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Original French Pre-WWII TC-38 Civil Defense Gas Mask With A.R.S. Canister - Civilian Variant of the ANP T-31

Regular price $375.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. At the end of World War I, the high number of civilian casualties highlighted the need to upgrade the protection of people during conflicts.

In 1933, the first voluntary organization to protect civilians during war time was founded with the support of Gaston Doumergue, a French politician of the Third Republic. In 1938, at the dawn of World War II, the French government developed civil defense (défense passive) policies. Their goal was to build blast shelters and warning networks to keep people safe from airstrikes.

After the war, the défense passive missions became more and more related to non military threats like natural disasters. In 1951, a national service for civil protection in the ministry of the Interior was established. This government agency then became the French Sécurité Civile in 1975.

However, this nationalization did not hamper volunteering which developed through local civil protection societies from 1958.

This TC-38 is similar in construction and appearance to the WWI Appareil Respiratoire Spécial ARS and the WWII Appareil Normal de Protection Type-31 ANP T-31. This variant was issued to civil defense troops. The facepiece of this variant is the same as the regular T-31, the difference comes with the kit, which does not include a hose, uses only the smaller filter and is transported in a can. Some were issued with a special 'sniffing device' that could be used to detect gasses.

The face is nearly the same as that on the ARS and is made of rubberized fabric. A large part of the faceblank between the eyes is made of thin rubber, instead, and is stitched onto the rest of the face. The peripheral seal consists of rubber cement. In fact, anywhere there is stitching, there is a coat of rubber cement. The head harness, a seven-point design, is also nearly identical to that on the ARS. This mask features a ring-and-hook nape strap, the hook for which is attached to the face with little pieces of twine. Also attached to the face is a sling for carrying the mask on the neck in case of a gas alert.

The eyepieces are crimped onto the clothless-rubber strip using a metal frame. The frames are painted a dark brown to match the color of the rubber cement. The valve assembly, also painted a dark brown with a layer of rubber cement along the rim, has a long angle tube which is angled downwards and connects to the filter.

The mask is in a lovely service worn condition with all components on the mask appearing to be complete. The only real “damage” would be the attached filter which does have some deterioration present. The stampings are still clear on the outside of the mask which identifies it as a TC-38 with a date of September 1935.

The canister retains almost all of the original dark brown paint, but there is some minor chipping present. There are no carry straps present on the canister but there is however the spare lens in the envelope attached to the cardboard disk at the bottom of the can.

This is a lovely example of a TC-38 mask which is becoming increasingly difficult to find, especially one with solid stampings and a rare A.R.S. canister!

Comes more than ready for further research and display!

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