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Rattle Gears
as the head was twirled around by the handle, the gear cogs caused the flapper to rise and fall

Sound Box
the clacking sound of the flapper was magnified by the tympanic hammering against the metal sound box on the opposite side

These simple wooden rattles came into use by the British during World War I as an alert system to warn of a mustard gas attack. 

An early hand-inscribed version was inked "2nd Batt Devonshire Regt Trench143 1916 Gas Only, Rotate in 3 second Bursts" on one side and on the other "If you see's it, rotate it, If you smells it, you's too late, mate".

The example pictured here was found during the summer of 2009 in the region of Noville (Basstogne),   and attributed to WW-II U.S. Paratrooper vintage.

(Photos courtesy of Fabian Boons)

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