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This item sold on October 7, 2012.

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You want to protect your face from anti-aircraft shrapnel or leaky steam fittings, you're gonna need a mask.

But maybe only half of your face needs protection. I don't know, it could happen. Maybe this mask is for you.

It's hammered out of a piece of brass. The eye has another layer of copper brazed in place and there are two filters that will converge over the eye-hole.

The strap is a full over-head harness with a hammered copper plate on the back to receive the leather straps. This style of strap means that the mask is not held on by pulling it tight against your face. It rides you like a hat, or one of those face suckers from Aliens. Very comfortable


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Mature Language May Follow.
ImMature Language May Follow
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The following is another little story I write as I create the piece. I refer to them as penny dreadfuls. People seem to like them, some don't. Read at your own risk.

This one is filthy with basic editing errors. I just have a lot on my plate at the moment and I'll get around to cleaning it up, I promise.
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A young man at his writing desk pens,

It was the end of a great and horrible war. The Union had prevailed and owed no small part of that to Professor S. C. Lowe.

“Damn”

It was the end of a great and horrible war. The Union had prevailed and owed no small part of that to Professor Thaddeus Lowe.

“No. Dammit all.”

It was the end of a great and horrible war. The Union had prevailed and owed no small part of that to Thaddeus Sobieski Counlicourt Lowe, Professor of Chemistry

“Shit! Leontine, how do I usually refer to myself in the third person in letters to congressional committees?”

“Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe. It is the name Professor Dinkelhoff scribed on the title of his little circus when you bought it.” She spoke like music speaks to a man in love. The harmonics of her voice inspired him like quartz being struck by a cleaving hammer. Like the dismembered frog leg attached to that mineral his heart jumped and twitched at her every move, “It’s the closest thing to a legal document with your professorship written on it.”

That part was true enough but after his service to the Union Army Balloon Corp, nobody seemed to delve into his credentials too deep. Thaddeus closes the cover on his writing desk, sighing frustration at the letter that will have to be written eventually. It was time for tea.

To one of his assistants, “Call in Ferdinand and Mr. Steiner from the hangar, they can take tea with us today.” Since recovering from the malaria he contracted in the south, tea with Leontine was a closely guarded personal treasure. Even she raised an eyebrow at this generosity. “What? We’re about to reach a settlement with two of our major competitors. The court enjoyed my last deposition. Dash it, we’re about to be filthy rich. Richer. The lads should have a say in what direction we take on this.”

“That is very, ah… democratic?”

“I didn’t say they got a vote. Did you hear me say anyone gets a vote on this? Ferdinand! Did I ever imply that any of you would get a vote in how we handle the business?”

The German walking in through the door at that moment was struck by this query as if by a low hanging chain-pull, annoyed more than hurt. “Nein Herr Doktor”, a slight twitch to shift his brain into English, then “but I just assumed we would take the new hydrogen generators to New York or Philedelphia.” That had been the plan. That was the plan Thaddeus had spent the last three weeks dissecting in his mind. When he found that singular point of value, like the frog’s leg, he severed it and cast the remainder off. This meeting with his staff was intended to betray them.

“We’re not going to Philadelphia” He says bluntly. “I’m retiring. The courts have cleared our contested patents so I am free to sell them. As it happens I have decided to accept an offer from Henri Giffard…”

“The French!” exploded Ferdinand, “Essen mein scheisse”, that twitch again, “You … oh you … do you KNOW what I gave up to come here?” By now the professor was on his feet and had leveled his cane in line with the young German’s throat. No words were necessary, his eyes said “get out” and the boy’s recollection of a time when that very cane discharged a 68 caliber musket ball into the skull of a rabid dog put action to this command. He ran.

The transfer of patent rights and title to the equipment progressed over the following months. It caused quite a stir in town as Professor Giffard’s interests were represented by a slightly overlarge, well dressed, and exceedingly intelligent rabbit named Alighieri Potter. This was a marvel to the Americans, but though they had just demanded the personhood of all human beings and fought a bloody war with this cause among its justification, the people of the United States were decidedly unwilling to embrace a talking coney. The legal repercussions of this delayed the transfer of Lowes intellectual estate to the point that it seemed as though the trade commission’s officials were stalling. Thaddeus had experienced red tape before and at this point, nothing surprised him.

