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1915 Bethlehem Steel Hand-Soldered Trench Art Pitcher (WW1)

1915 Bethlehem Steel WWI Artillery Shell Pitcher 

Hand-Soldered, Brass 18-pounder MK11 Shell Trench Art

A true collector’s piece, this pitcher is the embodiment of both a pivotal moment in history and Bethlehem Steel’s 150 year legacy as a pioneering, unparalleled force in American industry. The pitcher is the epitome of handmade combined with historic, as this shell was manufactured here in the US by Bethlehem Steel. A soldier or civilian craftsman invested a great deal of labor into this shell, shearing, bending, riveting, soldering and bead rolling. As the primary producer of munitions and armaments for the Allies during WWI, Bethlehem Steel produced over 60% of their finished artillery and guns, proving pivotal to their ultimate success.From its modest beginnings as an iron rail producer, Bethlehem Steel grew to become an unparalleled force in steel production through the contributions and innovations of every hard working individual. Their unified efforts made the company a titan of American industry, proving particularly pivotal to the launching of the era of the skyscraper, the fortification and development of national infrastructure, and every major US military effort and victory between the 1890s and 1960s. It was a central facet of the industrial era and critical to America’s prosperity and rise to prominence on the world stage.

(Comes as courtesy, a tall cylindrical glass vase insert.)

Bethlehem Steel Armaments & Artillery 

Growing competition in the rail market in the late 1880s and the subsequent receipt of a U.S. government contract that aimed to revitalize a deteriorated naval fleet in 1887 spurred Bethlehem Steel into the production of armaments and artillery. To meet contractual obligations, the first heavy-forging plant in the U.S. was constructed, laying the groundwork for nearly a century of weapons and munitions forging and resulting prestige and success. Following the navy-powered U.S. victory over Spain in the Spanish-American war, Bethlehem Steel came to be known as a lead producer of armaments, munitions, armor plating and ships. Between 1900 and 1914, countries the world over contracted with them to bolster their naval fleets and armed forces, a phenomena that only increased with the outbreak of WWI. Bethlehem Steel grew exponentially in the war years, becoming the third largest industrial company in the U.S. and reaching the heights of success and profits. Despite the successive financial set-backs of the post-war economy and the Depression Era, Bethlehem Steel made a resurgence as the world prepared for the second world war. Reclaiming its role as a major supplier of armaments, ordnance and ships to Armed Forces of both the U.S. and greater Allied Powers, it played an intrinsic role in their recurrent victory. Post-WWII, the company’s focus shifted to construction steel, as the demand for armaments and ordnance decreased significantly. The production of armor-plating ceased altogether, while forgings for national defense continued through the end of the 1960s, resurfacing in a new form servicing nuclear warships and power during Bethlehem Steel’s final chapter (of existence).

  • Manufacturer:  Bethlehem Steel Company
  • Date: WW1 - 1915
  • Geography: Bethlehem Pa
  • Culture: American
  • Medium: Hand-Soldered Brass 18pdr MK11 Shell Case made into a Pitcher Trench Art
  • Dimensions: 12” H X 4” circumference
  • Classification: Work & Industry: Bethlehem Steel, Artillery, Trench Art
  • Commonality: Rare