Legends of Diving Articles


Robert Olson
The True Origins of Dacor Corporation

An underwater demolition diver in World War II stationed in the Pacific Theater, Robert Olson returned home to Evanston, Illinois at the

conclusion of the war and reconnected with his old neighbor Sam Davison who had also returned from military service. Olson's fascination with the water never left him, and he spent many a day at the shores of Lake Michigan dreaming of once again swimming deep underwater. He and Davison experimented with inverted buckets on their heads and hoses pumping in fresh air, but that did not allow them to venture very deep.

Not until Olson received his July 1953 issue of Popular Science, which featured a cover story about "How to build your own Diving Lung," did the friends

realize how to fulfill their dreams. Davison, funded by his father, followed the directions and built a workable air tank and demand regulator. A buyer at Montgomery Wards department store saw the unit and ordered ten, quickly followed by 300. By 1955, Dacor, short for "Davison Corporation" was born when the company introduced "Dial-A-Breath," a double-hose, double-diaphragm regulator that touched off a competitive manufacturing frenzy. Bob Olson will share the story of Sam Davison's successful quest to become a manufacturing giant.

Robert Olsen passed away on Friday, April 22, 2011.

This is the cover of the July 1953
Popular Science edition that can be
traced to the origins of Dacor.

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