The Errol Flynn Of Sponge Divers


I scored some pretty cool National Geographics last weekend, including this one from January 1947. Although I’ve seen the yellow and black covers throughout my life, including an entire wall in my grandparents’ den, I know of no one my age who ever sat down and actually read one. Perhaps the boys flipped through them for images of topless tribal women, but not to read what I have realized are 50 page articles. FIFTY PAGES!! I guess that’s what you did in days before TV and WordPress and facebook updates. You sat and read about sponge diving for six days solid. I don’t have that kind of time, but I did learn from looking at pictures that a tube went directly from their helmets into their butts.


I also found out that ladies were paid to fashion sponges into fluffy wreaths, fit for a Christmas tree.

NatlGeoJan47-038 Uh-oh, happy hour is about to start. Come back tomorrow for our final installment of sponge culture.


22 thoughts on “The Errol Flynn Of Sponge Divers

    1. Right? I hate sponges. Nasty bacteria traps. I use a plastic brush and steel wool to wash dishes. Sponges harbor disease. At least that’s what I told my husband when he fought valiantly to retain them.


  1. He does look like Errol. I saw him on TCM this morning. Sponge diving seems like something he would do. I haven’t seen a real sponge in years. I only used them for car washing. As for dishes I am with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just the post title and picture got me laughing too much (at a place where I shouldn’t have been… a group study room on the med school campus), but really I’m just blown away by your incredible photo library. Your blog is like an incredible archive of our culture!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve thought about that… someday people are going to be looking at these blogs to get a sense of culture in the 2010’s. I think you’ll confuse them a lot!

        Liked by 1 person

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