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PRINCESS Mary christmas gift

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Medaler
3 minutes ago, GWF1967 said:

New head on Peter's  tin as well?

 

Thanks for the contribution.

 

If the whole design for a tin lid was "carried" on one die, it would have to be a different head too.

 

Those differences between Peter's and #59 took me ages to spot, they are so subtle. I just hope my interpretation stands up to scrutiny. It didn't help that #59 is much more worn. In order to do the comparisons I am downloading the pictures and blowing them up, so its all fairly intensive!

 

Regards,

Mike

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GWF1967
4 minutes ago, Medaler said:

 

Hiya Johnboy,

 

As usual you are on the money with all these observations, or at least so far as raising them. All I am actually doing at this end is casting my eye over them and playing "spot the difference". As you should be able to tell from how this has evolved so far, it took me while to "get my eye in", and I could still so easily be missing stuff. Regarding the history of these I actually know very little, and your memory of their being 4 firms involved is the first time I have come across a figure for that.

 

It does open up a whole load of questions. One of the most obvious ones to me being, if these were being made on a press, surely they would stamp more than one out at once? If that is a valid point, then how many would they stamp at one "drop"? Each firm may therefore have had several sets of dies in use at any one given time. That dicovery (thanks to Peter) of what looks like a version 8 made me start making all sorts of theories. It is so close to #59 that I suspect it might be the work of the same pattern maker. All theory and conjecture - not a shred of evidence!

 

The question you raise about variations through mis-alignment is a good point. I would have tried to rule those out, but I don't think I have seen any yet. As you say, it's all subtle variations in the die rather than alignment issues. That leads me to believe that we might at least have evidence that the whole design was carried on one die, rather than different bits of the design being carried on a set of dies.

 

Do know any of this for sure? - nope, just guessing!!

 

Regards,

Mike

 

 

Repeat stampings would be more likely leat to miss-stamps/slip.

 My guess would be a single stamping for all details on each tin, made by a number of dies, made by a number of die makers.  

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GWF1967
2 minutes ago, Medaler said:

 

Thanks for the contribution.

 

If the whole design for a tin lid was "carried" on one die, it would have to be a different head. 

 

Regards,

Mike

Same thought here. 

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Medaler
1 minute ago, GWF1967 said:

Repeat stampings would be more likely leat to miss-stamps/slip.

 My guess would be a single stamping for all details on each tin, made by a number of dies, made by a number of die makers.  

 

I think that is 3 of us singing from the same hymn sheet on this one. It's is really good to know that my logic is making sense - I have to be watched because it frequently doesn't !!! I would stress that my knowledge of early 20th century tin manufacture is pretty much zero.

 

As an aside, I found another 19 leaf, 7 lattice for sale on an auction site earlier. It was identical to the pic of that type that I have already posted.

 

Regards,

Mike

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johnboy

Not found the ref to 4 firms yet but this says that the early tins were brass and the later ones were not.

 

http://www.kinnethmont.co.uk/1914-1918_files/xmas-box-1914.htm

 

an embossed brass box, based on a design by Messrs Adshead and Ramsey

 

Perhaps the designers were also manufacturers?

Edited by johnboy

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Medaler
3 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Not found the ref to 4 firms yet but this says that the early tins were brass and the later ones were not.

 

http://www.kinnethmont.co.uk/1914-1918_files/xmas-box-1914.htm

 

Hiya,

 

That statement they make................

 

" Orders for brass strip were placed with the USA, who were not yet involved in the war, and a large consignment was lost with the ship 'Lusitania'. As so much brass was being consumed in the production of weapons and munitions, the quality of the boxes which were manufactured late on was poor, being of a plated inferior alloy, when compared with the earlier pure brass examples. "

 

It's a bit misleading. "Pure Brass" is an alloy anyway (Copper, zinc and tin if I remember rightly). There are different grades of brass dependent upon the mixture. I seem to remember that one was called "Admiralty Brass".

 

An interesting but completely irrelevant aside is that I think it was 1916 when they introduced "economy" all brass cap badges. I guess they must have been even more strapped for white metal than they were for brass!

