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The Jeffreys' Mask

The Thermal Buffer Mask. This is a product that warms the air to allow the wearer breathe pre-heated air. The simple but ingenious principle employed requires no energy input other than the heat recovered from the wearer's breath.

Quoted from The Lung Foundation's Website:-

An aid which allows the wearer to breathe air which is at an acceptable temperature. The idea appears to have come from a device invented by Robert Stirling, the hot air or Stirling Cycle Engine.

An interesting variation of the regenerative principle was developed by Julius Jeffreys   (1801-1877) who had studied medicine in Edinburgh and London. In 1836 in order to give relief to his widowed sister who was suffering from a pulmonary attack he devised the Respirator. The appliance consisted of a series of exceedingly thin perforated diaphragms - rods, wires or tubes were afterwards to answer equally well - fixed in a suitable frame and applied over the mouth. The heat of the breath in passing out through the plates was taken up to be returned to the air inhaled. The respirator was apparently well received by the medical profession. Jeffreys was granted a patent in 1836 (No. 10,287) for Curing or relieving disorders of the lungs. Further improvements were patented in 1844 (No. 10,287) and in 1850 (No. 12,984)

Julius Jeffreys MD. FRS. (1801 - 1877)
English Patent No. (10,287) Curing or relieving disorders of the lungs. Improvements (10,287 in 1844 and 12,984 in 1850)

The Lung Foundation

A product, the "James Pneumatikon" appears in a catalogue of surgical instruments circa 1890, it is described as containing all the scientific principles of the original respirator of Julius Jeffrys. Other products included the "Parisian Cork Respirator", and the Colliers New Aluminium Respirator,

Other similar products were on offer in the second half of the 19th century, perhaps the "Rolls Royce" of these respirators was the Bourne Taylor's Manifold Respirator ( which had up to three perforated, gold plated plates and silk cushioned surrounds.

The wearers in Victorian London probably benefited from the filtering effect.

Today the 3M corporation has a product which works on the same principle:- Their website sells an "Air Warming Mask" - For cold weather; warms and moistens inhaled air.

The idea of the thermal store 'respirator' seems to have originated from the Robert Stirling idea of incorporating a bundle of wire between the hot and cold volumes in the hot air engine named after him. This he named the 'regenerator' and it is well described described in his Stirling engine patent of 1816

Julius Jeffreys, The British Army in India: Its Preservation by an Appropriate Clothing, Housing, Locating, Recreative Employment, and Hopeful Encouragement of the Troops (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longman and Roberts, 1858)