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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good Things Come in Pairs: Hummingbirds

The title of today's article may have more than a few collectors scratching their heads.  "What on earth do hummingbirds have to do with firearms?"  After all, their season is ridiculously short and setting up the decoys is a real pain (I kid, I kid).  Jokes aside, there are seriously collectible and investment worthy firearms in the September 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.  The two in this week's article both hover around the topic of hummingbirds.

Very Rare Factory Presentation Cased "Kolibri" Semi-Automatic Pistol with Ammunition

From the above photo it can be rather difficult to discern just how small this gun is.  That said, the RIAC photographers have wisely provided another photo of the diminutive pistol in its case with an object nearby for scale context.

Yes, collector friends, that is a standard American penny to the left of the case.  And, yes, it is capable of nearly covering the small metal box of the Kolibri 2.7mm (2.7x9mm) centerfire ammunition in the bottom right section of the case.  You read that right.  Two. Point. Seven.  It is the smallest centerfire cartridge ever produced and was patented in 1910 by its inventor, Austrian watchmaker Franz Pfannl.  Small self defense handguns were extremely popular at the time (and as early as the mid 1800s) resulting in a multitude of pocket pistols, derringers, pepperbox-like designs, palm pistols, and so on.  Pfannl dubbed his pistol "Kolibri," the German word for hummingbird.

The round, at 11 mm long, is just over half as high as a 22 short and just under half as high as the popular 22 LR.  That tiny scale means the 3 grain, 10 caliber bullet, propelled by the primer alone, could reach an adorable 650-fps muzzle velocity.  For those who love math, that means about 3ft/lbs of energy, likely not enough to penetrate winter clothing.  Oddly, not even the gun's size nor the insane difficulty in handling the cartridges, nor its lack of rifling (no machine at that time was capable of making it that small) would lead to the Kolibri's demise.  That would take World War I, which in 1914 ceased production at the Donau, Austria plant, and would lead to its eventual closing by the end of the 1920s.

Some other fun facts about the Kolibri:

  • It is magazine fed, with the magazine houses in the grip, just how one would expect.
  • The box containing the ammunition in the case is made of metal and snaps shut ever so delicately.
  • The gun weighs 2.6 OUNCES when loaded.
  • The pistol is 2 3/4 inches long and 1 3/4 inches high.
  • This gun is accompanied by it's bore brush, original case, and 7 original Kolibri cartridges, which are collectibles in their own right.

This writer personally loves the touches of the original case.  Felt lined with a white silk lid interior, the outside is a light green silk decorated with the trumpeting blossoms that would attract a hummingbird in the wild.  The green silk still has a sheen that shimmers just like the plumage of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds we see so frequently here in the Midwest.  The case itself is barely larger than a clamshell compact mirror.

The next gun to be investigated regarding the topic of hummingbirds is likely the most extravagant firearm in the entire auction and in a RIAC Premiere Firearms Auction, that's no easy feat.  Also, in keeping with the "Good Things Come in Pairs" theme, this particular lot is a pair in and of itself.  May I present this absolutely stunning pair of Westley Richards 410 bore, droplock, side by side shotguns.

Thankfully, a picture is worth a thousand words because the exquisite detail work performed on this gun would certainly fill its own book.  Most notable, of course, are the precious metal inlays of gold, silver, platinum, and what appears to be rose gold.  Normally guns are elaborately engraved and then accented with gold inlays of animals, monograms, or other parts of the design.  This gun has turned that notion on its ear and permits the inlays to be the star of the show, nearly covering the receiver with warm gold artistry.

These luxurious shotguns also defy design in the choice of their subject, the tiny hummingbird.  Perhaps it is a nod to the small round they chamber.  There are no depictions of leaping stags, towering bears, snarling cats, or game birds in flight.  Instead flitting hummingbirds are frozen midflight as they feed from the trumpeting blossoms.  Also splendidly depicted are loose feathers, complete with individual barbs, and stalks of wheat, all surrounded by an ornate and rope-like gold border.

However, the inlays are only one of the many special details considered in the manufacture of this shotgun pair.  Gold inlay also covers various parts on the rib such as the manufacturer name, a feather, and each's gun's number.  It is also used to accentuate the serial numbers, and various embellishments on the tang.  There is a nickel bead sight on a small silver finished panel as well as numerous gold washed components of the frame.  The official description lists the following parts covered in gold: bearing surfaces of the locking blocks, both triggers, and internal components of the drop locks.  For those that aren't as familiar with the technical names for each part of a gun, the following picture should make things abundantly clear.

