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Very Rare Circa 1896 American Vajen-bader "patent Smoke Protector” Air Tank For Sale
Very Rare Circa 1896 American Vajen-Bader "Patent Smoke Protector” Air Tank, Very Nice Collector's Piece
For your consideration is this very rare Vajen-Bader
“Masked Hero” Patent Smoke Protector Air Tank.
The Vajen-Bader Co. produced Fireman's respiratory
equipment since founding in 1881. The Vajen-Bader Patent Smoke Protector of the
1890's and early 1900's supplied breathable air from a compressed air cylinder
on the back of the helmet. This early respiratory apparatus was comprised of hand
stitched chamois leather "specially prepared" so that fire, water,
noxious gases and corrosive chemicals were equally without "injurious
effect" upon it, and sealed off the wearer’s head from the
environment. Firemen could venture into
thick smoke without fear of suffocation. One of the helmet’s most desirable
features was this compact compression tank (having a pressure of 100 pounds),
fabricated circa 1896-1910, that produced fresh 20 degree cooler air to the Firemen. Although there were many attempts to design
a mask and tank that would effectively filter out the smoke as well as provide
fresh air, the Vajen-Bader Smoke Protector in 1896 was the one that attracted
the most attention, and was soon in use across the United States and in many
foreign countries as well.
The Protector was adopted by the fire departments of over
one hundred of the largest cities, both in America and abroad. It was also used
in the largest brewing establishments in the country, and by large mining and
gas companies, as well as Naval Firefighters. The very few intact surviving
examples are found in private collections and museums.
We took this tank to the Antiques Roadshow on June 29th,
2013 in Boise, ID, for authentication and appraisal. We were thrilled to have frequent contributor
and Antique Roadshow Appraiser James Supp inspect the tank. Mr. Supp recognized the tank immediately and
verified authenticity and age. The
appraised value of an intact Vajen-Bader Protector helmet with the tank: $18,000 or more at sale.
It is speculated that Star Wars writer-director George
Lucas drew inspiration from the Vajen-Bader Smoke Protector to create his
greatest villain. VAjen-baDER becomes
VADER…Darth Vader. The sound of the
Vajen-Bader Protector Helmet in operation has been compared to the ominous
mechanical breathing of Darth Vader.
Take a look at the pictures, and it’s hard to miss the likeness of Vader
This tank is offered in original “as found” condition
with no restoration. It shows a nice
patina, no dents or dings, the main valve and supply inlet valve move
smoothly. Overall length is approx.
11.5”. Diameter is approx. 6.25”. Please note: The pictures of the hood with the tank are shown for reference. This sale is for the air tank only. If you have the hood/helmet, please let me know. I would be very interested to speak with you.
This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a true
and authentic piece of Military, Firefighting, and quite possibly cinematic
history, and would be a great addition for any museum or private collection.
The pictures are part of the description so Please use Zoom option. Thanks for looking!
Shipping calculator prices should be considered an estimate only, as it can be inaccurate. Buyer will pay actual shipping cost plus insurance, arrange for local pick up, or item will be shipped via method of buyer's choice.
All items sold as is
BEFORE YOU offer/BUY...Please review these terms and conditions:
It is your responsibility to check the pictures to verify condition and research this item to verify that it will fit your application. If you can’t make that decision based on your knowledge, please do not purchase. I identify each item with the information I have. If you see a mistake, please let me know so I can correct the listing.
Shipping is calculated at the end of the sale. Please wait for my invoice prior to checking out.
All international shipments are sent USPS Priority Mail. Find additional information on International Shipping here: help page
Payment must be received in 3 days or item will be relisted
Unless otherwise stated, all items are used and sold for rebuild or restoration. All items are untested (when applicable). As with any vintage item, you may find dings, dents, scratches, pitting, dirt, or other imperfections due to age. Again, please use the pictures and zoom option to verify condition. All items should be cleaned, inspected, and if needed, repaired prior to use.
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Very Rare Circa 1896 American Vajen-bader "patent Smoke Protector” Air Tank: $4,000