early goggling

Guy Gilpatric (1896-1950) was a pilot and author with an overwhelming interest in diving and a particularly rigorous regime.


“I had always lived the outdoor life when I wasn’t in the house, never drinking anything stronger than whisky except vodka and rarely smoking more than one cigarette at a time”.

One chapter in his book The Compleat Goggler was entitled thus: Garglings of a garrulous goggler, witnessing wonders, telling lies, exploring wrecks and hunting treasures.

Medusa goggles found here

“I must explain that goggle fishing doesn’t mean fishing for goggles….. it’s fishing with a spear and watertight eyeglasses. I made my first pair from an old pair of flying goggles, plugging up the ventilating holes with putty and painting over them.”

template for making WW1 aviation goggles here

Some of these early gogglers were not immune to divers’ tales. The Blanchet brothers say they wrestled an enormous groper for two hours before landing him. When they got him home, he sprang back into life, wrecked the kitchen, chased Mother Blanchet three times around the parlour and ate a framed chromo-lithograph of the battle of Austerlitz before they calmed him with an axe.

image of groper found here

Alec Kramarenko made a cast of his face so that he could mould his device to its contours. He constructed a face mask out of celluloid, dissolving photographic film in acetone and painting it layer by layer on to the cast. Then he made a lead mould into which he poured molten rubber.

learn how to mould paint splatter in photoshop here

Others took to the seas with pitchforks, ski poles and a type of  spear gun that Kramarenko invented. An English yachtsman bought two guns and employed beaters to drive mullet towards him as of they were grouse. He caught 70 fish in a day. ‘We were vastly cheered,’ Gilpatric admitted, ‘to learn that one of the gunmen had shot himself in the foot.’


Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm  Comments (34)  
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34 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. But where are the beer goggles? Have helped my social life on more than one occasion…

    • tut tut daisyfae, no one needs beer goggles when you’re around 😉

  2. The fish would have been right if it ate a chromo lithograph of the Last Supper.

    • I don’t even know what a chrome-lithograph is but it doesn’t sound very tasty

  3. Known a few gropers in my time…

    The King

    • Still, probably not as many as I’ve known…..

  4. Seeing that huge groper, I’m reminded of a show where a scientist goes after and studies giant, mysterious fish in rivers around the world.

    • A recent show or an old David Attenborough one?

  5. I love the look of old goggles!

    And the fish eating the litho is hilarious. 🙂

    • He actually died of indigestion

  6. I think that groper was framed and I blame Mother Blanchet. I bet she’d been wanting to get rid of that chromo-lithograph for years – and she probably thought she’d smash up the kitchen while she was at it, just as an excuse to get a few mod cons.

    • Oh you are so far ahead of the game zmkc

  7. I think people who only smoke crack on mountaintops are really healthy, too. It’s when you smoke it in the living room…tsk,tsk.

    • It’s ok to smoke it in the living room if you use one of those ioniser things. Or spray some Glen 20 around afterwards. Or so I heard.

  8. I’m sure the parlour was much improved by the removal of the Austerlitz picture.

    • Ah but there was no mention of their other artworks….

  9. Those aren’t Medusa goggles, they’re one of the early brassiere prototypes. I understand they weren’t very comfortable and a few modifications were needed.

    • Howard Hughes would be the man for that job

  10. I want some Medusa goggles!!!!

    • What you want and what you get will be two very different things daddyp!

  11. Gilpatric was not very nice. Imagine being cheered by another’s mishap with a firearm! (Unless he was “cheered” that the injury wasn’t worse, that dude needs to wear compassion goggles.)

    • Oh I don’t know Mitzi. Using a shotgun to catch fish seems most unsporting to me.

  12. One can only gasp in admiration at his ascetic life!

    • Enviable, wasn’t it?

  13. I admit to never having drunk anything stronger than Whisky. And I only ever smoked more than one cigarette at a time once! I shall stay muffled on my other vices which DID include a form of diving.

    • Stay muffled…. hahahahahahaha

  14. We shall all now be wearing RFC goggles on the Mobile Library!

    • Make me a pair too will you Kevin?

  15. If Husband could catch 70 fish in one day, that would satisfy him in more than one way for the entire year…

    • would you be expected to cook them all for him too?

  16. I can think of a few excitable individuals I’d like to calm with an axe.

  17. Could a fish actually “chase” someone out of water?

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