|Front View: Closed||Rear View: Closed|
|Front View: Open for Rigging||Rear View: Open for Rigging|
I acquired my Omer 1 descender from John E. Weinel in 1991.
My Omer 1 is 270 mm. tall, 150 mm. wide, 45 mm. thick, and weighs 1055 g.
The Omer 1 is made from three pieces of milled aluminum - body, control lever, and front plate - and several minor stainless steel components. The body is made from 19 mm. aluminum milled to a tall irregular shape. The lower portion of the body has a subtriangular projection with an odd screw-locked quick-release swivel eye. The main portion of the body has a 13.5 mm. deep milled cutout for the rope path and lever assembly. The upper "chimney" portion has five 12.2 mm. diameter milled bollards on 23.5 mm. centers, with a 10 mm. rope channel around each. The top four bollards are circular so the rope can pass on either side of each (sixteen possible combinations), but the lower one has a fence that forces one to run the rope around the lower bollards. Below the lowest bollard, the rope follows an "S" shaped path around a non-circular projection on the control lever and a 12.5 mm. diameter corner milled into the frame. The rope then leaves the left side of the Omer 1 at a 90° angle.
The control lever and front plate pivot on an 7 mm. stainless steel bolt. The control end extends upward along the right side of the chimney. This end has a rounded-square cross section. A small hole near the top end probably served as an alignment hole for machining. The working end of the lever has two projections. The rope runs around the upper one as mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Squeezing the lever against the handle causes this projection to force the rope against a curved cutout milled in the frame. During use, the rope friction against the upper projection will cause the lever to open. When this happens, a concave surface in the lower projection forces the rope against the 12.5 mm. corner.
The front plate covers the rope channel and working end of the lever. Four slots in the cover allow mud to escape. There is a small slot at the top left-hand corner of the cover that engages a mushroom pin set in the frame. Four holes drilled through cover plate align with holes centered in the top four bollards, and a fifth hole aligns with a hole at the center of the 12.5 mm corner. A sixth hole near the left-hand base of the chimney aligns with a spring-loaded square-headed pin in the frame. A hex-head cap screw in the back of the frame holds the pin and spring in place. The inside of the cover is beveled so that it depresses the pin so the pin automatically engages when the cover is closed. To release it, one needs a small sharp object to depress the pin.
The Omer 1 is painted with a black, textured paint. I don't like the marks this leaves on my ropes. The front cover is marked "Omer 1." The swivel eye is marked "Gibb" and "England" on one side and stamped "BG36" on the reverse.
The Omer 1 is an unusual device. In use, the rope is completely enclosed. Squeezing the lever toward the top of the frame squeezes the rope between the cam and the frame in one place, and opening the lever squeezes it in another. To rappel, the lever must be held in an intermediate position. Some people might like this, I think it is a nuisance. The Omer 1 works best on smaller ropes (say, 9 mm.), and on more flexible ropes.
I don't like the quick-release swivel eye. It may be safe enough, but I just don't trust it, since it seems too easy to accidentally open.
My Omer 1 does not have a sticker on it, but the picture at right shows a sticker on another one.
The Omer 1 is Israeli. In January 2007, I received the following email
from Amnon Zohar. It provides additional information on the history of the Omer 1:
I can add to your knowledge from first hand about the OMER 1.
In the early 90’s, I financed the manufacturer who CNC milled it for a special police unit. It was invented and developed by the head of the unit at that time. He named it after his son Omer.
The small sharp object that would release the cover was a 5.56 bullet! Very handy in combat circles.
The quick release gib is not very safe, but very useful in commando action when releasing quickly from the rope is essential!
When he was released from service, he tried to sell the idea of the Omer 1, but without a patent you can see in your collection that his invention was stolen.
Major disadvantage of the device: a finger tends to get between handle and chimney! Rather painful or dangerous.
I like the idea behind the mechanism- no springs! Maybe there is a place for further development.
p.s. I got mine with the original harness that was supplied with the Omer. It has a bag with top hole closed with a velcro flap that hold a 30m 9mm flexible green rope that is pulled out while rappelling so the rope is only seen after the man is already there. Useful for surprise entry to a window coming from the roof. The harness also has a pistol sheath on the right side.
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