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Rubber Preservation - WWI gas mask


willy q

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Ok, I want to add to my collection a WWI US/Brit gas mask, I see them on e-bay and other sites all the time and they range in price greatly, the main issue seems to be stiffness in the mask its self. I was thinking could you heat the mask in water rasing temp gradualy to unstiffen mask and place on a display head and let cool? has anyone ever tried to release/unstiffen one of these?

Thanks,

Willy Q.

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The rubber vulcanization process back in those days was not the best and hence you see every WWI mask dry and hard. Good luck finding on nice and supple. The R.F.K. Masks were made of cotton fabric coated with rubber. The A.T. Masks were molded rubber. The K.T. mask used a vulcanized fabric and the K.T.M. used a stocking net covered rubber.

With that said, old rubber wasn't designed to last 100 years.

 

One thing you need to know...you can never bring rubber back.

You can only stop or slow down the drying process. With my WWII masks, I cleaned them with a light soap and water and after air drying, used armor all to protect them, basically from the Ozone....rubbers worst enemy.

 

Back to the WWI masks...you'll find most all those masks hard and dry. You can leave them as is and keep them out of sunlight when displaying. But if you want to try to open one up to put on a dummies head here is what you do. During a sunny warm day, close the windows in you car and place the mask on the dash. It will heat the mask up evenly without over heating. Slowly pry it open, but do not force it. If you feel force, then let it sit and repeat the process. Now...this requires direct sunlight, you can put a t-shirt over it to help block out the sun. The nice thing about the car warmth trick is the temperature is just about right and is pretty even. If you use a hair dryer or some machine, it's too hot and too fast a heat.

 

My advice, don't do it, leave it as is. Us the mask as a plcae holder in your collection until you find a mask that is already open and dried, or nice and pliable. :)

 

Dan

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The rubber vulcanization process back in those days was not the best and hence you see every WWI mask dry and hard. Good luck finding on nice and supple. The R.F.K. Masks were made of cotton fabric coated with rubber. The A.T. Masks were molded rubber. The K.T. mask used a vulcanized fabric and the K.T.M. used a stocking net covered rubber.

With that said, old rubber wasn't designed to last 100 years.

 

One thing you need to know...you can never bring rubber back.

You can only stop or slow down the drying process. With my WWII masks, I cleaned them with a light soap and water and after air drying, used armor all to protect them, basically from the Ozone....rubbers worst enemy.

 

Back to the WWI masks...you'll find most all those masks hard and dry. You can leave them as is and keep them out of sunlight when displaying. But if you want to try to open one up to put on a dummies head here is what you do. During a sunny warm day, close the windows in you car and place the mask on the dash. It will heat the mask up evenly without over heating. Slowly pry it open, but do not force it. If you feel force, then let it sit and repeat the process. Now...this requires direct sunlight, you can put a t-shirt over it to help block out the sun. The nice thing about the car warmth trick is the temperature is just about right and is pretty even. If you use a hair dryer or some machine, it's too hot and too fast a heat.

 

My advice, don't do it, leave it as is. Us the mask as a plcae holder in your collection until you find a mask that is already open and dried, or nice and pliable. :)

 

Dan

Thanks, will keep that in mind

Willy Q

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