Original U.S. Indian Wars Era Rare M1872 “Meat Can” Mess Kit With (2) Spoons and US Marked M1874 Cup - 4 Items

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Grouping Available. This is a lovely little grouping full of some rather rare items! These items and those similar are vital to the survival of a soldier on the battlefield. Staying hydrated and properly fed will ensure your longevity in a fight.

In 1872, a board of officers recommended the adoption of a “meat can” for both infantry and cavalry units. The M1872 meat can was not a field mess item, but was intended to hold the uncooked meat ration to prevent grease from soaking into the material of the haversack and other equipment. The can itself is made of heavy tinned iron, 6 ½” x 5 ¼” and approximately 1 ½” wide. There is an intact handle on the left side which is not attached to the bottom and was constructed like this. The lid is a friction type that sits inside of the can. The handle is a collapsible type, much like the modern ammunition cans. Both side have the standard “US” inside of an oval. The condition shows its age but is still in very good condition. There is pitting and surface rust present, but nothing too damaging.

Prior to 1874, soldier’s cups came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all shared the same general characteristics, they were made of tinned iron with a looped handle over the seam in the back. The Infantry Equipment Board of 1874 recommended that the tinned iron cup was to be furnished by the Ordnance Department and issued the same as other stores. The cup was made of tinned iron with a rolled edge and a handle with rolled edges riveted into the rear seam. The distinctive feature of the cup over the earlier patterns is the U.S. embossed on the top of the handle, which is still partly visible on this one. This type of cup would continue to see use up to the beginning of WWI. This example appears to be an excavated type due to the level of degradation present. There is still some of the original finish left, but it is masked by heavy pitting and rust.

Prior to 1874, procurement of eating utensils was up to the individual soldier. On some occasions, utensils were purchased with “company funds” by the commander to his troops. On other rare occasions, like local volunteer units, utensils were supplied by homefront organizations. These spoons are unmarked and do appear to be late Indian Wars era to Spanish-American war era. They are in good condition with much of the original plating still present.

All (4) items come more than ready for further research and display.

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