Homemade Gasmask

Posted: November 4, 2011 in Basic Survival
Tags: , , , , , ,

So we were perusing some old articles and found a particularly interesting one dating back to 1942 by Time magazine. We’d like to resurrect that idea into modern times, but first, let’s explore a caption from the original article:

Homemade Gas Masks”
Monday, Sep. 07, 1942, Time Magazine

An emergency gas mask that can be made at home was demonstrated in Manhattan last week by the American Women’s Voluntary Services. The necessary materials can be found in almost any house: a bathing cap, a small tin can, the transparent cover from a powder-puff box, a bit of wire net (from fly swatters), two handkerchiefs, elastic ribbon, adhesive tape, and (from the drugstore) a few ounces of activated coconut charcoal and soda lime. The principle behind the homemade mask is simple; the assembly is more difficult. The rubber cap is fitted snugly over the face and two holes are cut in it; one for the powder-puff cover (to look through), one for the tin-can respirator. The ends of the can are removed, replaced with the wire net. Inside the can go the chemicals (two parts activated charcoal, one part soda lime) wrapped in the handkerchiefs. All openings in the cap are hermetically sealed with adhesive tape. An elastic-ribbon harness holds the mask on tight. An alternative model makes use of rubber baby pants (see cut) instead of the bathing cap.

Alright, so what we learned is that people had some pretty whacked out “common” household swag in 1942. I mean seriously, a bathing cap? Oh, and what the hell is a powder-puff box? Wow.

Anyway, check it, this is what you are going to need as far as common items found in a 2011 household: (and unlike 1942 when they tried to make shit difficult apparently, this is easy)

1. A two liter soda bottle, like the dude has on his face in the first picture.

2. Two pieces of screen. One needs to be about the size of a door knob and the other as big around as the two liter. Hint: You can probably find this somewhere on the giant screen door on the front of your house. If you don’t have one of these, we regret to inform you that you are wasting electricity needlessly in the Fall and Spring anyway and we would like you to try and survive the catastrophe WITHOUT the aid of this tutorial. Thank you.

3. A sock. Preferably clean unless you want to smell feet, but in the event that the shit has really hit the fan, who cares?

4. Some wire, or rope, or whatever the hell you want to use to tie the two liter bottle to your face. Have fun and remember: always be fashionable in the event of a major catastrophe, you never know you you will run into (or away from) out on the streets. <—-sarcasm. Eventually we won’t have to point this out.

5. Some duck tape.

Stuff you will need that you WON’T find in your household, if you are 95.3% of the population reading this article: (NOTE: Get this from a pharmacy owned/operated by an old person)

1. Activated coconut charcoal

2. Lime Soda

Assembly instructions:

1. Cut the bottom of the two liter off and cut a v-shaped section out all the way up the bottle, stopping at the tapered part of the bottle.

2. Tape the smaller screen to the original opening of the two liter bottle, where you twisted off the top.

3. Put two parts of charcoal to one part lime soda in your sock. Note: We don’t know why this shit works because we aren’t physicists, but if it worked during all that insanity of WWII, then it’s good enough for us.

4. Tape the sock closed and place it in the two liter bottle in the uncut section where you taped the smaller screen.

5. Place the larger screen piece over the sock and try to tape it off.

6. Cut small holes in the side flaps of the bottle (where you cut out the v-shaped section) and attach the wire or rope, or string, or rubber bands, or whatever you found to it. (see photo above the article)

7. Put the mask on your face and post a comment in the comment section of this blog to let us know we saved your ass.

DISCLAIMER: This is a two-liter bottle gas-mask. This is NOT a marvel of engineering brilliance, but a simple tool designed to HELP you survive. If you experience leaks (which you will) hopefully it will not be enough to kill you.

  1. Lonely in here today. Please feel free to jump in and discuss 🙂

    Dumb, idiotic, brilliant, life-changing…. any and all comments just help us improve our content 🙂

  2. jj says:

    will a pepsi bottle work..the green looks good but a clear bottle goes better with my oxygen tanks..i saw one of these at the ofice halloween party last week . he said it doubles as a snorkel.

  3. Brilliant Thank you! Albeit horrifying to think about!

  4. Hi. Great article. I’m soon starting work on an eco-friendly project that’ll involve degrading polystyrene with orange peel oil. Most likely, this’ll release some benzene and other hazardous compounds. I happen to have lots of activated charcoal lying around 🙂 but no soda lime. On a scale from 1 to 10, how important would you say the soda lime is? Is there anything that could possibly replace it?

  5. Kris says:

    Any and all comments? Powder box lid…. thick clear round plastic lid used to cover a round powder box containing scented powder and a fluffy puff. Use: to apply powder to the body after showering…. circa 1920″s-1980’s.

    I would use 1/4 – 1/2 door insulation stripping to line the inside edge of the bottle for a snug, but comfortable fit. Its self adhesive. I would still go with the 40’s instructions, using a tin condensed milk can and use duct or gorilla tape to secure it.

  6. Propaganja says:

    its better in my opinion to say screw the mask which only fucks with visibility and isnt actually well sealed onto your face. Just use the same technique to get air to pass through the carbon and soda lime and into your mouth directly, through a tube like people do with a snorkel. Then you can put on eye protection that is actually air tight and your mask is propably going to leak less.

  7. Che says:

    I understand this isn’t 100% effective, however, will this setup protect against biological hazards or is it intended to protect against chemicals only?

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