Arthur H. Bulbulian was a pioneer of Armenian origin in the field of oxygen masks and, more broadly, facial prosthetics. His work in the Aero Medical Unit of the Mayo Clinic led to the creation of the A-14 oxygen mask for the US Air Force in 1941. The A-14 mask for combat pilots was frost-resistant, included a microphone for radio communications, and allowed pilots to talk and eat with the mask on.
Arthur Bulbulian was a member of the development team that included Drs. W. Randolph Lovelace and Walter Boothby. The team developed the BLB mask (Boothby, Lovelace, and Bulbulian) – an orinasal and nasal oxygen mask that would be used in medicine, as well as by aviators at high-altitude flights. The BLB and A-14 oxygen masks were used during WWII by the American and British armies.
Dr. Bulbulian was also the first director of the Mayo Medical Museum, the first medical museum in the United States. As such, he developed its exhibits along with staff doctors. He also designed and created exhibits for the Mayo Clinic in 1933 for the “A Century of Progress Exposition” exhibition at the Chicago World Fair.
Born in 1900 in Caesarea, the Ottoman Empire, Bulbulian moved to the United States in 1920. He attended Middlebury College where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He did more graduate work at the University of Iowa, as well as at Brown University. In 1928, Bulbulian enrolled in the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota and received a doctoral degree in dental surgery. In 1931, he was appointed instructor of orthodontics at the same school.