Did Old Firefighter Masks Inspire George Lucas?

Gee, I wonder where George Lucas got the idea for Darth Vader and C3P0? Take one look at these old 19th century firefighter masks and it’s hard to believe it’s just a coincidence.

In fact, the manufacturer was named Vajen-Bader… is that where Lucas came up with the name Vader? Many collectors thinks so. Hmmm.

This pair of early rescue masks, shown above, dates from between the mid-1800s and World War I. They look a bit familiar, right? Almost a 100 years before Darth Vader and 3-CPO hit the big screen in “Star Wars” in 1977, these two smoke helmets were worn by firefighters carrying our rescues in smoke-logged buildings. The buzz among collectors is that George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets and other like them. In fact, one well-known 19th-century manufacturer was named Vajen-Bader—you could easily get the name Vader from that.

[CollectorsWeekly via Neatorama]


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4 Responses to Did Old Firefighter Masks Inspire George Lucas?

  1. susan says:

    If it was going to inspire anyone, it would have been Ralph McQuarrie rather than Lucas, since McQuarrie was the one who did the concept art.

  2. manny says:

    Ah, wonderful point, Susan, thanks!

  3. e says:

    Vader / threepio – I don’t see either of them as the rescue hero type… but the likeness is rather incredible.

  4. I don’t see an overwhelming resemblance, I think it’s more the fact that people tend to want to make connections.

    They are curious looking masks though, I’ve never seen anything like them.

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