During Sunday’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Alex Vasquez reminded the audience of several local residents and natives who had a significant role in the “Great War.”
Among them was Everett Warner, who was born in Vinton to a father who had lost an arm in the Civil War.
Warner spent the first few years of his life in Vinton. The family later moved to Washington, D.C. and Warner would eventually travel the world and spend much of his artistic career in Connecticut.
While his art involved a variety of mediums, it is Warner’s creativity in camouflaging U.S. and Allied ships in World War I and World War II that makes him most famous among historians.
In a 1919 article entitled “Fooling the Iron Fish,” published in Everybody’s Magazine, Warner explained his work, and why it mattered.
The most effective camouflage, he wrote, did not to seek to “hide” a ship, but to make it deceivingly visible.
“The purpose of this type of painting was primarily to deceive the submarine commander as to the actual course that a vessel was steering and so cause him either to miss his shot or to learn that he had taken up a wrong position from which to make it,” Warner wrote. “This deception was secured either by concealing the important structural features of the ship so thoroughly that it was difficult to make any estimate of her course whatever or by a skillfully designed pattern to give the impression of an apparent course considerably at variance with the true course. To attain either of these results it is obvious that the delicate colors employed in attempts at low visibility must be discarded in favor of strong contrast.”
Warner actually started painting camouflage designs before the French invented the word “camouflage” in 1917, based on a French verb that means “to disguise.”
He was not the only camouflage designer; there were several from many Allied countries, particularly Great Britain and France.
See Warner’s biography HERE.
See the entire text of “Fooling the Iron Fish” HERE.
Warner is among three Benton County natives featured on the Benton County Freedom Rock just west of the Shellsburg Legion Hall.
See more photos of the Benton Co. Freedom Rock HERE.
See the Freedom Rock Tour page HERE.
Learn more about the three faces of the Benton County Freedom Rock by clicking the links below:
See a video about Dazzle Camouflage below