Regulator MISTRAL, commercialized between 1955 to 1976
Commander COUSTEAU will launch his CG45 scuba suit in the late 1940s and early 50s intensively (Grand Congloué and Red Sea campaigns to name a few). He will quickly realize that he needs a more robust and easy-to-maintain regulator for future shipments around the world.
He then asks his engineers from SPIROTECHNIQUE to redesign the concept of the CG45. It is in this spirit that the idea of abandoning the double-stage for a simple one is born ...
Typology and chronology of plates manufacturer Mistral regulators.
There are 3 different addresses of the Spirotechnique on the Mistral label, more a variant for the address 27 rue Trébois Levallois (Photo 1). It took me 2 good years to make a chronology as accurate as possible, here is the work of my research.
The MISTRAL with the address 6 Rue COGNACQ JAY PARIS VII
In 1955 the regulator MISTRAL out of workshops located "Cours la Reine, BOULOGNE-BILLANCOURT" replacing the regulator CG-45 in yoke version.
It is the same address as the CG45 label, it is relatively rare which makes this version of MISTRAL relatively sought after by collectors. This regulator has been produced around 2500 copies (certainty until No. 2526, see photo 2).
Originally, the case of this regulator is closed with staples, because the collar (or necklace) was released in 1957. Today we meet the "COGNACQ JAY" with collar because later staples have been abandoned, less convenient for the maintenance of the regulator, without forgetting the fact that they often break when disassembling.
Note two more points more technical on this first generation of MISTRAL: the HP seat that is machined in the HP body and the pin hole in the rear bowl that prevents the HP body from rotating on its axel is absent on the first models then positioned at the top with respect to the inspiration nozzle (Photo 3), contrary to future versions facing downwards.
There is also a small series edited with a letter A at the end of the serial number, probably military, see professional (Photo 4).
Between 1955 and 1960 the regulator MISTRAL will be marketed in 2 different models:
-A standard version with a fixed metallic mouthpiece, called D 10 (Photo 5)
-A Pro version with removable mouthpiece, called D 10 P, to adapt the hood of the constant volume "PHOQUE" (Photo 6)
The Mistrals bearing the address 27 Rue Trébois Levallois (Seine) will be marketed from 1956 to 1967 and range from the serial number 2779 (Photo 7) to 26439 (Photo 15) with certainty. This address is available in 4 variants Mistral regulator whose details below, the variant of 1956, that of 1957, that of 1961 and the one of 1962. This last marks the end of the evolution of the regulator and resulted in the advent of the Royal Mistral in 1963.
The MISTRAL 56
In 1956 the SPIROTECHNIQUE moved into vast building in LEVALLOIS.
On the nlabel a new address is born:
"27 STREET TRÉBOIS LEVALLOIS (seine)" This is the "MISTRAL 56" This MISTRAL is identical to the "COGNACQ JAY", only the address of the label is different.The characters of the plate are in fine letters of the same thickness, the body closes with staples and the HP seat is machined in the body. The smallest serial number I know so far of MISTRAL 56 is No. 2757 (Photo 7) and larger number the No. 3789 (Photo 8) This means that this variant is probably the rarest ... but not necessarily the most sought after, at least for the moment.
In 1957 the MISTRAL evolves as mentioned before, with the release of the ring replacing staples, which allows easier handling of the regulator. But also, and more discreetly a new HP body with removable HP seat and ergot hole facing down on the back bowl. This new series of MISTRAL is also differentiated by their label: "LA SPIROTECHNIQUE" now appears in thick characters in relation to the commercial address (Photo 9). The smallest serial number I know so far is # 4623 (Photo 10) ... probably a MISTRAL produced at the very beginning of the year 1957.
The MISTRAL 61 or Super Mistral.
In 1961 appears the version with hoses with contiguous turns and tmouthpiece AQUA-STOP first generation (Photo 11 and 12): it is the famous MISTRAL 61, also called Super Mistral and bearing the reference to the catalog Spirotechnique model with mouthpiece D10E. This new tmouthpiece is a failure, it is uncomfortable and equipped with a phonic membrane ... that does not work!
It will evolve the following year in its second definitive version (Photo 13), with the offset mouthpiece of the axel to create a comfortable chin and the sonic membrane will be abandoned. Will be call this version of regulator the MISTRAL 62.
Note that the Spirotechnique will change under warranty the replacement of the tip first generation in 1962 (Photo 14), making rare the MISTRAL 61 with its original mouthpiece ... I found to date the number 10233 (Photo 11) and 14430 with a first generation aqua stopper.
From 1961, in the catalog of spirotechnics, there will be 3 MISTRAL models available for sale:
-The model with a fixed mouthpiece (also called standard Mistral) or Mistral D10.
-The model with a removable mouthpiece (also called Mistral Pro), or Mistral D10P, to adapt the hood of the suit constant volume "PHOQUE".
-The model with a tmouthpiece Aqua-stop (also called Super Mistral) or Mistral D10E.
These 3 models with the label 27 Rue Trébois Levallois (Seine) will be marketed until 1967 and the biggest serial number known to date is 26439 (Photo 15)
The MISTRAL 92
In 1964, on July 10 exactly, a law is promulgated for the reorganization of the Paris region is a modification of the territorial administration of the district of the Paris region.
This decree will come into effect on January 1, 1968. The Seine department, named since 1795, will be replaced by those of Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne). Seine-et-Oise (replaced by those of Essonne, Yvelines, and Val-d'Oise). Seine-et-Marne was not affected by this redistribution.
Thus the (seine) is replaced by the number 92 from 1968. It will appear henceforth on the addresses "27 RUE TRÉBOIS LEVALLOIS 92". The label of this MISTRAL (Photo 16) is rare in good condition because its paint is of poor quality and the plate has a tendency to oxidize quickly in the marine environment. This regulator goes from the serial number 26878 (Photo 17) to 32876 (Photo 18) with certainty. This address will be marketed only 3 years from 1968 to 1970.
MISTRAL MARIUS AUFAN
At the beginning of the year 1970 the SPIROTECHNIQUE abandons its dilapidated premises of rue TRÉBOIS in LEVALLOIS to move into a new building in the same town, where all the administrative services, as well as design offices and workshops will be grouped together. Officially, the abandonment of 27 RUE TRÉBOIS LEVALLOIS will be on March 1, 1971 for dealers (Photo 19).
A new address is born, it is the "114 RUE MARIUS AUFAN 92"
It will also be the last because in 1976, the SPIROTECHNIQUE abandoned the manufacture of the MISTRAL (and its professional branch) and moved to Nice in Carros, move that will end in October 1977. This address goes from the serial number 33342 to 39488 (Photo 20) with certainty.
National instructor version
This version of MISTRAL regulator is very rare and we owe this photo to Philippe ROUSSEAU. This is a "limited edition" series made by Spiro following an order from FFESSM that wanted to offer this regulator to its national monitor promotion majors. Even if I do not know on what period this gift was offered we can suppose that it must not have much ... and jealously preserved by their owners ...
MISTRAL Military version
According to the information that I have been able to find so far, the French Army and Navy have used several versions of MISTRAL regulators
- standard versions without any modification
- a "militarized" version painted black with GODEL mouthpiece and whose identification label was removed
- a version "mine clearance" with exit above the diver via a snorkel maintained by a float whose bowl was soundproofed by caulking
This Mistral German military version was probably for training. It has a DIN connection with an HP output for connecting a pressure gauge. Thank you to Pascal Guyaux for these 2 photos.
Scaphandre autonome COUSTEAU-GAGNAN in wooden boxe