Original British Georgian Naval 1/2 PINT Pewter Tankard Rum Measure for Grog from H.M.S. SURPRISE c. 1796

Item Description

Original Item: One only. 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 is a very nice British made Half Pint Pewter Tankard, intended for use in the making of Grog. One side of the tankard bears the standard naval "Fouled Anchor" emblem, along with a proof mark at the top. The other side is marked HMS / SURPRISE. There is also a faded makers marking on the bottom interior, but it is unfortunately faded and unclear.

H.M.S. SURPRISE was a French Man-o-War launched in 1794, captured by the British in 1796 and renamed HMS SURPRISE. In 1799 she gained great praises for the recapture from the French of H.M.S. Hermione. The Surprise was sold out of service in 1802.

In nice matured condition this Tankard received from long time storage in a major private Naval Collection. It could use a bit of a cleaning, though it looks just great as is.

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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