Original U.S. WWII 1942 dated Experimental Ethocel Plastic Canteen by American Insulator Co.

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent rare example of an experimental Ethocelulose Canteen which is dated 1942 and marked by the manufacturer on the bottom under U.S.. This is the maker mark for American Insulator Co, one of the rare makers. The maker marking is partially overstamped with I C, but the shape of the marking and location of the mold number are completely correct for an AICO canteen.

In an effort to manufacture a non-metallic a canteen during World War Two, the US government attempted to manufacture a plastic canteen using Dow Chemical's Ethyl Cellulose Plastic product, called Ethocel. The canteen was manufactured by several government suppliers, of which AICO was one. Canteens started to be manufactured the middle of 1942 and were discontinued by 1944.

The canteens were typically issued to Pacific Theater Forces. This was a common canteen to find on the USMC web belt or discarded along the route of the Marine advance. The problem with the canteens was that they tended to eventually develop heat stress cracks. They also made the water they contained taste like bitter plastic. In order to combat the horrible taste of the water, soldiers routinely mixed baking powder in with the water when filling the canteen. Later plastics would not have this problem, but this design was unfortunately ahead of its time.

AICO manufactured only 4,400 of these canteens. The canteen is made of a two part mold. Each part being attached at the cup ring. This canteen comes complete with chain, cap, and amazingly no stress cracks. Overall condition is very good, with some signs of having been used in the field, such as the powder on the inside of the canteen. The cork inside the cap is unfortunately missing, but easily replaced.

Ready to display!

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