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Remembered Today:

Curious lighter - is it trench art?


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angelab

Among the "treasures" of my late father-in-law is this strange little cigarette lighter.  If I can upload the photographs successfully, you will see that it consists of a copper English 1d piece from George V on one side, and a similar-sized République Française coin on the other. The two are neatly joined by a piece of copper, forming a reservoir for the lighter fuel I suppose, and topped with unscrewable brass holders for wick and for the rotating wheel to make the spark (though it seems to lack a flint at present).

My f-i-l served with the RASC in WWI, but was attached to a group of Royal Engineers for much of his service.  I wondered if it's the kind of trench-art an engineer might have knocked up in his spare time...

 

Lignter Gv side.JPG

Lighter RF side.JPG

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FROGSMILE

It is indeed a type of Trench Lighter Angela.  They were often crafted as trench art from things like bullet casings or coins, as in the case of yours.  They all consisted of three elements, a reservoir for fuel, a screw tube for a wick, and a friction wheel striker and flint holder.  They were popular as being small and easily stowed in a uniform pocket without taking up much space.  The cartridge type seems to have been more popular, and could be more easily sourced from brass salvage, but types formed from coins were also popular.  I think that the idea of using coins might have come from the French design of Escargot whistle, which was often decorated in a similar way with a coin on each side.

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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FROGSMILE

This Guards Machine Gun Regiment one is my favourite.

 

FE55CCBE-3D8A-4F05-A6A1-FEA39F88FD9A.jpeg

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angelab

That's a wonderful collection, Frogsmile!  I had no idea there would be such a variety.

 

 

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FROGSMILE
6 hours ago, angelab said:

That's a wonderful collection, Frogsmile!  I had no idea there would be such a variety.

 

 

Just to be clear not my collection Angela, but they do seem to be popular and sell well at specialist militaria auctions.

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