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Military Tin/Zinc Plated Canteen

During 1943, the U.S. procured canteens made of ordinary steel with a tin (or zinc) plating. This attempt to save more valuable aluminum and stainless steel had only temporary benefits and was stopped by the end of 1943.

Steel canteen, tin or zinc plated, GP&F Co. 1943.  Photo: Courtesy Thomas Chial
Steel canteen, tin or zinc plated, GP&F Co. 1943. Photo: Courtesy Thomas Chial.

Today in WW II: 21 Jan 1942 Rommel's second offensive drives the British 8th Army back almost 300 miles, halting on 4 Feb between Gazala and Bir Hacheim, 30 miles west of Tobruk, Libya.   

One Quart Military Canteen: Tin/Zinc Plated

The original M-1910 one quart canteen was made of aluminum. Early in World War II, aluminum was urgently needed for aircraft. Therefore, in 1942 stainless steel canteens were substituted for aluminum and other alternative materials were investigated for canteens, such as Ethocel plastic. Another idea for conserving the most valuable metals was to use a lower quality steel with a tin (or zinc) plating.

The plated steel canteen was visually similar to the standard canteens, with a plating that would usually wear off, at least partially. The screw top provided was the small flat top most similar to the WW II porcelain enamel canteens.

The surviving tin or zinc plated canteens are made with a horizontal folded seam, like the CRS (stainless steel) canteen, but the seam on the plated canteen is narrower than on the CRS canteen. The tin plated canteens (and matching plated canteen cups) were identical in size to the M1910 canteen and therefore used the same cotton duck carrier/covers.

The only manufacturer of this type of canteen that has been verified is GP&F (Geuder Paeschke & Fey Company). The markinga indicate 1943 was the year produced.

The tin/zinc plated canteen was not considered a success and they were rapidly phased out of the military. There is no entry for this type of canteen in the Quartermaster Supply Catalog for the time period. A few examples have survived to become a rare and interesting collectible.

Material on this page adapted from research provided by Thomas Chial.

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