The Gas Mask

An incomplete history

Before the Gas Mask: Fires and Fire Fighting

Before the gas mask, or "safety hood" as it was called when first invented, firefighters had to be more careful, many would die when going in from inhalation. They would often have nothing more than a cloth over their face, trying to keep out the smoke, soot and other harmful chemicals.
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Before the Gas Mask: World War 1

Before the gas mask was better use and better adapted, many soldiers would die from gases that were used. During the early years of World War 1, no one knew that poison gas would be used. Mostly Chlorine and Mustard gas were used. Soldiers needed something to protect them and keep them safe from the harmful chemicals. So that British decided to adapt the "safety mask" made earlier to help the allies in World War 1
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The Invention (Primitive)

When the gas mask was first invented, it was nothing more than a cloth that you put over your mouth and face. It was called the "safety mask". It was supposed to help with breathing, though it wasn't very good and is really nothing like the gas mask we know today. They were really nothing that would have helped in any gas situation. The inventor was Garrett Morgan.
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The Invention (Modern)

When WW1 was going on, the fighting was mostly in trenches, it was soon very very violent and bloody with the introduction of something most deadly than bullets; gas. Many men were killed during this and soon the British needed to use the gas masks to save their men. They were introduced but they were not able to save too many men until better gas masks were made later in the war. Prior to WW1 the gas mask was not a big thing or a very important thing to the world, important only to firefighters and rescue workers.
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After the Gas Mask: World War 1 (1914-1918)

After the modern gas mask was created, World War 1 took a turn towards the Allies. Gas was still used but not as many men died from gas as the war and the and progression of the invention of the gas mask wore on. This was a good thing and it benefited both sides of the war effort. Gas was used more as the war wore on too, with the progression on chemicals and chemical warfare.
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British Baby gas mask during World War 2 (1938)

During WW2, the threat the Germans posed to Britain was great. Fearing their citizen's safety, the government gave out gas masks to all of its citizens. But they were left without protection for babies and very young children. So the solution was something the looked more like and underwater helmet. The entire child would be put inside, only the legs would be exposed. This was to make sure that the child would be okay and could breathe, yet still be comfortable. They were never used, though they were made, mass produced, and sold.
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Mickey Mouse Gas Mask (1942)

During World War 2, just after the bombing of Pear Harbor, Walt Disney decided that if the world would to go to war, children would have to be protected. So, in a effort to do so, he made the Mickey Mouse gas mask. It was made to take away the fear of putting on a gas mask. It was supposed to be a game for children. Only 1,000 were ever made, they were first made without eyepieces and working respirators, made to fit children 18 months to 4 years. Because only 1,000 were ever made, they are rare and very hard to find. Most today are housed in museums across the country.
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After the gas mask: Fire Fighting (1920-present)

Now that gas masks are used in modern day fire fighting there is a much greater chance of coming out of a fire alive. Most people know that it is rarely the fire that kills, more often it is the smoke. Because of this gas masks are used in modern day fire fighting. They are not like the gas masks you see soldiers wear, these ones are more in tune with filtering out ash, soot and smoke from the air and providing oxygen. They don't look too alike and the modern day gas masks that we see fire fighters use are nothing like the original.
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The Importance of the Gas Mask

The gas mask is very important to life. If we hadn't have had it in WW1 the outcome would have been different, perhaps tipping to Germany's favor. If we hand't have had the gas mask large fires and small ones too. The gas mask, though sometimes overlooked, was a huge part of the past, present and future. Without it out world would be very different.
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