The Vajen-Bader smoke protector owned by the YHS Museum has been placed on permanent loan to the Firehouse Museum. The smoke protector was found in storage in the basement of the Museum and a decision was made to loan it to the Firehouse Museum where it can be placed on permanent display. The smoke protector was patented by the Vajen-Bader company in the late 1800s.
The 1896 Vajen-Bader catalog had the following description of the protector: “The wearer of the Vajen helmet can see through eye-pieces that were guarded by cross wires. Over his ears the plates of the helmet are constructed as to furnish him with an artificial tympanum, rendering his hearing even more distinct than natural. There is a whistle in the front bottom part of the helmet which is a means of calling and signaling. On top of the helmet there is a strong cushion protecting the head from falling debris. This helmet enables the firemen to venture into thick smoke without fear of suffocation.”
The next time you visit the Firehouse Museum make sure you search out the Vajen-Bader smoke protector.
(Al Rudisill is the editor of The Gleanings and President of the YHS.)
Photo 1: The Vajen-Bader smoke protector loaned to the Firehouse Museum.
Photo 2: Front view of the smoke protector.
Photo 3: Rear view of the smoke protector.
Photo 4: Early ad for the smoke protector.