“George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets.”

This pair of early rescue masks, shown above, dates from between the mid-1800s and World War I. They look a bit familiar, right? Almost 100 years before Darth Vader and C-3PO hit the big screen in “Star Wars” in 1977, these two smoke helmets were worn by firefighters carrying out rescues in smoke-logged buildings. The buzz among collectors is that George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets and others like them. In fact, one well-known 19th-century manufacturer was named Vajen-Bader—you could easily get the name Vader from that.

The black leather helmet on the left is labeled “Respirations Apparat” by “G.B.Konic Altona,” was made in Hamburg, Germany, and has the look of an African Dan mask. The brass, three-quarter face mask to its right was made in Paris by J. Mandet. This type of breathing mask had a very simple apparatus, allowing only a short range of operation. When used, air would be forced into the helmet through no more than 13 meters of flexible tubing by means of a bellows operated remotely from the outside. Both of these masks have mica lenses to help protect the eyes from heat.

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WILD HELMETS: NOW ON INDIEGOGO, FACEBOOK, and TWITTER

"Despite the fact that car accidents are the number one cause of all fatal head trauma among teenagers, the suggestion that teens wear helmets when they drive is simply brushed off…Yet we insist that children wear bike helmets (in fact, in some places, it’s the law) despite data that shows kids are more likely to die of head injuries riding in a car than riding on a bike. Children and toddlers on foot are far more likely to receive traumatic brain injuries than cyclists, yet parents who place protective headwear on their walking toddlers are openly ridiculed."

"Why It Makes Sense To Bike Without A Helmet" 

(No offense, but FU to anyone who has ever yelled at me for riding my bike without a helmet. Those of you should now go about walking and driving with a helmet.)

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