Did these firefighters masks inspire Star Wars? Collector claims his heavy-duty helmets were inspiration for Darth Vader
A collector of industrial memorabilia claims these 19th Century firefighter’s masks could be the inspiration behind the iconic Star Wars characters.
The heavy-duty helmets bare an uncanny likeness to George Lucas’ most famous creations, including evil super villain Darth Vader and protocol droid C-3PO.
But they are actually breathing masks dating from somewhere between the mid-1800s and World War I and were used in real-life rescue situations.
They belong to Steve Erenberg, a professional collector of industrial oddities from New York.
The gold mask was fed from the back with fresh air from a bellows outside, meaning the wearer could enter a burning building at the end of 13 metres of flexible tubing.
The black mask is known as a Respirations Apparat by G.B. Konic Altona of Hamburg, Germany, which is even more shocking considering Darth Vader’s helmet was partly a respiratory system.
Erenberg said: “The buzz among collectors is that George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets and others like them.
“It’s also said that one of the well-known manufacturers of the time was known as Vajen-Bader.
“Bader sounds a lot like Vader to me! This could actually be some of the original inspiration for two of cinema’s most famous characters!”