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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

SRD Jars - Who made them?


Gunner Bailey
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GB

The mark on the rum jar seal was a foul anchor and a number underneath it which indicated the packing depot.

Sotonmate

Hi Norman

I've checked my wicker jar and there is no sign of red wax. It's been well cleaned in the past if it was RN stock. Thanks for the info on the seals. A quality product by the sound of it!

John

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I would be more suspicious if there were signs of previous ownership this far down the line.

Mick

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I have a one made by

Govan Croft Potterys Limited Glasgow

Dan

Hi Dan

Govancroft started trading in 1913 and are still going. Most likely a WW1 jar though.

Cheers

GB

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I have a one made by

Govan Croft Potterys Limited Glasgow

Dan

Dan is there any chance of taking a pic of the mark for us to add to the collection.

Mick

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  • Admin

I had a quick squint at a few of Dads Rum jars the other day, a couple of Pearsons and one whichIi think said Price 21. I'm sure he has some more jars, I'll ask him today.

Regards, Michelle

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I had a quick squint at a few of Dads Rum jars the other day, a couple of Pearsons and one whichIi think said Price 21. I'm sure he has some more jars, I'll ask him today.

Regards, Michelle

Thanks Michelle. Pearsons' are by far the most numerous, but Price of Bristol are seemingly becoming more plentiful too. The number in the Price mark will not be a date. I suspect it is an inspectors number.

Gunner Bailey

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few more thoughts from the largely non-military side of the stoneware jar world. For any manufacturer there was a fairly standard range of capacities and shapes, a customer, whether military or civilian, would specify anything to appear on the jar - either impressed or glazed - so military and non-military jars would be pretty much identical.

The probable date range for the jars is 1880s to 1950s. For the most part the use for beer and other drinks fell away in the Edwardian period, this was the era when "sparkling clear" filtered and pasturised beers came into fashion. Brewers and soft drink manufacturers wanted to show off their clear, pure drinks in glass bottles. The exceptions were for "beer at home" domestic deliveries where half, 1 or two gallon draught beer sizes were too large for glass & casks were too dirty and could leak, and ginger beer and cider which tended to be cloudy anyway. Ginger beer and cider use continued into the 1950s I guess, certainly for cider. Military use probably wouldn't have worried so much about nice clear drinks being displayed in clear bottles!

I have a 2 gallon jar with Gaymers on the side and metal tap at the bottom. This was clearly never meant to be enclosed in wicker and was designed for pubs where the was a low sale, say one or two of the jars being used a week. They were designed to stand on the bar as an advertisement for the drink. Certainly used in the 1950s and Gaymers sold them off to collectors in the late 1970s at £1 a jar. Could the Domestos jar mentioned above have been used in the same way, on the counter in an ironmongers or for janitorial use in commercial premises?

When I moved from Cambridgeshire to Stafford a few years ago, most of my collection of Cambs brewers jars went to a local museum so I haven't got many to look at. Memory suggests that Pearsons and Price were the two most common makers. Of the 3 I can lay my hands on at the moment, two have no makers mark whatsoever. The third is still enclosed in wicker with the shoulders exposed. On the front of the shoulder is the brewers name and address and the number 1996 in large characters. This is the breweries individual number for the jar for stock control. About 90 degrees round the shoulder from this is is the makers mark. Skey Tamworth in an oval with a 12 in the middle and a large 1 above it. The 12 is clearly something to do with the manufacturers and I don't know the significance. The 1 indicates that it is a 1 gallon jar and may have been put there at the brewers request. Could numbers or letters not associated with the makers mark indicate capacity or type of contents? Jars were used for a wide range of liquids and successive uses for ink, bleach, sulphuric acid, oil and beer wouldn't be very desirable! Where jars were used for a number of different contents either a number or letter code could indicate which a particular jar was used for. The alternative would be to use stripes or blobs of different coloured paint on the jar or wickerwork.

Where the jars were surrounded by wicker, brewers and other civilian users would have the wicker replaced when it was damaged. Would the military necessarily do that, particularly in wartime?

I think that there is information on these jars tucked away in histories of the producing companies, industrial history/archaeology studies and bottle collecting books, but it will take me a long time to sort anything out, so don't hold your breath.

Robert

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Hi Robert

Thanks for your post in this thread. The link between SRD jars and the regular drinks trade is one that I made by personal discovery (as have others probably) whilst researching the background of various SRD makers. I think many of the numbers linked to SRD makers marks are probably inspection or batch marks with Price of Bristol and SKEY being the most regular adders of numbers to their marks. Regarding the SKEY jar marked with a 1, I've not seen that before, so thanks for that information.

The encasement of SRD jars in wicker seems to be inconsistent and the only real information on this came from Norman (Seadog) stating that wicker was used for SRD's taken on board submarines. The wicker covered SRD I have may or may not have this sort of history. The most frequent mark on wicker baskets for SRD jars seem to be a red band, so maybe this did designate rum as the contents. You are right about them being used to supply various liquids from lime juice to disinfectant. I can only assume they were given a label that was attached to the wire handle of the jars. Regarding sulphuric acid, there are examples of glass SRD jars and I would think acid was the most likely contents. I'm not sure how stoneware would react to the acid.

