1800s: Rescue Masks

“This pair of early rescue masks dates from between the mid-1800s and WWI.

“The black leather helmet on the left is labeled “Respirations Apparat” by “G.B.Konic Altona,” and was made in Hamburg, Germany.

“The brass, three-quarter face mask to its right was made in Paris by J. Mandet. This type of breathing mask had a very simple apparatus, allowing only a short range of operation. When used, air would be forced into the helmet through no more than 13 meters of flexible tubing by means of a bellows operated remotely from the outside.

“Both of these masks have mica lenses to help protect the eyes from heat.

One well-known 19th-century manufacturer was named Vajen-Bader”

- Steve Erenberg

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Goggles aficionado. Retronaut’s founder and curator.

7 Responses

  1. Larry

    The one on the left reminds me of one I saw in the collection of the North Carolina State Museum of History. That one is based on a WWI German “pickelhaube” helmet. Since there was no provenance with it, we weren’t sure just what it was for. (It’s not on display, but if you’re into this, you might ask them about it.)

  2. CapnAndy

    I’m not sure about the Star Wars resemblence, but to me they are very ‘Dr Who Cyberman’ like.

  3. Tim Post

    It’s difficult to say for sure, but the mask on the left seems to have traces of orange paint on it, and orange would be a more ideal color for a mask worn by someone that needs to be seen by those needing rescue. I’m not 100% certain that it _was_ orange when it was made, but I doubt it was black when sold.


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