This Thing Looks Like That Thing of the Day: Smoke helmets worn by German and French firefighters in the mid-1800s. Remind you of anyone? (Hint: Darth Vader and C-3PO.)
From Collectors Weekly:
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.