History of No Nose Club & Syphilis

History of No Nose Club & Syphilis

The above contraption is worn by women in mid 19th century who lost her nose to syphilis, it is also an evidence when sexual immorality was far more plenteous than the Victorians would have liked us to believe. When the numbers grow it is common for the people  to form a club as The Star reported in a February 1874 article entitled “The Origins of the No Nose Cub”. It is to be noted that Victorian era had lot of weird clubs.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted diseases which can cause the nose bridge to collapse.  In medical circles Syphilis is referred as “the Great Imitator”, since it has such mind boggling and varied symptoms, which can regularly be confused with the manifestations of different maladies or ailments. Notwithstanding, one specific indication of syphilis, which is entirely explicit to syphilis alone is the falling of nasal ligament and the disintegration of one’s nose.

No Nose Club & Syphilis

People use to wear the above shown contraption to cover their nose spot which has been damaged or eaten by the disease. While syphilis can show itself in many imperceptible manners and the individuals who have contracted it can go undetected by the general public, it was likewise incredibly simple to recognize victims on the off chance that they expected to wear the above nose mask or fake nose.

References & Treatment

A lady named Miss Sanborn, who purportedly herself experienced syphilis and wore a fake nose, reported the following story to “The Star”:

Origin of the No Nose Club. Star, Issue 1861, 18 February 1874, p. 3.

“Miss Sanborn tells us that an eccentric gentleman, having taken a fancy to see a large party of noseless persons, invited every one thus afflicted, whom he met in the streets, to dine on a certain day at a tavern, where he formed then into a brotherhood. He ordered a very plentiful dinner, and told the landlord who were to be his guests, that he might be a little prepared for their appearance.”

“No sooner was the hand of Covent Garden dial upon the stroke of the hour appointed than the no-nose company began to drop in, asking for Mr Crampton, which was the feigned name of their host, and succeeding one another so thickly that the waiter could scarcely show one up stairs before he had another to conduct. As the number increased, the surprise grew the greater among all that were present, who stared at one another with unaccustomed bashfulness and confused oddness, as if every sinner beheld his own iniquities in the faces of his companions“.


Further the report says “This club met every month for a whole joyous year, when its founder died, and the flat-faced community were unhappily dissolved“.

During those times people failed to belied about the STD and sex education wasn’t very popular. If one couldn’t be sick without any symptoms! Antibiotics weren’t used to treat the disease until 1905-1910. For a person in the 1890s, having an STD was probably a secret shame, treatment with mercury was most common during 1890s, and that was worse than the symptoms of infection, which brings us back to the spreading of diseases. Because of the shame people refused to get treatment and they died from their illness. It was as John H. Stokes wrote in 1920:

“The third great plague is syphilis, a disease which, in these times of public enlightenment, is still shrouded in obscurity, entrenched behind a barrier of silence, and armed, by our own ignorance and false shame, with a thousand times its actual power to destroy. . . . It is one of the ironies, the paradoxes, of fate that the disease against which the most tremendous advances have been made, the most brilliant victories won, is the third great plague, syphilis the disease that still destroys us through our ignorance or our refusal to know the truth.” Source

Sources: Link 1, Link 2

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