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Thread: trench lighter

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    Default trench lighter

    I'm reading a book about some folks that traveled Mexico during the late 1930s. They meet up with a fella that is called the man with the four barreled gun. Is that a verling? Anyhoo they stay with the fella for a while and he helps them with knowledge. They were making their fires by friction. He gives them a trench lighter to use instead. I remember a trench lighter, can't remember where, maybe Dixie GW had some for sale years ago.

    I use matches, lighters and ferro rods, sometime flint and steel. Any one use a trench lighter?
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?


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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    The original trench lighters were repurposed .303 shells made by the British during WWI. It took some searching but I did find an article.

    https://coolmaterial.com/feature/tre...ghter-history/

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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    That's interesting, I have read similar articles.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    One should also remember that the soldiers in the trenches did not have time or equipment to fabricate something as complex as a lighter with springs, rivets and seals.

    Those things and much of the other "trench art" one finds was actually made behind the lines while the soldiers were in reserve duty or R&R areas. The command structure was good about providing shops and craft centers for the troops to spend their time, as well as plenty of liquor and women.

    Pershing refused to allow the U.S. troops the women and liquor, but they could buy a lighter.

    So they did have access to stores and depots behind the lines for purchasing items like lighters if they could afford them. A private got $15 per month during WW1 which was comparable to civilian pay for unskilled labor. (that increased to $20 per month in WW2 but they had zippos by then)

    I believe the first of the "trench lighters" to be issued to troops was offered by the Austrian army and they popularized the tube form.

    They did not just send troops to the front and leave them there indefinitely. The standard rotation was 7-10 days in the front line trench, then a week of R&R, then a week in rear trenches as reserve and progressive rotation back to the front. Anywhere but the front line had access to some form of convenience craft center or stores for filling their dead time.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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