Signal Corps Association Reenactors Division (SCARD)

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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 06/25/2002 10:49:17 CDT
Subject: Fuel Canteens and Cipher Disks

Message Detail:
Chuck-- in your posting/work order/inventory (in re Value of SCARD as clearing house) you asked about cork stoppers for fuel canteens and also mentioned cipher disks.
1. Max Zurko is "the expert" on canteens. He has seen or has several variants, but all have screw-cap (prob with leather washer/gasket). Good, secure seal was primary concern, to avoid leaking and damage to other kit. In 1864 order from England, CS specified same, in a description that sounds like they were copying the US. The "teat"-shaped spout ("tit"-shaped for CS) is characteristic. Max has one, however, with a second spout, evidently to act as air-intake when pouring from the other. I AM STILL TRYING TO LOCATE A CONFIRMED CS FOR PHOTO. Word of interest has gotten out over the Net and miner's specials and anything else of copper is now being put forward, sometimes specifically ID'd as sig corps. From Zurko's research, I am centering on a design that could hold some promise for CS, and it lacks strap holders. Would have required a sling or skeleton-strap design similar to the British water bottle of Victorian and 20thC days, if this makes sense.
2. Cipher disks: My impression is that US were heavy paper/"cardboard." Only CS known to me were brass. I know of no evidence to support wood, in any form or shape--no "hand" size/"desk model," or the like. The superficial resemblance of Merkle's brass version isn't bad copy, but not constructed like the originals (in two known variants, cf. W. Thomas Smith in "North-South Trader" of mid-late 1970s). About six copies were made for Bill Albaugh (from Smith's original) in mid '70s, and may pop up from time to time. They are heavier and do not conform to the original construction. (Details available for anyone interested.)
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