Surrogates have been known for centuries. Usually they are substances or goods replacing more expensive or rarer originals. Their manufacturers often hid the fact that they were substitutes and not the real thing. Some even put consumers’ health at risk, particularly with food products. Industrialisation increased the number of goods and substances made, and with them the variety of by-products and waste and the surrogates made from them. A positive aspect of surrogates occasionally suggested was that some lower-priced goods were now available to the less wealthy classes. After war broke out in 1914, many international trading channels were no longer available, and materials were increasingly requisitioned by the military. Surrogates took on a hitherto unknown importance as a result.
Translation: Nick Somers