 

Regards,

Mike

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chaz

likewise I dont have any yet. so what am I doing here!!???

having worked in a press shop, my two pennneth...I would guess a company given the chance to bid for the contract, they would look at mass production.

I would guess in EVEN multiples, as opposed to odd.

a possible one to count maximum out would be 3 x 3 =9 at a go, the rest wouldnt go much bigger as thinking about it, the lids would probably be made en-masse wheras the body , probably singly as you would have to stamp out and bend at fold lines, so only practical for single production.

my reasoning being , in todays world not many would opt for multiple pressings as the press would be big, you have to look at other work .

Quality control would probably demand single production of boxes.

then factor in the size of sheets of 'expensive' (and still is) brass.

Waste costs , especially against munitions production...

Im just thinking of sheet size available, cartridge production.

 

Ill give up now, I have no idea!!

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Medaler

Your insight and theories are most welcome Chaz!

 

My latest mad idea  is the one telling me that some variations might be much less frequently encountered than others. If I gathered a random sample and categorised them (by seeing what was on open auction on a "well known auction site" every 10 days), I might be able to have a stab at estimating how many of each variation were actually made. I don't think I have the stamina for that mind!

 

So far we have (I think) 8 variations (though type 8 is so close to type 7 that I am pondering calling it 7A). What we really need is for more members to add good quality pictures of their tins if they even suspect that they have a version not already defined. At the moment we are getting "new" ones virtually every day and this thread is perhaps getting a bit "clunky" when it comes to somebody trying to figure out what they have. I need to give it more thought about how I would organise it, but I am considering putting something together that will make identification quicker and easier for anyone who wants to have a go.

 

I will give it a few days, and still keep evaluating every picture that anyone wants to attach here. I am however thinking that it may best be handled on either another thread or perhaps even a blog. I will need to ask everyone's permission to use their pictures as examples too, before I even think about shunting stuff around. I also need to have a clearer idea on the differences than I have now. Everything I have tried so far has either been based on that original table of differences or has come from observations I have made along the way. None of it is set out clearly in my own mind yet.

 

I will give it all a bit more thought - but please keep posting your pictures, your thoughts, AND any criticisms about my interpretations.

 

Regards,

Mike

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johnboy

Mike

How many tins have you looked at including the posted pics?

How many variations have you found in this sample?

 

What would be a viable number of tins to look at bearing in mind aprox 2.6m were produced?

 

I am surprised that so far, there is only one tin with a personal inscription. Men put their names and/or numbers on all sorts of items so I would have expected they would have done so on tins which might have contained letters or pics as well as their fags!

 

I have seen in some service records with a list of personal effects sent back to the families of men who had died and as far as I remember, not seen the tin mentioned. 

 

Edited by johnboy

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tullybrone
1 hour ago, johnboy said:

 

 

I am surprised that so far, there is only one tin with a personal inscription. Men put their names and/or numbers on all sorts of items so I would have expected they would have done so on tins which might have contained letters or pics as well as their fags!

 

 

 

 

Hi,

 

I'm sure many Princess Mary gift boxes - "engraved" or otherwise - kept by the recipient for personal 

use didn't survive the rigours of active service for a variety of reasons.

 

I'm sure many recipients "engraved" their personal details on the tins themselves - as proof of ownership on active service - IMHO likely on the bottom of the tin rather than on the "stamped lid".

 

I'm equally confident that a significant percentage of recipients immediately despatched their tin home to their nearest and dearest - either for safekeeping or as a gift to a wife, mother, child or sweetheart.

 

Again IMHO I think that gift boxes despatched to family members resident outside UK are more likely to have been engraved professionally as per my family example - especially if the recipient was UK based at the time of the issue of the gift.

 

I'm sure boxes sent to family were treasured objects - especially for families of deceased personnel

- and subject to regular polishing over many years leading to the deterioration/variations in quality of the stamped lid.

 

Steve Y

 

 

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Medaler
2 hours ago, johnboy said:

Mike

How many tins have you looked at including the posted pics?

How many variations have you found in this sample?

 

What would be a viable number of tins to look at bearing in mind aprox 2.6m were produced?

