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All About Guns What's your weapon of choice, and why? Discuss the beloved speargun here!

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Old 01-27-2006, 03:50 PM   #1
Bill McIntyre
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Father of JBL dies

I received this email from Sam Miller, and thought it might be of interest to some of you.
*****************************
Bad news

Joseph Benjamin Lamonica passed away on Monday January 23, 2005 at his home in Carson City Nevada. He had been in failing heath for some time. He was 74 years old.

He is survived by his wife of 23 years and three sons.

JBL, the company he founded was noted for a very fine line of spear guns, which were originally marketed by Voit, later Mares and for the past 20 + years by JBL. The company was sold about a year ago, but continues under the JBL banner.

In his younger days Joe was an avid spear fisherman. In his later days he was a world class "adventure traveler."

Some of you may recall my article in the now defunct Discover Diving Magazine about Joe and JBL titled "The Man with the golden Gun." It presented a little history of Joe, his company but was directed towards the serialized gold plated 25th anniversary edition of his very popular "Sawed off Magnum" Spear gun. Only a few were made and presented at that time to diving notables of that era. I am happy to report I was presented with serial number 008--the first one issued outside the company.

Joe Lamonica, diver,spear fisherman, inventor gone at the age of 74.


Dr. Samuel Miller
divndocs@earthlink.net
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Old 01-27-2006, 04:06 PM   #2
Prodigal Son
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Re: Father of JBL dies

That's too bad. My first gun when I was in junior high was a Voit, followed by a JBL SOM.
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Old 01-27-2006, 04:22 PM   #3
Bill McIntyre
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigal Son
That's too bad. My first gun when I was in junior high was a Voit, followed by a JBL SOM.
I think Sam may have left out the first name of the guns. I still have a Swimmaster that I bought in Hawaii in 1961, and I think that not long after that the brand was bought by Voit. I'm not sure how many, but I had quite a few Voits and JBLs over the following years.

I think my first deviation from the succession of brands was a Riffe #2 in the middle or late 1980s.
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Old 01-27-2006, 04:41 PM   #4
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Im very sorry to hear that Joseph Benjamin Lamonica has passed away. The spearguns he produced are very fine. I love my JBL sawed off magnum. And I do not care what anyone says.
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Old 01-27-2006, 06:18 PM   #5
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Very sorry to hear of his passing. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Joe at the DEMA show in Orlando some years back. He was a real innovator.
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Old 11-15-2018, 06:33 PM   #6
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Re: Father of JBL dies

I just posted on this thread, http://www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=169719, but the images belong here as well. The gold-plated JBL "Sawed off Magnum" display spearguns only merited a brief mention in "Skin Diver" magazine at the time, but have now passed into the history of the sport.

Here are some photos of a gold-plated JBL that was auctioned on eBay some years ago. Personally I always thought that the "Magnum" was a great looking gun and have been a happy owner of two of them, despite having a lot of other more modern guns in my spearfishing arsenal. These important guns in US spearfishing history date right back to the legendary Jack Prodanovich who provided the inspiration for Joe's great design in terms of the gun's look and emphasis on safety as displayed by the design of the safety not to engage unless the mechanism is latched.

The guns shown in the third photo are, from left to right, a Jack Prodanovich hand-made speargun, a Swimaster Spearfisherman "Magnum" created after Jack gave the company one of his own guns to copy, and a JBL "Magnum" with the "true glide" plastic track which made a big difference to the guns as the spears no longer clonked on the barrel during the shot. This photo demonstrates the link that the Voit/Swimaster/JBL "Magnum" guns have with the pioneering efforts of spearfishing legend Jack (Drago) Prodanovich and underscores their importance in US Skindiving History.
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Last edited by popgun pete; 11-16-2018 at 04:53 PM. Reason: added the Spearfisherman Magnum photos
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:29 PM   #7
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Re: Father of JBL dies

I was just thinking about this topic when a memory bubbled up of a JBL speargun with a gold anodized barrel (in terms of the color) with black grip and muzzle as usual. This gun was in a sense a reverse version of the gold plated guns, but I had completely forgotten about it until now.

Does anyone else remember these gold barrel guns as I don’t recall an announcement about them, all I remember is seeing one offered on eBay?

I hope we see another commemorative edition as I will be looking forward to buying one, after gold there is ruby, so maybe a ruby red barrel which at depth will go black.

Last edited by popgun pete; 11-15-2018 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:46 AM   #8
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Quote:
Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
I was just thinking about this topic when a memory bubbled up of a JBL speargun with a gold anodized barrel (in terms of the color) with black grip and muzzle as usual. This gun was in a sense a reverse version of the gold plated guns, but I had completely forgotten about it until now.

Does anyone else remember these gold barrel guns as I don’t recall an announcement about them, all I remember is seeing one offered on eBay?

