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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Barrels of Air  
  A very early mention of a means for breathing once above the Earth's atmosphere.  

This is a very early mention of the notion that, to survive in space in earth orbit, it would be necessary to take some air with you.

"... and the hampers are filled with elastic plugs for our ears and noses, and tubes and barrels of common air, for us to breathe when we get beyond the atmosphere of the earth."

"But what occasion shall we have to go beyond it?"

"How can we do otherwise? Surely you don't mean to travel the whole distance in the balloon? I thought, of course, you would adopt the present fashionable mode of travelling, and after mounting the seventeen miles or thereabouts, which is necessary to get clear of the mundane attraction, to wait there till the turning of the globe should bring Egypt directly under our feet."

From The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century, by Jane Webb Loudon.
Published by Not known in 1828
Additional resources -

Compare to the air renewal system from Jules Verne's 1867 classic From the Earth to the Moon and the Air-Restorer Capsule from The Planet Strappers (1961), by Raymond Z. Gallun.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century
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