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Canteens and Such

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  • lenthecooper
    Hi Sioux, Sorry, I didn t mean to start a flame war there. I dashed off a quick reply just after coming back from a successful coopering demo at Fort Willow
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2009
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      Hi Sioux,

      Sorry, I didn't mean to start a flame war there. I dashed off a quick reply just after coming back from a successful coopering demo at Fort Willow and reacted gruffly to the 'real cooper.' Upon reflection I realize you meant full-time cooper, so I apologize for any offence I may have caused you.

      The canteen in your example looks to be a variation of the one described in Sketchbook 76. I made these at first twenty years ago but after examining a number of other examples realized that reference book was not accurate.

      Since that time I've examined and documented over twenty real examples dating from 1776 (though I think this is a mis-dated item) to 1855 and used in the NW Rebellion of 1885. The examples I've seen are in private collections (such as Peter Twist's 1854, and Don Trioni's 1776), National Army Museum, Green Howards Regimental Museum, York Castle Museum, Musee d' Armee Brussels, Fort Ticonderoga, West Point Museum, Glenbow Museum, and Canadian War Museum. I've also collected a number of on-line examples, though I tend to be a bit skeptical about anything I can't hold in my hands or see with my own eyes.

      My research includes period documentation from Revolutionary War, Napoleonic War, Admiralty, Board of Ordnance, Canadian Militia and personal diaries and regimental histories.

      Now looking at all of the above you might think I'd be a bit defensive about one of the products I make, but in fact I'm not for I feel that there is enough room in the industry to make canteens and other staved containers for quite a while without glutting the market.

      The canteen you've had made, other than the strap holders, is fine for British Rev War re-enactors in the New York City area from 1781 down through the southern states and into the caribbean. By the 1790s(perhaps 93, or 95 depending on source) it should be 20 staves, one piece head, 4" wide by 7" in diameter until the last ones were made (or accepted by the Board of Ordnance)in 1855.

      Wooden canteens of this type but of various sizes, hoop type and number of staves have been used by American militia since the French and Indian War and perhaps into 1812, though I haven't seen any solid documentation on them after the end of the Rev War. Trioni has a cheesebox canteen from NJ dated 1777 and 1814 but I find this suspect as the carving appears to be the same for both dates.

      Should you need more information please ask or have your cooper call me (is he guy in Wellington?) I went to Rose House near Perth on Sunday for a Rev War event and someone was mentioning him.


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