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Weighted Dive Belt


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Brian Keith

 

I’ve had this weight belt set since about 1993. After seeing the post:  “I've never seen one of these belts before, a weighted US Navy dive belt with diver's knife?” by 6Th MG BN and the response by “Flange Guy”, I thought I’d post this set to see what I can find out. It looks like it is the Desco Commercial Quick Release Belt CAT. No.  59052 C. According to the catalog, it is patterned after the U.S. Navy Shallow Water Quick Release Belt. My example is made with neoprene coated belting.  Did the Navy use this type with the neoprene coated belting, or did it only use the leather belted ones? This example has seen a lot of use, weights are beat up and one of the belt tabs is broken. Five of the six weights have loops at the top for the suspenders. All the hardware is brass. One of the weights is marked: A. Schraders Son Brooklyn New York USA;  another:  A. J. Morse Boston MASS. , a couple: DESCO, (Diving Equipment and Supply Company).  A weight support on the back is marked: DESCO, (Diving Equipment and Supply Company).

Thanks for looking, Comments Welcome!

BKW

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6th.MG.BN

Now that belt looks like it would hold up better to salt water than the one I posted, which was just canvas.

Now this is the second of these belts I have seen albeit of being constructed of different materials.

Ken

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Brian Keith

Thanks Ken, your post prompted me to dig this out, photograph and post it.

BKW

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stratasfan

Very interesting to see! Here is a bit of info about Desco from wikipedia, but gives a bit of info about the company, and they did mae USN equipment in WWII:

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

DESCO is an underwater diving equipment maker which was first organized in 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as Diving Equipment and Salvage Co.

It was founded by:[1]

Max Eugene Nohl, a diver who lived in Milwaukee. In the early 1930s he had national publicity for his salvage operations on a sunken steamship, the John Dwight.

John D. Craig, a Hollywood movie producer, a pioneer in underwater photography, who wanted to film the possible salvage of the RMS Lusitania.

Jack Browne, a diver.

Edgar End, a physician who worked in hyperbaric medicine.

In 1935, Nohl, Craig and Browne designed a lightweight heliox diving suit to dive to the liner Lusitania, sunk in May 1915 by a German U-boat in 312 feet of water, 11 miles (18 km) off the southern coast of Ireland.[2]

On 1 December 1937 in Lake Michigan, Max Nohl dived to 420 feet (130 m) with DESCO equipment, breaking the previous record of 344 feet (105 m) set by British divers in 1930.[3]

In World War II DESCO made hardhat diving gear and oxygen rebreathers for the US Navy.

In 1946, DESCO was sold to Alfred Dorst, who expanded the company's product base of exclusively professional, commercial and military designs to supply a growing peacetime leisure market with water sports equipment. Introduced in 1947 and discontinued in 1960, the DESCO sporting goods range included regulators, masks, fins, snorkels, spearguns, aquaplanes and water-skis.[4] DESCO published a commercial catalogue in 1949[5] and water sports catalogues in 1949–1954,[6] 1955,[7] 1956[8] and 1957.[9]

DESCO continues in business in Milwaukee. They produce various models of diving helmets, and related diving gear, and represent Viking Dry Suits, Composite Beat Engel DeepSea helmets, and Broco Welding.[10]

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'Flage Guy

As far as I know, the laminated neoprene belting was used widely in the civilian diving business (it was very tough, pliable and required little-to-no maintenance as opposed to leather, which required frequent treatment with neats-foot oil). Some anonymous hand back in the early '60s discovered this belting, which was used for moving things like pharmaceuticals and food items, and it was the preferred material for making weight belts, ankle weights and other gear. I would imagine that the Navy adopted it at some point because of its durability and very low maintenance, and started ordering their Belts made of this stuff.

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Brian Keith

Thanks Elizabeth & "Flage Guy for the additional info.

BKW

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'Flage Guy

No problem, BK 👌

These belts were quite popular with the guys at a company I worked for. A friend of mine had 2 of them: one like yours (but a good deal newer) that he used with his mask (below) rig, as the wide harness straps rested comfortably on the shoulders, and one leather Navy surplus one that he used with his helmet- this one had the leather straps replaced with 1/2" nylon rope, making it much easier to fit around the breastplate, especially if the Belt had to be stripped off in an emergency.

KMB 8 #1.jpg

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