CIVIL WAR BARTHOLOMAE PATENT FILTER CANTEEN

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Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1097-17

During the Civil War clean water was clearly understood to be necessary to health, but with germ theory imperfectly understood, filtration was about the best that could be expected. Several filters were marketed to soldiers for drinking. Bartholomae simply combined one with the canteen itself. Indeed, Bartholomae paid as much attention in his patent to the kidney shape of his canteen, which would fit snug to the body and not swing about when the soldier was in motion, and to the use of an integral funnel for filling, as he did to its filtering abilities. Small charcoal filters permitted the water to be sipped through a perforated top in the spout, one of the smaller screw capped tubes holding spares.

The tinned iron of the kidney-shaped canteen has a nice even gray patina overall with very little brown showing through, just slight wear to the edges, and no dents. The sling brackets are in place and a small length of the sling is still fixed one of the lower brackets. The cork stopper to the funnel is missing, but both screw caps are in place, linked to one another and to the funnel by a jack chain. The wide funnel still preserves its brass patent tag, “PATENTED / JULY 9th 1861.”

Bartholomae supplied 1,010 canteens to the U.S. government on a contract of July 18, 1861. These were likely his patent canteens, purchased for field trials, but they are much better known and documented as private purchase. They were sold by military goods dealers such as Schuyler, Hartley and Graham, and were purchased by officers, who had to supply their own equipment, and by enlisted men who were thinking ahead. This would make a nice addition to a collection of Civil War accoutrements and field gear. Most soldiers regarded the haversack and canteen as essential as a musket and cartridge box, if not more so, and the possibility of getting some clean water out of stream after most of an army had marched through it made it a rational purchase. This is a scarce piece.

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