IP rights in WWI

Patents & Innovation


Quick Firing Machine Gun

 

Some Australians offered their inventions to the Department of Defence, with many falling by the wayside.

On 16 August 1912, Melbourne's Thomas Frederick Caldwell submitted a patent application for 'An improved quick-firing machine gun'.1 The mechanical engineer declared his invention was 'exceedingly light, simple and durable in construction and perfectly easy to operate'. Trials of the gun took place in February 1914, with 6000 live cartridges and 25 000 blanks fired at an estimated 1000 shots per minute.2 When both Australian and British authorities failed to support the invention, the gun was allegedly almost sold to a German armament firm in July 1914 before the declaration of war halted negotiations.3 In 1915, the gun was reportedly sold to a London firm for £55 000 in cash with a £4 per gun royalty on all guns manufactured in Britain and 10 per cent of foreign rights and licences.4

  1. Application numbers 6091/12, 16 August 1912, accessible via AusPat
  2. 'Australian Machine Gun', 4 February 1914, The Argus, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7288988
  3. 'Australian Machine Gun', 14 November 1914, Leader, p. 5 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117883946
  4. 'Caldwell Machine Gun Co.', 20 March 1915, The Argus, p. 21 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1504347. Also 'Caldwell Machine Gun', 27 March 1915, Poverty Bay Herald, p. 4

Patent drawings for Caldwell's quick-firing machine gun, no. 6091/12, 16 August 1912. AusPat, IP Australia.


Geake with one of the inventions, 16 January 1918, Sydney Mail, p. 10. Trove, National Library of Australia.

Message Rocket invented by Lieutenant W H G Geake, AIF Research Section c 1917, Australian War Memorial, RELAWM04381

Message in a Rocket

 

William H G Geake was an Australian Imperial Force (AIF) Research Section engineer. He invented a bomb throwing device with civilian Alfred Salenger.1 It came to the attention of the Ministry for Munitions in London and in 1917, at which point Geake was 'loaned' to the British Inventions Board and then appointed head of the AIF Research Section, which had been established in November 1916.2

The AIF Research Section proved their worth and within three months the section was allocated their own experimental grounds in Esher in Surrey, England.3 Geake wrote of 'the resourcefulness and instinctive ingenuity of the Australian soldier' as he and his team developed the: 'Message Carrying Rocket', 'Improved Machine Gun Belt', 'Impact Hand Grenade', 'Smooth Bore Howitzer', 'Floating Flare Shell For Naval Use', 'Non-Inflammable Petrol Tank', 'Rod Gun', 'Magazine for 303 Rifle' and 'Stream Lined Stoke Shell'.4

Geake's most successful invention, the Message Carrying Rocket, was made of steel with a range of up to two kilometres.5 It included a propellant, whistle at the tip and a two-piece tube which carried the smoke and flare composition as well as a receptacle for carrying messages.6 One Australian newspaper described it as the ultimate example of 'Digger brain and originality', Geake continued his work with the AIF Research Section and his rocket was in use on the Western Front until the end of the war.7

  1. Peter Burness, 'Geake, William Henry Gregory (1880–1944)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 1981, accessed 29 March 2015 http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/geake-william-henry-gregory-6293/text10851
  2. W H G Geake, 'Activites of the AIF Research Section', Sabretache: the journal of the Military Collectors Society of Australia, 1978, volume 19, number 2, p. 118
  3. W H G Geake, 'Activites of the AIF Research Section', Sabretache: the journal of the Military Collectors Society of Australia, 1978, volume 19, number 2, p. 119
  4. W H G Geake, 'Activites of the AIF Research Section', Sabretache: the journal of the Military Collectors Society of Australia, 1978, volume 19, number 2, p. 119-22
  5. W H G Geake, 'Activites of the AIF Research Section', Sabretache: the journal of the Military Collectors Society of Australia, 1978, volume 19, number 2, p. 122. Peter Burness, 'Geake, William Henry Gregory (1880–1944)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 1981, accessed 29 March 2015 . See also Message Rocket at Australian War Memorial, accessed 29 March 2015 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RELAWM04381/
  6. Message Rocket at Australian War Memorial, accessed 29 March 2015 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RELAWM04381/
  7. 'Inventors Active', 26 June 1919, The Newcastle Sun, p. 5 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162561221

The Dumaresq

 

John Saumarez Dumaresq who was described as having a 'genius for invention' was born in Sydney and captured the attention of the British Admiralty years before the war started.1 Between 1902-04, he developed a device to improve gun accuracy; a trigonometric slide-rule calculator which became known as the 'Dumaresq'. It consisted of a base plate with a circular disc resting and pivoting centrally to it.