Regarding your jars without makers markings; I would think these were most likely 'civilian' jars as all the marked SRD jars I have seen have had a makers mark. The WW2 jars also have a stamped date as standard. The Domestos jar mentioned has no makers mark on it, not has another jar I have seen recently that is elaborately marked for a Hereford brewery. As you say the military and non military jars seem to be identical except for the makers marks.

John

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a photo of my 1/2 gallon jar bought in December. It's from the Robinson Pottery of Leeds and is an unusual biscuit colour.

Gunner Bailey

post-8629-1230838723.jpg

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Hello all,

Found this item which may be of interest. Feb 2008.

post-7141-1230861387.jpg

"David Dickenson’s Real Deal will be filming at the Charterhouse auction in Sherborne on Friday 15th February, where you will be able to see the filming and have the opportunity to buy gallon jars full of old Navy rum.

“The Royal Navy issued the last tot to the fleet on 31st July 1970. Since then, this day has been known as Black Day in Royal Navy slang.” Commented David Baines. “Rarely do these demijohns appear on the open market. When they do, they always attract high levels of interest for several reasons. Firstly, they are often acquired by Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army messes for special and ceremonial occasions, and secondly, as it has been stored in wicker covered stoneware demijohns with wax seals, the vintage contents have retained the original strength of about 110 proof. Had it been stored in wooden barrels, there would have been some evaporation resulting in diluting the strength to a slight degree.”

The rum, estimated at £500-800 for each gallon lot, forms part of the specialist section of 200 lots of wine, port and sprits in the sale of silver, jewellery and antiques. Viewing for the sale is on Wednesday 13th 10-4 and Thursday 15th 10-7. Alternatively, you can just turn up on the day and see the David Dickenson Real Deal filming in action."

Regards

Tocemma

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ps forgot to add that the RN link to the wicker containers is not so cut and dried if the stencilling on the box is anything to go by.

Regards

TM

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The box is probably just to transport them to stores but seems a long way to go to store them. I would have had a punt if I had known about the sale.

Mick

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This is what it went for

'nine gallons of ex-forces rum totalled £5,200'

Mick

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Hello all,

Found this item which may be of interest. Feb 2008.

Tocemma

Great post - many thanks! How many more lurk in MOD stores I wonder? At that price people will be having a look for more. The red paint on the wicker looks to be consistent.

John

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Hello all,

Attached are some views of an SRD box for two jars. I picked this up on the Somme around 1980. I understand these were packed with sawdust or straw. Unfortunately the lid is missing, but I'm sure it would have been two equal sized pieces as per the base. Note the metal strip seal.

Regards

Tocemma

 

and another view

 

and a side view

 

Regards

Tocemma

Edited by tocemma
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2 small ones i have are marked Skey Tamworth and F Brayne and co London

matt

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Hello all,

Attached are some views of an SRD box for two jars. I picked this up on the Somme around 1980. I understand these were packed with sawdust or straw. Unfortunately the lid is missing, but I'm sure it would have been two equal sized pieces as per the base. Note the metal strip seal.

Regards

Tocemma

That's brilliant. I'd never seen such a box before. The marking is supurb. What an excelent find. Nice to see jars still with the original handles as well.

John

2 small ones i have are marked Skey Tamworth and F Brayne and co London

matt

Matt. By small do you mean 1/2 Gallon jars? Jars by Brayne are quite scarce so a nice pair!

John

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Ive got one the maker on the bottom reads, james pearson limited chesterfield, marked at neck with srd

Thanks for the info. The James Pearson SRD's are the rarer ones from Chesterfield, nice to see there are a few around.

John

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Thanks for the info. The James Pearson SRD's are the rarer ones from Chesterfield, nice to see there are a few around.

Thanks for the info, hope it helps Boggy

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Matt. By small do you mean 1/2 Gallon jars? Jars by Brayne are quite scarce so a nice pair!

John

yes, bought the pair at a car boot in france a few years ago, a frien (well he was till he...) found over 10 at the same fair, beat me by about 10 mins, all 1/2 gallon ones, i think it was 10 or maybe 20 Euros for the lot

matt

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Matt. By small do you mean 1/2 Gallon jars? Jars by Brayne are quite scarce so a nice pair!

John

yes, bought the pair at a car boot in france a few years ago, a frien (well he was till he...) found over 10 at the same fair, beat me by about 10 mins, all 1/2 gallon ones, i think it was 10 or maybe 20 Euros for the lot

matt

Matt

You and your friend must have picked up one of the best bargains for years. The 1/2 Gallon jars certainly sell for more than the 1 gallon jars at most French Military Fairs. I've never found a 1/2 Gallon jar at a street market yet.

John

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I picked up my 1/2 gallon one at Newark Antique Fair along with a Sniper shield at a very reasonable price off a very nice chap who is also a contributor to the forum.

Mick

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My wife bought me a rum jar for Christmas to be used as set dressing by my living history group.

Unfortunately she didn't notice that at sometime it had lost its base and had cement replacement, which had been moulded on so it could be sold. The jar has two inches of bundled chicken wire inside the jar for the cement to grip on to.

They are not that common here, but luckily she did not pay much for it, so I will get my local basket weaver to make me a wicker cover for it.

There is an oval makers mark which starts with a M**, and has Pot** underneath before it becomes unreadable. I am assuming it is Moira Pottery Co Ltd.

Here are a couple of pictures

Gareth

post-890-1231589942.jpg

post-890-1231589970.jpg

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