Nothing, that is, until the third day after a courier brought him approval to ship his equipment out of country. They had just finished levering the straps tight on the carts carrying the equipment and files to the harbor when a faint trace of an awful stench caught the nose of Mr. Potter.

“They’re coming in with gas.” The rabbit’s superior olfaction alarmed the professor who knew he must be right. But who? The Rabbit’s ears shot up and twisted spastically for a few moments from one point on the horizon to another then settling on a point past the main house. Then, one ear dropping to a half fold, puzzlement crossed the creature’s face. “Not beyond the house.” Thaddeus knew what this meant and was running even before Alighieri drew the same conclusion. “Inside? ... Oh fuck it all”.

“It’s suicide, going in there you know” the rabbit had caught up to Lowe in about 6 loping strides. “And a completely worthless death it will be. Everyone in that house is already dead.” Thaddeus doesn’t flinch at that, though he knows it to be true. More than anything, the effortlessness in which the creature speaking to him manages this pace offends him. As he pulls two Colt Navy revolvers Mr. Potter tries an appeal to the professor’s logical mind, “It won’t just be gas. They’ve brought a full unit of panthers as well.”

This has the desired effect and Thaddeus tacks left and hunkers down against the wheel of one of the flat-bed carts they were loading. “Panthers?” The idea is new to him. He knew how the French and Dutch had begun developing transformative biogeneratives and the work done on animals. Alighieri for example. Those studies had always produced highly intelligent versions of laboratory animals. But Panthers?

“They’ve brought at least a dozen of the monsters, and it sounds like at least 5 gunners.” Most Lapinoids tend towards extreme pride in their perceptive abilities and this one is no exception.

“Who?” It was a question, a command, and a plea for help in one word. “Who are they? And why…”

“You can’t guess?” but this isn’t a game of questions and answers, “The von Zepplins.”

“Ferdinand?”

“Count Ferdinand von Zepplin. You knew he was a part of that family didn’t you?” Mr. Potter seems a little annoyed at this.

“Royalty doesn’t count for much around here. He was a good worker.” Then, motioning to the sounds of industrial menace coming from the house and hangar, “Why?”

“We expected them to attack us at sea. Our spies reported that the Germans would wait until we had left port. Either our spy is working against us or something changed their mind. They don’t usually make such a spectacle of their maneuverings.” Alighieri’s nose twitched and for a heartbeat his eyes glazed over, like his body was waiting for his mind to finish some long bit of arithmetic. The rabbit’s secondary olfactory system was registering pheromones.

“They’re done in the house.” He says grimly. “The panthers are marking.”

Lowe was on his feet again and running. At one hundred yards before the veranda a beast crashes through the door. It’s bobbing up and down from a four-legged crouch to a bi-pedal stance. The panther is taking in the sounds and scents of the terrain and then looking for… Their eyes meet across the gravel covered field that lay between them. There was an ignorant hunger in the cat’s eyes. In the professor’s, there was only rage. Thaddeus got two shots out of his revolvers before the cat was upon him. If the monster noticed the 36 caliber lead balls hitting him he hid it very well. An instant before the panther thrust his teeth into the bowels of the prostrate professor it was off him just as quick. Thaddeus looked up to see it rolling with the impact of a large white rabbit who was still in the process of chewing through the feline’s spinal column.

“I hope you appreciate the flight instinct a rabbit has to overcome in order to do that.” Alighieri remarks over the twitching but already very dead cat. “You know what nature programed us to do when we are cornered and facing certain death? Scream. That’s it, just scream as loudly as you can while you die to warn the others. Isn’t that just a crock of shit? These fuckers commit cold murder in their sleep. What instincts do rabbits get? Run away or scream.”

“I thought that was just because you were French.” It was an attempt at levity that said his mind hadn’t broken apart completely. But there was still time for that. Meanwhile, the gas disbursing from the house was reaching them more often and something in it made Thaddeus’ ears itch on the inside and his teeth were beginning to chatter. “Let’s move wide around the house, upwind, and see if we can catch the gunners you mentioned.”