A letter from the British Admiralty on 26 July 1904 stated that Dumaresq was free to patent his invention but once it was registered, it was to be 'absolutely assigned to the Secretary of State for War'.2 On 15 August 1904 Dumaresq registered an English patent for his invention, stating its purpose:

…is mainly to provide an instrument for giving rapidly the required rate of change of range and the deflection necessary for keeping the line of sight of a gun or battery of guns at such an angle both in a vertical and horizontal plane to the axis of the gun as to cause the projectiles to continuously fall at or near the object aimed at…3

According to Royal Australian Navy historian, David Stevens, when the Dumaresq was 'set with the courses of the firing ship and the target ship, and the target's bearing' it 'indicated both the rate of change of range and deflection'.4 There were many versions of the Dumaresq, however, each one was developed from the initial model and formed a key gunnery instrument in Australia's new 'Grand Fleet' in 1914.5 Though Dumaresq held a patent on the device, he wanted no profit from its production and was paid a total of £1500 as a one-off payment from the Admiralty.6

  1. David Stevens, In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One, (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 250
  2. Dumaresq file, Sea Power Centre - Australia, Canberra
  3. Number GB190417719A, Espacenet®, accessed 30 March 2015 http://worldwide.espacenet.com
  4. David Stevens, In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One, (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 250
  5. David Stevens, In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One, (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 250. See also Tony Lovell, 'Dumaresq', The Dreadnought Project, 21 March 2014, accessed 30 March 2015 http://dreadnoughtproject.org/tfs/index.php/Dumaresq
  6. David Stevens, In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One, (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 250

The Dumaresq, Mark IV, Naval Heritage Collection

John Saumarez Dumaresq, Australian War Memorial, 305332


Pike Brothers Army Trunk Trade mark 19956. Source: Advertising. (1914, November 4). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 30. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166253933

The Anzac Spirit

 

Messages about the Anzac character and bravery at Gallipoli were plentiful during WWI.

In an article that would become known as one of the first to present the notion of the 'Anzac spirit', British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett said the Australians 'rose to the occasion' at Gallipoli's shores.1 It had been 11 days since the troops landed at Anzac Cove and it was the first report to be published for Australian readers, eagerly anticipating news from the front.

In another article, Ellis noted Australian troops 'had behaved with that splendid courage, that splendid fearlessness' and had 'faced death with a cheer'.2

Furthering these notions, official war historian Charles W Bean wrote extensively about the Gallipoli campaign and how Anzac represented 'reckless valour in a good cause…enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat'.3

Prime Minister William M Hughes spoke to Australian troops a year after the Anzac Cove landing saying the day signaled 'the imagination of a new era' and prophetically announced 'Whatever may happen in the future Anzac Day will remain one of the greatest in Australian history, and on every anniversary will be told the story of a blood baptism'.4 The 'Anzac spirit' continues to characterise commemorations to this day.

  1. 'Australians at Dardanelles: Thrilling Deeds of Heroism', 8 May 1915, The Argus, p. 19, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1515516
  2. 'Battle of Gabe Tepe', 23 June 1915, The Age, p. 13 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154945929. Charles W Bean, Anzac to Amiens, (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1983), p. 181
  3. 'Australia’s Great Day', 25 April 1917, The Advertiser, p. 7 accessed 19 March 2016 http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5581161
  4. 'Australia's Great Day', 25 April 1917, The Advertiser, p. 7 accessed 19 March 2016 http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5581161

The Transporter

 

In 1915 Alexander Worsfold, a manufacturer from the Sydney suburb of Arncliffe, spoke of his frustration to a reporter from The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). He claimed he had 'been trying for months to interest the Defence Department in my inventions…If I cannot make those things, I can go, and with my son, fill a dug-out, or perhaps at the seat of war there may be more opportunity for assisting my country with my technical knowledge'.1 Despite a testimonial from one of Australia's great inventors, aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave, Worsfold's new ambulance stretcher was not, as confirmed by the SMH reporter's closing remark above, receiving the attention it deserved.2 One wonders whether the Germans would let Alexander Worsfold and his clever son go from the factory to "fill a dug-out".3