Place all of this grandeur on a handsome wood stock with delicate checkering containing fleur-de-lis accents, you have yourself a pair of shotguns that would stand out in any collection.  Not to mention the deluxe felt-lined case and accessories, the gun's high condition, or the proud history and legendary reputation of one of England's oldest surviving gunsmiths.  It is truly an investment worthy pair of the finest quality English double guns.

We hope you've enjoyed these two guns centered around a topic not typically associated with collector firearms and especially not with shotguns.  While these are the only two hummingbird related arms in the auction, they're far from the only collectible, curiosa, C&R, inlaid, high end, or sporting arms in the sale.  Head on over to and find all your favorites.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good Things Come in Pairs: Artisan Blades

It's not all guns here at Rock Island Auction Company.  As many of you are already aware, RIAC also sells a great number of edged weapons and military artifacts from various eras.  From Japanese swords and full samurai suits of armor to the weapons and armor of medieval Europe, RIAC has been extremely fortunate to welcome historic, fascinating, and exceedingly well preserved items from centuries past.  This week in the "Good Things Come in Pairs" series will examine two bladed weapons that are as historical as they are beautiful - and that's no easy task.  Each of them is a masterpiece, exhibiting stunning craftsmanship and a wondrous attention to detail.

This brilliant dagger was once a gift to Adalbert Ferdinand Berengar Viktor of Prussia by his mother Kaiserin (Empress) Auguste "Dona" Victoria, who was wed to his father, Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Adalbert was the third son of the last German monarch.  He was inducted into the Imperial Navy at the age of 10 by his father, mostly as a publicity/propaganda stunt.  However, in the 20-year span from 1894 until the start of the Great War, the young man dedicated himself well and achieved the rank of Kapitanliutenant while serving aboard the SMS Kaiser.  He made a name for himself not only as a soldier, but also as a womanizer, which Kaiser Wilhelm II frowned upon greatly.  Adalbert, a married man, was banished from the house and never again saw his father alive.  Following the monarchy's destruction after World War I, he went into exile in neutral Switzerland where he would spend the rest of his life until his death in 1948, nearly seven years after his father.

The dagger is said to be a gift from Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, his mother, upon his "official" entry into the Imperial Navy (as opposed to his ceremonial entrance at age 10).  Meant to be a companion piece to his naval uniform dagger, it had to have both a military feel as well as be fit for a prince to wear as a display piece.  Thankfully, not being a part of the official naval uniform, the dagger was not subject to its rigorous standards.

That said, the dagger is exquisitely made in its every detail.  The dagger is 18 1/2" long in total with a 13" Damascus blade, the manufacturer etched into the spine and a bold, interlocked "AV" gold inlaid on one side, signifying "Auguste Victoria," the presenter.  The other side holds a gold inlaid "A" for Adelbert.  The hilt and grip are an impressive gold plated brass depicting a feather pattern, a clamshell languet, and two raptor's legs serving as the quillions.  The pommel (shown above) is a single piece of green jade carved to make a falcon's head two inches in height.  The detail in the feathers is incredible and the eyes are inlaid glass.  Regarding the jade falcon head, our official description says it best,

"Out of all the decoration of the dagger, this pommel merits the greatest amount of curiosity. A significant deviation from traditional German edged weapon design, the jade falcon head stands as a unique item among the blades auctioned by this firm; while three-dimensional animal head motifs are often seen (for instance, the traditional lion head on German martial sabers) they are traditionally rendered in a single piece with the rest of the grip hardware. Additionally, jade in this color is a scarce item which would need to be sourced overseas."

The scabbard is also of exceptional quality and craftsmanship with its handsome brown leather sheath plus gold plated throat and tip each engraved to mimic the reptilian skin of a falcon's legs.

