Storage/Transit Tins

Storage-Tins

When officers purchased their helmets, busbies, forage caps etc. they most often also purchased a storage/transit tin to protect their valuable items of headgear.

These came in various shapes and sizes to suit the type of headgear and could be ordered in both single and double configurations. For example, a wealthy officer may have purchased both a white and a khaki helmet and might therefore order a double tin.

A Wolseley helmet with single helmet storage tin showing a shipping line’s luggage label. (Author’s collection)

A Wolseley helmet with single helmet storage tin showing a shipping line’s luggage label. (Author’s collection)

Wolseley helmet with double tin which has additional space for the plume holder. (Author’s collection)

Wolseley helmet with double tin which has additional space for the plume holder. (Author’s collection)

Tins came in single or double helmet configurations. There were at least two variations of double tin interiors.

A double tin illustrating the clips used to secure two helmets. (Author’s collection)

A double tin illustrating the clips used to secure two helmets. (Author’s collection)

Another variation of a double tin showing the ledges on which each helmet would rest. This is an exceptionally tall tin to accommodate a cardboard plume holder at the bottom. (Author’s collection)

Another variation of a double tin showing the ledges on which each helmet would rest. This is an exceptionally tall tin to accommodate a cardboard plume holder at the bottom. (Author’s collection)

A third variation whereby it would appear that one helmet was placed directly on top of the bottom helmet which rested on the ledges. There is no room to place the bottom helmet under the ledges. (Author’s collection)

The interior of a single helmet tin showing the ledges on which the helmet rested. Many examples do not have these ledges with the helmet resting on the bottom of the tin. (Author’s collection)

Tins were of a japanned metal construction. Japanning was a process of applying a heavy black lacquer in layers to the metal. Each layer was allowed to dry either naturally or by the application of heat. After the last layer the tin was polished to a glossy finish. Black and dappled red/black are the most commonly encountered finishes.

An example of red/black japanning. (Author's collection)

An example of red/black japanning. (Author’s collection)

These tins were labelled with brass plaques, or stencils, naming the maker and also the owner and his regiment, although not all tins have the owner’s name or, indeed, the maker’s label.

A brass maker’s plaque and owner’s name and regiment plaque. (Author’s collection)

A brass maker’s plaque and owner’s name and regiment plaque. (Author’s collection)

A tin with the owner’s name and unit stenciled on. (Author’s collection)

A tin with the owner’s name and unit stenciled on. (Author’s collection)

Other Ranks (Enlisted men) were issued with cotton bags to protect their helmets, although there is some doubt as to whether they were extensively used. But it should be noted that lost equipment etc. had to be accounted for.

A Wolseley helmet in its cotton bag and the bag without helmet. (Author’s collection)

A Wolseley helmet in its cotton bag and the bag without helmet. (Author’s collection)

The method of locking the tin seems to have had two variations; the first using a lock and key and the second a hinged clasp through which a padlock could be used.

The lock and key method of locking the tin. (Author’s collection)

The lock and key method of locking the tin. (Author’s collection)

The padlock method of locking the tin. (Author’s collection)

The padlock method of locking the tin. (Author’s collection)

A Home Service Helmet and tin with brass plaques. This one to Lt. R.N. Colville, 4th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment. This style and size of tin was also used for the Colonial Pattern helmet. (Author’s collection)

A Home Service Helmet and tin with brass plaques. This one to Lt. R.N. Colville, 4th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment. This style and size of tin was also used for the Colonial Pattern helmet. (Author’s collection)

A forage cap and tin attributed to Brigadier William Henry Sitwell. It has the Hawkes’ plaque but only has painted on the lid “W.H.S” to identify the owner, Brigadier General William Henry Sitwell. (Author’s collection)

A forage cap and tin attributed to Brigadier William Henry Sitwell. It has the Hawkes’ plaque but only has painted on the lid “W.H.S” to identify the owner, Brigadier General William Henry Sitwell. (Author’s collection)

A cardboard hat box for a cavalry pillbox cap. Attributed to Sergeant Morris of the 13th Hussars. (Author’s collection)

A cardboard hat box for a cavalry pillbox cap. Attributed to Sergeant Morris of the 13th Hussars. (Author’s collection)

An officer’s pillbox cap and metal tin to the Berkshire Yeomanry. (Author’s collection)

