Military Rosaries : The Soldier’s Pullchain

25 May

This rosary kit was given to American soldiers during World War II.
Throughout history, members of the military have carried rosary beads to sites of conflict.
The Soldier's Pullchain Rosary

The Soldier’s Pullchain Rosary is highly valued by antique collectors. The first rosaries of this type were made in 1916 and were issued to military chaplains for distribution to members of the United States Armed Services during World War I. They were called Pullchain rosaries because the links resemble the pullchains used on lamps during that time period. The rosaries were thought to be strong enough to survive rough treatment on the battlefield.

World War II Soldier's Packet

During World War II, American soldiers were given khaki belt bags containing a prayer book and a rosary.

Men and women of the military carried small, one decade rosary rings in their pockets during times of war. Each Rosary Ring had a single decade of ten projections on which soldiers could pray Hail Marys. Although popular with military personnel, rosary rings originated in the 13th century and became very popular in the 16th century when those fearing religious persecution did not want to be seen with a full rosary.
Rosary Ring

The Rosary Ring shown below has the words of the Hail Mary on the front. The reverse shows that it was made as a reminder of the Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois.


To learn more about antique and unusual rosaries, crosses, crucifixes, and center medals, read The Rosary Collector’s Guide by Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner. This 152 page, hardcover reference book helps antique collectors and historians identify unique religious articles. The Rosary Collector’s Guide is available on, Barnes and, and the Catholic Faith Store Online.

Gloria and Helen Hoffner are often able to bring their rosary collection to show to school groups, church groups, and community organizations. If you would like to schedule a presentation or if you have questions about rosaries, contact the authors at


2 Responses to “Military Rosaries : The Soldier’s Pullchain”

  1. rosarycollector May 25, 2015 at 2:08 AM #

    Reblogged this on Rosary Collector and commented:

    As we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States, let us examine rosaries used by members of the military.


  2. Tawny Daughtry July 8, 2016 at 12:33 AM #

    Got a great copy of these military rosaries for my sons at


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