Proto self-contained breathing apparatus

Contributed by Museum of Cannock Chase

Proto self-contained breathing apparatus

The 'Proto' self-contained breathing apparatus was manufactured by the Siebe Gorman Company c.1914-1972. It was used by mines rescue services across the country, including the Hednesford Central Rescue Service, who used this model when attending local and national underground incidents. It consisted of a divided rubber breathing bag containing 'Protosorb', which absorbed the carbon dioxide released from the body during exhalation, passing the air back through the oxygen supply, therefore making it possible to re-breathe. The apparatus also consisted of a metal cooling unit, an oxygen cylinder, supply tubes, a nose clip and mouth piece and was attached to the front of the user with leather straps and a belt. The 'Proto' self breathing apparatus on display at the Museum of Cannock Chase, Hednesford is inscribed 'THETIS' and was used by a Hednesford Mines Rescue Team during the recovery of bodies from the Thetis submarine disaster at Liverpool Bay in 1939. A team also used this type of equipment during difficult underwater rescue attempts in the Lofthouse Colliery Disaster in Yorkshire in 1973.

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Proto apparatus in general use 1914-1972

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