Worsfold's stretcher eventually became the only Australian invention developed from the home front that was adopted on the battlefront.4

'The Transporter', as it became known, was designed to reduce the 'difficulties of transport of provisions, munitions, comforts, etc., from the field base to the trench, and of wounded soldiers from the trench to the field hospital'.5 It was made of mountain ash, included a pair of bicycle wheels, and resembled a snow sledge - a remnant of Worsfold's earlier design for sledges used by explorer Douglas Mawson's in the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914).6 Mawson reportedly sympathised with a disappointed Worsfold writing, 'In your particular line I judge that you have no peers in Australia, and feel certain that there are many openings for your genius in producing paraphernalia in connection with war requirements'.7

After the first report of Worsfold's invention appeared in the SMH, a follow-up article that was published a month later showed that there had been 'interesting developments' in his story.8

Worsfold had been working at Victoria Barracks army base in Paddington day and night, testing and improving his 'life-saving device'.9 His contraption had been reduced in weight, was capable of carrying a quarter of a ton and had been inspected by representatives from the Department of Defence.10 Though it was initially rejected, Worsfold's Transporter was in use in France by 1917.11

Worsfold joined the AIF on 10 August 1915 as a Private in the 9th Field Ambulance and embarked on HMAT Argyllshire in Sydney on 11 May 1916.12 He contracted the flu and was admitted to hospital in December 1916 and by June 1918 he had been transferred to the AIF Research Section Headquarters in London, during which time he invented a sound-ranging apparatus and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in April 1919.13

He was sent home to Australia on 18 October 1919. During his career, Worsfold registered numerous patents, such as: 'Improved movable seat appliances for dog-carts, gigs and such like vehicles' (1905), 'Improved hollow concrete block to be used in the construction of walls and other structures' (1921), 'Improved type of autoclave for soap making, steam distillation and analogous purposes' (1922) and 'Improved system of construction for wireless telegraphic masts' (1922).14

In the end, even though most inventions and innovations did not bring about registered patents, they stand as a testament to the efforts and creativity of these Australians.

Despite the missed opportunities and difficult times, Australians applied their creativity in their own distinctive ways. Resourceful ingenuity was not just a virtue particular to the Aussie 'digger', and if anything was going to win the war it was not just the 'Anzac spirit' at the battlefront, it was also the brilliant minds and steadfast determination of those at home.15

  1. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  2. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  3. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  4. Eric Endacott, 'Inventing to Win the War. Amateur Inventors and the Australian Home Front, 1914-1918', Honours thesis, Deakin University 2012, p. 26 and p. 41
  5. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  6. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502 and Margaret Simpson, 'Centenary of Mawson’s 1911 Antarctic Expedition - Part 2 - The riddle of the sledges', 7 December 2011, Powerhouse Museum blog http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/insidethecollection/2011/12/centenary-of-mawsons-1911-antarctic-expedition-part-2-the-riddle-of-the-sledges/
  7. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  8. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  9. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  10. ‘Who is Worsfold?', 4 September 1915, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15611502
  11. Eric Endacott, 'Inventing to Win the War. Amateur Inventors and the Australian Home Front, 1914-1918', Honours thesis, Deakin University 2012, p. 36
  12. Service no. 12096. National Archives of Australia: B2455, WORSFOLD A
  13. Service no. 12096. National Archives of Australia: B2455, WORSFOLD A. See also Ernest Scott, Chapter VII 'The Equipment of Armies' in Volume XI, C E W Bean ed., Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, 7th edition, 1941, p. 251 and 'Alexander Worsfold', The AIF Project, accessed 23 March 2015 https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=332424
  14. Application numbers 4323/05, 356/21, 10451/22 and 10499/22 respectively. Patents accessible via AusPat

Alexander Worsfold’s stretcher, Australian War Memorial, C04780

9th Australian Field Ambulance, 1916, Worsfold appears in the second row third from the right, Australian War Memorial, P01718.001


Trade marks


Advertisement for 'The 'ANZAC' Lever', 24 November 1915, Sydney Mail, p. 33. Trove Australia

"Anzac watch" Source: Advertising. (1915, September 22). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 32. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162493882

The Anzac lever and watch

 

During the war, some business owners recognised the power of the 'Anzac spirit' and exploited it for their own commercial purposes.

