An Illustrated History of the Gas Mask

Jill Harness
Getty Images
Getty Images / Getty Images

You probably knew that gas masks were pretty common back in WWII, but did you know their use dates back all the way to ancient Greece? It's true: All the way back in antiquity, the common sponge was used as a gas mask as necessary. Workers in dangerous fields have used gas masks since 850 A.D. when the Banu Musa brothers of Iraq designed an early prototype meant to protect workers working in polluted wells. Gas masks for breathing in smoke-filled areas have been around since at least 1820. You can learn more about

the history of this life-saving device in this fascinating article on i09

that is also accompanied with pictures of historical gas masks. While these ancient gas masks were almost certainly less effective than the ones we use these days, they do show that as long as there have been dangerous gasses around, humans have worked to filter out the dangers so we could breathe easily.