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Museum treasures

Memorial to Edward Frank Harrison (1869–1918)

The pharmacist Edward Frank Harrison was responsible for the development of the small box respirator gas mask, saving thousands of lives during the First World War.

museum treasures

Source: RPS Museum

During the First World War, pharmacist Edward Frank Harrison developed a gas mask that saved thousands of soldiers’s lives 

Edward Frank Harrison registered as a pharmacist in 1891. In 1915, he joined the army and was responsible for developing the small box respirator gas mask, saving thousands of lives during the First World War.

Sadly, his experiments with poisonous gases are thought to have lowered his immunity and he died on 4 November 1918 from complications following influenza, just one week before the end of the war.

In 1921, the Pharmaceutical Society unveiled this alabaster memorial plaque with gold mosaic decoration in the Examination Hall of its headquarters in Bloomsbury Square. It also set up the Harrison Medal, to recognise scientists who have made an outstanding contribution to pharmaceutical science, which is still awarded today.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205711

Readers' comments (1)

  • Michael Achiampong

    EF Harrison's gas mask is a remarkable achievement of human endeavour. It also illustrates the resourcefulness and enduring legacy of our predecessor pharmacists, lest we forget. May he rest in peace.

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