 

I am surprised that so far, there is only one tin with a personal inscription. Men put their names and/or numbers on all sorts of items so I would have expected they would have done so on tins which might have contained letters or pics as well as their fags!

 

I have seen in some service records with a list of personal effects sent back to the families of men who had died and as far as I remember, not seen the tin mentioned. 

 

 

Somewhere I have the formula for calculating the accuracy of "random activity sampling" - part of the legacy of my being a "time and motion man" for 20 years! That should do the trick. I have not even begun to collate all that info yet, too busy identifying the "types" at the moment! At this stage I am wondering how many more variations we will find and if there is any credibility in that having previously defined as 7. We will just have to see what turns up on here, and I am keeping an eye on Ebay too.

 

16 minutes ago, tullybrone said:

 

Hi,

 

I'm sure many Princess Mary gift boxes - "engraved" or otherwise - kept by the recipient for personal 

use didn't survive the rigours of active service for a variety of reasons.

 

I'm sure many recipients "engraved" their personal details on the tins themselves - as proof of ownership on active service - IMHO likely on the bottom of the tin rather than on the "stamped lid".

 

I'm equally confident that a significant percentage of recipients immediately despatched their tin home to their nearest and dearest - either for safekeeping or as a gift to a wife, mother, child or sweetheart.

 

Again IMHO I think that gift boxes despatched to family members resident outside UK are more likely to have been engraved professionally as per my family example - especially if the recipient was UK based at the time of the issue of the gift.

 

I'm sure boxes sent to family were treasured objects - especially for families of deceased personnel

- and subject to regular polishing over many years leading to the deterioration/variations in quality of the stamped lid.

 

Steve Y

 

 

 

A barometer of the numbers that survive may exist in the form of Ebay. If the given number of British War Medals for sale at any one time is compared to the total issued, which I think was 6.5 million, then the number of tins for sale at any one time may also give a precentage against the number produced. I know the logic of that is a bit flawed, but it might allow for a "broad brush" estimate.

 

Everything you say and imply about some of them being highly valued as "a personal gift from the crown" whilst others were tossed away as soon as the smokes were gone is doubtless true. My own hunch is that the survival rate for the tins is fairly low, but that is only a hunch, and not based on anything other than "gut feel" really. Whilst a lot seems to be known about these tins they still seem to be a neglected subject in some respects. Somebody else must have trodden this path before, but finding out what they had to say about them seems to be another matter.

 

One thing for sure, that example of yours certainly is a little stunner.

 

Warmest regards,

Mike

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redbarchetta

Mike,

Responding to your call to arms, following are photos of my five tins...  not sure if these images are large enough to investigate...

James

MaryTin1.jpg

No full stop and 7.5 triangles.

MaryTin2.jpg

Full stop, 6 triangles.

MaryTin3.jpg

Full stop and 7 triangles?  Bit over-loved, I'm afraid.

MaryTin4.jpg

Another full stop and 7.

MaryTin5.jpg

No full stop and 6...

Edited by redbarchetta

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Medaler

Hi James,

 

Many thanks for those 5 pics. Good "square on" and clear pics they are too - perfect for me. I will get to the detail later (grass cutting duty beckons), but 3 and 4 are instant hits as "19 leaf" versions. That is 19 pairs of leaves to the right of the bust of the lady herself. I have seen 2 before and they were identical, so it will be really interesting to see if either of your two show any differences to that "standard".

 

It will take me a while to do 5, but they are most welcome - watch this space!

 

Regards,

Mike

 

 

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trajan
1 hour ago, Medaler said:

 

... the formula for calculating the accuracy of "random activity sampling" ... f the given number of British War Medals for sale at any one time is compared to the total issued, which I think was 6.5 million, then the number of tins for sale at any one time may also give a precentage against the number produced. I know the logic of that is a bit flawed, but it might allow for a "broad brush" estimate.

 

Mike, I personally think that you are doing some astounding work here on what is clearly not so much a neglected subject but an ignored one! And I am beginning to wonder if among your many skills was training in artefact classification...!!!

