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Mable1997

Questions on the M1917 Gasschutzmaske German Gas Mask

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Mable1997

Hello everyone, I have a question about the M1917 German Gasschutzmaske Gas Mask. While I really don't plan to purchase one due to the asbestos in the filters a friend of mine is looking to add one to his collection. Most of what he has are modern army surplus items bought on the cheap but he's now looking on buying an "iconic" item. And according to him, it really doesn't get more iconic than the M1917.  Knowing that I'm a small time collector he's asked me for my advice. Gas masks really aren't my thing but I love to learn about anything military so here I am. (Also, my friend, we'll call him Pete, is one lazy SOB and when I refered him to this forum he shrugged and said he'd buy me a pizza if I'd do the research for him. Ok, a few minutes of typing, a little googling in exchange for a Chicago style deep dish? Sounds like a deal😛)

 

After a few days on Google I feel pretty familiar with WW1 German gas masks. I know that there were two types of German masks during the Great War the M1915 and 17. The M1915 had rubberized canvas and seems to be much rarer than the M1917 which was made from oil impregnated leather and for this reason the tend to age well. 

 

The questions I have are:

 

1. Are these commonly faked. I know there are reproductions about there but it seems the reproductions can be convincing dolled up to look 100+ years old.

 

2. Are these things safe to have in the home/around children? I've heard that the filters can contain asbestos but also that the chemical residue from actually poison gas can remain.

 

3. Are the filters interchangeable for the M1915 and M1917 masks. It would make sense but, being in the military myself, I know that just because something makes sense doesn't make it a reality.

 

4. What is the median price one should pay for one if these things? Pete (whose about as dense as a cinder block) was hoping to pay about $100 USD. This is based on his existing collection of Russian and US post war crap. The price I'm coming up with is $350-$500 USD. Is this correct or am I referencing the wrong sites?

 

Again, any info you offer will be much appreciated🙂🙂

 

An wonderful and accurate reproduction offered by Hessen Antiques. 

 

20200325_142518.jpg.d261c219e2b88f693e7d8b640fa900ea.jpg

 

 

Here is a mask offered at a recent auction. It looks a little new but who knows.

 

20200325_143818.jpg.7ef445090be8659454be7a4e48637dce.jpg

 

 

 

The M1917's elastic bands were suppose to be a step up from the 15's springs.

 

20200325_143841.jpg.d7e22da9f681a25683137bc8418a3f0d.jpg

 

A photo of the lower part of the mask where the filter connects. From my research there is normally a rubber gasket between the filter and mask to create a better seal. This is something normally missing with reproductions. 

 

20200325_143925.jpg.018d5776f7dff33fb0004ddd3734efe2.jpg

 

Spare lenses offered with the above mask.

 

20200325_143855.jpg.998b7a5b01cd41e41f647a91ffe8e3b7.jpg

 

Here is a M1917 mask displayed in a museum, compliments of Dr. Wiki😉

 

Screenshot_20200325-142309_Chrome.jpg.d4b25892bb6d2e5e3e3e598299c7d255.jpg

 

And because the M1915 was mentioned and because...well, why not?😉

 

645454803_TwoGermansoldiersandtheirmulewearinggasmasks1916.jpg.79abab2444025741c3a9355dfeb2edef.jpg

0f3c6de3726837ffa89d32f6facf0c05.jpg

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Chasemuseum

Hi as rough answers to your questions:

1. Are these commonly faked. 

Not so much faked but rather reproductions are manufactured for re-enactors. It would be possible to "fake" these to appear original but if you get a bit of experience handling original examples it will be easy to distinguish these. Multiple points of difference, finish & feel

 

2. Are these things safe.

So long as you do not attempt to breath through them any asbestos fibre is not an issue.

