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Thought I would write up a little artical about the WWII enameled canteens. This is what I've learned after collecting these and researching them over time. Hope you enjoy the history lesson.:D
CaptMax

These were only made in 1942 due to the government trying to conserve the aluminum for the war effort. They were made of a low grade steel and porcelain covered but were not produced for long before the military went back to the other metals.
The U.S. Army acquired about five million M-1942 enameled steel canteens from six manufacturers. Most of the supply is believed to have gone to the Marine Corps and Navy, possibly because the Army did not want them.

Among the contractors who produced these are:
Vollrath Corp. (VOLLRATH)
U.S. Stoneware Co. (U.S.S.Co.)
Bellaire Enameling Co. (B.E.Co.)
Republic Stamping and Enameling Co. (REP or R.E.P.Co.)
Fletcher Enameling Co. (F.E. Co.)
Strong Manufacturing Co. (S.M. Co.)
Geuder, Paeschke & Fray (apparently unmarked
)

As the manufacturer could not stamp their name into the botton of the canteens as they did the aluminum ones they instead were inked on the bottom of the canteen in white. There were both vertical and horizontal welded seams used in the design. Most are horizontal.

There were also enamel canteen cups which were made only in 1942 as well. (the total number 26,634.) Manufactured by Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F.&C) Fletcher Enameling Company (FE Co.); Republic Stamping and Enameling (RSE Co.) and M.A.&Co. These are considered rare and are difficult to find. Most of the enameled canteens just used the standard aluminum cups as there were not near enough of the enameled cups made for all of them.

Both the canteens and cups were discontinued after the first year due to soldiers complaining about how they would chip causing sharp edges on the cups and contaminate thier drinking water. Most all porcelain canteens and cups are black, although there are a few that have a purplish tint. There is also a very rare blue color as seen in this picture:

Here is a picture of a few of the markings used by the manufacturers:


As with all collectables price is dependent upon condition. It is hard to find any of these without damage as they were intended to be used in the field. In my own opinion I would say the black canteens alone generally run between $50-$125 depending upon maker and condition, purple or blue colored ones can be double that. The cups are so far and few that it is difficult to price them. If you did happen to have a enameled cup it would bring between $100-$300, and likely more if in a different color than black.
 

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Nice article. I have one of those made by U.S.S. and a matching cup by L.F.C. Co both made in 1942. The cup is the only one of that type I have ever seen. I also have a fairly rare tin plated steel canteen by GP&F and two tin plated cups one by Wire Metal Mfg Co and the other by Foley Mfg Co (I believe in Mpls, MN). The tin plated ones look a lot like the stainless steel ones but where the tin is worn the color is different. A test with a little cold gun blue will tell you it is not stainless steel.

I have been tracking the stainless steel canteens also and so far have examples from:

GP&F (1944)
Vollrath (1943,44,45)
S.M. Co 1943,44
Rutenber Electric Company 1943
Swanson Machine Jamestown NY (no date)
Swanson 1944
 

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I am glad someone appreciates the post. While researching these I was surprised there was so little information out there, I guess it is not a hot commodity like a belt fed gun. :eek:
CaptMax
 

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I am glad someone appreciates the post. While researching these I was surprised there was so little information out there, I guess it is not a hot commodity like a belt fed gun. :eek:
CaptMax
Some time ago I wrote up an article about canteens mostly for my own amusement I guess as it has never gone on line. If you are interested in canteens I could forward a copy to you. It may not be 100% accurate but as You say there is little information out there and most of it is taken from my own collection..
 

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I got two in my stash. One has a big dent in the front and the enamel is broken of. The other is in real nice shape.
 

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I am glad someone appreciates the post. While researching these I was surprised there was so little information out there, I guess it is not a hot commodity like a belt fed gun. :eek:
CaptMax

I'm always interested in the arcane, its the odd stuff that makes life interesting. Good post.
 

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Some time ago I wrote up an article about canteens mostly for my own amusement I guess as it has never gone on line. If you are interested in canteens I could forward a copy to you. It may not be 100% accurate but as You say there is little information out there and most of it is taken from my own collection..
Yes please forward it to me Armorer, or better yet post it here in this thread and it will be good for all of us.
CaptMax
Ps. Does anyone have an Ethocel canteen? That is next on my list.
 

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I'd always heard the big issue with these was that the porcelain that chipped off the inside was a bit dangerous. If a canteen was dropped, you drank sharp little bits of glass. Not sure if this is an urban legend, but it has seemed plausable to me. Nice article.
 

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Yes please forward it to me Armorer, or better yet post it here in this thread and it will be good for all of us.
CaptMax
Ps. Does anyone have an Ethocel canteen? That is next on my list.
I would be glad to post it but don't know how to do it. It is a "word' document and it seems this site has a problem with that. I have tried to attach word documents before and it does not work.

There is a picture of an Ethocel ( Ethyl Cellulose) canteen in the article but there is no makers name on it. I understand that soldiers considered themselves lucky not to be issued one as they had a strong chemical taste to them. At one time took a Vietnam war era collapsible canteen on a canoe trip thinking myself very smart to have found a small collapsable easy to carry canteen. The water in it was undrinkable due to the plastic taste that seemed to burn the throat.The standard one quart GI canteens were a different plastic.

I can send the article to you via file mail if I can get it to work I will need an email address.
 

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CaptMax. I have a friend in Mississippi with a regular WWII plastic canteen and an experimental WWII bladder canteen with the funky cover. Ill ask him if he wants to peddle them. J
 

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CaptMax. I have a friend in Mississippi with a regular WWII plastic canteen and an experimental WWII bladder canteen with the funky cover. Ill ask him if he wants to peddle them. J
Thanks frazer42, I appreciate it.
And Armorer, I will send you a PM with my email address. Thank-you too.
:thumbup:
CaptMax
 

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canteen

I have about 20 canteens in my collection,WW1 and 2 mostly,but I have never seen an enameled one,I've seen them on fleabay but it's not that cool of an item for what they want for them, not when all my stuff is just dress up for the half-track, maybe some day I come across one.
 

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CaptMax - just now saw this thread - never knew of the porcelain enamel canteens - thank you! It does seem the cups would chip easy - now I'll have to add another thing to the list to keep me eyes open for!!!
 

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I have about 20 canteens in my collection,WW1 and 2 mostly,but I have never seen an enameled one,I've seen them on fleabay but it's not that cool of an item for what they want for them, not when all my stuff is just dress up for the half-track, maybe some day I come across one.
Not all of them are that expensive, AmishBob sold me one at the creek for slightly more than what a normal canteen would cost. Nice to have friends like him and his sidekick ABCB.:D
CaptMax
 

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Not all of them are that expensive, AmishBob sold me one at the creek for slightly more than what a normal canteen would cost. Nice to have friends like him and his sidekick ABCB.:D
CaptMax
I wonder if AmishBob would have any left to sell.
I'm trying to piece together matching manufacturers of canteen, cup and meatcan (mess tin), or like metallic sets (aluminum, tin, stainless) for living history displays.
it's hard to build a collection off just Ebay as sellers are all over the board with prices and shipping charges.

I would love to find an Owens Illinois mess kit to match both a tin cup and 1919 ammo can. I missed one online by 5 minutes after the auction closed.

--Andrew
 

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unmarked ?

So Capt. Max, it is legitimate that an enamel coated canteen won't be marked on the bottom ? is it that the ink wore off ? or as you stated with GP&F they just didn't mark it.
has there been any danger of fakes out there (aka regular GI canteens coated in enamel paint) ? I usually look for the unique chain keeper bracket on enamel ones. It seems to be a round U bracket...not a flat stamped U
 
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