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August 26, 2014

Mickey Mouse Gas Masks for Children From World War II

On January 7th, 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor, T.W. Smith, Jr., the owner of the Sun Rubber Company, and his designer, Dietrich Rempel, with Walt Disney’s approval introduced a protective mask for children. This design of the Mickey Mouse Gas Mask for children was presented to Major General William N. Porter, Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service. After approval of the CWS, Sun Rubber Products Company produced sample masks for review. Other comic book character designs were to follow, depending on the success of the Mickey Mouse mask.

The mask was designed so children would carry it and wear it as part of a game. This would reduce the fear associated with wearing a gas mask and hopefully, improve their wear time and, hence, survivability.

Mickey Mouse Gas Mask at the 45th Infantry Museum.

During WWII Walt Disney helped to design a Mickey Mouse gas mask to protect children against chemical warfare. The mask pictured here is housed in The United States Army Chemical Corps Museum, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Disney's Mickey Mouse gas mask was designed to eliminate children's fear of wearing the chemical warfare preventative device.

In addition to its child-friendly appearance, the Mickey Mouse mask was designed to fit a smaller head and weighed less than the adult gas mask. Seen here it is being fitted to a dummy.

Walt Disney showing the sketch of the Mickey Mouse gas mask to Major General William Porter on January 8, 1942. 

Child sports a Mickey Mouse gas mask during WWII.

(via gasmasklexikon and Mail Online)


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