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Rare 19th Century French A.M. Bruneau Slaughterhouse Mask

$850.00 CAD

Original Patent Example 1872

In stock

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SKU: MA113 Categories: ,


Slaughter-house cruelty emerged as a social issue in the nineteenth cen­tury and traditional butcher craftsmanship was challenged by humanitarian reformers. As a result, several manually operated slaughter masks were developed in the 1870s. Best known and first was the Bruneau Mask patented in 1872 by A.M. Bruneau, a butcher located in La Villette, the grand abattoir of Paris. It used a leather shield to cover the eyes and fastened to the muzzle with a strap around the horns. A steel plate was centred over the forehead with a cylindrical guide to channel a free bolt. The bolt was struck with a mallet and driven into the forehead fol­lowed by pithing. To compensate for variations in head size and shape, the mask had to be carefully adjusted for each animal and it was difficult and time-consuming to fit on agitated cattle and the wilder animals from range settings such as Scotland and North America. Bruneau’ s invention never caught on in the United States. Experiments in Philadelphia during the mid-1880s found it difficult to secure the mask, moreover, many observers believed the killing itself a painful and lengthy process.

A disturbing artifact that ironically was introduced as a humanitarian means to previous methods. Condition is remarkably well preserved, complete, solid, thick leather, in good condition, including the original bolt.

13 wide x 11.5 inches long plus straps.

Additional information

Weight 2.5 kg
Dimensions 40 × 40 × 35 cm