Breathing apparatus with full-face rubber mask, c 1980.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This gas mask, made by Martindale Protection Limited, was produced for general industrial use and was used with a motorised fan unit. During the 19th century, workers in the chemical industries, faced with fumes and dust, wrapped scarves or strips of cloth round their faces as primitive filters. The early diving apparatus incorporated a tube which delivered air to a helmet which enclosed the head and was the forerunner of 19th century designs for use in atmospheres heavily polluted by smoke.