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On Jan. 7th, 1942, a month after the Pearl Harbor Attacks, the owner of Sun Rubber Company, T.W. Smith Jr, along with his trusty assistant, Dietrich Rempel, presented the sketch of the Mickey Mouse gas mask to Major General William N. Porter, who was the Chief of Chemical Warfare Service, and was approved. The mask was made for children, and was given the look of the famous Mickey Mouse to reduce the fear of actually wearing a gas mask. Walt Disney himself was very fond of the idea and gladly approved of the production of the gas mask.

Sun Rubber Company went to produce a little over 1,000 of the Mickey Mouse gas masks, and was given the Army-Navy "E" for excellence in 1944.

No chemical attack was laid onto the United States, and the desire for the Mickey Mouse gas mask vanished. The gas masks were handed to senior officials and others as mere keepsakes.

The gas mask features what appears to be 6-point head harness, two small glass eye lenses, a large filter with a thread smaller than 40mm, and an exhale valve/voicemitter, with a bright red guard over it. The face piece appears to be made of rubber. On top of the two temple straps, it is very apparent that the mask features "Mickey Mouse" ears.

Now, today in the market, the Disney Mickey Mouse gas mask is without a doubt, the rarest and most-wanted gas mask to American collectors. Very few of them are still around. The US Army Chemical Museum in Fort McClellan, Alabama has a hand-made prototype of the mask on display. The 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has a finalised version of the Mickey Mouse mask, the Walt Disney Archives in Burbank, California has an unfinished face piece of the mask, featuring no eye lenses, no exhale valve, no voicemitter, and no filter. It is rumoured a woman with a huge Mickey Mouse collection in Japan has one.

If a Mickey Mouse gas mask were to ever pop up for sale, there are a few who would gladly pay the more than US$2,000 to own one.

Gallery Edit

References: "The Mickey Mouse Mask" by Major Robert D. Walk

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