CELEBRATING 75 YEARS

FIRST TO DIVE

75 years ago we cut the cord. When Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnon invented the Aqua Lung, history was forever changed. This single piece of equipment launched decades of innovation, and empowered discovery by making the underwater world more accessible. Inventing the sport we now know as Scuba diving, Cousteau and Gagnon became pioneers of an aquatic revolution.

Our Timeline

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  • 1943

    French naval officer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Air Liquide engineer Emile Gagnan develop an autonomous diving system with a demand regulator, the scaphandre autonome. It would soon be called "Aqua-Lung," after Cousteau coined the word for English-speaking countries.

  • 1943

    The Cousteau-Gagnan demand regulator patent application is filed.

  • 1945

    The CG-45 regulator with the round housing goes into production. The name is shorthand for Cousteau- Gagnan and the year.

  • 1946

    Air Liquide, French producer of industrial gases, establishes La Spirotechnique. The principle executives are Jacques Cousteau, Emile Gagnan and Jean Delorme, managing director of Air Liquide. This marks the beginning of modern diving.

  • 1948

    The Cousteau-Gagnan regulator patent is awarded.

  • 1950

    Distribution of the CG-45 regulator expands to Great Britain, Canada and the United States. Rene Bussoz of Rene Sports in Los Angeles, California, becomes the exclusive retailer in the U.S. and creates U.S. Divers to manage his exclusive license.

  • 1950

    La Spirotechnique launches the Constant Volume Suit, (originally perfected by Cousteau in 1946) the ease of adding and dumping air makes it the first modern drysuit.

  • 1955

    The Mistral, the first regulator with a single stage to regulate compressed air directly from high pressure in the cylinder to ambient pressure for breathing, supplements the CG-45 regulator, furthering the popularity of recreational diving.

  • 1956

    The Silent World (La Monde Du Silence) created by Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle thrills audiences worldwide with undersea images in color on the big screen, helping to ignite a passion for diving. The film wins a Palme d'Or at Cannes and an Oscar in Hollywood.

  • 1956

    Air Liquide acquires U.S. Divers, marking the beginning of the company's international expansion leading to offices in multiple countries including Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.

  • 1957

    The SS 40, a pneumatic horse-collar flotation device, is designed for shallow water diving down to 40 meters.

  • 1957

    The Aqua-matic single-hose regulator is released and becomes the first internationally successful single-hose regulator.

  • 1958

    Jacques Cousteau and Luigi Ferraro participate in the founding of CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques), the World Underwater Federation, dedicated to organizing international underwater events and advancing technical and scientific research and development. It is one of the oldest and most extensive dive-training curriculums today.

  • 1958

    U.S. Divers combines the Venturi mechanism of the Mistral with the performance advantages of the 2 stage CG-45 creating the Aqua-Master, the bestselling 2-hose regulator of all time.

  • 1961

    La Spiro builds a state-of-the-art factory at Crépy-en-Valois, Paris region.

  • 1961

    La Spiro launches the Calypso-Phot amphibious camera; Nikon eventually buys the license, producing the much-loved Nikonos.

  • 1961

    The Calypso becomes the first regulator with a balanced first stage and is sold in Europe as the Aquilon.

  • 1962

    La Spirotechnique introduces the Royal Mistral regulator, an updated version of its namesake.

  • 1962

    La Spiro joins up with Technisub, an Italian manufacturer founded by Luigi Ferraro specializing in rubber and plastic molding, to manufacture fins, masks, and snorkels. They collaborate on La Caravelle, a revolutionary fin with a detachable blade.

  • 1965

    U.S. Divers introduces the Royal Mistral, a balanced single stage design differentiates itself from its French and US counterparts and is the final single stage regulator design used.

  • 1965

    U.S. Divers introduces the Conshelf IV regulator based on the balanced first stage design of the 2-hose Royal Master. This model is the foundation for all Aqua Lung regulators moving forward.

  • 1972

    A masterpiece of miniaturization is launched with the release of the Alizé single-hose regulator.

  • 1974

    La Spiro produces its first XL composite plastic regulator components.

  • 1975

    Technisub introduces the RAID tank system, with its futuristic features like a dual isolation manifold, innovative reserve mechanism, and streamlined housing; it is used extensively by the Cousteau teams for the next decade.

  • 1976

    La Spirotechnique acquires Fenzy, manufacturer of the modern buoyancy device and historical partner of the French Navy.

  • 1976

    La Spirotechnique moves from Crépy-en-Valois to Carros, Provence, in the south of France.

  • 1979

    La Spiro acquires longtime Italian based manufacturing partner Technisub.

  • 1984

    U.S. Divers develops an experimental tank system for the Cousteau teams utilizing 4 ultra-compact, lightweight rotationally molded titanium cylinders. The set contains the same amount of air as two aluminum 80's and weighs only 45lbs.

  • 1985

    U.S. President Ronald Reagan awards Cousteau with the Medal of Freedom recognizing his achievements in raising awareness on the irreversible effects of environmental destruction.

  • 1990

    Aqua Lung International acquires SeaQuest, manufacturer of innovative buoyancy compensator designs.

  • 1992

    Aqua Lung International acquires Deep See, designer of dive accessories specializing in boots, gloves and bags.

  • 1997

    Aqua Lung International acquires Apeks Marine, the UK-based premium technical diving brand.

  • 1998

    Consolidation of brands under the one Aqua Lung brand name, combines Spirotechnique, U.S. Divers, SeaQuest, Deep See and Technisub. The black-and-yellow individual Aqua Lung logos are replaced by today's blue wave.

  • 1998

    Aqua Lung releases the Titan, the new brand's first regulator that combines designs from two bestselling regulators: the La Spiro Spirotechnique Supra and the U.S. Divers Conshelf.

  • 2002

    Aqua Lung develops the Mentor 2-hose regulator in partnership with the US NAVY, its design is the last direct descendent of the original CG-45.

  • 2002

    The Legend regulator instantly becomes a bestseller at its launch. It is upgraded in 2006 with a patented Automatic Closure Device that keeps water and contaminants from entering the first stage.

  • 2010

    Acquisition of Whites Manufacturing, the Canadian developer and producer of drywear. The name is integrated under the Aqua Lung brand in 2015.

  • 2013

    Acquisition of Omersub, the leading manufacturer in the freediving and spearfishing markets.

  • 2013

    Aqua Lung's Details collection is released; it is the first complete line of women's dive products designed by women for women.

  • 2016

    Along with the newly acquired Pelagic Pressure Systems, Aqua Lung releases its new line of dive instrumentation.

  • 2018

    Aqua Lung celebrates 75 years of discovery with the 75th Anniversary of the Aqua-Lung.