Even with the introduction of legislation in 1916, which prohibited use of the word 'Anzac', these businesses adopted the idea of the Anzac soldier to create a sense that their products and brand somehow possessed the same qualities as these men.1

Before the regulation was introduced jeweller David Stewart Dawson advertised 'The "Anzac Luminous Dial Wristlet' and '"Anzac" Lever', a specially crafted watch 'for the man on active service', both of which were sold out of his store in Sydney’s Strand Arcade.2

In June 1916, despite the recent introduction of the regulation, another Sydney advertisement included the 'Anzac Lever' in addition to an 'unbreakable' 'Trench Mirror' and 'money belt' for soldiers on the front.3 By the end of July 1916, the watch appears to disappear from newspaper advertisements likely because it infringed the new regulation.4

  1. See Jo Hawkins, 'Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, pp. 7-26
  2. 'Advertising', 22 September 1915, Sydney Mail, p. 32 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162493882 and 'Advertising', 24 November 1915, Sydney Mail, p. 33 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162493700
  3. 'Advertising', 1 June 1916, The Catholic Press, p. 23 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105165577
  4. Advertising', 20 July 1916, The Catholic Press, p. 39, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105184755

Word protection

 

The symbolic power of the word 'Anzac' was recognised not long after the start of WW1 and so did the belief that the 'Anzac spirit' was beyond materiality, and that it would somehow come under threat and need to be protected.

On 18 May 1916 the Government passed a new statutory rule under the War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations 1916 which prohibited the use of the word 'Anzac' 'in connection with any trade, business, calling, or profession'.1 It noted thatover duration of the war, 'Returned Soldier', 'Aussie', 'Our Wounded Soldiers', 'Repatriation', 'AIF', 'Australian Imperial Force' and many other words were prohibited under the regulation.2

In his speech, Prime Minister Hughes stated, 'Into a world saturated by material things…which has made wealth the standard of greatness, comes the sweet purifying breath of self-sacrifice'.3

One article from the time, described the very word Anzac as a 'national heirloom…more precious than gold'.4

  1. Statutory rule no. 97, War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations 1916, 18 May 1916, ComLaw, accessed 26 March 2015 http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C1916L00097
  2. 'ANZAC' - a national heirloom', Gallipoli and the Anzacs, Department of Veterans' Affairs and Board of Studies NSW, 2010, accessed 25 March 2015 http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/5environment/anzac/anzac.html. See also 'Our Wounded Soldiers Not to be Used as Trade Mark', 9 February 1917, The Telegraph, p. 2 and 'Prohibited Trade Mark' 15 July 1919, Western Argus, p. 21 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34209253
  3. 'Australia's Great Day', 25 April 1917, The Advertiser, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5581161
  4. 'Day By Day', Daily Telegraph, 29 May 1916, quoted in Jo Hawkins, 'Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, p. 8 and p. 14

Statutory rule no. 97, War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations 1916, ComLaw http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C1916L00097


Advertisement for Rexona with a testimonial from 'Trooper Bert Lyon', 16 November 1918, The Advertiser, p. 13. Trove, National Library of Australia

Rexona 'Rapid Healer' Trade mark 85927 Also 6721, 19778. Source : Advertising. (1918, February 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15765192

Leslie Cecil Maygar, VC. Australian War Memorial, P01285.001

Rexona

 

Rexona trade marked their 'Rapid Healer' in 1946, even though the ointment started appearing in advertisements as early as 1909.1

Advertisements claimed 'Our Soldiers want Rexona - The Rapid Healer' and asked readers, 'Why don't you send a Tin to the Front.2

One solider, Anzac Bert Lyon of the 1st Battalion who was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery, Anzac Bert Lyon of the 1st Battalion appears stated in his advertisement 'It is with great pleasure that I sit in my dug-out to write to you a few lines in praise of your wonderful Ointment, Rexona'.3 He further notes that the conditions in the trenches often lead to 'chilblains' 'but Rexona banishes these'."

