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Hans k.

German Gummimasken Gas Masks 1915-17

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Hans k.

I thought I'd start a thread on German rubberized cloth gas masks (Gummimasken) and their carriers, and share some examples that I've found over the past 8 years. I'll start a separate thread on the later M17 leather gas masks.

The very first version of the Gummimaske was introduced sometime between August and September 1915. This version was known as the Linienmaske. Due the short period of time that they were manufactured and used, and the fact that the early single layer filter proved unsuccessful, they are exceptionally rare. I don't have one yet.

The second model Gummimaske, known as the Bandmaske, was the first gas mask to have a screw-in filter, which meant it could be replaced during a gas attack. An example of this mask, shown below left, retains the early 11-11S three layer filter.

post-32871-1219364296.jpg

The mask shown on the right is the third model Gummimaske. Known as the Rahmenmaske, it was introduced sometime around the spring to late summer of 1916 (sources don't agree on this point). To allow the wearer to breathe more easily, the mask was reduced in size to lessen the volume of air within, and the mask's filter plate was therefore noticeably reduced in diameter.

post-32871-1219365250.jpg

post-32871-1219365285.jpg

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Hans k.

The Rahmenmaske had an extra set of straps added to the forehead/top of the head area, and most importantly, a thick strip of cloth was sewn around the inside perimeter to allow a snugger fit. Rahmen means frame in German, hence the name.

post-32871-1219365475.jpg

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Hans k.

The filter on left is the first triple layer version, 11-11S model, introduced in the first months of 1916. The right one is the second triple layer 11-11 model introduced late in 1916.

post-32871-1219365563.jpg

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Hans k.

This Rahmenmaske shown here with its carrier has a square of cloth draped over the filter. This was either used to attempt to reduce the amount of gas coming in contact with the filter, or simply to protect the fragile mask from wear when rattled around in the can.

Interior of the can

post-32871-1219365972.jpg

post-32871-1219365767.jpg

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Hans k.

It has a great piece of history attached to it. The Canadian veteran pawned it at a London Ontario coin shop back in the early 90s, and decided to leave this note with it.

post-32871-1219366123.jpg

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Hans k.

Getting back to the masks, the fourth and final version of the Gummimaske was introduced in March 1917. Cloth covered coiled spring straps replaced the earlier elastic versions to increase durability. These same coiled spring straps (Spiralbaender) would be used on the later GM17 leather gas masks.

post-32871-1219366577.jpg

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Hans k.

The first carriers issued with these masks were sailcloth bags (Segeltuchtaschen). The first model cloth carriers were divided into three compartments which held two spare filters and the mask, each item in its own can.

Below is the early model 1915 carrier bag. This one has been upgraded to a two compartment M16 style by removing one of the cloth dividers.

post-32871-1219367062.jpg

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Hans k.
post-32871-1219367197.jpg

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Hans k.

post-32871-1219367469.jpgThe M15 carrier bags were obviously not well thought out because two cans had to be opended and the mask assembled before it could be used. In 1916, the 2 compartment version was produced, with the large compartment for the mask/can and the smaller compartment for the spare filter, again inside its own can. Here is an example with most components including the mask either dated 1917 or early 1918, well within the time frame that the later GM 17 leather masks were being used.

post-32871-1219367582.jpg

post-32871-1219367608.jpg

post-32871-1219367645.jpg

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Hans k.

I hope this thread has been interesting. I'd love to see other examples of these masks, especially the early versions, that are out there in collections. I realize that I haven't even started to cover all of the details.

Hans K.

post-32871-1219367818.jpg

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Cnock

Hi,

Interesting pics!

Thanks for posting

Cnock

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ian turner

Most informative, thank you.

Ian

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Hans k.

Thanks for your replies. I know I'm repeating myself, but if anyone has examples of this mask or any Gummi carriers, no matter if they're pristine or ratty, please feel free to post them on this thread. I'm always interested to see what's out there.

Hans K.

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Droocoo

Nice photos

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David Poulsen

Hi everyone

I can see it has been several years since someone posted in here, but i'll try anyway. Im a fairly new collector of gas masks and i have just got a hold of two german gas masks, im pretty sure they are both from WW1 but im not entirely what model, although they look like the GM 15

IMG_8945.JPG

IMG_8947.JPG

IMG_8946.JPG

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trajan

My immediate thought was why would the "Instructions for the use" of a German gas mask filter be in in four languages?

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SiegeGunner

At a guess, because surplus masks or post-war examples of the same design were sold in other countries for industrial use.

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Chasemuseum

Both appear to be much latter than 1919, when materials for manufacture were readily available. I would suggest commercial/industrial masks from the 1930s. They could even be post WW2 manufacture, it all depends on a number of features of the design. Even commercial masks are usually marked with a date code as the filter canisters were usually considered to have a limited shelf life. 

Cheers

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trajan
6 hours ago, Chasemuseum said:

Both appear to be much latter than 1919...

 

My thoughts entirely, not the least because of the 'plastic' exhale valve on no.1, and although this is out of my field of interest, I doubt very much that these are WW1 - maybe WW1 models / prototypes but that is it. Happy to be corrected though'!

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pioneecorps

A copy I know, its based on the early style masks used by the German army during WW1, which I will be using in my next exhibition.

 

Gerwyn

 

WW1 German Gas Mask

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Chasemuseum
16 hours ago, trajan said:

'plastic' exhale valve on no.1

Hi Trajan, sorry to disagree. Very hard to tell from the photo, but to me the cover of the exhaust valve is stamped, tinplate sheet steel not plastic.

 

The problem is the design. This round cover will be protect a circular "flutter valve", a soft rubber disk held I place by a stud through the centre of the disk and resting on a seat like a tap seat. The valve will give minimal flow resistance as the wearer exhales but will automatically seal closed when the wearer inhales. A very good design - simple, reliable, robust, minimal number of parts and very cheap to make. But not produced as a module attached to the face piece until after the war.

 

For a great deal of WW1 equipment - its a case of looking at it and asking "why did they make it like that ?" and frequently the answer is, what to us is the obviously better design was simply not identified and introduced until after the war. Bayonets are a key example of this. So many were far too long. They were made that length so that an infantryman or artilleryman could use it to fight a cavalryman who was using a sword from horse back. The war showed this rational to be entirely wrong and rifles and bayonets became much shorter after the war, and after WW2 much shorter again.

 

Cheers

Ross

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pioneecorps

Out of interest, the WW2 Gas Masks now come with a health warning from the Health and Safety Executive , the WW1 don't. 

 

Gerwyn

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trajan
2 hours ago, Chasemuseum said:

Hi Trajan, sorry to disagree. Very hard to tell from the photo, but to me the cover of the exhaust valve is stamped, tinplate sheet steel not plastic.

 

 

I stand corrected! Thanks!

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Hans k.

I think it's safe to say that the two masks in post #15 are not German military issue masks. They are certainly not WW1 era. 

 

The Germans did refit the GM17 and GM18 leather gas masks with exhaust valves after the war. Here's a good site showing wartime and postwar examples. The Gummimasken were not reissued postwar.

http://www.gasmasklexikon.com/Page/Germ-Mil-GM17.htm

Edited by Hans k.

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wainfleet

I think at least one of those masks is Belgian and both look postwar.

 

9 years late, but I would like to say what a superb thread by Hans k. Thanks!!

 

 

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