The P.C.40 was the last main civilian mask design produced in Italy before the end of the Second World War. Early on in the War, it was sold directly by the State to the population, to those in the risk of a chemical attack. Later, some were issued by the state for free to some corps, and it was used both passively and actively in place of other masks.
After the end of the War, an updated version was produced for unknown reasons.
Mask overview Edit
The P.C. 40 design is based on the T.35, with a series of changes to make it cheaper to produce.
The faceblank, made of a thin foil of moulded rubber; it has the following parts attached to it:
- the housing for the exhale valve
- the inlet assembly
- the eyepieces
- the straps
The inlet valve allows filtered air in from the filter and does not allow exhaled air to go back out from the filter again. Said rubber valve is housed in the metal threaded assembly, used to screw the filter in.
The exhale valve allows exhaled air to go outside and prevents poisoned air to get in. It's made of rubber, it opens under the light pressure of exhaling and closes hermetically under the negative pressure produced by the inhalation. It can be easily inspected and possibly replaced by unscrewing the lid of its housing, made with aluminium to be cheaper.
The eyepieces are made of cellulose acetate instead of the previously used "Triplex" glass. The glasses are affixed to the mask through aluminium frames. Size 4 masks use smaller lenses and frames to better fit the wearer.
Anti-fogging lenses could be applied using the rubber studs around the inside of the eyepieces (save for size 4 masks, which had smaller lenses). Anti-fogging lenses were not issued with this mask normally.
The elastic harness, based on the T.35, has the goal to keep the mask tightly onto the face. It is composed of 5 adjustable straps (a top one, two elastic temple ones and two elastic cheek ones) attached to the facepiece, and they gather into a nape pad, which is much smaller than its predecessor's.The quality of the parts and the rubber decreased during the war due to dwindling stocks of quality metal and natural rubber. In some cases, the colour of the paint was changed, due to unknown reasons.
Filter EditThe filter had the same shape as the Pirec38 filter but was painted yellow. It featured a paper disc on the inlet that was to be removed when the mask was to be used.
The mask came in two different kits: most masks were stored in a cardboard box and came with the filter, a stick of anti-fogging soap and the manual. Some masks had a dedicated cheaper variation of the T.35 bag and had the same accessories.
Box kit EditPirelli size 2 sample
Bag kit EditSuperga size 3 sample
Post-war variant Edit
After the end of the war, the production of this mask did not cease but switched to different materials and hardware, while maintaining the same setup.
The main differences are:
- The rubber used was blue-grey coloured, it was more durable than the older mixes
- The inlet piece was the same as the one later used for the M59, with minor structural differences to the original one
- The eyepieces were made of Triplex glass instead of simple cellulose
- The harness was the same one as the T.35 instead of the cheaper alternative regular P.C. 40s sport