Historic Tiffany & Co. 1852 Pattern Naval Officer Sword, Inscribed to the Executive Officer of the Union Experimental Ironclad Gunboat Naugatuck

When people think of the "ironclads" during the U.S. Civil War, their memory often turns to the indecisive yet alliterative "Monitor v. Merrimack" naval battle. While the USS Monitor is the first ironclad commissioned by the Union Navy, it was certainly not the first ironclad ever. In fact, the demand for iron-hulled ships increased dramatically after the utilization of the shell-firing cannon. Shells could penetrate any amount of wood that could be practically used on a ship, so other methods of defense were necessary. Also, plating ships in iron wasn't feasible until steam power became available as well, since wind borne ships would struggle to move the great weight. The French, fighting in the Crimean War, were the first to develop ironclads, shells, and rifled cannons, but those innovations would soon quickly spread to Britain.

The Naugatuck was not originally designed as an ironclad warship, but merely as a "proof of concept" vehicle set to prove three things, 1) that a naval ship could be quickly lowered and raised by use of interior ballasts, 2) that turning and propulsion could be achieved by twin screw propellers, and 3) that recoil of the ship's guns could be more easily managed by using rubber.  Originally, the Naugatuck was a simple steamship that its developers bought to adapt and use as a prototype for their final design, the "Stevens Battery."

Naugatuck could lower itself 2 feet in the water, which kept the steam machinery below deck underneath the waterline, thus protecting it from enemy shells and shot.  Its hull may have been all iron, but the only true armor was a 18" tall angled band of iron which circumnavigated the main deck.  Not much, but then again, this was a proof of concept, not a fully commissioned warship.  Upon the start of the Civil War, the ship was offered by its developers, Robert and Edwin Stevens, to the Navy, but the Navy declined the unproven prototype.  The Naugatuck was then donated to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and served outside Hampton Roads, up the James River to harass Richmond, VA by sea,  outside New York City to guard the city's harbor, and later to patrol North Carolina's inland sounds.  She would eventually be sold to again be a merchant vessel in 1889.  Her most famous action was the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, when she used her 100-pound Parrott Rifle and 2 x 12-pound howitzers against the Confederate fort there.  One of the only ships capable of elevating her guns high enough to hit the fort, Naugatuck performed nobly and her innovations were a success.

At sometime aboard this noted ironclad was Executive Officer J.M. Rosse, who was presented this fine and superbly decorated sword.  We know this thanks to the engraving close to the throat of the scabbard which reads, "From Col M.D. Myers to his friend J.M. Rosse, Executive Officer U.S. Steamer Naugatuck, June 12, 1865," which radiates around an engraving of the icon for a high level Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar of the Sylvan Chapter.  The sword as a whole is magnificent, measuring over 34" long with patriotic and naval themes etched into its nearly 29" blade.  The gold plated hilt is striking in both its luminous golden color and its sculpture.  It is decorated liberally with oak leaves, acorns, vines, and sea serpents.  The silver plated brass grip is bound with copper wire wrap and is also capped with a gold plated pommel.

The scabbard is also remarkable with attractive engraving, bright gilded hardware, and aesthetic sculpted anchor that seems to be wrapping itself around the suspension bands.  The tip is similarly adorned with a sea serpent wrapped around a trident engraved onto even more gilded metal ending in an anchor/rope motif.

Regardless of their respective countries of origin, these blades are from another time.  A time when craftsmanship was journey that took a lifetime, when you could honor someone with the gift of a fine weapon, and when blades were still a viable threat on the battlefield.  While tactics and arms may have changed, the appreciation for outstanding quality, stunning beauty, and the shimmer of gold have certainly not faded away.

These items and those of their kind will always have a place at Rock Island Auction Company.  Search out listings today and see for yourself.  Whether you seek gold plating, master engraving, shining silver, artistic etchings, precious metals, excellent condition, historic significance, or something that simply elicits a "Wow," you'll find it at RIAC.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good Things Come in Pairs: Artisan Pistol Sets

If you've been reading articles in the last month, you know that Rock Island Auction Company has been taking a closer look at pairs of items appearing in its September 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.  These are not necessarily items that will be sold as pairs, but rather items that are served well by being juxtaposed.  Today's pair, is actually a pair of pairs - two beautiful pairs of artisan pistols to be exact.  Each one made by a noted artisan and master in his own right.

