[QUOTE="stevent222, post: 5117662] Emergency air supply for Suba Divers. About 3 mins. of air standerd issure for Bond; James Bond. [/QUOTE] Not a diving air supply but this is the closest answer so far: they were used in much the same way as your answer suggests.
[QUOTE="Romford Lad, post: 5117925]Well, if it's not air, and I can't see it being water ~ then could it be gas ~ you said they are shown as a novelty ~ were they used with a small flame at each end to light a 'gentleman's cigar'[/QUOTE] I didn't say it's not air (well I did but I've corrected it), just not diving. There is a chemical mixture involved which could be defined as either "air" or "gas" and you are on the right track following the novelty clue, but nothing to do with flames or smoking. They are treated as novelty items because their use was based on an entirely false premise.
[QUOTE="Romford Lad, post: 5117931]OK ~ I'll go for 'helium' ~ stuff used for filling balloons ~ but also if you inhale it, it makes your voice go all funny...LOL [/QUOTE] That's close enough, I can't be bothered going through a game of "guess the gas"...
...let me tell you a story.
In the 19th century there was a doctor who wondered why so many famous male singers came from Italy. His name was Dr Carter Moffat. He went to Italy and sampled the air, as he believed the quality of the air was the cause. He then created and patented this device which held a charge of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to be breathed in to improve the voice. There were several other claims made, all utter quackery, but for a time the Ammoniaphone and its Italianised Air was all the rage.
Well now, first off, thank you guys ~ and Phil ~ that was one real 'novelty' ~ but that doctor could have saved all the expense of travelling if he had only gone down to the valley's of South Wales ~ had he would have heard voices that are only produce by the 'hiraeth' from the heart ~ now that is something to bring a tear to your eye.