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Old 09-10-2015, 02:09 PM   #4
Nick Komiya
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Too many fingers in the Pie

In late October of 1894, troops started to land in China, and Commander Kuroki of the 6th Division, half of whose troops were also now in China, made an official request on 27th October for metal canteens to be developed with suitably non-toxic rust-proofing inside for later resupply to the troops in China.
In addition to this, the First Reserve Division, the home base unit for the 1st division, which kicked off the discussions on the need for adapting canteens to the cold climate, had done further homework by testing some prototype metal canteens. A model tested by the replacement battalion of the third infantry regiment was submitted as promising at the end of 1894. And on 9th January, 1895 the army made the decision to officially launch development of a new canteen design.



Further Drawbacks of the Glass Canteen Design

In 1895, the 6th Regiment also sent in a large report on a wider range of equipment shortcomings that required improvement. This report addressed some other problems experienced with the glass canteens. Besides the exploding glass when frozen, they also complained about the outer leather shell, which was split into an upper section and a lower section. The lower section was formed like a leather cup, which was actually meant to function as a drinking cup. The glass bottle rested inside this cup structure and the top leather section went around the neck of the bottle like a pullover. The shoulder strap was attached to the bottom leather shell and went through loops on both sides of the top shell. When filling the canteen with water, one needed to submerge the glass bottle into the river, but before this was done, one was expected to remove the leather fittings not to damage them. This was too much fiddling to expect from soldiers in the field, who would just dunk the whole leather-clad canteen in water. And once this water-soaked leather shell got exposed to the heat of the sun, it shrank and hardened around the canteen, no longer possible to remove. In winter, the soaked leather shell only helped to freeze and explode the canteens quicker. Their idea to overcome this problem was to make the bottom shell as a wicker basket. This idea was to allow the dunking of the whole canteen in water, yet provide good drainage that would allow quick drying. This also had the benefit that the wicker basket remained reusable even when the glass bottle broke and needed to be replaced. See the diagram below. Furthermore the idea of using the bottom shell as a drinking cup also was received badly by the troops. It was cumbersome to remove and also gave off a disgusting smell in hot climates, so no one actually used this shell to drink from. One unit allowed soldiers to use a wooden cup, which turned out to be quite a popular solution and the report recommends cups made from sandal wood with a cloth wrapping that got hardened with a lacquered finish.
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