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MSA Dustfoe 66 Respirator Vintage Mining Collectible in Steel Box with 4 Filters Made by Mine Safety Appliances Company Pittsburgh Pa.

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MSA Dustfoe #66 Respirator Vintage Mining Collectible in Steel Box with 4 Filters Made by Mine Safety Appliances Company Pittsburgh Pa.

Offered for sale here is an industrial respirator facemask designed primarily for use in mines, to filter out dangerous fine particulates. The respirator, along with extra replaceable filter pads, comes in a durable steel box with a tightly fitting friction lid; the mask was to be kept clean and ready in the box when not in use. The box had to be tough enough to be carried into the rugged underground environment of the mines every day to have on hand per safety policies.

This item was produced by Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, incorporated in 1914 as a mine safety equipment manufacturer. According to MSA, the company was founded by mining engineer John T. Ryan and George H. Dieke as a reaction to the 1912 Jed Coal and Coke Company mine disaster, in which 80 miners perished in a huge methane gas/coal dust explosion ignited by a miner’s open flame lamp. The two men approached Thomas Edison for help to find a safer lamp for mine work, and the Wizard of Menlo Park came up with the first electric miner’s cap lamp. On this product the company was built. MSA eventually expanded its line with many other mine safety inventions, including the Dustfoe #66. The firm still thrives today manufacturing a range of products and instruments not only for mining but for other fields such as security, energy, firefighting, and construction.

The grey, blue, and white steel box measures 3-1/4 by 5-1/4 inches by 2-7/8 inches high, designed to withstand rough treatment “way down in the mines,” looks like it has indeed seen some rough treatment banging around a rocky environment. While the graphics and lettering are still very clear, there are scratches, dents, small chips, and a network of very fine raised lines indicating aging paint scattered over the box’s surface. Rust appears on those spots where the paint has been chipped or scuffed down to the metal. It shows the expected use and age wear of a well-used vintage work item.

Regarding the mask itself, the once-soft rubber gasket that forms the seal with the wearer’s face is a bit hardened and discolored with age; one edge is bent from being in the box for a long time. The main central body of the mask appears to be made of blue-anodized aluminum and is in very good condition. The number 44 has been hand-etched with an etching tool on the nose of this piece; it was definitely added after-market, and appears to be a miner’s identification number. Attached to the sides of this section is a woven elastic head strap that is a bit stretched out with use and age. One-way in and out breathing valves are visible on the inside of the main body, and are in good condition. The two-piece filter holder is made of blue plastic and is attached to the front of the mask. The folded filter material is held in place by a plastic wedge, which is in turn held into the filter holder by a metal clip.

The final item here is a cardboard box holding three extra filter pads (a fourth filter is in the mask). The box indicates it held five filters, so one was likely used and disposed of near the end of the mask’s work life. Refill boxes of five filters would have been replaced in the kit as the filters were used up.

How old is this item? The MSA Dustfoe #66 Respirator design was first granted approval for mining use by the U.S. Bureau of Mines (Approval No. 2166) in 1955. The Mine Safety Appliances Company address as printed on the box says “Pittsburgh 8, PA.” This Postal Zone system for major cities was initiated in 1943 and continued in use until implementation of the 5-digit ZIP code system in 1963. This respirator can therefore be dated to between 1955 and 1963.

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MSA Dustfoe 66 Respirator Vintage Mining Collectible in Steel Box with 4 Filters Made by Mine Safety Appliances Company Pittsburgh Pa.


  • Vintage item from the 1950s
  • Materials: Aluminum, Steel, Plastic, Cardboard, Fiber, Elastic
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 332 reviews
  • Favorited by: 16 people