 

Re: sampling. I have been trying to remember where I have seen discussion on this sort of problem in archaeological circles - a long time ago but it was in connection with coins if I remember rightly. I face the same sort of problem in looking at unit-marked German Imperial bayonets and trying to quantify these by units, years of manufacture/issue, makers, survivial rate, etc..

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Medaler
28 minutes ago, trajan said:

 

Mike, I personally think that you are doing some astounding work here on what is clearly not so much a neglected subject but an ignored one! And I am beginning to wonder if among your many skills was training in artefact classification...!!!

 

Re: sampling. I have been trying to remember where I have seen discussion on this sort of problem in archaeological circles - a long time ago but it was in connection with coins if I remember rightly. I face the same sort of problem in looking at unit-marked German Imperial bayonets and trying to quantify these by units, years of manufacture/issue, makers, survivial rate, etc..

 

Activity sampling - good old wikipedia! - saved me hunting through my paperwork. The formula I was thinking of is here........

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_sampling

 

Oh, and to clear that one up. No architectural training beyond doing my own design and drawings for a 2 storey extension. I had to hand over to a real architect when it came to the stress calculations for building regs, but he used my drawings without modification. All the gubbins about cartouches and Acanthus leaves comes from the medal collecting and a love of Victorian furniture.

 

Glad your sticking with this Julian, I am having a lot of fun with these tins. It is a great strength of this forum that we have a medium here that allows us to get together and compare bits from our collections. Perhaps by coordinating this I am paying a little bit back for all the help that I have had on here over the years. Then again, I am still sure that sooner or later somebody is going to post a link to a website that already explains everything. This can't be the first time that this has ever been looked at. I just hope that what I have done so far agrees with their findings - when their findings are found!

 

Warmest regards,

Mike

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johnboy

Mike 

I wasn;t questioning your method of sampling.You can only work with what you have.

If you have sampled at random 30 tins and found 7 variations  , how many might there have been over the full production run? 

Still looking for mention of 4 firms!

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Medaler
3 minutes ago, johnboy said:

Mike 

I wasn;t questioning your method of sampling.

 

 Hiya,

I diidn't think you were - honest! Just pointing out that I have something "up my sleeve" for if this runs that far.

Yes, 30 ish tins and 7 1/2 variations. My hunch is that there are more yet. If there are hundreds of variations this is perhaps only going to be of limited use and value. We shall just have to see which way it takes us as they turn up.

 

Good luck with the 4 firms!

 

Warmest regards,

Mike

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Medaler

Hi James,

 

Starting with your first picture then, which I am calling "James' tin 1", I have matched the following to a type already identified. It's really good news for Don because he now does not have to take my word for it that his tin is genuine. You have one just like it, and with signs of age that nobody in their right mind would argue with. I do however have a bit of "homework" for you on this tin, purely because your picture lost resolution as I blew it up to go for the fine detail. I would like you to compare the details on the physical tin in your hand with Don's image at #21. Anyway, to the matching features first..........

 

7 lattice*

18 leaf pairs on right of bust

3 close leaves below bayonet - The leaf pattern on Don's tin distinctly shows 3 clear leaves in close proximity to each other below the blade of the bayonet, near the hilt.

Central Petal lowermost in lower flower - One from the old comparison table, not a "unique identifier", but it helps.

No full stop - A real good identifier as most variants have the full stop.

Crossed laurel stalks - Again, from the old comparison table, not a "unique identifier", but it helps.

Wave forms and number of waves - A bit hard to tell, but they seem to match Don's tin. Fairly "flat topped" waves compared to other versions, and 4 1/2 on the right side. I can't see the ones on the left well enough to count them on either your picture or Dons!

The second "M" in "Imperium" ends over the first leg of the "U" in "Brittanicum"

 

* Yes, you describe it as 7 1/2 - and you are right! I shorthanded it to 7 because, early doors, there seemed to be 6 and 7 lattice versions and, erm, it was obviously not a 6. I should almost certainly change that classification to "7 or more" because that 8th intersection is not easy to spot.

 

What I would need you to look at with Don's on #21 is for .......

Dead on matches for position of flagpole points with lattice intersections

Dead on matches with flag furls

Position of Dreadnought gun barrels relative to lattice intersections

The thistle heads and leaf arrangements on either side of the upper cartouche - They look the same, but your photo made it hard for me to be precise.