Private Stanley Roy Simpson said he had seen enough 'sores and wounds' 'to last me a lifetime, and I know what I am talking about…I can recommend Rexona Ointment heartily'.4 These endorsements added a layer of credibility to the Rexona brand.

A group of AIF soldiers claimed they were 'in the trenches in France…putting barbed out' and requested 'a few samples' be sent.5

One Lieutenant-Corporal Brookes said with a certain Anzac flair, 'All Australians prove themselves when put to the test. So does Rexona, and that after being 'blown up' by a mine at Gallipoli used the Rapid Healer on his shrapnel wounds.6

Lieutenant-Colonel Leslie Cecil Maygar.7 Maygar was awarded the highest military award for valour, a Victoria Cross in 1901, for rescuing a fellow Australian whose horse had been shot.8 Described as a man with a 'quiet, unassuming disposition', Magyar was 'an "Anzac" of whom Australia may be proud'.9

Rexona had a persuasive case to put forward for their product with their testimony from Maygar's 'a soldier who did not know the meaning of fear'.10 Maygar's endorsement was published in newspapers as early as August 1916, and under the heading 'A Gallant Anzac Endorses Rexona', he had 'the pleasure in certifying that I have used Rexona whilst on active service in Gallipoli and Egypt, and have found it excellent for the skin, especially in the trenches'.11 This use of the word 'Anzac' came to the attention of the Attorney General's Department who objected to an ad in the Sydney Morning Herald in October 1917.12 The Crown Solicitor deemed that the advertisement was referring to an actual soldier of ANZAC and not the idea of Anzac, so no further action was taken.13

Maygar died of wounds received from a German aeroplane bombing in Palestine on 1 November 1917.14 It's unclear whether there were any further objections as the advertisement continued to be published, even up to two years after his death.15 The roundabout use of the word 'Anzac' and an endorsement from one of Australia's most prominent senior officers was a clever approach from Rexona.

As historian Jo Hawkins wrote, the attachment of a decorated soldier to a product meant 'the product was truly fit for heroes'. 16

  1. Trade mark no. 85927, 31 January 1946, IP Australia via ATMOSS
  2. 'Advertising', 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15765192 ; 'Advertising', 11 July 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 4
  3. 'Advertising', 16 November 1918, The Advertiser, p. 13 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5606079 ; 'Advertising', 3 January 3 1917, The Register, p. 9 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59897438 ; 'Advertising', 29 July 1918, The Advertiser, p. 6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5576934
  4. 'Advertising', 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15765192
  5. 'Advertising', 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15765192
  6. 'Advertising', 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15765192
  7. 'The late Lieut-Col Leslie C Maygar, VC', 15 November 1917, Shepparton Advertiser, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92107853
  8. Elyne Mitchell, 'Maygar, Leslie Cecil (1868–1917)', 1986, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 31 March 2015 http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/maygar-leslie-cecil-7539/text13151
  9. 'The late Lieut-Col Leslie C Maygar, VC', 15 November 1917, Shepparton Advertiser, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92107853
  10. 'The late Lieut-Col Leslie C Maygar, VC', 15 November 1917, Shepparton Advertiser, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92107853
  11. 'Display Advertising', 25 August 1916, The Argus, p. 8 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1597782
  12. 'Advertising', 27 October 1917, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 20 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15760872
  13. Item 29/3484, Part 17, A432/86, National Archives of Australia via ''ANZAC' - a national heirloom', Gallipoli and the Anzacs, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Board of Studies NSW, 2010, accessed 25 March 2015 http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/5environment/anzac/anzac.html
  14. Mal Booth, 'Records of the death of Maygar VC', 11 October 2006, Australian War Memorial blog https://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2006/10/11/records-of-the-death-of-maygar-vc/. See also National Archives of Australia: B2455, MAYGAR LESLIE CECIL
  15. 'Advertising', 4 November 1919, Mornington Standard, p. 4 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65853204 ; 'Advertising', 2 January 1919, Daily Herald, p. 4 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106533299
  16. Jo Hawkins, 'Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, p. 23

Wrigley's chewing gum

 

Business owners recognised the commercial potential of our Australian servicemen during WW1.