Nicolas-Nöel Boutet was an 18th & 19th century Parisian gunsmith whose resume could not sound more accomplished: Director Artiste of Versaille Manufactory, Gunsmith (Arquebusier) to King Louis XVI and Emporer Napoleon, and generally recognized as one of, if not the, greatest artist in the history of firearms.  Born as the son of the royal gunsmith Boutet seems to have been destined for his greatness. This master craftsman and artist forever changed the realm of high art in firearms creation. In 1818, when the factory closed, he had in excess of 800 workers who helped create works of art from solid steel, luminous gold, and sheets of solid silver.
These pistols were made prior to 1804 and exhibit clear evidence of Napoleon Bonapart's conquest of Egypt in 1798.  They display wondrously carved depictions of griffins, sphinx, caduceus, swords, lyre, and what could be a Masonic "all seeing eye" or perhaps was a representation of the Egyptian "Eye of Horus" so commonly seen in hieroglyphics.  The wood carving is an exhibition of Grenoble walnut inlaid with ebony and overlaid with high raised relief carved and polished boxwood.  It's not often that engravings will take a back seat to the grips, but these pistols certainly make their case.  Mixed carved woods on pistol grips is an innovation that was performed solely by Versailles studios and these pistols are among the finest examples known.  The engraving is also delicately performed and depicts a variety of subjects such as a stern looking dog bearing antlers, urns with fruit, the mythical head of a harvest deity, a rooster between two cannon balls, and a horned devil.  The trigger plates are given full treatment as well, showing scenes of beautiful, toga-draped goddesses framed in their own panel scenes, and even the screws, barrels, and push on safeties have been engraved.

These are stunning pieces made even more attractive by their case.  Most pistol sets are laid on their side, head-to-toe inside their case, in an effort to save space.  Empty space is then filled with the various posh accessories.  This set of pistols is quite unique as its case houses them resting vertically.  Boutet designed other lavish pistol cases in such a way, one of which is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but this style is still dwarfed by what could be called the "standard" case design.  In addition to its uncommon design is the superb craftsmanship of the original case, with its gold bullion ribbon and its original accessories.  Whether Boutet was manufacturing military arms or presentation pieces for kings, his firearms exuded the utmost in form and craftsmanship with nary a detail overlooked.

A set of dueling or traveler's pistols is almost always impressive.  First, to survive several hundred years to the present day in any kind of desirable condition is a feat in and of itself.  Second, many cased sets that have survived were instantly recognizable as something to be saved due to their dramatic presentation and detailed embellishments.  This set of pistols would certainly fit the bill.  The manufacturer is unknown, though they are certainly European.  The only name on the pistols is the signature "Jean Jaley" on the lock plate near the frizzen spring.

A simple internet search reveals Jean Jaley to be a French sculptor who lived from 1802-1866.  After studying under his father Louis Jaley, an engraver, Jean purportedly sculpted for every major state building project of the July Monarchy and the Second Empire.  He sculpted numerous people of importance of that French era and for several churches, but has received some contemporary renown for his female nudes that were a regular exhibit at the Salon.

This pair of pistols is clearly the creation of a master craftsman and artisan.  Beginning with the metals and their delicate gold inlays, one can still see touches of the original black finish which would have matched the ebony wood and made the gold inlays stand out so much as to nearly jump off the gun.  Today, the metal still offers an attractive coin finish and holds much of the original gold.  The floral pattern engraving hides a cherub or two and extends down the barrel, the frizzen, hammer, and even the lock plate.  It is stunning work, but arguably what often captures most observers' first glance are the carved ebony butts.  Without delving into the difficulty and skill required to carve this very hard wood, the stocks feature grotesque beasts snarling and bearing their teeth.  They eyes appear to be pearl, giving them a life-like shine, while the teeth appear to be made of bone or antique ivory.  The pistols deserve more coverage than can be offered here in the interest of brevity.  From the ornate lock plates, engraved trigger guards, silver escutcheons, and more, every surface has been considered in these pistols' design.   No detail was overlooked in the creation of these phenomenal and ominous pistols.

To show just two pairs of these European marvels seems unfair, especially when considering how many will be appearing in our September 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.  To help remedy that, one of the first videos we've posted on YouTube for this auction will show even more cased, masterfully crafted pistol sets.  Some are extravagant and others utilize a more understated elegance, but all are certain to draw ample attention and find well-deserved places in what will undoubtedly be accomplished collections.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Centennial of the Great War

"I foresee that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure forced upon me and be forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war. I beg you in the name of our old friendship to do what you can to stop your allies from going too far."

