM design which was available till the late 1990's. It was marketed as primarily a surface supplied mask.


A lower cost option to the D Lung was the E Lung.

DESCO Airmaster SCUBA Regulator

For a short time in the 1950's DESCO produced a SCUBA regulator called the Airmaster. It was sold loose or mounted to a tank.

The Airmaster first appears in the 1956 DESCO Water Sports Catalog.

To download a copy of the original DESCO Airmaster Lung instructions in pdf click here.

Notice: These instructions are provided for informational and historical purposes only. The information contained in the documents is completely out of date and should not be followed. Only follow current training and practices when diving.

Diving antique equipment has additional risks due to dated technology and age & condition of the equipment. The equipment should be thoroughly inspected, serviced, and certified as operational before use. Extra care and precautions should also be exercised when using antique diving equipment.

DESCO Mark 10 Diving Lung

The 1957 Water Sports catalog introduced the Mark 10 Lung. It appears it may have been a marketing change for the Airmaster from individual sales to a package sale. Notice the artwork for the Airmaster in 1956 is the same as the Mark 10 in 1957.

Air tanks and Back Pack for DESCO Lungs

Saf-T-Eye Tank Pressure Warning System

In 1961 DESCO developed a SCUBA tank pressure warning device. The Saf-T-Eye was a device fitted to the yoke on the SCUBA tank. A micrometer style dial on the valve allowed the diver to check the tank pressure before donning the tank by dialing down until the indicator light came on. The diver would then set the device to a predetermined reserve pressure. When the tank reached that pressure the light would come on to warn the diver he had reached his reserve. The light was designed to be fitted to the Jack Browne DVM Mask, or any SCUBA mask of sufficient size.

In the left picture above you can see the battery holder and the indicator light in the left top of the mask. This setup is similar to the one shown in the four page brochure. The unit came with a Rego regulator, Saf-T-Eye, and DVM Mask.

In the right photo you can see the unit installed on a tank minus a mask. The setup in this photo is similar to the one shown in the two page brochure. The customer would supply his own regulator and mask.

Click on a thumbnail photo to enlarge. Use your browser back button to return.

Four page brochure for the Saf-T-Eye DVM 

Two page brochure for the Saf-T-Eye installation in a SCUBA mask

DESCO Water Skis & Aquaplanes

DESCO produces a full line of wood water skis and aquaplanes. They came with one of four different bindings. Here is a list of skis and bindings.

DESCO Water Skis

Ski Models

Cat. No. Model Dimension Binding
29123 Outboard 7” x 6’3” Sportster
29124 Turn-A-Bout 7 ½” x 4’8” Supreme
29224 Supreme 6’ x 6’ Supreme
29245 Sportster   Universal
29250 Pacific Flash 6” x 5’3” Supreme
29257 Slalom 7” x 7’ Supreme + Toe
29258 Shorty 6 ½” x 3’ Supreme
29259 Four Foot Flyer 6 ½” x 4’ Supreme
29260 Five Foot Flyer 6 ½” x 5’ Supreme
30000 Copper Clipper Tapered 7” x 6’ Supreme
30001 Copper Clipper Slalom 7” x 6’ Supreme + Toe
DL Leader 6 ¼” x 6’ Sportster


Cat. No. Model Notes
30002 Monopost Single nut adjustment w/ polished Aluminum hardware
59086 Supreme Anodized Aluminum w/phosphor bronze spring
59210 Sportster Two nut adjustment
   Universal One size binding


Tow Ropes