The honour of wearing badass protective gear isn’t limited to astronauts supersonic jet pilots or Tony Stark. Here’s an apocalyptic collection of not-quite-everyday personal protective garments you should wear the next time you’re taking on the Mandarin.
Top picture: Czech nuclear, biological and chemical defence specialists from the US led Combined Joint Task Force wear protective suits during a field training exercise at Kuwait’s Mubarak Airbase, February 23, 2003.
Picture: US Marine Corps./Staff Sgt Bill Lisbon/AP
1942: Two people test American fire-proof suits lined with asbestos.
Picture: Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images
This heat and gas resistant metal headpiece and suit was developed for mining rescue work in the Soviet Union in the Fifties. The headpiece has a built-in oxygen apparatus, cooler and telephone.
Picture: Keystone/Getty Images
1954: Workers of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Commerce City, Colorado) use airtight suits, gloves and masks to work with deadly nerve gas. They are not allowed to stay in the blending chamber for more than 20 minutes at a time, even in these suits.
Picture: Library Of Congress
The Captive Man suit, a protective suit with an access tunnel attached for use in radioactive environments. It provided a barrier against radioactive contamination in the ’60s.
Picture: Keystone/Getty Images//Central Press/Getty Images
Soviet mine rescue team in protective suits in the ’70s.
Picture: Ukraine. Photoalbum. Publisher: Planet. Moscow, 1971.
Soviet fire fighters practise mining fire rescue in protective suits.
Picture: Delta, 1974/2.
Firefighters practise rescue techniques and procedures for the aircraft fire simulator in Alpena, Michigan, 1997. Here they drag a 50kg dummy away from the flames in their heat-resistant clothes.
Picture: Dale Atkins/AP
2002: Dressed in their SCAPE suits, workers are ready for the fuelling of the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft in the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility 2 (SAEF-2), Kennedy Space Center. SCAPE refers to Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble.
A German soldier in a military chemical protection in the desert at Camp Doha, outside Kuwait City, December 16, 2002.
Picture: Anja Niedringhaus/AP
2003: Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jeremiah Layman instructs his shipmates on the correct donning, wearing and protective measures of an advanced chemical protective garment (ACPG) and gas mask aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
Picture: PH3 Christopher L Jordan/US Navy
Fukuoka Prefectural Police personnel conduct chemical protection drill at a pier in Fukuoka, south of Tokyo, June 8, 2004.
Picture: Kyodo News/AP
Singapore Civil Defence personnel in encapsulated hazmat protective suits gather outside a subway station during a simulated bombing training exercise, January 8, 2006, in Singapore.
Picture: Wong Maye-e/AP
“Redman” is a US-made protective training suit used for hand-to-hand combat training. “Redman” allows “attackers” to strike its wearer without causing injury.
Picture: 1st Lt Zach Anderson/US Air Force
Patrick Brown of ArcAttack performs at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, England Friday, March 11, 2011. Brown’s chain mail suit acts as a “Faraday Cage” and protects the wearer from the electricity by causing it to flow around the surface of the suit and not through it.
Picture: Scott Heppell/AP
A sailor wears protective anti-flash clothing during an exercise in the Operations Room of the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring. Anti-flash gear is basic personal protective equipment to provide protection to the head, neck, face and hands from short-duration flame exposure and heat.
Picture: LA(Phot) Keith Morgan/Royal Navy
Lt Ryan Ramsden runs in a protective suit while training with the Police Dog Operations Unit of the Australian Northern Territory during Talisman Sabre 2011.
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Picture: Ian Waldie/Getty Images//Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Another pair of photos of an anti-explosives expert, this time a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA) Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Team of the Afghan National Army.
Picture: Sgt Steve Blake RLC/Ministry Of Defense