John started working life in the scientific department of the coal board, travelled from Newcastle to Sunderland for night classes to gain his HNC (Higher National certificate) and eventually worked in Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary servicing and repairing Medical electronic equipment then moving to a small medical supply company in Newcastle and later to another in Yorkshire. Soon after moving to Yorkshire the company closed down so he set up his own business not with any great ambition, merely to support his family. At a time when he was depressed over the death of his father, he needed some activity outside of business and in 1986 was persuaded by a work colleague (Steve Nixon) to join Bradford BSAC to learn to dive. One day he went to fill his cylinders and found members adding Oxygen to their tanks. He knew they needed to know what they breathing so brought in a medical Oxygen analyser and taught them how to use it. This led to him designing an analyser more robust than the medical version and not wanting to mix selling to the medical profession and amateur divers set up Vandagraph. The business grew as diving on Nitrox changed from being called “that dangerous gas” to a safer mix for “Technical Divers”. He was answering so many queries by divers on use of Oxygen that he eventually published a book on the subject leading him to be regarded as “The Expert” .When re-breather diving became popular, Oxygen Sensors that were never intended to be used at depth needed to be re-developed and John with Steve Nixon was in the right place at the right time to become involved. Vandagraph has always been about 10% the size of the medical Company, Viamed, but is proud to have had “John's” VN202 Oxygen analyser accepted for use with ventilators in the UK during the current pandemic. John married in 1962 and with his wife Jean enjoyed diving for more than twenty years both all around the UK with the Bradford club and the rest of the world.
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