I hope we see another commemorative edition as I will be looking forward to buying one, after gold there is ruby, so maybe a ruby red barrel which at depth will go black.
What a great idea to honor and pay tribute to this man with a commemorative edition. I think JBL should make them both a gold AND a ruby red one!
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Old 11-16-2018, 02:06 AM   #9
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Pete,

Voit made a few gold anodized barrel guns. One I found in the trash about 2 years ago. (First 3 photos) A rather small gun about 34" overall with single piece trigger, simple molded plastic handle. Barrel is 3/4" O.D. and sealed with corks. The shaft is not the original, just one I placed in for the photos.


This same gun was also sold by Espadon, (4th photo, from the Skin Diving History website) US Divers also produced the, Atom model: http://skindivinghistory.com/gear/sp...vers-Atom.html


Voit also made another gold anodized barrel gun, the Voit Viking. (5th photo, from the Skin Diving History website)
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:08 AM   #10
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Matt the gun with the gold anodized barrel that I am referring to was a JBL "Magnum" and from memory was the same length as the "Sawed Off" model, so I took it for a special edition. The eBay auction described it as such, but did not elaborate. For many years Voit and other USA companies, such as US Divers, sold French spearguns under their own name, the Voit “Viking” is an example. The “Viking” was basically a Cavalero “Champion”, but US models often had small upgrades with changes in metal parts such as the triggers being stainless steel rather than cast alloy. Beuchat (Espadon, Peche Sport) also provided guns to Voit and some of the guns you show here are Beuchat models from their economy range which were cheap and cheerful. Often to freshen a product range the barrel tube colors were changed as it is not that expensive to do. Thanks for the comments on these small by our standards European guns.

Last edited by popgun pete; 11-16-2018 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:40 AM   #11
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Re: Father of JBL dies

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Originally Posted by kodama View Post
What a great idea to honor and pay tribute to this man with a commemorative edition. I think JBL should make them both a gold AND a ruby red one!
Yes, it would be a great idea, but JBL have discontinued the "Magnum" range and there is only a slim chance that it will ever make a comeback. Fortunately they have retained the tooling, so it is a possibility. When Jack Prodanovich was still alive I suggested that he make a commemorative edition of his own gun with a red or burgundy barrel tube and cocking stock, but Jack said product liability had become such a big issue that he decided not to make any more spearguns. My suggestion was the special edition Prodanovich guns would be the “3P” version with the buried (in the grip handle) trigger and the external trigger linked together by short flat bars. Unfortunately Jack passed away and his guns only carry on intermittently through Mark Dubbs who helped Jack make his last series of guns.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:50 PM   #12
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Re: Father of JBL dies

Dr Sam Miller (Baja Haha) wrote a definitive article on the gold-plated JBL spearguns. It was printed in Discover Diving Magazine, June 1994, under the title "The man with the golden gun." Later reprinted in International Freediving and Spearfishing News.

Dr. Miller writes: "He (Joe) made his first spear gun in 1948 as a school project. He developed the JBL gun for Voit in 1967, which was acquired by Mares who in turn re sold the gun back to Joe. Sadly Joe passed away a few years ago. JBL is now owned by Mr. Guy Skinner who is manufacturing a much improved JBL near San Diego.

Joe was the first to make a gold plated spear gun in 1981 to commemorate his 25 years in the diving business. Only 81 guns were produced and ceremoniously presented to spear fishing notables."

The guns were also available to anyone who placed an order for JBL spearguns to add to their dive shops product range and the guns are individually serial numbered from one to eighty one, assuming all were numbered. As to their value, well that was only established when the guns began to be offered for sale by their original owners.

Most of the effort in gold plating the guns was the buffing and polishing of the cast alloy parts to bring them to a high gloss, mirror-like surface finish which would be suitable for plating. An interesting project would be to triple chrome plate (nickel, copper, chrome) a stock JBL speargun to produce a “silver“ version and team it with a burgundy or red barrel tube and cocking stock, however the best place to start would be with a fresh set of cast JBL parts without the anodizing or epoxy painting.

Maybe something for a future “special” edition.

Last edited by popgun pete; 11-16-2018 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:09 AM   #13
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Re: Father of JBL dies

A search through my old files revealed the gold anodized JBL gun and here it is. Only the one image and the gun is a JBL 38 Special. Note that even the screw fasteners have been given the gold treatment.
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Old 11-21-2018, 10:05 AM   #14
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Re: Father of JBL dies

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Originally Posted by popgun pete View Post
A search through my old files revealed the gold anodized JBL gun and here it is. Only the one image and the gun is a JBL 38 Special. Note that even the screw fasteners have been given the gold treatment.


There is not a sane spearo who doesn’t want that gun. Even if it just as a mantle piece.
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:08 PM   #15
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Re: Father of JBL dies

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Originally Posted by kodama View Post
There is not a sane spearo who doesn’t want that gun. Even if it just as a mantle piece.
There must have been more than one manufactured and probably a whole batch, but what was it for and when? The gun still has its red plastic spear shaft screw thread cover and looks pretty new at the time, however I never saw another one. The body screws, trigger piece and safety lever receiving the gold treatment is something that would have taken some organizing.
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