Early breathing devices
According to Popular Mechanics, "The common sponge was used in ancient Greece as a gas mask..."An early type of rudimentary gas mask was invented in the 9th century by the Persian Banu Musa brothers in Baghdad, Iraq. They described it in their Book of Ingenious Devices, mainly for protecting workers in polluted wells.In 1785, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier invented a respirator.
Early versions were constructed by the Scottish chemist John Stenhouse in 1854 and the physicist John Tyndall in the 1870s. Another early design was the "Safety Hood and Smoke Protector" invented by Garrett Morgan in 1912, and patented in 1914. It was a simple device consisting of a cotton hood with two hoses which hung down to the floor, allowing the wearer to breathe the safer air found there. In addition, moist sponges were inserted at the end of the hoses in order to better filter the air. This was later modified to include its own air supply, leading to World War I era gas masks.
First World War
The German army used poison gas for the first time against Allied troops at the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium on 22 April 1915.Seeking to improve on the Black Veil respirator, Cluny MacPherson created a mask made of chemical absorbing fabric and which fitted over the entire head. A 50.5 cm × 48 cm (19.9 in × 18.9 in) canvas hood treated with chlorine-absorbing chemicals, and fitted with a transparent mica eyepiece. Macpherson presented his idea to the British War Office Anti-Gas Department on 10 May 1915, with prototypes being developed soon after. In summer and autumn 1915, Edward Harrison, Bertram Lambert and John Sadd developed the Large Box Respirator. This canister gas mask had a tin can containing the absorbent materials by a hose and began to be issued in February 1916.
The modern gas mask was developed in 1943 by the British. It was made of plastic and rubber-like material that greatly reduced the weight and bulk, compared to World War I gas masks and fitted the user's face more snugly and comfortably. The main improvement was replacing the separate filter canister connected with a hose by a filter canister screwed on the side of the gas mask,that could be replaced easily. Also, it had replaceable plastic lenses, much helping vision.
It can be seen that with the passage of time and the development of science and technology, the gas mask is updating faster and faster.
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