Contamination with gas from WW1 - Really not an issue. Chlorine & phosgene will be long gone. Arsenic smokes, these are actually powders, not very toxic, there is a potential residual contamination inside the filter again do not breath through this. Blister gases - these are nasty, they are typically a liquid at room temperature and pressure (RTP). I have handled a large number of WW1 masks and never had one with any smell of blister. I cannot imagine a soldier choosing to keep a blister contaminate mask as a souvenir - remember that the contamination would have been much worse 100 years ago.

 

3. Are the filters interchangeable for the M1915 and M1917 masks.

Sort of. They use the same thread (an electric lamp bulb thread) but they actually made a number of different models of filter during the war. So strictly speaking they are not interchangeable from an historical perspective. An M15 should not have a 1918 dated filter. In a sense possible but not historically accurate. An M17 would never have used a 1915 dated filter - it just would not have happened. Also note that in your photos above, one filter has a clip on additional filter on the base. This was a temporary measure after the introduction of the arsenic smokes to allow existing stocks of filters to continue to be used. A new model of filter entered production at the same time which did not require the extra clip on filter

 

4. What is the median price one should pay for one if these things? $350-$500 USD. 

Super hard to say as I have only purchased one gas mask in the last 15 years (an Italian Polivalente, - and this was really rather expensive). I would have thought that something of the order of US$300-350 for a nice m17 mask, with filter, with carry tin but not necessarily with cloth carry straps on the tin or celluloid inserts in the grease paper wrappers in the compartment of the tin (these are only with the m17 and were fitted inside the mask to manage misting of the glass lenses). But then I am a cheap bast..d. An m15 will cost more. Any mask in an original cloth waist belt pouch will cost a great deal more (these pouches are faked - and really hard to pick, they cut up an original zeltbahn and make sure the manufacturer's stamp is in the fake pouch.)

 

Hope this helps.

Cheers

Ross

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trenchtrotter

German filters had no asbestos in them. Active charcoal and other filters but no asbestos. Nor did British SBR's. And even if they did unless you wore them the risk would be zero.

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Dawley Jockey

On my last trip to the Somme, last October I found a German gas mask filter near enough intact, amazing considering the time scale, I have it at home now but carefully wrapped in cling film as someone had also told me that they contained asbestos, but thanks to Trenchtrotter I now know that is not true.

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Mable1997
1 hour ago, trenchtrotter said:

German filters had no asbestos in them. Active charcoal and other filters but no asbestos. Nor did British SBR's. And even if they did unless you wore them the risk would be zero.

Thank you for the info. I really couldn't find anything official that mentioned asbestos but some forums mentioned it. And your right about the risk being low. Asbestos is really only dangerous when airborne. 

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Chasemuseum
3 hours ago, trenchtrotter said:

German filters had no asbestos in them. Active charcoal and other filters but no asbestos. Nor did British SBR's. And even if they did unless you wore them the risk would be zero.

 

Thanks, I was not game to say that they were asbestos free.

 

I have original manual data on two models of filter (from another forum entry) where construction is given in detail and asbestos is not a listed material but I do not have the data for all models.

 

Part of the problem is that these days when in doubt people declare materials to be asbestos.

 

A good example is the lining fibre in the crew compartment of WW2 Japanese tanks. Numerous groups declare this to be asbestos including the Tank Museum at Bovington (they have a T95 Ha Go).  During WW2 a detailed technical intelligence report was carried out on the Ha Go and the lining material was formally analysed and found to be a vegetable fibre treated with a fire retardant and white paint. In that report they totally dismantled a captured vehicle and analysed everything, even the oils in the gearboxes !

 

Cheers

RT

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Hans k.

I agree with what's been said so far. Reproduction GM17 leather masks are available as reasonably suitable representative pieces for active reenactors who need to wear them, but I've not yet seen any that could be mistaken for originals. I'm not aware of anyone having ever attempted to try and pass off a repro as an original. The originals are made of chrome tanned sheepskin sealed with mineral oil and have lacquered seams; two key features I've never seen on reproductions. The proportions and overall look of the materials used on reproductions, such as the one shown in the first thread, are off as well. The same can be said for the carrying cans and other components offered as repros. Originals are easy enough to find and have generally survived in good condition, something that can't be said for the earlier Model 1915/16 rubberized cloth Gummimasken.

