Gas Masks: An Overview

The gas mask, a device to aid and protect the user from inhaling gas, smoke or other poisonous fumes, have been used for years by different people and for different reasons. The first use of poison gas in warfare began in Ypres, France on April 22, 1915 when the German army used chlorine gas to attack French forces, but gas masks were in existence long before that fateful date.

Miners, firemen and underwater divers all had a need for helmets to protect the face from harmful elements, provided breathable air and filtered out potentially lethal substances such as smoke and debris. It took a series of inventors creating useful products to address that need that resulted in the creation of the gas mask which went into full scale production immediately following the heinous attack by the Germans against the French.

Prior to 1915, gas masks were manufactured in limited numbers for firefighters, miners and to a lesser degree, deep sea divers. Obviously, the helmet created for deep sea divers had the additional task of keeping water from seeping into the mask, but essentially it performed the same function as the other devices.

Some of the masks created for miners had a similar hose attached to an air device so miners could breathe at depths where the coal dust was so thick that without the use of the mask, they would pass out in minutes.

The masks created for firefighters were the best of the early prototypes for the modern gas mask as they provided no clean air supply but rather ran the existing air supply through a series of filters designed to remove particles from the air and render it safe for human inhalation. This invention was the most produced version and then was mass produced for the army beginning in 1915 with only minor modifications to the filtration system to account for the removal from the air of chlorine gas and later mustard gas.

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Gas Masks Info provides detailed information on military gas masks, surplus gas masks, and gas masks for sale, gas mask manufacturers, and the history of the gas mask. Gas Masks Info is affiliated with Business Plans by Growthink.