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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Help with German gas mask information


The Red Baron

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Hello, 

I am currently looking into buying a first world war german gas mask, I have attached an image of the mask below (sorry for the poor quality, its a zoomed photo from the ad) I had a few questions about these types of masks. firstly, did these or any type of german masks in WW1 use asbestos filters? i've bought WW2 British masks in the past and have had to deal with that problem. Secondly, I know you can't really tell the quality of the piece but i was wondering what a mask like this would typically be valued at in north America? If someone more knowledge then I in this field could please help me out, that would be greatly appreciated. 

IMG_9047.jpg

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I would suggest a quick search of eBay in the US will reveal the range of prices these masks sell for. that will give you as good a general picture as anything. Condition and completeness is crucial - thus the range is quite broad. There are usually  3 or 4 listed at any given time some priced unrealistically that have been listed for a long time so it is often worth searching completed auctions to get a more realistic sense of what they actually sell for.

Chris

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UK prices not USA, but C&T Auctions have a big German WW1 sale on 31 January. Not sure how long it takes after the auction for them to post a realised sales price list but the do provide these.

see

http://www.candtauctions.co.uk/online-catalogue/

 

Regards

ross

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/26/2018 at 09:27, The Red Baron said:

firstly, did these or any type of german masks in WW1 use asbestos filters? i've bought WW2 British masks in the past and have had to deal with that problem. 

 

No asbestos was used in German WW1 masks or filters.

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Hans k.   I believe you are correct, but could you cite your reference(s) that no asbestos was used in German gas mask filters and canisters?  Thanks!

 

All the best, 

Dan

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Unfortunately only one English language book on the subject comes to mind at the moment  and that is World War 1 Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment from the Osprey series. There is one excellent online reference on WW1 gas masks in French that probably contains the most thorough information on the subject available online - guerresdesgaz. 

 

Not one reference I've ever read actually mentions asbestos or states that asbestos was not used by the Germans in their gas masks, just as no references I have ever read state that asbestos wasn't used in WW1 German helmet liners - for the simple reason that it wasn't.  I have no idea why the British used asbestos in some or all of their WW2 civilian gas masks as well as their WW1 Brodie helmet liners, but the Germans did not use it for these purposes. At least not during WW1.*

 

The body of the masks  were made of rubberized cotton or leather. The filter's contents changed as the chemical agents became more advanced, but during 1916-18 it was 3 layers consisting of pumice coated in urotropine, granulated conifer charcoal  and pumice coated in potassium carbonate. These layers were divided by a thin wire mesh and muslin cloth. That's pretty much all that was in the filter. 

 

*Edit: Very much off-topic, but I was surprised to read that asbestos was used in Bundeswehr GP-5 gas mask filters manufactured in the 60s up until 1969. There was an article written about it in Der Spiegel in 1991.

 

Edited by Hans k.
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I'm not an expert on gas mask filters or canisters and their design & contents.  With the exception of present company and this forum, I consider anything on the internet which is claimed as fact can just as easily be foolishness.  With those caveats...a place to find out more on gas masks and filters -

https://gasmaskforum.com/gas-masks-f5/

 

All the best,

Dan

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