Most crucial of all - The shape of the cross guard on the bayonet. That is a unique identifier on Don's tin. It should be swept forward, and the ends of the guard should terminate in small scrolls or balls. It should leap out at you from #21. Yours look the same, but I was not 100% certain.

 

Anyway, just to recap, I believe your tin 1 is a "Don" type.

 

Warmest regards,

Mike

 

Edited by Medaler

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Gunner Bailey

Another 2 penneth!

 

Different stampings may not indicate different manufacturers.

 

As an example, you would think that all Mills Grenades would be the same shape and of the same dimensions. However, this is not the case. For the Mills, the Chief Inspector at Woolwich issued drawings and manufacturers made their own moulds. They all vary and as moulds wore out (or production had to increase) another was made. In the Mills 23 Mk III and the Mills 36 where the makers name is cast into the body, different shapes, with different indentations are known for the same maker.

 

So with moulding and stamping in that period it is possible to have variations for the same maker, I see no reason why this should not apply to the tins.

 

John :ph34r:

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Medaler
27 minutes ago, Gunner Bailey said:

Another 2 penneth!

 

Different stampings may not indicate different manufacturers.

 

As an example, you would think that all Mills Grenades would be the same shape and of the same dimensions. However, this is not the case. For the Mills, the Chief Inspector at Woolwich issued drawings and manufacturers made their own moulds. They all vary and as moulds wore out (or production had to increase) another was made. In the Mills 23 Mk III and the Mills 36 where the makers name is cast into the body, different shapes, with different indentations are known for the same maker.

 

So with moulding and stamping in that period it is possible to have variations for the same maker, I see no reason why this should not apply to the tins.

 

John :ph34r:

 

Your absolutely right John. So many unanswered questions! Johnboy reckons he's seen a statement about 4 manufacturers being involved, but we have no idea about the quantities produced by each. All we have so far is evidence of 8 different dies, with perhaps more to follow. Maybe somebody will be along this way to tell us what the life expectancy of a die would have been.

 

Your comment about different manufacturers making their own moulds is almost certainly on the money for these tin dies too. The differences identified would seem to be inconsistent with die manufacture being centralised for the whole project. I dare say that there might easily have been fundamental differences between the machines of the different makers, meaning that one firms die was useless to the other manufacturers. My vote goes for each maker producing his own die/dies.

 

Regards,

Mike

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chaz

stating the obvious, crisp clear stamping comes from brand new press dies, the older they get the poorer the quality, how many would be deemed enough is enough.

we work with aluminium extrusions (from Italy), we machine electric socket ports and engrave the front without machining the face. we now probe the face and alter individual coordinates to produce engrave depths the same. due to the extrusion dies being worn , £10,000 to get dies replaced/reworked every three years.

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johnboy

It is not how crisp the pressings are but the number of differences in design.

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chaz

yes, but small pieces get broken or worn off especially if small section. QA and design would have to agree with the customer what would be acceptable before die is rejected. you could loose a leaf, likewise, the toolroom could get something welded on then re-machine to correct which could alter the shape of an M instead of going to the expense of completely replacing the  die.

Im just pointing out the possibilities for those not fully aware of machining and press shop protocol.

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redbarchetta

Mike,

Yes, my first image is a 'Don'-type, but nowhere near as crisp as Don's.  But I'm concerned by this bit on mine:

MaryTin1a.jpg

There does not appear to be any trace of the patch of three ropes between the bottom of the flagpoles on the lefthand side, other than the bottom line - very odd if this bit has been polished away all on its own...  On Don's this does look a bit less well defined, so I wonder whether mine is a very late stamping, when some elements of the detail had become very worn...

Edited by redbarchetta
Can't tell my left from my right...

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trench whistle

Harewood House might be worth contacting, home of Princess Mary, as the have an impressive number of tins on display. Most of which look to be pristine from the maker examples, presumably unused stock. They might have further information regarding them in their archive. Might be worth an email enquiry? I have a three or four tins somewhere I will try to dig them out and photo them to add to this thread,

Jim

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