At the siege of Antwerp a young French gunner, Alphonese Louis, was badly injured, shrapnel removing his left cheek, soft palate and most of his lower jaw. A silver mask was constructed from a plaster cast of his face and was then painted with oils and adorned with a moustache and whiskers. It was attached to his head with straps and had a spring which opened the jaw.
The mask worked well, enabling Louis to speak intelligibly without dribbling, and he was later reported to be walking about and playing at cards. In 'singularly softening the rigour of his suffering', the mask remains a testimony to the skill and dedication of the French military surgeons and the generosity of the provision for the wounded. The cost of the mask in today's money was about ?450.