-Tsar Nicholas of Russia writing to his cousin 
Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in 1914, 
one hundred years and one week ago.

A composite image of the Battle of Zonnebeke created by Australian famed Great War photographer Frank Hurley.

This year marks the centennial of the Great War. July 28 marked the exact start date of one of the largest wars in all of history that would eventually claim more than 9.8 million lives, leave over 20 million wounded, and 7.7 million missing. Those numbers are incomprehensible as is the vast scale and tragedy of this world wide conflict. Short of a dedicated encyclopedia or incredibly thorough webpage, there is no way to appropriately document this event. It is with this in mind that Rock Island Auction Company will take a small glimpse into the First World War in the way it best knows how - by examining a sample of the historical weapons used in this terrible struggle, all of which have come courtesy of consignors whose collectible firearms will be appearing in the September 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction.

DWM German 1908 Maxim Heavy Machine Gun

First and foremost will be one of the most influential weapons of the 20th century: the Maxim machine gun. This particular example is an original DWM manufactured World War I German Maxim heavy machine gun manufactured in late 1918, just before the war's end in November that same year.

The designation MG 08 can be rather confusing. The Germans are said to have manufactured almost direct copies of the original 1884 Maxim machine gun as early as 1899 and with Maxim's original patent expiring in 1900, officially adopted the license made MG 01, which earned its name from the year of its adoption - 1901. As with most new technologies, it underwent many variations, adaptations, and improvements over the years. The MG 08 was developed from the MG 01 and was officially adopted in (you'll never guess) 1908. It is because the original variants were developed at the turn of the century that many sources say the MG 08 was officially adopted in 1899 (or 1901). By the end of 1908, it is said that "every German regiment of three battalions had its own six-gun battery." Long story short, both the British and the Germans had used machine guns in various colonial wars, but the Germans more seriously considered the weapon's potential and already possessed an estimated 12,000 - 13,000 of them, made by DWM, at the beginning of the Great War. After seeing their devastating effect early on, Germany would ramp up production significantly by also contracting arms manufacturer Spandau.

The guns were fed with cloth belts that held 250 7.92mm cartridges and had a rate of fire near 400 rounds/minute, relatively slow compared to the 650 rounds/minute of the original Maxim M1885. Prone to overheating, the MG 08 utilized a water-filled jacket around the barrel, that would hold anywhere from 7 pints to a gallon. This amount of water would boil after 500 rounds of continuous fire and would boil off completely and need to be refilled after around 2,000. Transportation in the Great War being poor at best made water a scarce commodity and it was not a rare occurrence for soldiers on both sides of the conflict to urinate in the water coolers to maintain their functionality.

This weapon would earn the name, "the Devil's Paintbrush" for the way it swept across the landscape similar to how a paintbrush wold sweep across a canvas. It was thought that only the Devil himself could have the invented such a deadly device.

Model 1914 Lewis Light Machine Gun

While most commonly associated with the British thanks to their widespread use of the gun, the Lewis gun was actually invented by US Army Colonel Isaac Newton Lewis in 1911 (a very good year for guns). In 1912 it was rejected by the U.S. Army, who was already using the Maxim M1885 and, to a lesser extent, the Colt-Browning Model 1895 (a.k.a. the "potato digger"). Angered by the rejections, Lewis set up his own shop in Belgium and before long he had licensed the manufacturing rights to the British arms manufacturer Birmingham Small Arms Company. Almost immediately he was making a large amount of money since both Belgium and the British had officially adopted the gun and it would be less than a year before both were at war with the Central Powers.

The Lewis gun with its distinctive air-cooling barrel shroud and "pancake" drum magazine, was most commonly found in .303 caliber, although those made by Savage were generally produced in .30-06. Its cam-driven (not spring wound) magazines were made in two sizes: 47 and 97 round capacity, which the guns would empty rather quickly with their cyclic rate of 500-600 rounds per minute. They would make their way to the Western Front in early 1916, replacing the heavy, reliable, slower to manufacture, and more expensive Vickers machine guns. At 28 lbs it may not seem like a "light" machine gun, but relative to other machine guns at the time, a machine gun that could be carried by one man was quite an improvement. Perhaps it was that weight that gave the Lewis gun the honor of being the first machine gun fired from an airplane, driving the famous and oft-romanticized dogfights of World War I.

