M1910 Canteen Cup

The metal canteen cup was part of the original M1910 canteen set consisting of the canteen itself, cup, and cloth cover. While the handle design of the cup has changed, little else is different in 2010, after a century of service.

Lunch break with mess kit and M1910 canteen cup in hand, Massacre Bay, Attu, Aleutian Islands, 20 May 1943.  M1910 aluminum canteen sits to the right
Lunch break with mess kit and M1910 canteen cup in hand, Massacre Bay, Attu, Aleutian Islands, 20 May 1943. M1910 aluminum canteen sits to the right.

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25 Sep 1944 British troops, cutoff and suffering heavy casualties, begin withdrawal from unsuccessful Operation Market Garden positions.
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M1910 Canteen Cup

First pattern M-1910 aluminum canteen cup.  This cup is unmarked but known to be manufactured by A.G.M. Co.
First pattern M-1910 aluminum canteen cup. This cup is unmarked but known to be manufactured by A.G.M. Co.

The M1910 Canteen Cup was part of the set of components that made up the M1910 aluminum one quart canteen ensemble. The canteen cup has the same cross-section shape as the canteen body, but is a little larger so the canteen can nest into the cup. The canteen cup capacity is about three cups (24 oz.) if completely full. The cup also featured a foldable handle, held in place by four rivets on the side, secured by a sliding latch. The handle had two slots cut in it which could be engaged by an M-1926 Fork if the cup handle itself was too hot. The 1910 model cup could be conveniently stowed in the canteen carrier and the canteen would fit inside the cup.

The M-1910 aluminum cup had a rolled edge on top, a problem since it got too hot. The original cups were manufactured by The Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company (A.G.M. Co.) in 1909 and 1910 and subsequently, from 1911 to 1917, by Rock Island Arsenal. All of these cups are unmarked.

During World War I, the Quartermaster Corps assumed responsibility for the soldiers' individual equipment including canteen cups. M1910 canteen cups were manufactured under contract using the specifications developed in 1910. In 1918 the Quartermaster Corps contracted for cups to be manufactured by:

  • The Aluminum Company of America (ACA)
  • Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co. (AGM Co)
  • Buckeye Aluminum Co. (BA Co.)
  • The J. W. Brown Manufacturing Co. (T.J.W.B.M.CO.)
  • Landers, Frary & Clark (L F & C)

1918 Canteen Cup Markings

The 1918 contracts specified that the letters U.S., the name or symbol of the company and the year of manufacture be stamped either on the bottom of the cup or on the top of the handle.

Corrosive resistant steel (CRS aka stainless steel) canteen cup
Corrosive resistant steel (CRS aka stainless steel) canteen cup.

Beginning in 1942, canteen cups were manufactured from alternate materials to substitute for aluminum. Porcelain plated cups (Cup, Canteen M-1942) were made in limited quantities in 1942 only, to match the porcelain enamel canteen made at the same time. Steel cups, plated with tin or zinc, were manufactured in small quantities by Foley Mfg. Co. and Edward Katzinger Co. in 1943 to match the tin or zinc plated canteens made that same year.

To match the corrosive resistant steel canteens (CRS aka stainless steel) in production during WW II, cups were made of the same material from 1942 to 1945, with a flared cup lip instead of the rolled edge. The new lip design cooled rapidly and solved the heat problem with the rolled edge. In late 1942 aluminum was released by the War Production Board, and production of aluminum M-1910 canteen cups was resumed as well.

Some of the known manufactures of canteen cups during World War II include:

  • Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co. (AGM Co)
  • Buckeye Aluminum Co. (BA Co.)
  • Fletcher Enameling Co. (F.E. Co.)
  • Landers, Frary & Clark (L F & C) REP Co.
  • Republic Stamping and Enameling Co. (R.S.E. Co.)
  • Southeastern Metals Co. (S.M.Co.)
  • The Aluminum Cooking Utensil Company (T.A.C.U. Co.)
  • United States Steel Corp. (U.S.S. Corp.)
  • Vollrath
  • Vogt

Aluminum cups were made with steel or brass handles and/or a brass hinge by some of the manufacturers for some of their production runs.

WWII Soldier with Canteen Cup

Cup manufactured in 1941 by The Aluminum Cooking Utensil Company (T.A.C.U. Co.).  Photo courtesy of Mike Michaelski
Cup manufactured in 1941 by The Aluminum Cooking Utensil Company (T.A.C.U. Co.). Photo courtesy of Mike Michaelski.

Following World War II, aluminum and CRS canteens and cups continued in use.

Butterfly handle canteen cup. Photo Government Liquidation.com
Butterfly handle canteen cup. Photo: Government Liquidation.com.

In 1974 the canteen cup was redesigned as part of the ALICE LC-1 equipment. The cup was produced in stainless steel with a flared upper edge similar to the corrosive resistant steel cup of 1942. However, instead of a single folding handle, the cup had two steel wire handles that open out for use, and fold flat against the side of the cup when placed in the canteen cover (the "butterfly handle" or "wing handle").

The metal canteen cup is intended to hold hot liquids, such as coffee or soup, and can be used to boil liquids. Because of this need to handle heat, the metal cup is still used with the plastic canteen.

The metal canteen cup continues in use even in the 21st century, but is not carried by everyone. The use of Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) rations, prepackaged water, and other changes has reduced the need for the separate cup. Canteen alternatives, including two-quart canteens, have broken the connection that existed between the one quart M1910 canteen and its cup. Thanks to James Yeager for help with this section.

The Arctic Canteen Cup is of similar design, but shaped to fit the Arctic Canteen. It will not nest properly with a standard one quart military canteen. See the linked page for more information.

Stock Numbers for the Canteen Cup

World War II era stock numbers for the canteen cup were:

  • Aluminium: 74-C-314
  • Stainess steel: 74-C-317-25

In the late 1940s the supply system began using the Federal Stock Number (FSN) system with a changeover to the National Stock Number (NSN) in 1975. These numbers have been identified for the Canteen Cup:

Cup, Water Canteen, Corrosion Resisting Steel (M1910 original style)
Last known contract DSA 100-70-C-0709, 6/70
FSN 8465-242-7843
NSN 8465-00-242-7843
Cup, Water Canteen
MIL-C-43761 LC-1, butterfly wire handle, after 1974
FSN 8465-165-6838
NSN 8465-00-165-6838

Canteen Cup Stove/Stand

Small stoves were made to assist the soldier in heating water, coffee, soup or other ration components in the canteen cup. The Canteen Cup Stove/Stand and Canteen Cup Stove Fuel (eg Trioxane) are described on the linked pages.

Material on this page adapted from "Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements," by David Cole (November 2007 and updates), a classroom reference for the Army Museum System's Basic Curatorial Methods Training Courses, as well as other published sources. Thanks to Thomas Chial for making his extensive research available.

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