 

If you are interested in buying an original GM17 I recommend waiting for a nice complete example with the canister/carrying straps to turn up. It is possible with a bit of patience. 

 

As has been stated, although the various filter models are technically interchangeable on all models of masks, it would be incorrect to display an M1915 cloth mask with a 1917 or 1918 dated 11-C-11filter or a GM17 with an early 1916 dated 11/11S filter. It's not just a matter of historical accuracy. The filter designs did change slightly but noticeably enough from late 1915 through 1918 that a mixture of early and late components would simply look wrong in a display.

Edited by Hans k.

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Mable1997
On 26/03/2020 at 05:09, Chasemuseum said:

Hi as rough answers to your questions:

1. Are these commonly faked. 

Not so much faked but rather reproductions are manufactured for re-enactors. It would be possible to "fake" these to appear original but if you get a bit of experience handling original examples it will be easy to distinguish these. Multiple points of difference, finish & feel

 

2. Are these things safe.

So long as you do not attempt to breath through them any asbestos fibre is not an issue.

Contamination with gas from WW1 - Really not an issue. Chlorine & phosgene will be long gone. Arsenic smokes, these are actually powders, not very toxic, there is a potential residual contamination inside the filter again do not breath through this. Blister gases - these are nasty, they are typically a liquid at room temperature and pressure (RTP). I have handled a large number of WW1 masks and never had one with any smell of blister. I cannot imagine a soldier choosing to keep a blister contaminate mask as a souvenir - remember that the contamination would have been much worse 100 years ago.

 

3. Are the filters interchangeable for the M1915 and M1917 masks.

Sort of. They use the same thread (an electric lamp bulb thread) but they actually made a number of different models of filter during the war. So strictly speaking they are not interchangeable from an historical perspective. An M15 should not have a 1918 dated filter. In a sense possible but not historically accurate. An M17 would never have used a 1915 dated filter - it just would not have happened. Also note that in your photos above, one filter has a clip on additional filter on the base. This was a temporary measure after the introduction of the arsenic smokes to allow existing stocks of filters to continue to be used. A new model of filter entered production at the same time which did not require the extra clip on filter

 

4. What is the median price one should pay for one if these things? $350-$500 USD. 

Super hard to say as I have only purchased one gas mask in the last 15 years (an Italian Polivalente, - and this was really rather expensive). I would have thought that something of the order of US$300-350 for a nice m17 mask, with filter, with carry tin but not necessarily with cloth carry straps on the tin or celluloid inserts in the grease paper wrappers in the compartment of the tin (these are only with the m17 and were fitted inside the mask to manage misting of the glass lenses). But then I am a cheap bast..d. An m15 will cost more. Any mask in an original cloth waist belt pouch will cost a great deal more (these pouches are faked - and really hard to pick, they cut up an original zeltbahn and make sure the manufacturer's stamp is in the fake pouch.)

 

Hope this helps.

Cheers

Ross

 That's a lot of good info. And much of the research I've done supports just about everything you've said. And a 350 price range would be nice but I've seen several complete examples (with accarrying tin that has a shoulder strap) go for upwards of 500. But these generally are from small collector websites where everything from WWI trench whistles to WW2 warden brodies go for more than average. I guess overhead can explain this

 Got to pay the bill's you know🙂🙂

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battle of loos

good morning,

 

here's my "Leder" bought on a French forum dealing with the 1st war.
I paid 280 euros.

