June 12, 1849 — The gas mask was patented today by Lewis Haslett of Louisville, KY.
Initially named the “inhaler,” or “lung protector,” it functioned as an air purifying respirator. Inhalation and exhalation occured through two one-way clapper valves: one permitting the air to enter through a bulb-shaped filter, and the other permitting the exit of the air directly into the atmosphere.
Haslett’s device operated in a similar way to a modern gas mask, however its filter materials — wool or other porous substance moistened with water — could only trap solid pollutants, such as dust, but could not protect against harmful gases.
Words of Wisdom
"To say 'I accept' in an age like our own is to say that you accept concentration-camps, rubber truncheons, Hitler, Stalin, bombs, aeroplanes, tinned food, machine guns, putsches, purges, slogans, Bedaux belts, gas-masks, submarines, spies, provocateurs, press-censorship, secret prisons, aspirins, Hollywood films and political murder."