We return for a second week to look at another piece of Indian produced jungle green 37 pattern webbing, with a pair of shoulder braces:These are faintly dyed green, but would have been more vibrant when new. Dyes were a constant problem in India, with many being supplied from the United States as lend-lease. Chemicals used in the dyeing process included Sodium Bichromate and Potassium Bichromate, neither of which had been produced in India before the war and acetic acid which was only a tiny industry before the war (the Mysore government rapidly set up a plant producing 600 tons a year once the war began). The country also looked into what it could produce from its natural resources, as outlined in the post war review of Indian production and supply:
In the field of drugs and dyes, the failure of imports from abroad resulted in the initiation of research projects for the utilisation of the country’s indigenous resources. Glandular products were prepared from slaughter house wastes. Atoxyl and carbarsone were synthesised from easily available raw materials. Various vegetable dyes were extracted from the country’s forest wealth.
I suspect vegetable dyes, derived from plants such as bamboo, sabai grass and munji grass, were used extensively to dye jungle green webbing which would explain why the colour has often faded quite markedly in the individual pieces.
Even through the jungle green dye, the distinctive ‘striped’ look of Indian webbing comes through, as does the slightly looser weave that gives Indian made webbing its softer feel:As with last week’s components, the brass fittings on these shoulder braces are blackened to aid the camouflage of the piece in the field:One of the two shoulder braces has a set of stamped numbers on the reverse:These are again typical of Indian produced webbing and are most likely inspectors’ marks. All items of jungle green Indian webbing are scarce and this pair are in typical condition. Some pieces do turn up in vibrant green, and these I suspect were produced with chemical dyes, whereas the majority are like these and I think it’s fair to say they were produced with vegetable based dye.