This piece of brass artillery shell casing clearly was fashioned into a trench art ashtray. Trench art was created by soldiers from all WW I’s armies, when they had extra time on their hands in the trenches between battles. They took bits and pieces of gear and fashioned them into artistic objects. Some common examples were belt buckles converted into match safes, as well as jewelry and letter openers fashioned from shrapnel shards. These often-bored soldiers showed amazing creativity. A great deal of trench art also was created in hospitals as therapy for soldiers recovering from mild to severe wounds.
The brass ashtray stands 2″ tall, 1 9/16″ in diameter at the top, and 2 ½” in diameter at the base. An attachment at the rim provided a resting place for one’s cigarette. The ashtray’s center can hold a fair amount of ashes and extinguished cigarette butts. It has no visible maker’s marks or indications of the artillery shell’s origins.