I stumbled across these images and information and found it so interesting, I had to share.
An essential piece of equipment for any soldier, there were many types and designs of canteens used by both armies. A classic design of the Federal forces after 1861 was the metal “bullseye” type (Model 1858) where rings were pressed into both sides of the canteen. Canteens made of wood or leather were also used, and they could be personalized by carving into the wood or painting the cloth cover with their owner’s name and company number (Field and Smith 2005).
Companies that produced large quantities of canteens were located primarily in the North, so Confederate soldiers had to rely on wooden canteens, crude blacksmith products, or whatever could be found on the battlefield. Despite having greater access to canteens, the North still had difficulty providing the necessary quantity, and found they had an increase in problems, such as leaking, due to the number of different manufacturers used (Jones 2007).
The canteen would have been issued with a dyed wool or cotton cover, some with a leather sling. The cover, in particular wool, would not only provide padding to prevent a leak if dropped and to muffle sound, but also would help cool the canteen through evaporation. The covers were produced through a mixture of machine and hand sewing, each modified by the soldier to fit. Often the canteen covers would be removed and used for patching uniforms.
Figural Whiskey Canteen, “H.A. GRAEF’S SON / N.Y. / CANTEEN”, (Denzin GRA-21), New York, ca. 1865 – 1880, deep yellowish olive amber figural canteen, 6 5/8”h, “1200” embossed on smooth base, tooled mouth, applied double handles, period cloth carrying cord. Perfect condition, and in a somewhat different shade of color than normally seen.
A golden canteen made during the Chinese Ming Dynasty, dated 15th century. – Gold was long held to be a symbol of wealth and prestige in China, and during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the imperial court issued guidelines to partially restrict its use. In theory, only society’s most privileged were allowed to own large amounts of gold vessels and tableware. This canteen, decorated with a five-clawed dragon—a symbol of the emperor—was probably made for members of the ruling house. Based on style, this canteen dates to the fifteenth century. Its technique is repousse (a method of decorating a surface by hammering the reverse of the object). One of the round panels of the canteen’s belly was left open so that most of the vessel could be decorated from the inside. To close the canteen, a separately decorated sheet of gold was soldered in place. – Freer and Sackler Galleries, Washington D.C.
Gar Louisville Canteen – A ca 1895 canteen, tin with original polychrome painted stenciled decoration/inscription We Drank From The Same Canteen arched above a U.S. shield breasted spread winged eagle with E Pluribus Unum ribbon banner in beak, arrows & laurel branches in talons and straight-line inscription Louisville / 1861-1895 at bottom, with two small rings at sides for hanging, 5″ 0 diameter.
18th Century Canteen “IW” carved on both sides. Carried by Isaac Whitehead during the Revolutionary War. Wood, leather. D 19.7, W 10.8, L (strap) 143.5 cm
Leather covered glass canteen. Standard issue for the Danish armed forces, 1856 to about 1930. This is the 1873 version, made by Holmegaard Glasværk
Antique 1912-1914 Kingdom Bulgaria handmade wooden flask. The obverse an image the young prince Boris (His Majesty King Boris III), on the reverse side is the Coat of arms of the Principality of Bulgaria and an inscription dedication- “Of the reserve captain Lazarov from St. P. Kiossev” 1912-1913. The wooden flask bottle has original stopper with hanged leather strap, long leather strap and and very rich decoration. Handmade, hand engraved (pokerwork) and hand painted and coloured.
Canteen, 1863 – This round wooden barrel canteen is made of cedar and is held together by two tin straps. On one side is an inscription that reads “W. C. FLETCHER 4TH KY.” A house is carved on the other side of the canteen. Wood was used for the canteen because metal supplies were low in the South by 1862. William C. Fletcher joined the Confederate Army in 1861. He was about 18 years old. He died on May 7, 1865, most likely while fighting at the battle of Dallas, in Georgia.
“33rd National 1899 Encampment / Phila. Pa.” Label Under Glass Flask, America, 1899. Colorless, canteen form, threaded ground mouth with original metal closure. Colorful graphics, “Grand Army Of The Republic / 1861 * Veteran * 1866” (within star), wreath and two American flags below an eagle perched above two cannon barrels and a third flag), “Fred C. Wagner / S.W. Cor.Broad and Sus- / quehanna Av., Phila.” (in lower left). “U.S.” debossed on reverse, perfect and rare!.
Faience parlante, (French: “talking faience”), in French pottery, popular utilitarian 18th-century earthenware, principally plates, jugs, and bowls, that had inscriptions as part of its decoration. The city of Nevers was the outstanding centre for the production of faience parlante. The range of inscriptions included owners’ names, coats of arms, bacchic or facetious references, Masonic and trade emblems, quotations from songs and proverbs, urban views, allegorical designs, and commemorative themes.