DESCO Commercial Rebreathers

DESCO began producing equipment for the U.S. Navy in 1942 to support the war effort ( see also the chapter DESCO Military Helmets & Rebreathers ) The Office of Strategic Services (forerunner to the CIA) needed rebreathers for covert operations. DESCO was contracted to design and produce the needed units. After that contract was completed subsequent units were sold to the Navy. With the end of WW II DESCO applied the technology to commercial and sport diving. SCUBA was still a few years away from wide acceptance. To supplement the commercial equipment business DESCO also marketed a line of sporting goods. The A-lung was targeted to this market segment. It was small and simple to use. The B-lung was the unit that DESCO developed during the war and was aimed at the commercial diver. The C-lung was a DESCO lightweight suit fitted with a heavy duty rebreather. In the late 40's and early 50's a fatal flaw in rebreathers surfaced. The breathing of pure oxygen under pressure caused a buildup of oxygen in the body actually poisoning the user. Several accidents caused manufacturers to reconsider the use of rebreathers by amateurs. This and the emergence of SCUBA compressed air tank diving spelled the end of production of rebreathers for sport use at that time. Today new technology has allowed rebreathers to make a comeback by onboard computers monitor the system thus reducing the risks.                                          ( info  )

The DESCO A-Lung

Also known as the Adventurer, and the Sportster Lung. This unit was designed in the early 1950's. It was a simpler, more compact design than the B-Lung. The unit evolved during its short run. Early units had a canvas breather bag, while later units had a vinyl bag. The A-Lungs were only produced for a few years in the mid-50's.                   ( info  )

The DESCO A-Lung ‘Adventurer’

Even though the photograph far right shows rather a breathing loop then a pendulum system, the inside of this modern looking DESCO rebreather is supposed to be identical to the A-Lung. The rebreather in the middle does have the single hose only of a pendulum system but next to where it enters the housing it shows an attachment at the same place where the return hose of the rebreather at the far right is connected. It seems that there was an option of using the rebreather with a breathing loop instead of the pendulum system. ( images & info  )

Above the DESCO A-Lung with a canvas breathing bag ( counterlung )

Above the same apparatus but with the later vinil breathing bag ( counterlung )

The DESCO rebreather with the breathing loop advertised as the ‘Adventurer’

DESCO B-Lung This is the unit first developed for the OSS and U.S. Navy during WWII. The first units used a oval mask with a nose bump out. ( images & info )

DESCO B-Lung first type

DESCO B-Lung second type. These later units were fitted with a modified Jack Browne mask. B-Lungs were produced until the early 1960's. ( images & info  )

DESCO B-Lung second type


The C-Lung is a DESCO Lightweight Suit mated to a rebreather unit on the diver's back. This configuration allowed the diver to remain completely dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ( images & info  )


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