Submitted by M.Lenz, Collections Assistant
This ‘gas mask’, actually a mouthpiece respirator, was donated to us by Sue Girling on behalf of her father-in-law, William, who worked in the pulp and paper industry in the 50s and 60s. It was worn around the neck by workers, particularly during equipment maintenance and replacement. During an emergency you would place the clamp on your nose and the mouthpiece in your mouth and breathe through the respirator until you can safely leave the premises. They are also referred to as emergency escape respirators.
Chlorine (and other harmful chemicals) are often used in paper production, and sometimes gas could remain in pipes of the machinery. Workers had to carry a mask like this with them as a safety precaution in case any gas was released during maintenance/installation of new machinery.
As far as we know, this mask was never used for activities related to West Coast fishing, so right now we’re looking into a new home for this interesting piece of equipment.