Original British EIC Pewter Half Pint Naval Rum Measure from East Indiaman HINDOSTAN - Dated 1801

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. We've all heard of Scurvy the terrible decease contracted through lack of Vitamin C. The decease was rampant in the BRITISH NAVY in the 18th Century. Even barrels of "fresh water" stored for a long ocean voyage developed the most awful scum from algae.

In 1740 the British Vice Admiral EDWARD VERNON who was overall commander of the West Indies Station ordered that every English seaman should receive a ration of RUM everyday. This amounted to a HALF PINT. When issued neat it led to problems of abuse with sailors saving rations to be consumed all at once leaving them insensible to their required tasks. It was resolved therefore that the HALF PINT Rum Ration should be mixed with TWO PINTS of fresh water creating what we now know as "GROG." It had been intended for Lime and Orange juice to be added but was very rarely available.

Thus started a tradition that stood in the Royal Navy for more than 200 years.

This came to us from a large British East India Company Collection that we purchased in England during 2018. It is a lovely naval pewter tankard, marked 1/ 2 PINT just by the handle, as well as IMPERIAL  / 1/2 PINT right next to that. Under these, it has the East India Company "Heart" Logo over the date 1801 engraved into its side. On the opposite side it is marked with the name of East Indiaman HINDOSTAN, and above this is a British proof mark. There have been three different East Indiaman ships named "HINDOSTAN", and this is most likely from the 2nd or possibly the 3rd. These rum measures could stay in service for decades after issue.

Even for the Grog nobody wanted to be an Able Seaman in Royal Navy in those just terrible times. The total daily ration being just TWO and ONE HALF PINTS of Grog per man, that's it 2 1/2 pints of liquid PER DAY regardless of heat and weather, that's what a British Sailor got!

Another great bit of Royal Naval history, ready to display!

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