An officer’s pillbox cap and metal tin to the Berkshire Yeomanry. (Author’s collection)

A dragoon helmet with tin and quilted cover for hot weather stations. This helmet to the 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards. (Author’s collection)

A dragoon helmet with tin and quilted cover for hot weather stations. This helmet to the 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards. (Author’s collection)

A cocked hat and tin. Attributed to Major C.H. Bagot, Royal Engineers. (Author’s collection)

A cocked hat and tin. Attributed to Major C.H. Bagot, Royal Engineers. (Author’s collection)

A Royal Artillery Busby and tin. (Author’s collection)

A Royal Artillery Busby and tin. (Author’s collection)

Shako and tin to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). (Author’s collection)

Shako and tin to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). (Author’s collection)

Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders Storage Tin and Feather Bonnet. (Photo courtesy of Benny Bough)

Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders Storage Tin and Feather Bonnet. (Photo courtesy of Benny Bough)

A bearskin cap and storage tin (Collection of Peter Suciu)

A bearskin cap and storage tin (Collection of Peter Suciu)

An advert for storage/transit tins from the Army & Navy Stores catalogue of 1907. (Author’s catalogue)

An advert for storage/transit tins from the Army & Navy Stores catalogue of 1907. (Author’s catalogue)

Stuart Bates

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Storage/Transit Tins

  1. André

    Hello!
    I’m at the look out for an officers bearskin. Do you have any for sale or perhaps any contacts?

    please contact me by mail!

    kind regards

    André Olsson

    Reply
  2. Martin Dauphinais

    Hi there,

    I’m looking to get a fusilier bearskin hat to complete one of my 1936 uniform. Are there any chances to find one?

    Thanks to lead me somewhere…

    You can contact me directly to

    martin@aboire.ca

    Martin

    Reply
  3. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

    Hi Martin,

    sorry but I don’t know of any for sale so you will have to try the usual means: dealers, eBay, perhaps a forum which will have a for sale/wanted section.

    Good luck.

    Stuart

    Reply
  4. Wayne Ratcliffe

    Dear Stuart,
    I am delighted your picture confirms the correct design of Berkshire Yeomanry pill box hat as the same as one in Berkshire Yeomanry cavalry museum in Windsor. The museum holds several different, but only one of the correct design and it was not 100% clear of the historic source of origin.

    There are multiple designs of “knots” on the top of hats plus different braid that its confusing as to which belongs to which regiment as there are no badges. I expect the hats may also change with rank within the same regiment?

    Please confirm what the label of the tin or case says exactly including any name
    Also any thoughts on the year or dates they were worn
    This would be most helpful and appreciated

    Thank you
    Wayne

    Reply
  5. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

    Hi Wayne,

    there is a very nice booklet on Yeomanry mess dress which gives the designs to the pillbox caps. Here is the link http://www.themilitaryhistoricalsociety.co.uk/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=80&category_id=2&vmcchk=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=56.

    Indeed caps varied according to rank with Senior NCOs often adopting the officers’ style. The caps were worn roughly from 1880 to the first decade of the 20th Century. That is, in this style of stiff sides rather than floppy.

    There are no details on the tin except the maker’s brass plaque of Hawkes.

    Regards,

    Stuart

    Reply
  6. Marco Ryan

    Great post – very helpful do r me as I am looking for 2 helmet case for a 1843 and 1871 cavalry helmet with plume
    Do you have any to sell or if not some detailed photos (like the 1st KDG picture) Sini can try and get one made as exact to the original as possible
    Marco

    Reply
  7. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

    Hi Marco,
    The only helmet tin to a cavalry regiment is that of the 1KDGs. It is slightly larger than a Home Service Helmet tin being 86.5cm in body circumference and 15cm in height. The lid is 18.5cm in height. The HSH tin has a bar across the centre with a space between it and the base of the tin whereas my 1KDG does not have this. I shall email some photos.

    I did find a plume container here https://www.google.com.au/search?q=plume+container&client=firefox-b-ab&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjx_q7hvPzQAhWGjJQKHfPjCNMQsAQIHA&biw=1360&bih=810#imgrc=6eqYLgXYcF0FQM%3A but it seems to have been sold. Sorry that I can’t be of more help.

    Regards,
    Stuart

    Reply
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