Chronology and Typology
marketed from 1955 to 1976
Commander COUSTEAU will show off his CG45 autonomous diving unit in the late 1940s and early 1950s intensively (Grand Congloué campaign and in the Red Sea to name a few). He will quickly realize that he needs a more robust and easier to maintain regulator for his future expeditions around the world.
He then asked his LA SPIROTECHNIQUE engineers to redesign the design of the CG45. It was in this spirit that the idea of abandoning double-stage extansion was born for that of a single-stage…
Typology and chronology of manufacturer label for Mistral regulators.
There are 3 different "La Spirotechnique" addresses on the Mistral label, plus a variant for the address 27 rue Trébois Levallois ( Photo 1 ). It took me 2 good years to make the most precise chronology possible, here is the work of my research below.
The MISTRAL with the address 6 Rue COGNACQ JAY PARIS VII
In 1955 the MISTRAL regulator leaves the workshops located "Cours la Reine, in BOULOGNE-BILLANCOURT" to replace the CG-45 regulator in yoke version.
It is the same address as that of the CG45 label, it is relatively rare which makes this version of MISTRAL relatively sought after by collectors. This regulator was produced around 2,500 copies (certainty up to N ° 2526 , see photo 2 ).
Originally, the housing of this regulator closes with staples, because the rod (or collar) did not come out until 1957. We nowadays encounter “COGNACQ JAY” with rod because later the staples have been abandoned, less practical for the maintenance of the regulator, without forgetting the fact that they often break on disassembly.
Note two other more technical points on this first generation of MISTRAL: the HP seat which is machined in the HP body and the hole in the lug in the rear bowl that prevents the HP body from pivoting on its axis is absent on the first models then positioned at the top relative to the inspiration nozzle ( Photo 3) , unlike future versions oriented downwards.
There is a small series published with a letter A at the end of the serial number, probably military, see professional ( Photo 4 ).
Between 1955 and 1960 the MISTRAL regulator will be marketed in 2 different models:
-A standard version with a fixed tip, called D 10 tip ( Photo 5 )
-A Pro version with removable mouthpiece, called tip D 10 P, to adapt 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 serial number 2779 ( Photo 7 ) to 26439 ( Photo 15 ) with certainty. This address is available in 4 variants of Mistral regulator of which you will find the details below, the variant of 1956, that of 1957, that of 1961 and that of 1962. The latter marks the end of the evolution of the regulator and led to the advent of the Royal Mistral in 1963.
In 1956 SPIROTECHNIQUE moved into large premises in LEVALLOIS.
On the manufacturer's label a new address is born:
"27 RUE TRÉBOIS LEVALLOIS (Seine)" . This is the "MISTRAL 56". This MISTRAL is identical at the "COGNACQ JAY", only the address of the label is different. The characters on the label are in thin letters of the same thickness, the case closes with staples and the HP seat is machined in the body. The lowest serial number I know to date from MISTRAL 56 is N ° 2757 ( Photo 7 ) and larger number N ° 3789 ( Photo 8 ). Which means that this variant is probably the rarest ... but not necessarily the most sought after, at least for now.
In 1957 the MISTRAL evolved as mentioned above, with the release of the rod in replacement of the clips, which allows easier handling of the regulator. But also, and more discreetly, a new HP body with removable HP seat and the hole in the lug pointing down on the rear bowl. We also differentiate this new series of MISTRAL by their label: the "LA SPIROTECHNIQUE" now appears in thick letters compared to the commercial address ( Photo 9 ). The smallest serial number I know to date is N ° 4408 ( Photo 10 ) ... probably a MISTRAL produced at the very beginning of 1957.
The MISTRAL 61 or Super Mistral.
In 1961, the version with hoses with adjoining turns and AQUA-STOP mouthpiece first generation appeared ( Photo 11 and 12 ): it is the famous MISTRAL 61, also called Super Mistral and bearing the reference to the Spirotechnical catalog model with tip D10E . This new tip is a failure, it is uncomfortable and equipped with a sound membrane ... which does not work!
It will evolve the following year in its second final version ( Photo 13 ), with the tip offset from the axis to create a comfortable chin strap and the phonic membrane will be abandoned. This is called the MISTRAL 62 version.
Note that "La Spirotechnique "will change under warranty the replacement of the first generation mouthpiece 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 aquastop mouthpiece.
There will therefore be from 1961 in the catalog of the "La spirotechnique" 3 models of MISTRAL offered 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 to the constant volume "PHOQUE".
-The model with an Aqua-stop mouthpiece (also called Super Mistral) or Mistral D10E.
These 3 models with the plate 27 Rue Trébois Levallois (Seine) will be marketed until 1967 and the biggest serial number known to date is 26439 ( Photo 15 )
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 force on January 1, 1968. The Seine department, so named since 1795, will be replaced by those of Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne) and 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 now appear 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 also tends to oxidize quickly in the marine environment. This regulator goes from serial number 26878 ( Photo 17 ) to 32948 ( Photo 18 ) with certainty. This address will only be marketed for 3 years from 1968 to 1970.
MISTRAL MARIUS AUFAN
At the beginning of 1970, SPIROTECHNIQUE abandoned its oldest building on "rue TRÉBOIS in LEVALLOIS" to move to a new building in the same town, where all administrative services, as well as design offices and workshops will be grouped together. Officially, the abandonment of 27 RUE TRÉBOIS LEVALLOIS will do so on March 1, 1971 for resellers ( Photo 19 ).
A new address is therefore born, it is “114 RUE MARIUS AUFAN 92”
It will also be the last because in 1976, SPIROTECHNIQUE abandoned the manufacture of MISTRAL (as well as its professional branch) and moved to Nice in Carros, moving which will end in October 1977. This address goes from serial number 33342 to 39488 ( Photo 20 ) with certainty.
Special cases of MISTRAL regulators
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 the FFESSM which wanted to offer this regulator to its majors promoting national instructors. Even if I don't know over what period this gift was offered, we can assume that it must not have been very much ... and jealously kept by their owners ...
Military MISTRAL regulator
According to the information I have found so far, the French army and navy have used several versions of MISTRAL regulators, including
- standard versions without any modification
- a "militarized" version with GODEL mouthpiece, painted black and whose identification plate was removed
- a "demining" version with exit above the diver via a snorkel maintained by a float whose bowl was soundproofed by caulking
Military MISTRAL regulator
German Military version of the Mistral regulator.
This regulator was probably intended for training. It has a DIN connection with an HP output for connecting a pressure gauge. Thanks to Pascal Guyaux for these 2 photos.
COUSTEAU-GAGNAN scaphandre autonome in wooden boxe.
Description of the operation of the Mistral
This regulator allows, using an injector, to easily and regularly supply sufficient air, which is automatically relaxed in the lungs of the diver.
Its dorsal position ensures maximum respiratory comfort, the membrane being at the level of the bronchi.
It consists of a single expansion stage which transforms the high pressure. Slave flow control under very low pressure, supplied on demand, air at prevailing ambient pressure at any depth.
Its ease of use effectively eliminates the risk of shortness of breath.
Its design cannot cause a lack of air, its circuit open to expiration, leads bubbles out of the field of vision.
Schematic diagram of the Mistral