The wz. 32 gas mask was the standard military issue in Poland until around the early 1950s, when the ML, and later the ShM-41 series were adopted. The mask itself was designed and put into service just before the later part of 1932. It is considered to be one of the more advanced masks of the time, surpassing almost any other country in the world at the time. The mask was made in its first model had a dull grey/green/blue fabric facepiece. The inside of the mask was glazed with a smooth black rubber, as opposed to other masks around the same era, mostly used rough rubber to adhere to the user's face.
Unlike most other masks around this time period, it uses an early peripheral seal around the facepiece, fashioned of a soft tan fabric, with hand-sewn stitches. The fabric is folded to the outside of the mask and then folded over and a layer of fabric glue and fabric tape are laid over it. It uses a dual seam around the mask, with double stitching and bars in parts to make sure the fabric is solid. Something quite shocking about this mask is the fact that it has a highly advanced interior. The backing to the facepiece is a dull Olive Drab color, while the Oral nasal cup is a dark black rubber, while the back of the oral-nasal cup is made of a tan material, similar in texture and durability to the outer mask covering. The bridge portion extends past, and behind the peripheral seal, and has approximately a quarter inch of yellow, shag material meant to resist irritation to the user's face and nose.
The entire breathing portion is contained within the oral-nasal cup. The inhale portion is a large steel disc, that contains a large rubber flap, to keep air from entering the filter, and thus being forced out of the brass hole just below it, that leads into the guarded flapper valve. The flapper valve guard is very easily removable, it uses a system, that in layman's terms, can be thought of as a " nut and bolt system". There is a counterbored portion of the brass from the outside, that the flapper valve is pinched in, and then the steel cover is slid over it, and there are threads exposed at this point. A small "nut" that looks similar to a metal, hollow bottle cap is then slid over the apparatus and tightened down. Just above the flapper valve assembly is the intake.
The threads on this particular mask are 42mm, not a typo, it is 42mm. Very odd threads, not seen often. It is put into a recessed portion of fabric, and the facepiece is folded over and pinched into the brass assembly. It uses the standard thread style and a rubber o-ring. It leads to a ramp, that splits the air into two sides and then hits the rubber seal, and into the user's lungs. The eyepieces are recessed back into the facepiece and are crimped on the inside. It consists of a steel ring, with brass holding the glass on the outside. It is very thick, real glass, not plastic as seen on many other masks. The nose bridge extends about half an inch past the eyepieces, giving lend to this mask have very, in collectors terms, sexy lands and grooves. The head harness buckles are attached in a very unique way, being glued, fabric taped, and under all of that, sewn to the mask. It uses a 7-point black fabric elastic head harness with thin white stripes running down the middle until it hits the head thin, long head harness pad. Now, the lower-left buckle it not attached to a strap.
It uses a very thin, non-elastic strip, hooked to a metal loop, that is sewn on. The lower left harness strap is threaded through a buckle at the very bottom of the head harness, and on the other side, is a pull tab to adjust the length, and a D ring. The D ring is meant to be left unhooked, and the head harness bottom straps can be pulled loose, mask put on, and having the straps pre-tightened, all the user must do is hook the D ring. The strap buckles are very cool, the edge of the fabric is rolled up into a small cylinder, then a brass clamp put over it, giving very good grip on the cylindrical adjustment tabs. The later, full rubber mask varies little, but the head harness is a bit thicker at the attach points, and the flapper valve front is left open.
This mask uses a common European feature of the time, a neck strap. The neck strap is a twist sewn Olive Drab strap and is again sewn, glued, and taped to the mask. Now, onto the hose. The early mask is commonly seen with a tan hose, such as mine. It is shorter and fatter than the later rubber hoses. Unlike most hoses, it does not have a thumb guard on the male side, to assist with tightening, and simply flows from fabric to the metal 42mm threads. The hose is very fat and moderate in length. The standard-issue filter for this mask is a large metal, brown filter meant to be stowed in the bag when in use. It is semi-oval shaped, with large ribs down the side, leading to the bottom, this is where the filter gets weird. The ENTIRE bottom portion of the filter is an intake, it has holes, similar to when you open a can of tomato juice, small triangle holes all over the bottom, as to cut down on the chances of the intake being plugged up in the bag. The filter is fairly heavy, as it more than likely uses crocodilite (Blue Asbestos ) and chemically treated paper.
The bag is made of very heavy canvas material. The strap itself is twist sewn with very large hemp threads and has a standard adjustment buckle. The bag uses a very large thread on the scratchy, thick, rough bag material. The closure system is again very unique, common with Polish masks. It has a large black leather pad, sewn in with white thread, with a large metal ball, similar to an Air Rifle pellet, protruding out the top. The bag has a simple slit, that is opened, with thread-sewn around the edges to keep it from fraying. The bag itself has two compartments, one for the facepiece, and one strictly for the filter and hose. The filter and hose side has a spring assembly to keep the filter suspended, and to let the shock of the filter go into the spring, not go to tearing the bag seams. It keeps the filter suspended around an inch and a half above the canvas.
Now a little technical info, the mask itself is very light, and proved to be a very effective design as even the "genius" Germans captured and issued these, with reports coming back that they were much better masks than their GM series. The ink stamps on the fabric read:
WZ.32 - Model of the Anti Gas Model S - S, in Polish is the symbol for Medium W.W.S.P - Factory where the mask was produced V-35 - factory I.D code