A brand still around today, Wrigley's chewing gum had trade marked their spearmint logo in July 1912.1 They claimed their product was a 'great comfort to the soldiers in the trenches in Europe' and called for Australian readers to 'send some to your soldier boy!'.2

  1. Trade mark no. 13408, 26 July 1912, IP Australia via ATMOSS
  2. 'Advertising', 17 May 1916, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 8 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28783266
  3. 'Australia's Great Day', 25 April 1917, The Advertiser, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5581161
  4. 'Day By Day', Daily Telegraph, 29 May 1916, quoted in Jo Hawkins, 'Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, p. 8 and p. 14

Wrigley’s spearmint trade mark, 26 July 1912, no. 13408. IP Australia


Heenzo trade mark, no. 20657, registered 5 October 1916, IP Australia

Hean's Essence trade mark, no. 15329, registered 22 July 1913, IP Australia

Hean's pharmaceutical products

 

A New Zealand chemist, G W Hean, used the influence of our soldiers to advertise cough mixtures and nerve tonics for sale in the Sydney shop during World War I.

On 22 July 1913, Hean's trade marked their cough and cold remedy under Goods & Services Class 5: Medicinal preparations for human use, Hean's Essence, and began using testimonials from serving members of Australia's Defence Forces to promote their products from 1916.1

Master Sergeant P H Boag claimed he used the product and advised all his 'comrades who catch cold to use Hean's Essence without delay'2. Another advertisement stated an 'epidemic of heavy colds' was plaguing 'our gallant soldiers' and that Hean's Essence was even warding off 'attacks of the dreaded pneumonia'.3

Theresa Clune, a mother of soldiers from Waverley, said her sons Privates Francis and Jack Clune were 'cured of heavy colds, contracted on their voyages from Gallipoli and America'.4 The advertisement also said 'thousands of Australian mothers' were sending bottles of Hean's Essence to 'their soldier sons'.

On 5 October 1916 Hean's registered another trade mark for Hean's Essence - 'Heenzo'.5 Private Harley Cohen, a member of the musical group the 'Gallipoli Strollers', formed by servicemen injured at Gallipoli, wrote a poem:

…to part with all this Heenzo
Would have hurt a "digger" hard.
I'd have said, "This stuff is dinkum -
"Of it I've used a blinkin' lot…"
I'll make no bones about it,
But tell yer frank and free,
THE GALLIPOLI STROLLERS shook it…. 6

An 'original Anzac' and chronic asthma sufferer, Lieutenant Angus McAskill wrote that his illness plagued him at the front and after he was home from active service because of injury or illness, he 'found nothing to equal Heenzo' and considered it his 'most faithful friend'.7

Twenty-two-year-old theatre actor and private in the 19th Battalion, William Paul Clare, said he used Heenzo during his service under 'the greater contract'.8

Behind their endorsements the message that Hean's was contributing in its own way to the war effort. One of their notices dramatically stated the 'effects of a bad cold are almost as much to be feared as the shot and shell of the enemy'.9

As historian Jo Hawkins wrote, the attachment of a decorated soldier to a product meant 'the product was truly fit for heroes'. 16

  1. Trade mark no. 15329, 22 July 1913, IP Australia via ATMOSS
  2. 'Golds among our soldiers', 24 June 1916, The Mirror of Australia, p. 4 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article104642077
  3. 'Coughs & Colds among our soldiers', 1 April 1916, Cowra Free Press, p. 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article99697574
  4. 'Advertising', 22 July 1916, Arrow, p. 3 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115735934
  5. Trade mark no. 20657, 5 October 1916, IP Australia via ATMOSS
  6. 'Display Advertising', 23 July 1918, The Argus, p. 6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1405687. See also 'The Gallipoli Strollers', 13 July 1917, Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, p. 7 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article81866327
  7. 'Advertising', 20 November 1918, Sydney Mail, p. 31 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160627683
  8. 'Advertising', 24 November 1917, Weekly Times, p. 14 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132698357
  9. 'Colds among our soldiers', 23 August 1916, Sydney Sportsman, p. 6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167282906

Design


Patriotism and the ANZAC

 

Many of the designs were registered before legislation was introduced in May 1916 which banned the use of the word 'Anzac' 'in connection with any trade, business, calling, or profession'.1

