Speak-Ezee masks are early Voice-Projection Unit masks developed by R. David Lewis in the 1960's. Much of the info in the following page comes from an article originally written by Mr. Lewis for Historical Diving Times, issue 53. Sections of it are reproduced here without permission. They will be removed upon request.

Mr. Lewis, in the 1950's, under the employment of Heath Company,  worked on a device called the SCUBACOM, which allowed for "PA" style communication between underwater divers, via speakers mounted on the exterior of their air tanks. In the early 1960's, through various channels, Acme Safety contacted him with the proposition of designing a similar communication device for inspectors of nuclear power plants, at the behest of the American Atomic Energy Commission. In his words:

"They wanted a small, lightweight self-contained mask mounted voice amplifier, with a microphone inside the mask and a loud speaker on the outside of the mask...

"The voice amplifier unit that Acme later sold was to be called a Speak Ezee. It was well accepted in the industry and won Acme and myself a national design award. Up to three units could be interconnected by wire to allow communications between workers up to a thousand feet apart, or to a safety director or foreman at a distance from the hazardous location and not wearing respiratory protective equipment. The Speak Ezee on the Acme Full Facemask was so well accepted that the largest manufacturer of respiratory equipment in the United States, Mine Safety Appliance Co., asked if Acme would manufacturer a similar unit that fit the MSA Full Facemask. Acme did and the MSA voice amplifier was sold as the MSA Clear Com, which had a light green housing to match the MSA rubber facepiece. It was identical to the Speak Ezee except for the shape of the molded housing which was designed to fit the MSA Mask. Next Scott Aviation, the manufacturer of the Scott Air Pak, wanted a unit that fit their mask. It was named the Scott Voice Pak and moulded in bright yellow. Finally Globe Safety Equipment, another manufacturer of self-contained breathing apparatus, purchased a voice amplifier that was designed to fit their mask. The result then, was that Acme ended up manufacturing voice amplifiers for almost all the mask manufacturers in the United States, and all the units could be interconnected and work together. All of this had begun with a design for a Diver’s Phone. Acme Protection Equipment also manufactured a number of custom communications devices for special use applications involving respiratory apparatus and eventually merged with Scott Aviation Corp., so that the communications department in South Haven, Michigan was eliminated."

Image and text taken from Journal of Diving History, Issue 68.

Image and text taken from Journal of Diving History, Issue 68.

To the right is a production model of the Speak-Ezee unit, molded in orange plastic and affixed to No. 6 Full-Vision facepiece. The filter is technically incorrect for a nuclear power plant inspection, as it only shields against tear gas.

Another view of the production Speak-Ezee on a No. 6 Full Vision. Note the knob on the lower portion of the speaker unit, this would be used to control the output volume. Adjacent to this switch are two cable ports of differing size, these would be used to connect wires to other units, or headphones for the mask's wearer.

A No. 8 Full Vision equipped with a later Speak-Ezee unit. This one is obviously less cumbersome to the user, as it displaces the weight of the unit from his neck to his breastpocket. Note the Scott/Acme logo on the speaker unit, showing that this one was produced after the merger of the two companies, but before the eventual annulment of Acme.



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