18th and 19th Century Militaria
Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.
WWI Winchester Bayonet
The Model 1917 Bayonet was born as a neccessity of War. England had been working to replace the Lee-Enfield and had adopted a totally new design in .276 caliber as the Pattern 1913. Production had not begun when they entered World War One in 1914, and the rifle was redesigned to chamber the then standard .303 cartridge then re-designated the Pattern 1914. It was evident that to switch production in any of the existing rifle plants to the new design would be impossible as it would interfere with production of the SMLE which was in critically short supply. The decision was made to contract production of the new rifle in the USA, and contracts were given to Remington, Winchester, and a new company formed as Remington Arms of Delaware (which produced the rifle at Eddystone, PA).
The bayonet retained the Pattern 1913 designation since it was not modified. To readily distinguish it from the very similar Pattern 1907, it was given two vertical grooves in the grips. The bayonets were produced in the US by Remington at their Bridgeport Works and by Winchester. Eddystone did not produce bayonets. Remington supplied about 1,243,000 bayonets and Winchester about 225,000 to the British.
By the time the US became involved in the war, the contracts were expiring. After the Ordnance Department looked at a number of options, it was decided to remodel the British Pattern 1914 rifle for the US .30-06 cartridge, and the rifle was designated United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1917. The P13 bayonet was adopted into US service as the Bayonet, Model 1917.
During WWII, Food was in short supply for a variety of reasons: much of the processed and canned foods was reserved for shipping overseas to our military and our Allies; transportation of fresh foods was limited due to gasoline and tire rationing and the priority of transporting soldiers and war supplies instead of food; imported foods, like coffee and sugar, was limited due to restrictions on importing.
Because of these shortages, the US government’s Office of Price Administration established a system of rationing that would more fairly distribute foods that were in short supply. Every American was issued a series of ration books during the war. The ration books contained removable stamps good for certain rationed items, like sugar, meat, cooking oil, and canned goods. A person could not buy a rationed item without also giving the grocer the right ration stamp. Once a person’s ration stamps were used up for a month, they couldn’t buy any more of that type of food. This meant planning meals carefully, being creative with menus, and not wasting food. More than 8,000 ration boards across the country administered the program.
Early 48 Star Gauze Flag
The 48-star flag is the flag that soldiers and sailors fought for during World War II. It is the flag to which children, mothers, and wives pledged their allegiance at home while their loved ones went into battle overseas. It is the flag that the Marines raised over Iwo Jima in 1945. It is the flag that men died defending during the Korean War. It is the flag that Harry S Truman saluted when he was the President of the United States.
The number of stars on the American flag first grew to 48 in 1912 with the addition of New Mexico and Arizona. President William Howard Taft issued an Executive Order that year that formalized the appearance of the flag for the first time.
The Order indicated that the stars were to be arranged in six horizontal rows of eight each. This flag was official for 47 years. During this time, the United States emerged from the Great Depression and World War II as one of the leading nations of the world.
Eight Presidents served under the 48-star flag; William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1800's J.J. Towers
Handcuffs are almost synonymous with modern punishment, but they are not a modern invention. The first recorded mention of wrist restraint is in Greek mythology: in Virgil’s poetry from 70BC where he discusses preventing Proteus from shape shifting. The earliest metal handcuff examples date from the Bronze and Iron ages, and there have been many different designs throughout the years, with over 3000 search results coming up for handcuffs since 1860 on the European patent office’s website.
John J Tower’s handcuff design was an advancement on two existing patented handcuff designs: Adam’s ratchet handcuffs and Phelps’s development upon Adam’s design. Tower began producing his handcuffs in 1865 under license of these patents, but upon the death of the previous patent owners, he was able to purchase the patent in 1877. He designed many adaptations in attempts to counteract the ability to escape due to their adjustable nature. One of his more unusual designs was a 3-person handcuff that was identical to the design of these handcuffs, but with 3 wrist restraints instead of 2.
Tintype, also called ferrotype, is one of the earliest forms of photography. Developed in the 1850s, this wet-collodion process requires a very large camera, a dark space, a plate, and a good understanding of chemistry. Once exposed, a direct positive image is created on a sheet of metal. This means there are no negatives of the image to make copies from, and so each tintype is completely unique.
What made tintypes stand out compared to other photographic methods of the age, such as ambroytypes or daguerreotypes, was the use of an iron plate instead of a glass one. The iron plate is where the name ferrotype comes from. Though the resulting images weren’t made of tin as the name would suggest, the term was commonly used, based on the cheap or “tinny” feeling of the photos that eventually became the primary identifier of the method. Because tintypes use an iron plate they are much more durable than images printed on glass. They were also less expensive to produce, and the finished product did not require additional, often expensive, protective casing.
Military Propaganda Envelopes
In 1861 and the years that followed, many American men found themselves far from home. Farmhands from rural New York walked the streets of Washington, D.C., serving in the Union Army of the Potomac. Boys from Maine fought in the forests of Virginia. More than 2.6 million men joined the Union Army over the course of the war, while roughly a million joined the Confederate forces. The volume of mail ticked upward with letters to distant homes, and when it was time to send a letter, soldiers and civilians alike reached for a new kind of envelope, freshly printed and decorated with red and blue flags, delicate engravings of eagles, poems about the girl left behind, or the faces of generals, whom people at home might never have seen. The potential for using envelopes as advertising had become clear. During the presidential campaign of 1860, Americans could use paper and envelopes featuring their favorite candidates. When war broke out the next year, printers were quick to see the benefits of reusing some of their old designs. Add a couple of Union flags and a motto to a campaign portrait of Abraham Lincoln, as Boston printer James Whittemore did, and you had a new product. Add “True to the Union and the Constitution to the Last” under a picture of Stephen Douglas, who ran against Lincoln and died shortly after, and you might sell a few to his supporters.
Coffin Plaques can be first found around the 17th century gaining poularity in North America in the 19th century. After the departure of a loved one, the family would commision a local metalworker to create a plaque engraved with the information about the loved one.
In the 1840's thanks to the industrial reveloution machine made coffin plates start to emerge, generally stamped out from a flat piece of metal soon there was a surgance of styles and designs, limited only by what one was willing to spend.
It was customary to display the plaque on the lid of the coffin and afterwards taken home as a memento of their loved one, often tucked away in a drawer or trunk but others were framed and hung in remembrance by the 1920's however the practice of taking the plaques home had fallen out of favor.
Political Campaign Buttons
Buttons and pins have long been part of the political climate, during the first presidential inauguration metal pins with the phrase "Long Live the President" and George Washington's initials were worn by his supporters.
The tradition of metal pins continued until 1861 during the Lincoln vs. Douglas campaign for the first time the candidates photograph was used on campaign buttons thanks to the invention of ferrotype photography.
However it wasn't until 1896 that presidential campaign buttons were mass-produced because Whitehead and Hoag in N.J. had patented celluloid pin-back buttons. McKinley and Bryan playing off the celestial phenomena of a Lunar Eclipse to declare domination of their opponent.
Campaign buttons were a way to show support for candidates or specific issue without necessarily declaring support for a particular political party.
During the 1960's grassroots buttons were created by private citizens who either wanted to support or bash another candidate, a tradition that continues to this day.