An Ordinary Object Fashioned Out of Extraordinary Circumstances

World War One trench lighter, acquired by Hero’s Welcome from a private collection.

FROM THE COLLECTION aims to introduce readers to the inventories of local art galleries, museums and other cultural institutions, not via official exhibition notes but by way of the people that help manage and maintain the collections themselves.

“…given that supply lines to the front were unreliable at best, soldiers had to improvise to provide for their daily needs.”

For this edition of From the Collection, Kim Luttich, curator and designer of Main Street watering hole, Hero’s Welcome, continues mining through their extensive collection to share an innocuous yet inventively fashioned piece of history…

“Trench warfare was horrendously gruelling, grisly, and traumatizing. It is, however, within these horrid confines that great ingenuity and, at times, humanity, shone through. Such is the case with this lighter: given that supply lines to the front were unreliable at best, soldiers had to improvise to provide for their daily needs. These lighters were pieced together from spent bullet casings, torn fabric, and fuel. They are truly a testament not only to the stubbornness of those in the front line, but also to the desire of those in the trenches for a little semblance of normality.”


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