Property of University Health Network, Toronto, Canada Copyright University Health Network Artifact Collection 1969.177.7
Initially, a soldier’s only protection against the poison gas, introduced by the Germans at Ypres in 1913, was to breathe through a
handkerchief or other small piece of fabric soaked in urine. Out of necessity, Dr MacPherson quickly came up with the idea of a gas mask made of fabric and metal. Using a helmet taken from a captured German prisoner, he added a canvas hood with eyepieces and a breathing tube. The helmet was treated with chemicals that would absorb the chlorine used in the gas attacks. After a few improvements, MacPherson’s helmet became the first gas mask to be used by the British army.
To learn more about the MacPherson Gas Mask visit Library and Archives Canada