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Trench Art: An Illustrated History by Jane Kimball

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Trench Art102 of 273WW1 AEF Siberia Trench Art RingKorean War Trench Art - 1951 USS Princeton War Eagle Pin
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Posted 5 years ago

(852 items)

Reference books are an essential part of any collector's knowledge and growth in their particular field of interest.

This 2004 book is a comprehensive study of Trench Art and does a fantastic job in presenting the historical context of trench art throughout history. The books covers about 400 pages and includes hundreds of illustrations as well as mountains of primary source material and original photographs that document the evolution, styles and construction of the TRENCH ART genre.

While the focus of the book is on WW1-- the "Golden Age of trench art", both earlier pieces and modern pieces are discussed and photographed.

Photo #1: Book cover along with the helmet that was the inpiration for an Operation Iraqi Freedom helmet that I have in my collection:


Photo #2: US soldiers constructing trench art.

Photo #3: Artillery shells with trench art decorations, along with a photo of a US 75mm in its defensive trench network.

Photo #4: Tobacco related trench art and an original photograph of a group of French soldiers identified as "At Rest: The making of cigarette lighters, as done in the trenches".

As an American Ambulance Driver, AEF Ambulance Company 161 wrote (published in the 1919 Unit history): "The brickets were patterned in forms of imitation books, French canteens, or were simple round convex disks inlaid by a French coin, or the pattern of the belt buckle design of the German soldier."

Here is an example of a lighter that would match that description:


If you have an appreciation for Trench Art, I cannot suggest more strongly that you have a look at this book. Most libraries should have it available for check out.

Hopefully, it will ingnite a passion in Trench Art-- the imaginative craftwork that turns war refuse into beautiful and utilitarian objects!



  1. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Active links to items cited above:

    My OIF helmet:


    Miniature book lighter:


  2. AmberRose AmberRose, 5 years ago
    Very interesting Scott. I am so getting this...too late for Valentines I wonder?
  3. walksoftly walksoftly, 5 years ago
    Looks like a very interesting book.
  4. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks amber-- you'll love it.

    It makes a beautiful "coffee table book" full of color photographs of trench art from all eras. Additionally, it is very well researched with primary source materials.

  5. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks for looking and commenting bellin. I find reference works indispensable. This particular example, while containing hundreds of photographs, is academic and well researched.

    I prefer to study and learn instead of speculate and guess!

    However, less academic "picture books" can be useful as well.

    In this day, I'd bet there are some fairly decent scandinavian glass books out there!

  6. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Add them to your holiday wish list! Good luck in your search. If I see any bargain examples, I'll let you know.

  7. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks majestic!

  8. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks for looking musik!

  9. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks vetraio!

  10. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks trunkman.

  11. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks for looking p...!

  12. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks for looking and commenting david!

  13. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks for looking tony!

  14. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Link to trench art lighters:


  15. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking tom!

  16. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Thanks marty and battlegear-- this is a great book for those who want to learn to identify trench art!

  17. scottvez scottvez, 9 months ago
    Thanks much bucket and marty!


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