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Black 'Mickey Mouse' Gas Mask

Article about: Hello folks. Another addition to my collection of British civilian masks, this one a very rare variation of the C2 'Mickey Mouse' respirator. The vast majority of these masks were produced u

  1. #1

    Default Black 'Mickey Mouse' Gas Mask

    Hello folks.

    Another addition to my collection of British civilian masks, this one a very rare variation of the C2 'Mickey Mouse' respirator. The vast majority of these masks were produced using red rubber, to decrease the 'fear factor' among the children they were intended for. I have two of these in my collection, one with the arsenic pre-filter attached, and one without. While the Canadians did produce a variation of this mask in black rubber, this is not one of those masks. The Canadian mask, for comparison:

    Black 'Mickey Mouse' Gas Mask

    The mask I have just received is not Canadian, but British. It was manufactured by 'L&BR Co' (Leyland & Birmingham Rubber) in November 1942. The flutter valve was manufactured by P.B. Cow in February 1943, and the filter was produced by 'BW&M Ltd' (Barringer, Wallis & Manners Ltd) in October 1942.
    There is no definitive answer as to why these black rubber variants exist, though I do have a theory. Based on available evidence, these masks were the result of a simplification in the manufacturing process later in the war, as the threat of air raids diminished and the need for respirators became less apparent. They are almost always found in the simplified box seen here -- slightly taller than the earlier ones -- and are never dated earlier than mid-1942. There is a green band painted around the top end of the filter, something that is not present on earlier 'Mickey Mouse' masks, but which is present on later-produced Civilian Duty respirators.

    These are very rarely encountered, and often cost a good deal more than an earlier mask when they do turn up.

    The mask in question:

    Black 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas Mask

    And an earlier variant from my collection. Note the date of manufacture and the earlier box:

    Black 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas MaskBlack 'Mickey Mouse' Gas Mask

    Regards, B.B.
    ''Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.' -- Henry Flescher, Holocaust Survivor -- March 14, 1924 - August 29, 2018

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