Trench Art but, from what?

I bought this Trench Art (Antique store in Modesto Calif) but haven’t a clue as to what the cartridge was. It is likely a small cannon or artillery shell but what country does it belong to ? What did the gun in worked in look like ?
When I was very young (Ice age), men from WWII told me at times of total boredom, some men would pass the time making souvenirs to sell or send home to loved ones by decorating a sent piece of brass.
I even have a small pocket knife found by scientists up in Alaska where the Japanese landed. I can’t find the silly thing but it had Japanese script (consigh) on it. Some Japanese soldier took some brass, pounded it flat and bent it to be the outer housing for the pocket knife. The blade was steel and flipped in-out just like any pocket knife. Guess this practice was so in all militaries. So, does any person know what the below was and what weapon fired it?





Does this help? … light=3785

I’m not familiar enough with artillery markings to know who made it (though it looks like a 1916 date on it), but it certainly appears to be a 37mm Maxim-Nordenfeldt “Pom-Pom” shell casing; these were used as general-purpose anti-aircraft, anti-tank, anti-everything cannons, and were basically scaled-up Maxim/Vickers machine guns. These could be seen in single, double, or quadruple mounts on BOTH sides during WW1.

Oops; having seen vlad’s post, it now appears to have been the French competitor to the Pom-pom; one might ask why it is that so many militaries ended up with the same 37mm calibre, and the reason was that an earlier agreement, similar to the Hague Convention, had agreed that the smallest explosive shell that could be legally fired in war would be the 37mm, but that didn’t last long either.

I thank you very much for the accuracy of your data. How could I buy an inert projectile for this case ?
I have been using it to hold pen’s at my desk but it would be nice to have a clean inert projectils next to it.
Based on what was in the article (post) was my shell lot #79 made in Sept 1916 ?

Yes to lot 79 Sept.1916.

Jagerdad–While 37mm projectiles are fairly common and not very expensive, I would not recommend putting a projectile in this case. First of all it will be very loose and if you bend the top back to make the projectile fit tighter you will ruin the value of the trench art. If you really want to have a 37mm with an inert projectile, they can be had for usually less than $25.00. BTW, while some trench art may have actually been made in the trenches, most of it was made in shops, especially in Belgium, much of it AFTER the war. One of the most commonly used cases was the French 75mm Howitzer.

This case was made by a firm called Pinchart Denis in Paris. That is what “PD.Ps” stands for.

“37-85” Means 37mm Model of 1885.

From the look of the engraving I would say it was made after the war to sell to the vast quanity of visitors to the battlefields in the 1920s.

Most "trench’ art was a commercial venture,either by rear area troops or the locals.Many ‘cottage’ industries turned out thousands of souveniers.

The Artillery shell description, in European usage, of “37-85” does NOT (usually) meant M1885, 37mm, but rather, shell charge for a Artillery piece of 37mm calibre(Bore), with a Barrel 85 calibres Long. This method is also used by the US Navy as well, in decribing Rifled Tubes of naval guns.

If one looks at German, Italian, and French Shells and artillery pieces, from the 1880s onwards, one will see this description used.
Ie, Skoda 75/18 (Mountain gun, short barrelled, used by A-H during WWI, taken into service by Italy in 1919 ( reparations) and used effectively on all fronts till 1945, and from which the OTO Melara L5 pack Howitzer(105mm) is derived;
The list goes on.

AV Ballistics.

While I would be the last one to dispute ANYTHING DocAV has to offer on this forum, I’ll defer to the math regarding the 37MM/85 caliber barrel length. That would equate to a 10’ + long barrel in this designation. The pictures of the M1885 reflect something shorter, along the lines of maybe 4’ or so.

Rick … s-sfm_.htm

Ray–What a GREAT reference for 37mm Hotchkiss. In case there is anybody reading this that do not realize it, you can enlarge the images on that website by clicking on them.


I can’t claim credit for the link. A couple of years ago I was re-furbishing one of those 37-85 cartridges and Rien (Western) gave me the link. Here’s another that is part of the same web site, I think. … v37Fr1.htm


I’m not one to flaunt my many and varied talents (so it says here) but I think I did a pretty good job on my 37-85, even if I have to say so myself. When I first got it, it was pretty raunchy looking and not very collectible so I didn’t have any qualms about “restoring” it. My only regret was that I didn’t take “before” photographs.


“37/85” is French designation for 37mm , Modele 1885 (Gun)
I did an extensive search of "37/85, and Hotchkiss, and came up with dozens if indiucations as to the histopry of this shell desing(s), goin back to 1871, and up to WW II.
The French Did NOT use the Calibre-barrel length system used by almost everyone else in Europe.

The cartridge was originally developed for the 6 barrel (then Five barrel )Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon in the mid 1870s; the cartridge was further developed wioth different Loads (HE, Shrapnel, Case shot, Solid, etc) by the 1900s, and eventually used in other “real” MGs, such as the Maxim Pom Pom, and Various other Designs. Its major use was as an Infantry support light artillery (the US M16 gun, copied from the Puteaux design/Hotchkiss).

It had wide diffusion in various countries as a standard shell ( about a dozen to my research, incl most European countries, and also served as the basis for Longer, 37mm cases as well.

BTW, all my researches show “PD .Ps” as “Parc D 'Artillerie de Paris”, and this is from both English and French sources.

Sorry If I led anybody astray with my interpretation of “37/85”…The German one is simpler…3,7cm, C97/98…typically Prussian.

Doc AV
A V Ballistics.


There is an old thread on the Forum (March 2008 I believe) wherein Tony Williams posted references to the effect that the PD.Ps headstamp does indeed mean Pinchart Deny, Paris.


In my experience the 2 most commonly “trenched” cases of WW1 and possibly of all times are the French 75 and the 37 shown. Hundreds of thousands of these were “trenched” many by factory and veteran organizations to raise money for disabled veterans relief.

So, is it “Parc D 'Artillerie de Paris” or “Pinchart Denis de Paris”? I ran out od space correcting the name on my string suspended paper label.