Over time, this was extended to include words such as 'Returned Soldier', 'Aussie', 'Our Wounded Soldiers', 'Repatriation', 'AIF', 'Australian Imperial Force' and many others.2

Some designs were rejected retrospectively, including a series of eight 'Anzac' brooches registered by New Zealander Percy Norwood Wenton and Victorian Walter Sneddon McNee in December 1915.3

Herbert Ernest White's design depicting the Gallipoli peninsula outline was cancelled because it was marked with the word 'ANZAC'.4

Joseph Hendry Grice's design for 'jewellery consisting of the word "Mother" above the letters A.I.F' was also cancelled under the regulation due to the presence of 'AIF'.5

  1. 'Fundraising badge: Commonwealth Button Fund 1914-1919, 'In Commemoration'', Australian War Memorial, REL39111, accessed 29 March 2015 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/REL39111/. For a collection of conscription badges and buttons see 'Conscription, World War I, 1914-1918', Museum Victoria, accessed 29 March 2015 http://museumvictoria.com.au/collections/themes/2823/conscription-world-war-i-1914-1918
  2. Statutory rule no. 97, War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations 1916, 18 May 1916, ComLaw, accessed 26 March 2015 http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C1916L00097
  3. 'ANZAC' - a national heirloom’, Gallipoli and the Anzacs, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Board of Studies NSW, 2010, accessed 25 March 2015 http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/5environment/anzac/anzac.html. See also 'Our Wounded Soldiers Not to be Used as Trade Mark', 9 February 1917, The Telegraph, p. 2 and 'Prohibited Trade Mark' 15 July 1919, Western Argus, p. 21 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article34209253
  4. Numbers 2019-26, 13 March 1918, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3
  5. Number 1919, 6 September 1915, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 2
  6. Number 2194, 29 June 1916, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3

 

Wenton and McNee’s banned Anzac brooch designs, 7 December 1915, no. 2021 and 2023. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3


Anti conscription button registered by Henry Griffin, 19 November 1917, no. 2578. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3

Anti conscription effort

 

As the horrors of the battle front trickled back to the home front, recruitment slowed and public opinion eventually ruled against the idea of compulsory conscription.

In the lead up to the national referendum called by Prime Minister William M Hughes on 28 October 1916, pro and anti-conscription individuals and groups rallied passionately for their cause. One of the most common expressions of support came in the form of buttons and badges which were sold in trams, buses and railway stations with mail orders were advertised in the newspapers.1

The Commonwealth Button Fund was established to coordinate and sponsor the fundraising activities of smaller state groups and it became a lucrative business.2

After the first referendum was defeated, a second referendum was held on 20 December 1917 asking again: 'Are you in favour of the proposal of the Commonwealth Government for reinforcing the Commonwealth Forces overseas?'.3

Recruitment parades were held in city streets. One in Melbourne featured military bands, model tanks and visibly wounded returned servicemen with signs reading 'We are dying of exhaustion for want of a spell' and 'Wanted - A man to fill this gap'. The referendum was again defeated, with 1,015,159 in favour and 1,181,747 against.4

  1. 'Buttons and Boodle. "Linely’s Lucrative Lark"', 10 June 1916, Truth, p. 6 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130161175
  2. Conscription referendums, 1916 and 1917 - Fact sheet 161, National Archives of Australia, accessed 29 March 2015 http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs161.aspx
  3. Conscription referendums, 1916 and 1917 - Fact sheet 161, National Archives of Australia, accessed 29 March 2015 http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs161.aspx

Badges, buttons and brooches

 

Found in the pages of the design registers are a range of buttons, brooches, badges and medals which illustrate patriotic and commemorative sentiment.

The Registers of Designs from 1914 to 1918 reflect a wide range of war emotions. Applicants showed their patriotic enthusiasm in designing buttons to illustrate multinational unity, rally support for conscription and display anti-German sentiment.

