Most people associate the development of gas masks with the hell of World War I, but they appeared earlier to protect those working in various dangerous areas. You are probably familiar with the image of a doctor wearing a beak mask during a major European plague epidemic between 1347-52, which, although not intentionally, can be regarded as a rudimentary respiratory protection device.

During the nineteenth century, the first masks providing targeted protection began to appear among miners and firefighters. Their common use for military purposes was indeed due to the emergence of various chemical weapons during the First World War, and their use soon seemed inevitable to the civilian population as well. Nuclear mass hysteria during the Cold War briefly made gas masks a basic item in households, but today, fortunately, it has once again become a feature of only a few specific jobs.

51M type gasmask used by the Hungarian People’s Army.

First Aid Kit used by the Civil Defense in 1940’s.

The Hospital in the Rock was expanded between 1958 and 1962, for example the ventilation with this chemical filter system.

Poster from the 1940’s show to properly put on a gasmask.

Poster showing how the gasmask seen in the video functions.

Poster educating about the proper cleaning and storing of a gasmask.

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