Accurate histories of rosary types are very difficult to come by- there are few with general knowledge on this topic, as rosaries have only recently become collector items. Prior to modern times they were solely devotional objects, and these soldier's rosaries exemplify that. These were official issue rosaries during WWI. The story goes that so many were produced there were plenty remaining up until WWII. Made to be durable, they are constructed of "pull chain" designed metal balls. Nearly indestructible, they were carried by our soldiers to battle.
Because of their extreme durability, they make wonderful rosaries for daily use. I have seen similar versions coming from nun's estates. Perhaps they were given to an aunt or sister who was a nun by returning soldiers, or maybe some were intentionally made for convent use.
Currently, I have one that has an old field repair on The Sacred Bead. This one is very special, as it must have quite a story to tell. It needs to go to a WWI history buff or someone who appreciates the endurance and devotion that rosaries have had. They are not all shiny and new! Many of the antique rosaries on my website have had over a century of loving use and repairs. But, that is the only WWI rosary I have ever seen with a repair, testifying to their extreme durability.
Most of these rosaries are solid brass. A few have silver plating, these are said to be the ones reserved for the chaplains. Some are worn through the plating, again testifying to their endurance. With constant handling, the old patina on the brass is gently worn away and they begin to glow again. I never clean rosaries, leaving that to the new owner. Some like the original patina, others like a polished look. These are absolutely gorgeous when polished. Although I have seen some sellers claiming the silvered ones to be sterling, none are marked sterling and they were made after the laws went into affect that silver and gold must be marked. I doubt that there are any that are sterling, so beware of sellers claiming that one is solid silver. Testing silver only reveals the surface material so silver plate will test the same as solid silver unless a file mark is made through the plating- which of course, ruins the rosary.