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Tissot Gas Masks: A.T. and K.T.

Article about: Okay, here are some revolutionary experimental WW1 respirators. Experimental is a loosely used term here as there were quite a few of these made, though actual usage was probably further fie

  1. #1

    Default Tissot Gas Masks: A.T. and K.T.

    Okay, here are some revolutionary experimental WW1 respirators. Experimental is a loosely used term here as there were quite a few of these made, though actual usage was probably further field experimentation. They pushed boundaries on US respirator technology for the time and designs seen here are still in use today.

    The French Tissot Large Box Respirator was an incredible mask for the time. The facepiece was of thin molded rubber that conformed to the face far better than other respirators of that era. Twin "Tissot tubes" entered the facepeice below the lenses aiding in demisting/defogging. I have never actually seen a surviving example of one of these masks aside from individual components.

    The development began on US masks utilizing the Tissot principle(bringing cooler air into the facepiece and projecting it onto the lenses to reduce condensation). Akron Rubber Co. of Ohio produced an interesting design around early 1918, the Akron-Tissot respirator. It featured a molded rubber facepiece, internal chin-rest, internal Tissot tubing, and an adjustable elastic head harness(adjustments to the head harnesses of masks such as the CEM and RFK were done with a safety pin). The angle tube where the air enters and exits the facepiece remained similar in design to that of previous US masks. Pretty neat stuff.

    The below pictured mask is an A.T. facepiece remarketed post war as a 'La France' fireman's respirator. It is still a real AT facepiece though. These masks have unfortunately not fared well with time and have pretty much all deteriorated. This one is in okay condition despite being hard as a brick:

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    Hopefully, the A.T. marking is visible in this pic above the exhale guard assembly:

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    Terrible picture probably not worth showing, but I was trying to get a shot of the internal Tissot tubing. Notice the air deflector slightly below the lens. That was cutting edge stuff at the time:

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    Kops, a giant in respirator design at the time, developed the Kops-Tissot(K.T.) respirator in response. The KT maintained several of the features of the AT, mainly in the head harness design and chin rest(this time an elastic strap). Several notable improvements were incorporated. New crimped lenses were installed. These type lenses are the same as seen on the later Kops, Tissot, Monroe(K.T.M.) that became the Model 1919 M1 Service Respirator. Also, something slightly odd was this masks use of a separate inhale assembly and exhale assembly, doing away with the angle tube that was present on all previous masks, and interestingly enough the later K.T.M. and Model 1919.

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    Pretty influential masks.

    Thanks guys,
    Dan

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tissot Gas Masks: A.T. and K.T.

    Good morning Dan I almost missed this post thoes are some fine examples of early variations of of gas masks you have there and I would imagine are extremley hard to come by in that condition. It is a shame that they start to disintigrate so bad as the years go by and I imagine there is no way to stablize them beyond keeping them dry,cool, and out of direct sun light.

    Regards Mark K

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tissot Gas Masks: A.T. and K.T.

    thanks for sharing dan ,kind of reminds me of the russian ww2 mask

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tissot Gas Masks: A.T. and K.T.

    Thanks for the replies. As far as stabilizing, that is very true. There is one way to look at it though. Even though they have long since become brittle and fragile, they still do have the internal rubber intact(albeit stiff). They could be opened up for display, but chances are that would badly crack the facepiece rubber; something not worth doing at all anyway I don't think.

    Anyway, I could not get this player to direct link, but here is a link to a video. Really a fantastic video. But not to make you guys sit through 10 minutes of it, of interest here is from 6:07 to 6:41.

    WWI - Amazing Gas Masks and Gas Warning Technology for People and Horses | War Movies, Military Videos, Rare Battle Footage | Real Military Videos

    The guy at 6:07 is wearing full chemical protection for blister agents. His mask is the Tissot Large Box I mentioned up in the original post that the AT and KT were "inspired" by. Following that is the exercise at 6:32. Notice the presence of both the above AT and KT masks. I am unsure if there was experimentation with different types of lens assemblies for both but it is a possibility.

    Regards,
    Dan

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