Air Ministry Marked Distemper Brush

As a collector I am used to picking up very odd items for my collection, tonight’s definitely falls into that category. I was on the second hand market this morning and for some reason decided to hunt through a box of brushes, I was very surprised and pleased when I noticed one of them was Air Ministry marked:imageAgain this was not an expensive item, just £4, which highlights how anyone can have a good and unusual collection if they are prepared to go hunting for things. The brush itself has stiff bristles, bound into two groups with copper wire, these are then fastened to a wooden handle. I believe these were used for paste or whitewash and so would have been used to maintain the buildings of an aerodrome by the most junior of airmen! A close up of the markings on the handle shows the ‘AM’ and crown mark of the Air Ministry, the RAF’s equivalent to the /|\ mark, and a stores number:imageAs can be seen there is also an instruction to soak the bristles before use, presumably to soften them to get a smoother coat. These brushes are identical to examples used by civilian workmen of the period and I would expect the RAF just placed contracts with the same firms and added their identifying marks before issuing. For those interested in all things ‘Air Ministry’ I can heartily recommend this blog which has a lot of interesting and useful information on RAF marked furniture and equipment. The illustration below is from the 1939 Army and Navy Stores Catalogue:


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