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Author Topic: A History of Tinned Food  (Read 47463 times)

Brad Beeching

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2013, 03:46:06 PM »

Also, to add a little more confusion... "P-38's" come in different sizes... the "P-38" that my grandpappy used in North Africa and Sicily in WWII was a little bigger than examples supplied in cases of "C" Rations issued in the early-mid 1970's. The two that I have in my backpack are pretty big, much bigger than even the 194? issue. In my humble opinion, I would not attribute the cutting pattern on the can fragment to a "P-38" or a knife, but rather to a can opener much like Chris has supplied. The tears in the can are much too regularly spaced and appear to be the same length of tear. The distance from the rim appears to be as consistant around the radius of the can as well. I do alot of backpacking and camping and to cut a can open that consistantly and uniformly with a knife is (for me), impossible. I think I would be comfortable in saying that I do not believe anyone else could either.
Brad

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2013, 07:56:41 PM »

The voice of experience.  Good observation Brad. 
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Al Leonard

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2013, 07:49:42 PM »

There is a memo from Gallagher dated 2 January, 1941 reporting on the activities of the co-operative store during 1939.  Two interesting facts stated by Gallagher are that among the items store had in stock were 149 tins of beef, and that the goods for the store were purchased in Australia. I’ve attached screen shots of relevant portions of the memo. These two facts suggest to me that, the can found at the Seven Site might not have been a ‘Coast Guard throwaway’, but rather a “Co-op store Throwaway’ (see also this post for more about stocking the co-op store).

Has anyone yet found a label that fits the can found at the Seven Site? Do we know of any products that were packed in cans of this dimension? Was this a ‘standard’ can size in Australia or the U.S.?

Finally, I note that several still-familiar U.S. soap brands were stocked in the store (see attached). I wonder if these were made in the U.S.A., or made in Australia by local subsidiaries.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 09:25:19 PM by Al Leonard »
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Al Leonard

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2013, 09:52:50 PM »

I don't see an appropriate thread to make this post (moderator please move to a better one), but the co-op store stocks included ten pairs of shoes (see attachment). I recall discussions about whether colonists wore shoes, and this suggests they did wear shoes of some sort.  But whether in 1939 (or later) the co-op store shoes had Cat's Paw soles, I dunno. I think I'd tend to believe it more likely to be something left behind by a US serviceman, Coast Guard or Navy, or possibly a British colonial official, if there is reason to think the Cat's Paw brand had international outlets for its products.

I wonder if more co-op store inventory lists are among the items Tighar collected in its last visit to the Kiribati National Archives; it would be interesting to see what sort of items were stocked (and I'm not talking only about shoes) especially when US ships and planes got involved in bringing supplies to Niku.
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Al Leonard

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2013, 06:35:16 AM »

One more piece of information: a November 8, 1942 diary entry indicates that the colonists were given food in exchange for their labor. Each working head of household received a tin of meat and a tin of salmon or sardines weekly (see attached). That 5 inch by 2 inch can at the Seven Site sounds like a family-sized tin to me.

So, all in all, it seems likely to me that the tin was a colonist discard and reinforces the notion that they were the source of other items found there.

-Al
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2013, 11:01:49 AM »

I don't see an appropriate thread to make this post (moderator please move to a better one), but the co-op store stocks included ten pairs of shoes (see attachment). I recall discussions about whether colonists wore shoes, and this suggests they did wear shoes of some sort.

We have plenty of photos documenting that the colonists did not generally wear shoes.  However, for some activities, i.e. walking on the reef, shoes would be a necessity.

 
But whether in 1939 (or later) the co-op store shoes had Cat's Paw soles, I dunno. I think I'd tend to believe it more likely to be something left behind by a US serviceman, Coast Guard or Navy, or possibly a British colonial official, if there is reason to think the Cat's Paw brand had international outlets for its products.

Cat's Paw made replacement heels. It doesn't seem likely that presumably new shoes in the Co-Op Store would have replacement heels.  I agree that the shoe parts found at Aukeraime (opposite side of the island from the Seven Site) are probably U.S serviceman-related.

I wonder if more co-op store inventory lists are among the items Tighar collected in its last visit to the Kiribati National Archives; it would be interesting to see what sort of items were stocked (and I'm not talking only about shoes) especially when US ships and planes got involved in bringing supplies to Niku.

I don't recall seeing any further inventory lists.  The US ships and planes that brought supplies to Niku serviced the Loran station, not the British colonial village.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2013, 11:20:31 AM »

One more piece of information: a November 8, 1942 diary entry indicates that the colonists were given food in exchange for their labor. Each working head of household received a tin of meat and a tin of salmon or sardines weekly (see attached). That 5 inch by 2 inch can at the Seven Site sounds like a family-sized tin to me.

So, all in all, it seems likely to me that the tin was a colonist discard and reinforces the notion that they were the source of other items found there.

Your logic escapes me.  The fact that the laborers were given a tin of meat each week makes the tins "family-sized" and somehow makes the single can found at the Seven Site one of those tins.  Although the colony supplies are known to have come from Australia, the can at the Seven Site somehow reinforces the notion (whose notion?) that a bunch of 1930s-vintage American objects were left there by colonists. 
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Al Leonard

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2013, 06:35:34 PM »

I wonder if more co-op store inventory lists are among the items Tighar collected in its last visit to the Kiribati National Archives; it would be interesting to see what sort of items were stocked (and I'm not talking only about shoes) especially when US ships and planes got involved in bringing supplies to Niku.

