History of Masks

The meltblowing technology extends back to 1941 when the process was invented.  The key events are outlined below:

1941 Meltblowing invented
1951 Key Patent by Naval Research Laboratory
1965 First 10-inch Melt Blowing line (Exxon) – the so-called Exxon Die
1971 First Commercial Line – U.S.
1972 First US Manufacturing (Accurate Products)
1973-5 First Seven Practitioners – U.S.
1974 First Japanese Practitioner (Tonen)
1989 First REICOFIL MB Line

The first mask was in 1967, while the first respirator was patented in 1976.  A key development was the application of electrostatic charge to meltblown webs in 1980.  The key patents leading to the current charged N95 respirators soon followed.  Some of the early key inventions are listed below:

3,333,585 1967 Robert J Barghini, Walter M Westberg, Patrick H Carey Jr, “Cold weather face mask”, assigned to 3M
3,971,373A 1976 David L. Braun, “Particle-loaded microfiber sheet product and respirators made therefrom”, assigned to 3M Co
4,215,682A 1980 Donald A. Kubik & Charles I. Davis, “Melt-blown fibrous electrets”, assigned to 3M Co
4,536,440A 1985 Harvey J. Berg, “Molded fibrous filtration products”, published 1985-08-20, issued 1985-08-20, assigned to 3M
4,807,619 1989 James F. Dyrud, Harvey J. Berg, Alice C. Murray, “Resilient shape-retaining fibrous filtration face mask”, assigned to 3M
4,850,347 1989 Martin R. Skov, “Face mask”, assigned to Moldex Metric Inc
4,856,509 1989 Jerome H. Lemelson, “Face mask and method”
5,307,796A 1994 Joseph P. Kronzer, Roger J. Stumo, James F. Dyrud, Harvey J. Berg, “Methods of forming fibrous filtration face masks”, assigned to 3M