Original British WWI Wood Gas Rattle with Markers Mark- Dated 1916
Original Item: Only One Available. GAS!!! Introduced in WW1 it was not only deadly but perhaps the most terrifying weapon ever used. There were various different types but the best known is "mustard" gas. This blinded and burned and there was no escape. Old photographs show columns of blinded soldiers each with his hand on the shoulder of the man in front of him being led back from the front lines after just brief exposure to mustard gas.
In very short order gas masks were introduced and additionally an alarm signal was needed that could not be confused with any other sound. Whistles of course were an absolute non-starter. What was developed became known as the gas rattle, constructed principally out of wood they sounded in fact almost like the machine gun fire replicator used in training. Basically all one did was spin the rattle on the wood grip to achieve the desired result.
Once this piercing, actually very annoying sound was heard, every soldier knew that was the time to get into all his anti gas clothing and gas mask.
This fine example is maker marked and dated 1916. It is beautifully made possibly by a fine furniture manufacturer (a common practice at the time). The system is basically a wooden star-shaped wheel that is rotated past a sounding board slat fixed at the other end. The resulting noise is harsh, very loud and frankly very unpleasant. It certainly gets one’s attention.
One of the six arms of the star has been detached and lost but this does not prevent the rattle from making an awful din.
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