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Epidemic Mask, 1919

Image courtesy: Johnson & Johnson Archives

Amidst the deadly 1918 global influenza pandemic, Johnson & Johnson introduced the Epidemic Mask. Made from sterile gauze, the mask helped prevent the flu’s spread. At a time when most vaccines were undiscovered, simple public health products like this inexpensive mask were vital tools in the fight against disease. Because the masks proved so effective in blocking the spread of germs, they were used in subsequent outbreaks.