Vintage Gas Mask Photos

Woman Wearing the National Gas Mask of Germany, 1937.

Tempting Death by Breathing Poisonous Gasses, 1932.
London, England. Death stands nearby as these men calmly go about their business of breathing poisonous gases in an experimental station for testing gas masks.

French Women Making Gas Masks, 1916.

Gas-Proof Perambulator will Keep Baby Safe in Air Raids, 1938.
The perambulator has an air-tight lid provided with a window and with a gas mask filter. A rubber bulb at the rear is squeezed at intervals forcing the stale air out and replacing it with fresh air drawn through the filter.

Gas-Proof Perambulator will Keep Baby Safe in Air Raids, 1938.

Newspaper Reporter "Covering" a Chemical Warfare Demonstration, 1939.
Miss Kirwan insisted on going through a gas cloud, gas-masked, of course, running through the fumes thrown out by small tanks for chemical warfare.

International Exhibition of Fire and Security Branch, Paris, 1930s.

Descending to Safety in a London Air Raid Tunnel, 1938
Hundreds of bomb and gas proof underground shelters were constructed in the London Area.


Postmortem Photography Exhibition at Allentown Art Museum

Mourning Pin, Infant with Ring Curl, circa 1870

Gothic to Goth: Embracing the Dark Side

Through April 29, 2012

The Burns archive is pleased to announce that we have several pieces included in this fantastic exhibition.
Postmortem daguerreotypes, ambrotypes ans tintypes will be on view.
Dr.Burns is scheduled to lecture on his postmortem and mourning photography collection 4/19/12.

Allentown Art Museum
31 North Fifth Street
Allentown, PA 18101

Tuesday - Saturday 11AM - 5PM, Sunday  12PM - 5PM, Monday Closed

Curated By Soody Sisco
It might be said that death, art, and fashion went hand in hand in America in the nineteenth century. The death of George Washington in 1799 spurred an outpouring of public mourning that found expression in a new genre of art that encompassed memorial paintings, prints, public monuments, mourning kerchiefs, ceramics, and, not least, needlework. Mourning art was considered a beautiful and appropriate—even sophisticated and fashionable—art form rather than a frivolous or morbid fascination with death. It encouraged an interweaving of religious, social, and aesthetic ideas drawn from the neoclassical ideal of the “heroic death,” as well as the burgeoning Romantic Movement.  As literature with macabre gothic overtones gained popularity, emotional expressions of sentimentality, melancholy, and even horror and terror became commonplace.

The presentation of grief and sorrow became an art in itself in the Victorian era (1837 – 1901) as England’s Queen Victoria brought the expression of mourning to its zenith following the death of her husband, Prince Albert in 1861. On both sides of the Atlantic, elaborate mourning outfits became de rigeur, along with codified rituals for their wearing.  As the American public rapidly assimilated both the social mores and fashionable tastes of mourning, the late nineteenth century became widely known for its prominence of elaborate and ostentatious mourning fashion. Almost a hundred years later, the silhouettes and styles of Victorian mourning wear made a vigorous reappearance with the emergence of the Goth subculture in the late 1970s, although now with a vocabulary of nonconformity and self-expression rather than the moral obligations of earlier years.

Gothic to Goth offers an overview of the nineteenth-century cult of mourning in American art and fashion and indicates how that trend translated into contemporary Goth fashion, a genre now embraced by mainstream couture as well as by the rock subculture of the twentieth century. Included in the exhibition are representative examples of mourning art such as needle pictures, paintings, and postmortem daguerreotype portraits; mourning jewelry and other accessories; two late Victorian mourning outfits; and examples of contemporary Goth fashion inspired by the mourning excesses of the earlier century. Objects from the museum’s own collections are supplemented by loans from the Everhart Museum, Burns Archive, Lackawanna Historical Society, Sigal Museum, Drexel Historic Costume Collection, the designer Kambriel, Heavy Red Couture Noir and custom jewelry designer and manufacturer Atelier Gothique

A Few Selections From The Burns Collection On View:
Child Held by Mother in Fingerless Gloves, Ambrotype, 1/6 Plate (In Hanging Frame), circa 1858
Father & Daughter Posed with Toy Rattle, Daguerreotype, 1/6 Plate, circa 1848
Mother Holding Daughter with Ribboned Hat, Daguerreotype, 1/6 Plate, circa 1853

More Posts on Postmortem Photography at The Burns Archive: