Creation of High-Altitude A-14 Oxygen Mask

Arthur H. Bulbulian was a pioneer of Armenian descent in the field of facial prosthetic.

His work as a part of the Mayo Clinic Aero Medical Unit led to his being credited with the creation of the A-14 oxygen mask for the United States Air Force in 1941. The A-14 fighter pilot’s mask was frost proof, and included a microphone for radio communication, and allowed the pilot to talk and eat while wearing it.

 

World War II era flying helmet and oxygen mask

 

He was a member of a team which included Drs. W. Randolph Lovelace and Walter M. Boothby, developing the BLB (Boothby, Lovelace and Bulbulian) nasal and orinasal oxygen mask. This invention became useful for clinical settings, and, as it turned out, for aviators at high altitudes. The BLB and A-14 oxygen mask was used in combat in World War II .

Dr. Bulbulian also was the first director of the Mayo Medical Museum, and as such, developed content with staff doctors, and built the exhibits. This was the first medical museum in the United States. He also designed and created the exhibits for the Mayo Clinic’s display at the 1933 “A Century of Progress Exposition,” at the Chicago Worlds Fair.

Born on December 20, 1900, near Caesarea in the Ottoman Empire, he moved to the United States in 1920. He attended Middlebury College, where he received a B.S. and M.S. degree in Science. He did more graduate work at Brown University and the University of Iowa. In 1928, he entered the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, and received the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. In 1931 he was appointed as an instructor in orthodontics at the same school.

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