On 4 November 1915, George Wybar from Melbourne registered his 'ornamental design for radiator caps for motor cars, paper weights and ornaments'.1

Alfred James Ogilvie from Sydney registered his design for a 'Torpedo mascot for motor car' for the 'purpose of the pattern and ornamentation'.2

Also inspired by the war, Henry Albert Chivers from Kew, Victoria submitted his design for a charm in the shape of a military tank.3

Samuel George Pepper and Claude William Smyth from Sydney designed a series of buttons in 1916. It's clear most of them were intended for women as each one was inscribed with the words 'For King & Country' 'Husband' or 'Sweetheart'.4

These buttons were designed to publicly display an individual's patriotic support toward the war and their family members fighting on the front.

  1. Number 1990, 4 November 1915, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 2.
  2. Number 2638, 13 March 1918, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3
  3. Number 2457, 30 May 1917, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3
  4. Numbers 2317-21, 16 November 1916, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3

George Wybar’s ornamental design, 4 November 1915, no. 1990. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 2

Alfred J Ogilvie’s Torpedo mascot, 13 March 1918, no. 2638. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3


Frederick Paton’s ‘Puzzle’, 23 January 1917, no. 2345, National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3

Albert Hunt’s puzzle game 'North Sea Tactics', 24 November 1915, no. 2005. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 2

War is not a game

 

As well as children's toys, designers registered war-themed puzzle games, representing how the war infiltrated people's everyday lives.

On 23 January 1917 Melbourne manufacturer Frederick Ninian Paton registered his design for an anti-German puzzle game. In this game participants are required to 'Intern the Kaiser', who at that time was Wilhelm II, Germany's Emperor from 1888 to 1918.

On 24 November 1915 Londoner Albert Hunt registered two designs for games he titled 'Battle in the Skies' and 'North Sea Tactics'.1

On his concept drawing, a Royal Navy officer stands over what appears to be the south of England with a German officer standing on the opposing side, above him the figure of a Zeppelin airship. The main theatre of sea operations during the war was the North Sea where a major confrontation between the British Grand Fleet and German High Seas Fleet occurred. This resulted in a naval blockade designed to block supply routes to Germany which Hunt replicated in his board game.2 On the North Sea area of the chequerboard participants are required to outplay each other in a game of strategy, as if mimicking the tactics of real-lifewar.

  1. Number 2004 and 2005, 24 November 1915, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 2
  2. David Stevens, In All Respects Ready: Australia’s Navy in World War One, (South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 142-55

Children's toys and tanks

 

The military tank became one of the most common symbols of the battlefront. What became evident is how the war made its way to the children's playroom on the home front.

The military tank seems to have captured the imagination of two designers, whose creations sought to rival the tanks symbol of power and might.

On 10 December 1917 John Charles Daly, a grocer from Rose Bay in Sydney, registered his design for a 'Toy War Tank'.1 Previously ranked a bombardier in the Field Artillery Brigade, he enlisted in the Army on 4 January 1915, was admitted to hospital for 'valvular disease of the heart' in Egypt in October 1915 and declared medically unfit and discharged from the army in March 1916.2

A later design applicant took Daly's concept to the next level with his 'toy rocker for children representing a battle tank'.3

William Alfred Iggulden, a manufacturer from Brighton, Victoria registered his design on 29 July 1918, and later registered a series of patents.4 British Army officer Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener labelled it a 'pretty mechanical toy'.5

  1. Number 2588, 10 December 1917, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3
  2. Service no. 3526, National Archives of Australia: B2455, DALY J C. See also John Charles Daly, The AIF Project, accessed 25 March 2015 https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=71687
  3. Number 2761, 29 July 1918, Designs Register. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3
  4. Patents include ‘An improved floor cramp’ (24030/25), 'An improved appliance for cutting fibro-cement sheets' (18308/29) and 'An improved domestic appliance for handling hot cooking vessels' (29434/30), accessible via AusPat
  5. 'His Beloved Tanks', 24 September 1932, The Mail, p. 4 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59832527

John Daly's 'Toy War Tank', 10 December 1917, no. 2588. National Archives of Australia, A13166

William Iggulden's 'Toy rocker', 29 July 1918, no. 2761. National Archives of Australia, A13166, 3


Learn more

The development of these intellectual property (IP) rights during the WWI era are a testament to the creativity, ingenuity and innovation of Australian men and women.

Our research drew from a variety of sources, including IP Australia’s historical information and records, government agencies including the Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, State libraries, and other publicly available material from that time. We thank all of those involved in this research project.