Gas Masks During World War I

The gas mask protects the wearer from harmful agents inhaled through the respiratory tract and eyes. It can also reduce the damage done by Anomalies.

It is equipped with a breathing tube and is easily adjustable to fit any size head. The face seal is made of bromobutyl rubber, which offers protection against chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. It also possesses a speech diaphragm transmitter for clear voice communication and a drinkable water port for survival in SHTF situations. The mesh head harness is easy to sling over the shoulders for long-duration wear, and it has two points of adjustment to facilitate donning and doffing. The mask is NATO-standard and can be used with any AirBoss filter. A kit with potassium iodide tablets can be added to help prevent thyroid damage from fallout and excess radiation.

This display is part of the Museum at Memorial’s Medical Education Centre and features an exact replica of the gas mask created by Dr. Cluny Macpherson, Principal Medical Officer, 1st Newfoundland Regiment during World War I (1914-1918). It is accompanied by a biographical sketch, excerpts from his notebooks, and photographs of Dr. Macpherson during his time in WWI.

In order to improve the protective efficiency of masks, it is necessary to develop methods for assessing the degree of tightness and matching of a mask with a wearer’s face shape. Consequently, the current research on the characteristics and filtering mechanism of masks is reviewed in Section 2. The relationship between filtration efficiency and aerosol particle size, type, gas flow, pressure differential, fitness, and decontamination methods are discussed. Finally, the existing problems that influence mask performance are evaluated and future development trends are proposed.

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