Faces of War: Men With Broken Faces and The Tin Nose Shop

Wounded tommies facetiously called it “The Tin Nose Shop.” Located within the 3rd London General Hospital, its proper name was the “Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department”; either way, it represented one of the many acts of desperate improvisation borne of the Great War, which had overwhelmed all conventional strategies for dealing with trauma to body, mind and soul.

The video below is a footage of the “Tin Nose Shop” in London where realistic masks were created to help wounded soldiers. Disclaimer: The film is originally silent but someone added some music that you might wish to turn down or mute…

The medical innovations during that time had a great impact on the current surgical technology used today. And of course the pictures of the soldiers who had their faces reconstructed in the early 1900s are incredible given the severity of their injuries and the medical capabilities of that time period. Even by today’s standards where total facial reconstruction is still being improved upon, the end results of facial reconstructive surgeries back then are remarkable.

“Red Cross Work on Mutilés at Paris” (1918) : An approximately 4-minute video of World War 1 Red Cross workers (including sculptor/artist Anna Coleman Ladd) fashioning prosthetic/cosmetic devices for men with facial injuries.

Credits: National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (Washington DC), WashingtonDC Museum

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