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Tents on set

Project Briefs | December 1, 2014 | By:

British Commonwealth bell tents are recreated for TV mini-series.

Armbruster Manufacturing Co. produced tens of thousands of canvas tents in support of World War I. One hundred years later, the Springfield, Ill.-based company manufactures clearspans, tensile tents and other modern structures. But it retains the capability to reach back into company catalogs—dating to 1875—and recreate historical tents for films, television, museums and any event requiring historical accuracy.

This knowledge was put to use producing more than 16 World War I Commonwealth bell tents for the Australian Broadcasting Company mini-series “ANZAC Girls,” now available in the U.S. (online at The series highlights the sacrifices Australian nurses endured while caring for soldiers of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at the Gallipoli Campaign and the Western Front during World War I.

Armbruster reproduced the tents based on specifications provided from an original sample at the Australian War Memorial. Every detail was as authentic as possible: the tents were manufactured with 11-oz. natural cotton army duck, with all-natural cotton thread, cotton tape, natural cotton rope for door closures, period brass grommets, wall ties for ventilation, and a reinforcement patch at the top for the pole.

Based on the book “The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War, 1914-1918” as well as from diaries, letters, photographs and historical achievements, the six-episode mini-series began filming in Australia in July 2013 an aired on Australian TV in August 2014.

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