The Black Veil Respirator was an early respirator that was issued to British front-lines during World War One.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Black Veil Respirator is made from a large piece of cotton fabric material wrapped in muslin with strings to tighten it on the soldier's face, soldiers were instructed to tie said material around their mouth and nose when a gas attack struck. The material would be coated in sodium hyposulphate, sodium carbonate, glycerine and water to terminate chlorine gas as it is inhaled through the muslin. In dire situations, if soldiers were running low on chemical tubs they would use urine though this rarely functioned to terminate chlorine.

Later versions of this respirator were issued with a pair of gas goggles, which would protect the user's eyes from chlorine irritation without covering their eyes with the respirator.

History[edit | edit source]

The Black Veil Respirator was designed to protect soldiers from constant gas attacks during the early years of World War One until the Hypo Helmet was designed. The Black Veil Respirator was created by John Scott Haldane in May of 1915.

Very early mouthpiece respirators were constructed of lint, who's tight weave made breathing resistance high. Haldane decided to use cotton waste as the main medium for breathing through. Due to cottons looser weave, breathing through the respirator was easier.

One problem encountered was that the mouthpiece would dry out overtime, rendering the respirator useless. To counter this problem, the Black Veil Respirator was issued inside a waterproof wallet. This allowed the respirator to be dipped in the protective solutions and then stored wet. Buckets filled with the protective solution were stationed in each trench, so soldiers could freely re-dip their respirators as required.

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