(Article by nerdbastards contributor Mark Poynter, A.K.A Mordrun)
It’s not suprising that these 19th century Fire Fighter helmets are making the rounds as inspiration for George Lucas’s Star Wars characters. I’m not even gonna name them, it’s so glaringly easy. It would be a bigger story if George hadn’t already borrowed a ton of stuff from Germany’s darker history. Have you ever looked at the Empire uniforms? They scream German Wehrmacht (1935 to 1945) design. Compare the German Panzer uniform to the Star Wars Death Star Officer uniform.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that by using those images as a starting point for the Empire, George tapped into the underlying fear, awe, and hate that most Americans feel about that time, and what horrors that enemy was capable of. Why do you think that Stormtroopers goosestep? Google up the way to make a sandtrooper rifle prop. German MG-34 Rifle is the base.
There are hints everywhere in Star Wars, Luke wears white . . . Vadar wears Black. Simple as that, George has shaped your first impression.
Back to the masks.
Collector’s Weekly explained more about the masks:
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 a 100 years before Darth Vader and 3-CPO hit the big screen in “Star Wars” in 1977, these two smoke helmets were worn by firefighters carrying our rescues in smoke-logged buildings. The buzz among collectors is that George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets and other 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.”
Category: Nerd Culture