A beak doctor costume was an ankle length overcoat and bird beak mask worn by a plague doctor to protect him from airborne diseases. The overcoat, as well as leggings, gloves, boots, and a hat, was made of waxed leather. Straps held the beak in front of the doctor’s nose. The mask had glass openings for the eyes and a curved beak. The beak led to the name “beak doctors.” It had two small nose holes and was a type of respirator against airborne germs.
The beak held dried flowers (including roses and carnations), herbs (including mint), spices, camphor or a vinegar sponge.] The robe was impregnated with similar fragrant items. Doctors believed the herbs would counter the “evil” smells of the plague and prevent them from becoming infected.