The plan proved easier than expected as the gunners were expecting all the action to take place in the house or perhaps come running out of the house towards them. Thaddeus was able to drop three out of four of the men and set the last one to running. It was a rout and he quickly yielded to the two huge feet that landed on his back. The man was dead before they both reached the ground; heaving his life’s blood out the tear in his neck in a single volcanic plume. Mr. Potter was more red now than white and the wind across his blood soaked fur carried into the house full of predators.

It took all of the remaining charges in Lowe’s revolvers to drop the first panther to emerge through his home’s read entrance. After that they came quickly, but fell nearly as fast. Potter had organized the ordinance the soldiers were carrying and it was an impressive assortment. Lowes grabbed the 56 Spencer rifle and rattled 3 rounds into the next cat through the door. Potter couldn’t handle the long guns but found a Smith and Wesson Volcanic repeater that fit him very well indeed. At one point three of the beasts emerged at once and in a precise formation crossed the grounds towards the man and his long eared friend. As the rabbit reloaded their guns, Lowe lobbed a frictional grenade to meet them at the halfway point.

It did explode, just not in the way he had expected. “That was white phosphor” Potter told him later. The picture of those beasts being burned alive, completely, from the outside in, and leaving nothing but ash, is one Lowe will never forget.

Minutes passed without further attack. “Were those three were the last?” asks the professor.

“I think so. These types don’t generally lay in wait. Very forward thinkers. Well, to whatever extent they think.”

Just then a panther, bigger than the others, bursts through a second floor window onto the roof of the veranda. It was the bedroom window that faced the east. Lowe built the house this way so that every dawn would greet Leontine and himself together. And now this abomination has destroyed even that memory. The beast appears to pace the veranda but then with a guttural sound like a drunk muttering to himself the panther turned back to the shattered glass and pulled something out of the house.

“Gods no” was all the rabbit could issue before Thaddeus finally broke.

“No.” was the only word he got out before the sobbing overtook him. Leontine Augustine Gaschon Lowe, his beautiful wife, now just a husk of flesh and a tattered dress gripped in the jaws of this monster. Yet all Thaddeus can think is that she looks so small, even as the panther leaps down from atop the veranda and lays her on the ground between them. This did not get the reaction the cat was expecting so it pawed at the shattered human, rolling her over for his audience to view.

At that Thaddeus stands up and, without a weapon, walks slowly and deliberately towards his bride. The lack of a threatening display seems to puzzle the cat, even as the professor approaches. Finally a decision is made inside his primitive brain and he leaps over the corpse to stand directly between it and the weathered aeronaut. Even as the panther postures and rears up on his hind legs hid human enemy stands quietly before him, focused intently on the wrecked girl lying in the dirt. Braced by his walking stick, the man’s only motion, far from threatening at all, is the sobbing of his grief stricken body. Eventually a default routine of the panther’s programing activated and the need to study and adapt to his prey is replaced by a need to destroy it.

“What was that noise”

“What is that smell”

Those were the last two thoughts of the pack leader, held in his tiny brain concurrently with the 68 caliber musket ball as it traveled through the animal’s head.

The beast and the cane hit the ground at about the same time. Afterwards, after they had put the bodies of his people into the house and the bodies of the soldiers and their vicious pets into a ditch the professor and the rabbit discharged another two grenades and incinerated each collection. Before that, the grieving husband needed something.

“Why?” the rabbit asks.

“In case I ever forget how much I hate that bastard. Now give me that knife.” Professor Lowe proceeded to carv what little face remained off the skull of the panther leader.

“You gonna be alright Thaddeus? Why don’t you come back to France with me, we can use a person like you. You can help us get even with the von Zepplins.”

“I’ll be alright. You go on. I’m just going to try and stay busy and my chance for revenge will come.”

Steampunk Cat Mask- Handmade- All Metal- Brass- Converging Flip Up Lenses- Cooler than Brass Goggles

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