I don't recall seeing any further inventory lists.  The US ships and planes that brought supplies to Niku serviced the Loran station, not the British colonial village.

Ric, that isn’t correct. Perhaps you haven’t yet read the post on the Americans at Niku, pre- Loran thread which shows that according to the diary of island activities, U.S. PBYs were bringing supplies to the co-op store starting in 1942, well before the Loran station was built in the summer of ’44. At least once the USS Swan also unloaded supplies at Gardner.

That post provides several mentions in the Diary of U.S. PBYs landings at Gardner, including two that provided food:

5 October, 1942 : "an American plane arrived and dropped 1 mail bag for Gardner"
22 October, 1942 : "3 American aeroplane arrive here 2 at 9:30, + 1 at 10:00 am"
4 February, 1943 : "USA plane arrived and dropped 4 cases of meat for the co-op store"
7 February, 1943 : "A USS plane arrived at about 8 a.m. and dropped the food for Co-op store and ration."

Also, on 23 November 1942, the USS Swan arrived, bringing colonial officials and cargo for the co-op store.
 
Perhaps diaries for other Phoenix or Gilbert/Ellis colonies would shed more light on what kind of canned foods and other goods were available through co-op stores.
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Al Leonard

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2013, 10:40:38 PM »

One more piece of information: a November 8, 1942 diary entry indicates that the colonists were given food in exchange for their labor. Each working head of household received a tin of meat and a tin of salmon or sardines weekly (see attached). That 5 inch by 2 inch can at the Seven Site sounds like a family-sized tin to me.

So, all in all, it seems likely to me that the tin was a colonist discard and reinforces the notion that they were the source of other items found there.

Your logic escapes me.  The fact that the laborers were given a tin of meat each week makes the tins "family-sized" and somehow makes the single can found at the Seven Site one of those tins.  Although the colony supplies are known to have come from Australia, the can at the Seven Site somehow reinforces the notion (whose notion?) that a bunch of 1930s-vintage American objects were left there by colonists.

Ric,

The important point in the last few posts I’ve made about the diary entries is that they tell us that the colonists had canned meat, and therefore that the notion that the can in question is a colonist discard, is worth serious consideration.

I feel that you are making a straw man argument in your response to my post. Since I feel you've mischaracterized what I've said, I'd like to clarify what I actually think.

-I called the can ‘family sized’ based on its size, not because the colonists received a can of meat per week. I was pointing out that the dimensions of the can indicate that it held more that a single serving. If you look at the diary entry discussing the weekly rations, you’ll see they mention ‘head of family’ and that additional ration items were provided to pregnant women. There seems to be an idea here in the diary that the food rations were intended for family consumption, whether or not that was how the colonists actually used them.

- I didn’t say that the size of the can ‘makes’ it a colonist discard. The existence of colonist work parties at the Seven Site, the reasonable expectation that they ate food while working there, the fact that the colonists had canned meat, all in all lead me to conclude that the best explanation is that the can is a colonist discard rather than a Coast Guard or castaway artifact. If you think a stronger case can be made for these two other alternatives, by all means, please do so. Keeping and open mind, objectively considering the evidence, being willing to change one's mind rather than clinging to a fixed notion, is what it's all about, isn't it?

-I didn’t say anything about “1930s- vintage American objects”, so I don’t know how you interpret my post as saying so. I did say that the can, which I think is best explained as a colonist artifact, reinforces the notion that some other items found at the Seven Site were of colonist origin. The items I was thinking of specifically were those Seven Site bird bones, which have been discussed on this forum and which Tom King discussed in a January post on his blog. Tom King suggests that some birds were butchered by colonist work parties and taken home to the village, while others were butchered and eaten at the Seven Site -- but by the castaway, rather than by the colonists. It seems to me that the colonists might have eaten a few birds while working at the Seven Site, and since I think the can was a discard from a colonist meal, the can supports the notion that the bird bones are colonist meal discards too, rather than castaway meal discards.

So those are my thoughts on the colonists as the possible source of the Seven Site can. Forum readers will of course come to their own conclusions regarding the can.

BTW Ric, I am still not clear on whether we know of any cans that match the dimensions of the Sven Site can. At reply # 3 on this thread you said  "The size and proportions of the can are quite unique and match the size and proportions of at least one brand of roast mutton that was produced in New Zealand";  My impression is that the St. George Mutton label shown as an attachment to that post is too small to fit the Seven Site Can. Do you know of a can or label that does actually matches the Seven Site can?


« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 11:55:07 PM by Al Leonard »
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Gloria Walker Burger

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #54 on: June 11, 2013, 04:22:29 PM »

One of the things AE may have had on her final flight was an ice pick. She had one on previous flights to punch a hole in her tin of tomato juice to add a straw for easy drinking. The ridges in the top of the 7 sight can look like they could have been caused by repeated hole punches by an ice pick. The ridges are rounded, not flat.

In the Purdue Archives, in Amelia Earhart's Scrapbook 14, in one of the newspaper articles (on 3-13-35) when interviewing AE it says, "The Earhart way of drinking tomato juice in the air is this: 'With an ice-pick you make a hole in the top." Bop, her hand went down. "You fit a straw into the hole and there you are. You didn't spill a drop.' "
Gloria
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Paul Chattey

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Re: A History of Tinned Food
« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2013, 01:48:53 PM »

The P38 openers I'm familiar with cut the metal toward the inside of the can while the more common civilian can openers and (in my experience) knives cut the can's edges up and toward the outside.  The photos appear (to me) to show the metal edges pointing inward and indicate a P38 type.  Thoughts?
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