Browning Automatic Rifle

Ah yes, the venerable BAR. Despite seeing relatively little use in World War I, barely three months in total, the time they were put into service found them to be very effective and accurate. Lighter than stationary machine guns, but heavier than a standard rifle, at 16 lbs the BAR was designed to be fired from the hip in another attempt to implement the fruitless "walking fire" concept, a theory that involved troops firing indiscriminately while advancing in order to keep enemy troops in cover. In fact, many BARs came with a cupped steel buttplate holder to both support the gun and help contain the recoil when firing from the hip. That theory, despite giving rise to the BAR and the Pedersen Device, was never realized and instead the BAR was more often used with its bipod as a light machine gun. After the Great War, Colt obtained the previously unavailable Browning patents and made the BAR available for commercial sale under the name the Colt Automatic Machine Rifle Model 1919. Despite its many variations through the years the BAR would not be adopted until 1938 when the threat of World War II forced the Army to adopt the M1918A2. The model shown was manufactured by Winchester and is accompanied by many of the accessories that soldiers would have received with the firearm such as magazines, web belts, and even one of the aforementioned steel cups to assist in "walking fire."

M1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol

While the history and variations of M1911/A1 have been more thoroughly covered in previous articles, this was the first chance for the United States to test out their newly adopted pistols on a large scale. Sure the fighting in the Philippines and the Pancho Villa Expedition were good tests, but this was the big leagues. Also designed by the renowned John Moses Browning, these legendary pistols would serve from their adoption in 1911 over seven decades until 1985. They would also enjoy much success in the civilian market serving as reliable handguns and a readily modified platform for many performance target shooters. The pistol's most noted use is almost certainly by that of Sgt. Alvin York, whose heroics involving his M1911 resulted in 28 dead Germans, 32 captured machine guns, and 132 surrendered.

This is a relatively short section on the M1911 compared to some of the other firearms examined, but for more information on the rich history of this indefatigable sidearm, please read the stories linked in the first sentence of this section. The example in the photo above is Colt M1911 Serial No. 147, likely made in January 1912 during the first full month of production. It was shipped to the Commanding Officer of Springfield Armory on February 3, 1912 in a shipment of 200 pistols.

Mauser Model 1918 Tankgewehr

New technology begat more new technology in the Great War. Airplanes were used in combat for the first time and so were ways to bring them down. Widespread poison gas use brought about better gas masks and new filters. The prolific rise of machine guns long stymied each side trying to mobilize their troops, but would eventually prod the development of modern tanks. The presence of tanks, in turn, brought about the development of anti-tank weapons. One of these weapons was the anti-tank rifle. While not well-known as many of the other rifles and pistols to come out of the First World War, this tankgewehr is an especially rare item to find today as nearly all were destroyed in accordance with the Versailles Treaty. Similar to an overgrown GEW bolt action rifle, these 37 lb behemoths were single shot weapons developed in 1916 with a 16 inch long, solid steel receiver that fired a 13.2mm round capable of penetrating the thin and primitive armor on early British tanks. The officially designated Tankgewehr 18 was known by German troops as the "Elefant-Buechse" or "elephant gun." Roughly 15,800 were manufactured in 1918. The example shown is all original and unaltered.

Obviously we can't show all the World War I era weapons that appear in our September 2014 Premiere Firearms Auction, but this is a pretty good start. The catastrophe of the Great War cannot be understated. However, it is of course possible to look back on those events with fascination and awe without trivializing them. The weapons that came as a result of World War I provide intriguing insights into the technology of the time, advances in engineering, and human ingenuity. Not only did the war force people to make better planes, engines, firearms, armor, and so on, it also resulted in such inventions as air traffic control, mobile x-ray machines, sanitary napkins, Kleenex, sun lamp treatments, tea bags, the popularity of the wrist watch, the zipper, stainless steel, and industrial fertilizer. Nonetheless, it is inventions such as flamethrowers, interrupter gears, new poison gases, tanks, tracer rounds, and aircraft carriers that contributed to the tremendous loss of life for which World War I will be, and should be, forever remembered.

Canadian troops go "over the top" during the Battle  of Vimy Ridge