Original U.S. WWI M1917 SBR Gas Mask with Artwork on Carry Bag

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of an M1917 SBR Gas Mask in size 3 complete with mask, filter, carry satchel, and is complete with the original instruction manual. The mask is in a very delicate condition, as most examples found today are.

There are some missing pieces, tears in the fabric and both lenses are cracked and darkened. The mask definitely has a very worn, “salty” look to it, one that was definitely worn in a combat zone. There are no names attributed to the mask, there is however, beautiful graffiti on the outside of the case.

The case features a cartoon drawing of an American doughboy with the words I NEED THEE EVERY “HOUR” below it. Those words are from a hymn written in 1872 by Annie Hawks. In 1872, the hymn by which Hawks is most widely known, "I Need Thee Every Hour", was written. It is said to have been translated into more foreign languages than any other modern hymn at the time of her death. Hawks stated:— "For myself, the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow." Lowry, who wrote the music, went on to say: "I Need Thee Every Hour" was written by Mrs. Annie S. Hawks, in 1872, in Brooklyn, New York. I believe it was the expression of her own experience. It came to me in the form of five simple stanzas, to which I added the chorus to make it more serviceable. It inspired me at its first reading. It first appeared in a small collection of original songs prepared for the National Baptist Sunday-school Association, held in Cincinnati, Ohio in November, 1872, and was sung on that occasion."

The hymn appeared in a US Army songbook during WWI and was widely popular amongst the AEF troops in France. We have seen a few other WWI items, including gas mask bags, with the same words written on it.

Truly a beautiful example of a personalized M1917 carrying case from WWI. Comes ready to display!

Of the 5,250,000 gas masks of all types produced by the U.S. during the war, 1.6 million of them were the improved version of the British SBR. This mask was officially known as the U.S. Corrected English Small Box Respirator or the U.S. Corrected English Model (CEM). Produced in six sizes (1 through 6) from January to March 1918, the CEM was one of the two most commonly worn American made gas masks used by the AEF.

Despite complaints from France regarding the British SBRs uncomfortable mouthpiece and its despised hated nose-clip, American gas experts determined that this type of respirator provided the best protection. Ever since the failure of the ASBR, American gasmask designers toiled to modify, improve, and ultimately make the American version of the SBR more comfortable, more reliable and stronger than the English mask that it mirrored. After numerous revisions, by October of 1917, the design had been perfected. Upon passing a comprehensive battery of field tests, the CEM respirator went into full scale production in January of 1918. It would be the very first U.S. made gasmask to see service in the gas soaked trenches of the Western Front.
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