Civilian gas mask

This respirator was issued to a civilian in Haddington in 1939. Luckily, it was never used and, in fact, it still shows evidence of the talc placed on it by the makers. It works by simply filtering air, using charcoal to adsorb gases. The respirator window and box cover are good examples of early man-made materials.


This is a simple respirator or gas-mask with a close fitting rubber face-piece held in position by three cloth straps. There is a plastic window above a protruding metal canister at the front, which contains the active filters. The respirator has a storage box in a leatherette case; the box has instructions printed in the lid.


After the introduction of war gases by both sides on the Western Front during 1914-18, steps were taken to outlaw their use. However, it was anticipated that they might still feature in a future conflict. So all serving military personnel were issued with respirators and a simplified version was made ready for distribution to the entire civilian population.


Acquisition Number - 1997.421

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Taken on August 23, 2006