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Desert Rat

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Hello to you All,

I have just bought a WW1 German gas mask ans container.....it is made of a type of cotton / canvas type material for the face...can anyone help me as to what I can use on this to soften it up, as it's been stuffed into the original cannister for a long time and it very stiff to try and get it into the original shape to fit on the face

Do I use a / wax/ some type of oil to soften it and get it back into the original shape?


If you know and can kindly assist...I, Thank You!

Best to you all....Desert Rat

PS...the images are nearly the original shape

It will be for sale soon on MCN and elsewhere

s-l1600 (1).jpg

s-l1600 (6).jpg

s-l1600 (9).jpg

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Ian, first off you really dont want to put any gasmask of wartime era on your face, the filters contain asbestos, its a real bad idea. secondly the "cloth" will have had something else added to it in order that no gas can be absorbed through the fibres, it could be a rubber type solution or something else, a gentle steam might help the reform the features, but to be honest I would leave it alone


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Hello Dave,

Many, Many Thanks for your kind info.....I did not put it on my face (I completely forgot about the asbestos). But I may try a gentle steam to get it back in shape...but your advice is to leave it alone, which I will. What I have done is filled it gently with bubble wrap and this has expanded the face to a reasonable / original size. When I sell it I will send like this with the tin but very well packed.


Very best wishes....Ian/ Desert Rat

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  • 9 months later...

I wouldn't 'steam' it either as it is a WW1 mask you may release some of the chemicals absorbed if it was used in action.


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  • 2 weeks later...


Thank you both for your kind assistance, not sure really what to do know to loosen the actual cloth up? the actual cotton / canvas fibre that is the main part of this mask.

As it's been stuffed in a tin for probably 50 years and has (sort of) made it's own shape, and pretty stiff.....need some advice as what to do to bring it back/if I can to being more flexible.?

Do I gently steam it with a kettle of boiling water...then pack it out with bubble wrap ...to keep it's shape....OR can I spray it with a special liquid, to make it supple again as if it was newish????

If anyone of you have any favourable ideas can help me....it would be very much appreciated.

Many Grateful thanks...Desert Rat/ Ian

Edited by Desert Rat
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