Friday, 10 June 2011

Water Bottles, Kettles & Packs.

Ross over at Wood Trekker http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/ has posed some questions regarding items in my post "Where Do I Start ?", & I decided that it was easier for me to answere those questions with a post.

Early to mid 18th century water bottles:

The leather costrel was produced from pre 17th century through to the early 18th century & could have been still in use up to at least the mid 18th century if looked after.

 The wooden water bottles were in use from the late 18th century. Later in the American civil war I believe these were still being made though in a slightly different style, & examples are often painted.

On the left are two water bottles known as Kidney canteens, & on the far right is a "D" canteen. Both these types have been found to have been in use during the French & Indian War, & the American Revolution.

To date this is the only small kettle that I have been able to document for the 17th and 18th century. This is a copy of a brass trade kettle, & it measures 7-1/2 x 4-1/2 high.

Although this copper kettle is often recommended for 18th century reenacting & living history, I have found no evidence that it was available before the 19th century. This is representative of the type sold by the Hudson Bay Company. Larger versions were available in the 18th century, but nothing small enough to be carried in a pack has been found so far.

The knapsack has been in use as a civilian & militia item since at least the 17th century & through the 18th century. The style is fairly basic, but the materials they are made from varies, leading me to believe that these were also home made.

The haversack has been subject to considerable controversy with many believing that this was soley a military item. I have researched this extensively, & can tell you that the haversack came in a variety of sizes & has been available to, & used by, civilians from the 17th century through the 18th century.

The snapsack is well documented as being in use during the 17th century through the 18th century. This pack has no one specific size or manufacture as far as I am able to tell from period art works, leading me to believe that this item was also home made as well as being available from traders.

The market wallet or market bag is also well documented for the 17th & 18th centuries & appears to have been used by both civilians & military. This can be a second bag like the haversack, or it can be used as a main pack, depending on your needs.

The blanket roll can also serve as a pack carried using a tumpline. Again the use of this item depends on individual needs.


Murphyfish said...

Hi Keith,
Ever since reading an earlier post of yours (over 12 months ago) I've used a knapsack when on the trials as well as a modern water hydration bladder on my back. The bladder allows me to hold 3 litres of fliud (not cider though :o) ) whilst on the longer trials whilst I find the knapsack far more easier to use than a modern rucksack as it gives me much better access to items without the need to stop and unload a pack from my back. Together they've proved an excellent combination of old and new.

Ross Gilmore said...

That is some great information. I couldn't have asked for more. Thank you.

Le Loup said...

John, sounds like you have it well worked out. The bladder sounds like a good idea.

Ross, glad it helped, my pleasure.

Jenny said...


Have you come across a reason yet for the transition from leather costrels to wood canteens? I'm thinking that we have more woods than cows - but do you know for certain?

Le Loup said...

No Jenny, I have no idea why the change. But it was slow. Many different types of water bottles existed at the same time, pottery, leather & wood, plus of course glass wine bottles were reused for water & cooking oil. I have found nothing between the leather water bottles & the common wooden canteens.

Ross Baker said...

Keith, did trade kettles also come in copper?

Keith H. Burgess said...

There are plenty of claims of copper trade kettles Ross, but I have yet to sight an antique example or even primary documentation. So the answer is yes probably, but I would like to see some documentation.