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Gas Mask 1920s

Gas Mask

Gas Mask

Zoom This! Gas masks have been used for decades to protect the body from inhaling toxic gasses and airborne pollutants. In the case of this 1920’s gas mask from Mine Safety Appliances Co. , it was used to protect miners from carbon monoxide. It was officially approved by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and at the time was the only mask that protected against carbon monoxide and illuminating gas, as well as other poisonous gasses. Mine Safety Appliances Co. is a company based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which is still in business today.
The mask comes in a box, which includes general information on the front such as when and where it can be used. Also featured on the front of the box is an approval stamp and number by the Department of Commerce. As is with most products on the market today, there is a caution statement on the bottom. In order for this product to properly work one should return to fresh air immediately if a flame safety lamp goes out. Also one should be aware that the time period for one canister is about 2 hours whether carbon monoxide is present or not. Located on the inside of the lid are the directions for using the mask. The page includes the directions in a step by step fashion as well as photos that correspond. Finally, the gas mask and canisters are located below.
Mining has been used for centuries for the extraction of coal from the earth. There are different methods by which it can be done, and they include; surface mining, area mining, contour mining, mountaintop removal mining, and underground mining. In the Coal region of Pennsylvania, and from where this mask is from, area and underground mining are the two most common forms. This mask would have been used while doing underground mining. During this time period of the 1920’s coal came to completely replace wood, so mines and miners were a common find. Of the whole US, Pittsburg was a principal market, so it is no surprise industries producing mine safety equipment based themselves there. Mining has been taking place in Pennsylvania sine the 1700’s and by 1830 Pittsburg was consuming more than 400 tons per day. Pittsburg became such a mining city because of its demand for coal. Mount Washington, which is located just across the Monongahela River, became known as “Coal Hill”. During the years 1918 to 1921 coal mining was at its peak, and nearly everything that required power ran on coal. Unfortunately, later mining came to a halting stop as the Great Depression hit America and coal requirements dropped as well.

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Posted in Artifacts 8 years, 1 month ago at 8:50 am.

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