Gas masks became widely used during the world wars and in the early half of the twentieth century. The primary purpose of a gas mask is to protect its wearer from inhaling noxious gases and from dust, smoke, and diseases.
Still, considering that the Victorian Period, on which steampunk culture was based, lasted until 1901, there is no harm in using a gas mask for your outfit. And if you chose to use a gas mask model that is clearly from the world wars, you could say it’s a spoil from one of your time travels.
What to Look for in a Steampunk Gas Mask
Steampunk costumes are known for their ragged aesthetics, infused with retrofuturistic and post-apocalyptic elements. As such, it’s not a surprise that objects that denote war and death (as dark as they may be), along with danger and daring adventure, are often found in steampunk costumes as well.
Think of any steampunk costume you have seen so far. Besides the iconic goggles and Victorian-inspired clothing, other elements in a steampunk outfit are useful accessories in a world where steam locomotives, machinery, and objects are the king. Steam is the main source of power. Now, any useful accessories in this kind of world are also prevalent, including gas masks to protect you from inhaling smoke, gas, fog, and dust.
Unfortunately, you can’t just buy any gas mask you see to add to your outfit. There are a few considerations you must think about before getting one.
Consider your steamsona’s background
Your steamsona (steampunk persona) plays a large part in helping you decide what type of mask you should get.
If your character is well-versed in the art of time travel, for example, and has done so a few times, then perhaps using a gas mask reminiscent of the world wars is justifiable. Just remember to add trinkets “from the future” here and there to help with the consistency of your character.
However, if you choose the “realistic” look and want to stay accurate to the period as much as possible, perhaps you should find a steampunk gas mask close to the respirator worn in the Victorian Era. As for that, you will need to do extensive research to get the actual design as close as possible. But it may be worth it if it’s crucial to the character you play!
Convenience or aesthetic?
Most steampunk gas mask items you see in online shops and specialty stores aren’t functional. Therefore, you need not worry about getting a steampunk mask that works. What you need to think about instead is the design. Particularly, how complicated or maybe how realistic it could get.
Comfort and breathability
Getting a steampunk mask that allows you to breathe easily is essential. Unless you are actually heading to a chemically-infested place (God forbid), then you don’t need a functional gas mask. Costume gas masks will do. Still, get one that is comfortable and, if possible, light which will allow you to move and inhale-exhale easily.
For Halloween parties, concerts, LARP, cosplay, or other events where you need to wear a steampunk costume, you can incorporate gas masks to your overall outfit. However, for the gas mask to be truly steampunk, try to get one with steampunk elements.
Brass and copper are among the main materials in steampunk accessories and equipment. If you can’t get a mask made from such materials (especially since they may be expensive and heavy), get one with a copper and brass finish. Whether you buy or create your own, make sure the plastic or wood material is painted with either metallic colors. Other colors you could use are black, brown, and silver.
For any steampunk accessory and equipment, adding gears could complete the look. Opt for spikes and corrugated tubes on the mask’s design.
Gas Mask vs. Plague Mask
Another popular type of steampunk mask is the plague doctor’s mask. Worn by doctors during the 17th-century European plague, it’s now become an ominous symbol of death and infectious diseases in the earlier eras. Whereas gas masks may grimly remind you of grisly human-made atrocities, specifically wars, plague masks are mankind’s last defense against natural hazards like a disease.
Best Steampunk Gas Masks to Help You Survive the Fog
Here is our list of recommended gas masks you can order online. Or, if you want to create your own, use them as a basis for inspiration.
Steampunk Respirator Gas Mask With Goggles
This one may not be the standard gas mask design with large cylindrical filters, but this mask is steampunk. With tubes connected to the “respirator” and gear designs, it’s a mask that any mysterious steampunk persona would want to wear. Plus, it also comes with goggles, so you won’t have to worry about finding one.
Punk Gas Mask Respirator
This mask leans more on the Gothic punk look, but nonetheless would still be perfect for any badass steampunk persona to wear with a darker side. Moreover, if you decide to try other punk looks besides steampunk, you can still use it.
Polish Gas Mask MUA SzM-41M KF
If you want to achieve a more “historically accurate” steampunk gas mask look, you should check out this one. Again, the gas masks of this design didn’t originate from the Victorian Era, unlike most steampunk clothing articles, so it’s up to you how you would fit it in with the rest of your costume.
Full Face Gas Mask
Perfect for both Steampunk and Gothic costumes, this full-face gas mask from Etsy will surely turn heads your way for its scary and badass aesthetics. Although it doesn’t come with the usual steampunk cinder goggles, it has the classic look of what a gas mask looks like in our imagination.
Soviet Russian Military Gas Mask
Another historically-accurate gas mask, this one is for those who want actual gas masks. Although, once again, it came from the Cold War Soviet Era instead of the Victorian or even World War 1 & 2, it’s still on our recommended list for gas masks because it totally looks fearsome and intimidating.
Respirator Gas Mask With Spiked Goggles, Gears, and Tubes
This intimidating but badass mask is terrifying as terrifying gets. Therefore, for steamsonas who are either ruthless villain who attempts to seize control of a steam-powered city or a protector in the shadows whose goal is to preserve peace, here is the steampunk gas mask for you.
Spiked Full Face Gas Mask
Made from resin and painted with metallic colors, this is what I say by style meets convenience. If you need a gas mask but wouldn’t want to be bothered by wearing something heavier or more complicated, this is perfect for you.
Gas Mask With Two Big Corrugated Tubes
For a more intimidating and fearsome gas mask, this mask from Etsy could be what you are looking for. The set comprises a gas mask respirator and goggles, with spike designs on the top. With a brass finish, it certainly is one of the best steampunk gas masks out there.
Respirator Mouth Mask
Going for a bit more minimalistic look? Here is a gas mask that doesn’t flaunt any extra accessories yet still kills it when it comes to design and wearability. It only covers the mouth, so you will probably need some goggles to complete your outfit. But if you don’t, this mask would do fine.
Retro Steampunk Gas Mask and Goggles
If comfort and style are what you are going for, this mask will help you achieve all of that. Moreover, it is perfect for any event: whether you are going to a LARP, concert, rave party, cosplay event, or whatever, this mask is excellent to accompany your outfit.