Wooden door handle, consisting of two turned wooden handles joined by a square metal section, which would have been encased in the door. Handles are not polished, and show some signs of damp, in a white bloom on one side.
Wooden door handle substituted for a metal handle during German Occupation of Brussels by M Francois de Cannart d'Hamale (53 Rue d'Amazone, Brussels).
Removed from a display board of the 1920s, with the following captions.
War trade Intelligence
Showing the influence of the Blockade and War conditions on the civilian population of Germany.
GERMAN WAR-TIME SUBSTITUES (ERSATZ)
As a consequence of the Blockade by the British Navy a shortage of raw material was experiences in Germany which by 1918 became most acute. The Central Powers became entirely dependant on their own resources and were obliged to resort to numerous expedients in order to feed, clothe and generally carry on the life of the civilian population. In the manufacture of bread 10 per cent of rye and up to 20 per cent of potato was allowed as early as 1916 and the adulteration increased as the war progressed. The following table shows the consumption of foods in Germany, as compared with that ruling in the United Kingdom, in pounds -
United Kingdom. Germany.
Pre-War. 1918. Pre-War. 1918.
Bread and flour. 6.12 6.57 6.44 4.06
Meat. 2.50 1.54 2.25 0.49
Sugar. - 0.50 - 0.33
Fats 0.51 0.45 0.56 1.25
By 1918 coffee was made from burnt barley, including the husk and dandelion roots, and burnt tobacco from clover and other plants. Leather was almost non-existent, and bots, machine belting and upholstery were made from wood, waterproofed paper and waster rubber. Textiles were almost entirely woven of paper, the thin strips being twisted into cords, string or threads before passing through the looms. It is noticeable that this shortage of material did not condemn the feminine mind to simplicity as the underclothes shown in the adjoining case are trimmed with delicate lace, also of paper. By experiment it was found that this lingerie could be washed once only as it disintegrated. The shortage of metal was of necessity acute, as metals of all sorts were needed for the supply of munitions. As an example of this Ostend was almost entirely denude of metal such as door-handles, railings and furniture fittings. The rubber shortage was so great that tyres for bicycle, even motors, were made of a series of special springs, and in the former case of thick paper rope.
The exhibits in this and in the adjoining cases were deposited by the Department of War Trade Intelligence who by the careful examination of these exhibits were able to report the practical results of the Blockade.
German Requisition of Metal Objects in the Occupied Teritory. Wooden door handles substituted for the metal ones during the German Occupation of Brussels by the owner of a house in the Rue de l'Amazon, Brussels.
Presented by J. Haworth Roberts, Esq.