The M61 is a Finnish gas mask manufactured by Nokia since the 1960s up to the 1971. It was the standard issue gas mask for the Finnish Defense Forces, . It is a side loading mask (meaning the filter attaches to the side), and takes 60mm threaded filters.
These masks are quite common on the surplus market, most filters (marked SUOD 61, suodatin is Finnish for filter) on the market have been checked by the Technical Depot of the Finnish Defence Forces in the 1970s-1980s. The weight in grams of the filter is written on the label as before the Gulf War it was thought that a properly stored filter would still be serviceable providing the weight of the filter had not changed (which would indicate that the activated carbon had changed, taken up moisture etc.). The filters were manufactured by Kemira in Vaasa (now part of Scott Health & Safety, in turn part of Tyco International).
The M61 gas mask was manufactured in Finland by the Suomen Kumitehdas Nokia (rubber factory). This factory, was integrated with other firms to form the Nokia corporation in 1967 . The filters were manufactured by the kemira Oy. firm.
The M61 was a copy of the US M9 gas mask with a few alterations. Most noticeably, the color of the M9A1 was a whitish-greenish mix while this mask was of a greyish-greenish or bluish-grey color.
There were three issued types of the M61.
- Model 1 - Most similar to the U.S. M9. The only changes were the addition of a Nokia manufacture mark on the filter side, and 'SA' (Finnish: Suomen Asevoimat "Finnish Military") replacing 'US' at the top.
- Model 2 - This version has a longer outlet valve cover, and a peripheral seal was added. The 'SA' marking was removed, and the watchtower of the Finnish defence forces was added on the opposite side to the filter.
- Model 3 - The most common model. The rubber exhalation assembly was replaced by a black plastic assembly, incorporating a voice diaphragm, and the cover featured the distinctive watchtower of the Finnish defence forces.
The filters for these masks are known for containing chromium, but not enough to do any serious harm.