Protective Gas Masks for Miners

At present, we mostly think of a gas mask as a defense against the threat of chemical warfare, but the present invention is rooted in a more functional place – although not less harrowing. Throughout history, certain workers had beaten the dangers of smoke and toxic gas while working. In ancient Greece, the sponge was used as a form of protection; During the 17th and 18th century plague, doctors donned beak-like masks filled with sweet smelling herbs and spices, which they thought would protect them from both contagion and foul odors.

But more modern ancestors of what we today know as gas masks began to appear around the turn of the 19th century, when protective equipment was first discovered for miners. For the next hundred years, this initial mask will go through a series of improvements. Charcoal is added to purify the incoming air, the respirator system is found, and the mask is made lighter and more effective in the match.  You can check out the modern gas masks on

Each of these changes occurred with an eye towards keeping civilians like firemen, rescue divers and miners safe in the workplace. In 1915, the need for gas masks suddenly changed when Germany first spread chlorine gas throughout the Ypres battlefield.

Allies were completely not ready for this new battle form. While scientists and medical professionals quickly rushed to find protective solutions, soldiers were encouraged to cover their noses and mouths with urine-soaked socks or handkerchiefs as a last ditch effort at protection.