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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Help Is On the Way: 1915

Help Is On the Way: 1915

"Mine Rescuer" circa 1915. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.

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The guy appaears to be wearing what is known as a rebreather, possibly the same type that was manufactured by Draeger starting in 1907.

Basically the air that the rescue worker breathes out is recycled, with the carbon dioxide being chemically absorbed (usually by a proprietary formula) and the 75% or so of oxygen that the body doesn't use in each breath is then supplemented from the tanks on the worker's back. Draeger still makes devices based on the same principle although with a far more modern design. I do know that in the mines of Nova Scotia the rescue teams are known as "Draegermen."

The "leather knee contraptions" are needed since a lot of time these guys would be crawling over jagged rock. Rather incongruous with what appear to be street shoes but may be boots that lace up.

Knee chaps

My God I love those leather knee contraptions with those shoes. Incredibly "steampunk."

Straight out of ...

Terry Gilliam's "Brazil," right?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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