Inventions that aid and protect the ability to breath where gas, smoke or other poisonous fumes exist, were being made before the first use of modern chemical weapons.
Modern chemical warfare began on April 22, 1915, when German soldiers first used chlorine gas to attack the French in Ypres.
Long before 1915, miners, firemen, and underwater divers all had a need for helmets that could provide breathable air, and the early prototypes for gas masks were developed to meet those needs.
In 1823, brothers, John and Charles Deane patented a smoke protecting apparatus for firemen that was later modified for underwater divers. 1n 1819, Augustus Siebe marketed an early diving suit. Siebe’s suit included a helmet to which air was pumped via a tube to the helmet and spent air escaped from another tube. The inventor founded Siebe, Gorman and Co, a company that developed and manufactured respirators for a variety of purposes and was later instrumental in developing defense respirators.