Hey guys, this will be my first post. I'm a gas mask collector of a few years now. Danny(GasMasksUK) suggested I join here and am pretty much just getting around to it. I searched to see if something like this has been posted and did not find anything. If it has already been addressed, my apologies.
Here I have two variations of the Model 1917 American Small Box Respirator(A.S.B.R.). This mask was an attempt to create a service respirator for US troops for America's late entry into the war. The successful respirator designs of Great Britain, France and Germany were all considered for design reference. The British Small Box was ultimately chosen. It is important to note that the German GM15 Gummischutzmaske did influence design decisions for the USN Mk.I.
In early/mid 1917, the project was contracted out to U.S. Bureau of Mines who had only begun experimentation with respirators for industrial hazards earlier that year. That was a colossal undertaking. The mask was designed and constructed with pioneering understanding of defense respirator technology and very little experience with chemical warfare agents.
The production numbers were met; however, not to sufficient standards. The facepiece and filter proved ineffective against aerosol agents. British Small Box Respirators were purchased in limited quantity for American use to fill the void and until an improved design could be perfected. This later design would be the Corrected English Model(C.E.M.), a wildly successful respirator made in the millions and used throughout to the end of the war. In the mean time, the failed ASBR masks were used for training purposes. The filter tops were painted red and the bags marked accordingly.
From my interpretation, and please if anybody knows just give a shout, the initial version with the celluloid lenses and tied on frames(reminiscent of the BSBR) was one of the first production runs and the later variant with the CEM style glass lenses was a version produced solely as a training mask under the same tooling .
Here is the first version with celluloid lenses with lens frames secured with cording, very similar to the British Small Box:
Here is the flapper/flipper valve that has unfortunately dried and broken off along the way. Luckily it stayed with the mask. This is the only valve I have seen on one of these. The valve is rather large so I threw in a USD and GBP for reference:
Here is the later variant with the glass lenses and CEM style frames:
A view of the inside of the later mask. It is possible that the earlier variant has a different mouthpiece, though I am unable to tell as the earlier facepiece has folded and hardened:
Here is a comparison of filters. Shown from left is the copperish British Small Box Respirator filter, then the large ASBR filter, and then the later CEM 'H type' filter(horribly rusted, but just a spare I have):
And finally a comparison between the BSBR carrier on the left, ASBR carrier in the center, and CEM carrier on the right. The ASBR bag is more similar to the BSBR bag, possessing the same type buckles and hardware, only with the different type button snaps as seen on the later US carriers:
Thank you guys for taking the time to give this a look.