James Bert Garner (September 2, 1870 – November 28, 1960) was a chemical engineer and professor at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research from 1914 until his retirement in 1957. He is credited with the invention of a World War I gas mask in 1915.
After reading an account of a gas attack by the German Army on Canadian and French troops on April 22, 1915 at Ypres, Dr. Garner hypothesized that chlorine gas had been used. Based on research he had performed while at the University of Chicago he believed that activated charcoal would adsorb the gas. After performing a successful test using two of his associates who were exposed to gas in a sealed room while wearing Dr. Garner’s gas mask, the results were turned over to the British government. In America thousands of gas masks were produced for American as well as Allied troops. Mine Safety Appliances was a chief producer. His mask was later used widely in industry.
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