If you've traveled around blogland or antique shops in Europe and sometimes here in the States then you might have come across some of these baskets. Often times people are unsure of what they are...but they do know what they will use them for.
Some of the most beautiful ways I've seen these baskets used have been by bloggers.
Two of my blogging friends, Marcy at Antique Chase and Sherry at No Minimalist Here both have these types of baskets that they use for housing their bread board collections.
Here's Marcy's basket...and don't forget to note her display of ironstone and brown transferware wash basins she's collected and so beautifully displayed. The post is gorgeous, you can see it in its entirety HERE.
And here is Sherry's
Over at Motley Junket, after searching for over 8 years she found one and filled it with hydrangeas.
Check out this basket in the entry way below.
I wonder if this one wasn't stained? I like it and like how they've used it to hold field hockey sticks and golf clubs.
Below is a 1939 German basket.
Here is another German basket which has a date of 1938 on the bottom.
This one recently sold on Ebay. It is a rectangular shape, about 33" in length.
I found one such basket about a year ago which holds four, metal lock top canisters. I use mine to hold umbrellas and walking sticks.
If you look closely you can see the canister lids opened at the back, against the wall. The canisters are fitted into the basket so they do not move. The metal bar across the front has pins that hold these steadily in place. Most of the time I see these baskets, the canisters have been removed. Because of my appreciation and love of history I chose to leave mine in place, even though I think it looks better without them...from a decorative aspect. The baskets themselves are heavily woven, and have about 3/4" boards as extra support across the bottom. They are as sturdy a basket as can be found.
Are you asking yourself what the heck these baskets are and what they were used for? These basket examples are all artillery baskets. Most of these examples are German and were used during both World Wars I and II to transport artillery shells. I was able to do some digging around and found some great photos of these baskets from both WWI and WWII.
This photo came from an archive of AP, UPI and other news services. These artillery baskets were used in the WWI Siege of Antwerp.
This circa 1916, WWI photo is of a
German ammunition caisson (cart) knocked out by shell fire. You can see the dead horse in front of the cart, and to the lower left side of the photo are spent wicker baskets which held artillery shells.
The Ehrhardt Limber below can be seen and learned more about at Basketmakers.org which has a fascinating page dedicated to the types of basketry used in war and defense.
Images above and below can be found HERE
This next photo is of Imperial Russian Ammunition Baskets, left behind during a retreat in 1914 or 1915
This photograph may be deceiving...what do you think the soldier is putting into, or taking out of the basket? Here's a hint. This is not an artillery basket like the ones shown above. This basket did not transport bombs.
This basket transported pigeons. The soldier shown above is holding a pigeon. Over 100,000 homing pigeons were used extensively in World War One as a means of sending messages. Astonishingly, they proved to be 95% reliable at getting messages to their destinations!
Below is an example of one such pigeon basket.
I doubt that a single soldier ever imagined that in a 100 years these would be highly sought after by interior decorators and bloggers (what are bloggers!?!?!) to hold umbrellas, bread boards, loaves of bread, wine bottles, walking sticks or flowers? The photos really awaken the senses and tell a moving story. These baskets are small relics of history.
Here are a few more images of artillery baskets functioning around the home. I love this one used as un umbrella holder,
and this one which Evi from Evi's Country Snippets shows in her header, decoratively hanging on the wall, filled with flowers. How pretty this is!
I recently found another basket without the metal canisters. It's now residing in my kitchen holding cookie sheets and jelly roll pans.
Are you interested in finding one of these baskets? What would you use yours for? I'd love to hear what else could be done with these.
Here are some tips for searching online for them.
Right now, there are two on Ebay exactly like mine with the canisters intact; however the price is quite steep...$300. I paid $60 for mine with canisters. I paid about the same for the one without the canisters. I was patient and searched out the best deals. What I do on Ebay is search these terms and click the tab that searches within titles and descriptions. I often search within the militaria section if nothing turns up in a general search.
Terms I use are:
shell basket (be sure to search within the militaria category and include titles and descriptions or you'll see a jillion seashell baskets)
On a totally different note, tonight this kindergarten graduate is a high school graduate! He is number three in our lineup of six children. I truly cannot believe how time has escaped us and my children are fast becoming adults. I still remember, vividly, taken Jonah outside on the morning of his kindergarten graduation to take this photo of him by our koi pond. Tonight, I'll be taking pictures of this 6'4" tall young man in his high school cap and gown.
Congratulations JoJo! I love you so much!
I'll be joining some of these parties: