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The Invention of Early Gas Masks

Cluny Macpherson was a doctor who was known in the era of World War I for producing the early model of the gas mask, which helped soldiers protect themselves through the poisonous gas released by their enemies in the war zone. He developed the early model of the modern-day gas mask used in the military.

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During the world war, the troops came up with a light cotton mask, which they called the Black Veil Respirator. It was a simple cotton pad soaked in an absorbent solution that was secured over the mouth using black cotton veiling, but it didn't prove to be very effective.

In an effort to improve this mask, Macpherson came up with a mask with chemical absorbing fabric and which fitted over the entire head. It was a canvas hood treated with chlorine-absorbing chemicals and fitted with a transparent mica eyepiece. This design was adopted by the British Army and became known as the British Smoke Hood.

Macpherson further added improvements to his original design by adding a more elaborate sorbent compound to defeat other poisonous respiratory gases which were used during the war.