Plague Doctor Masks

During the 1300’s a disease ravaged across Europe known as the Black Plague or Black Death. It was believed to have started when infected from China passed the disease onto fleas which in turn, passed it onto other animals and invariably…. humans. An estimated 200 million people were killed because of this.

This is perhaps the most well known historical image of a plague doctor

This is perhaps the most well known historical image of a plague doctor

To combat this disease, specialized physicians who were extremely well paid ( due to a typically short lifespan ) would tend to areas where there were outbreaks. Back in the 1300’s they didn’t really have NBC and Biohazard suits like we do today, instead, these physicians donned a rather odd outfit that essentially mimicked a bird in appearance.

Enter the Plague Doctor, physicians who would pack the large “beaks” of their masks with herbs and other additives to prevent the disease from being inhaled. They wore long flowing robes, gloves, and typically carried a stick that was used to prod the infected and rupture blisters and sores so they didn’t actually have to touch the patients.

The masks only gave them a limited amount of protection but provided them with a very unique and almost ghoulish look. For whatever reasons, this look has been embraced by the Steampunk genre as well, which is where we come in.

Using various materials we take the traditional look of the Plague Doctor and transform it. Presently our masks are made from leather and depending on the weight of the leather, a fiberglass shell designed to help support the softer weight leather but which can also be used by itself as the basis for a mask.

The masks we make are not only visually appealing, but very durable and in some cases, with a slight modification to the respirators, can be turned into functional gas masks !!! The combination of fiberglass resin and bondo, when used, provides for a very resilient shell. Even the standard leather masks provide an intimidating look like few other masks can.

Everything we do to make our masks is by hand, from the cutting of the leather to the folding of the paper forms we use to make the fiberglass shells; it’s all done by hand, no fancy machines, which gives our masks the unique one of a kind appearance you want, no two will ever be the same.

So with all that being said, below you will find links to pictures and articles written about Plague Doctor masks and accessories. If you’re looking to purchase a mask you can do so on our Etsy store here:

Below are some of the masks we have made in the past and that may currently be for sale on Etsy: