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November 5, 2020

Vintage Photos Capture People Wearing Masks During the Great Smog in the 1950s

In early December 1952, a thick layer of smog–a combination of cold weather, windless conditions, and sulfurous acidic smoke arising from the abundant use of coal–settled over the British capital. As London had already been infamous for its heavy fog, there was no panic. However, it was estimated that up to 12,000 people had been killed by the toxic “pea-souper” and over 100,000 became ill. As the air was filled with dirt and the unpleasant acrid taste, people started putting on masks to protect themselves from the smog.

Take a look through 13 vintage photographs to see how people deal with the situation by wearing masks:

(Bettmann)
(Mirrorpix)
(Keystone)
(Juliette Lasserre)
(Popperfoto)
(Juliette Lasserre)
(Juliette Lasserre)
(Monty Fresco)
(Bettmann)
(Bettmann)
(Terry Fincher)
(Bettmann)
(Monty Fresco)




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