Vintage Antique Gauze Linen Muslin Buckram Masks for Halloween or Theater
A fine group of novelty masks!
"Many of the masks for the early costumes were produced by U.S. Mask Company in Woodhaven, New York. Their earliest gauze masks, made of buckram, were sprayed with starch and steamed over a mold." according to the "Love to Know" website. I am not so sure…as they can be found as coming from Czechoslovakia and other places (including the AMERICAN Mask Company, a company which originated in Europe.) They apparently moved to the United States around 1884. They claimed to be the first mask manufacturing establishment in the United States of America. Pages from the 1915 catalog are below.
(Illustrated catalogue of papier mache, linen, wax, wire, gauze, show and curtain masks, noses, wigs, beards, etc. 1915 Findlay, Ohio)
Interestingly, they sold them in numerous categories including Dutchman, Devils, Dudes, Prominent men (such as presidents) and many more. They appear to be a bit more dramatic than mine. I also find catalog pages as late as 1938 in cities other than Woodhaven. They are probably still being made somewhere.
The material could be Buckram, which goes back to the Middle Ages. It is a concoction of starch and strands of cotton. You will find them called muslin, linen, gauze and likely more. As with so many things, they look better beat-up after long use than pristine. The ones above likely date to the late 1930s to the 1940s.
Thanks and a tip "o" the mask to BOXLOT on Facebook.