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MODEL 1904 CANTEEN WITH THE ORIGINAL ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL MODEL 1904 STRAP – EXCELLENT SPECIMEN:  Introduced in the 1905 dated Ordnance Department Manual Horse Equipments and Equipments for Officers and Enlisted Men, and manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal, this canteen was issued to the early 20TH Century US Army soldiers as the Model 1904 Canteen, and was issued to mounted and foot soldiers alike.    

The “US” brightly stenciled on the front of the cover is very legible, as is the distinct arsenal stencil at the bottom center of the front cover, “R.I.A.  1903”, indicating the cover was produced at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1903.  While this canteen was identified by the army as the “Model 1904”, from the stamp on this canteen cover it is obvious the arsenal was producing the covers at least one year before the above cited manual was written and published.  The 1903 date on this cover is an added value as it was likely made during the first year of production.  This same difference in model date and the date of arsenal production have been noted in the Model 1885 Horse Equipment.  This cover is in as close to “like new, unissued” condition as it is possible to find.  In addition to the bright clean surface, the seams are all intact and the cover is very solid with no wear or damage. 

Both of the triangular hangers are intact and the body of the canteen holds it ovoid shape on the front and the rear surface has the distinctive round dimple correct for the Model 1904 Canteen, with no dents from abuse or other damage.  The original cork stopper and brass chain are present, with the cork body retaining its full form.       

This canteen is suspended from the correct Model 1878 Canteen and Haversack Strap which was manufactured at Rock Island Arsenal and so marked very legibly on the sling.  Correct for this Model 1904 Canteen, this sling was manufactured after the army instituted the leather color change from black to russet leather in 1902.  These slings were introduced with the Model 1878 Haversack and adopted for the canteen as well with the adoption of the 1885 Equipment, and the brown leather versions continued in use through the early years of the 20TH Century.  This strap is in excellent condition - full length with no weak points, complete with both brass hooks and leather keepers, and the leather is supple with a bright shiny surface and a nice russet color. These russet slings were made in very limited numbers compared to the numbers of the black slings produced, and are quite rare today.   

This is an excellent specimen of the Model 1904 Canteen with the appropriate matching russet leather strap – a set which would be almost impossible to upgrade, and will make a nice addition to an early 20TH Century Infantry display(0120)  $250  



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