 

make way for photos :

 

20170827.jpg.0b14b533f05e0d710649c667d26e64c1.jpg

 

20170825.jpg.a49909ea08e1549fa250b0d3b1ffc3d1.jpg

 

20170822.jpg.7522c1afe5fc78455a366648cd0c2379.jpg

 

20170824.jpg.5147c24367149dd83977e4335edd5df1.jpg

 

20170823.jpg.262ad7f271cf15db53bba01ea312fe38.jpg

 

The soldier's name:
 

2012772145_Kentler(2).jpg.8f86777fe0fd4217271091860861f223.jpg

 

I just have to add a strap "Brotbeutel".

 

here's case for the "gummy" :

 

DSC_0220.JPG.0fe88a5243aeb658279f7c644e4e28ee.JPGDSC_0221.thumb.JPG.59f36cbf82c550201d36511fe5c015cf.JPG

 

here is a cartridge for "Gummy" found on the ground (Loos area) :

 

DSCN3959.JPG.93a3132adddf01fc2b9bec59c82582a4.JPG

DSCN3960.JPG.ac0400b5d478db06b12664aa2b1374e3.JPG


I also have leftovers of "Leder" mas with containment, I can not go to take a picture because not under hand

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Mable1997
9 hours ago, battle of loos said:

good morning,

 

here's my "Leder" bought on a French forum dealing with the 1st war.
I paid 280 euros.

 

make way for photos :

 

20170827.jpg.0b14b533f05e0d710649c667d26e64c1.jpg

 

20170825.jpg.a49909ea08e1549fa250b0d3b1ffc3d1.jpg

 

 

 

That's an great set you have there!! I suppose the price range I found is for both the Continental US and Europe, about 325-400 USD. You'd think that some items would be cheaper in differing locations but the internet is the great leveler:) I use to go to flea markets and antique shops to buy my items. The results were always unremarkable. Slim pickings in Mississippi. But then I discovered the how much can be found online. European sites are the best of course. For the most part US sites are only good for WW2 and newer items, There are a few dedicated to the US Civil War but anything beyond a few minie balls and the odd belt buckle usually exceeds my price range. It is note worthy that sites for Vietnam War items are always interesting, especially sense so many are run by veterans of the war itself.

 

I'll be sure to let "Pete" in on all this, but with him being as cheap as he is I'm sure he'll keep with Cold War era masks.

 

Thank you again for sharing;)

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Hans k.
12 hours ago, battle of loos said:

 

 

 

here is a cartridge for "Gummy" found on the ground (Loos area) :

 

DSCN3959.JPG.93a3132adddf01fc2b9bec59c82582a4.JPG

DSCN3960.JPG.ac0400b5d478db06b12664aa2b1374e3.JPG


 

This is the Model 21/8 or Einschichteneinsatz (one layer fiter), the very first filter made for the Gummimaske in the late Summer of 1915 and issued until January 1916. It was effective only against chlorine gas and a new updated three layer 11-11SS model filter replaced it when phosgene gas was introduced. These 21/8 filters are very rare compared to the other models.

 

Hans

21/8 Filter:

Einschichteneinsatz_21-8.jpg.655a123f02c4fb21fa95e8ee16f70588.jpg

140778565_109496032-Copy.jpg.8847dbdc97d5a6c28bec2df26e2d9710.jpg

296597464_s-l1600(6)-Copy.jpg.cabbfe5739a39b1def2c225b8645933f.jpg

 

 

 

11/11SS filter:

Dreischichteneinsatz_11-11S_1916.jpg.a2571566ea6bb7602684307de725e365.jpg

DSC_0128.JPG.d046aab693b69106e4578c3b33aa0f0b.JPG

282925720_DSC_0130-Copy.JPG.a2ebce2ae37fecb2dd88ed6297e26beb.JPG

post-3701-1229540160.jpg.e5301f94488f78fc0d776f4ae19124db.jpg

Edited by Hans k.

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battle of loos

Good evening,

 

a big thank you Hans for these clarifications about the cartridge coming from the field.

 

regards

 

michel

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