Boy Scout Kits the 888 ETC. Q&A

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by OMC, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. OMC

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    More...
    Handbooks: Readers can find plenty of web details but reason I asked re copyright / edition is due to different info out there (I was bidding on a hard cover, printed 1914, that I'd not seen elsewhere). For me, handbooks done for now, TY.
    -----------------

    Reminder that there are various tin "cook kits / outfits" that predate the most-common aluminum BSA mess kit (type shown in OP).
    1914 Oct.: The origin, so far, of this type kit (in alum. or steel), is Mason's kit (shown above) offered in Massachusetts. "Looks like" steel fry pan & handle, the rest aluminum.
    1915 Jun & Dec.: ALCOA > W-E (Wear-Ever) patented their own copy (handle is only steel pc.), and offered kit & canteen as "official BSA" (Dec. kit & canteen BSA No.s "1200 & 1201").
    thru to 1921: W-E 1200 & 1201, I "guess". Exception: 1918 Nov. (WW1) a non-aluminum "Enameled Cooking Outfit No.1286" was offered.
    1922 Jun: still W-E 1200 but a Cello (maker) makes the No.1201 canteen (for a stint) and also offers a No.1462: a Cello version of mess kit.
    1923: still offer W-E 1200 kit but offer slightly larger W-E canteen No.1466
    1923 - 36: W-E ditto but FYI for W-E this was not an exclusive arrangement.
    1937 Dec: W-E 1200 kit & 1466 canteen and also offers
    MIRRO mess kit No.1999
    1938 Dec - 1940 Mar.: W-E 1200 kit & 1466 canteen and also offers
    MIRRO mess kit No.1999 and canteen No. 1202 (and W-E 1201 canteen) FIVE items.
    1940 Apr W-E offers "new" light weight mess kit No.1198, still offers mess kit 1200 & canteens 1201 & 1466 and MIRRO 1199 mess kit and canteen 1202. SIX items.
    1940 - 1941 Jul The six items were likely offered, all systems go until...
    1941 Jul.: WW2, "The Aluminum Salvage Drive" began in the US which the Boy Scouts were involved with. I'll not check beyond 1941 Jul.
    c1941 - c1945: during aluminum rationing. Production began for Tin Boy Scout Mess Kits, of the W-E size/design, but I don't know the maker(s). As far as I know none of the tin kits have a maker's name. They're also not all exactly the same, not sure on that either. IE there are slight pouch differences and
    steel handles: can be blank (mine) -or- might have BSA logo / note "AFTER USING CLEAN AND DRY THOROUGHLY THEN OIL OR GREASE LIGHTLY TO PREVENT RUST".
    I turns out I do have a cWW2 all steel mess kit. Heavy! although I do like the steel frypan.
    The snap is blank. The very faded circle you can kinda see on pouch is BSA logo. It does not have inner pouch for fork & spoon.
    IMG_2926.JPG -------------------

    As discussed several US makers made the old aluminum BSA mess kits.
    I could see PALCO getting a separate thread. An old company, successful and ended up w/huge market share of these as well.

    "Daniel Boone" has a BSA mess kit connection as well.
    all for now. thx omc
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  2. OMC

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    I stopped looking above but as expected, after 1941 July... BSA offered nothing aluminum and (14 mos. no mess kits at all).
    1941 Dec BSA offered Heavy Galvanized canteen 1 Qt. No.1219. For now I can guess this was an existing item.
    1942 Nov. is when Tin kits are 1st offered:
    1942bNovTinMsKtnCntn.JPG
    New Official Cook Kit : High quality steel - retinned… No.1211
    New Official Canteen: High quality steel - retinned… 1 Qt. No.1209
    (I've no idea who made them).
    -------------------------

    So before the war BSA offered 3 "BSA" mess kits paired w/3 canteens,
    1945 Dec. after the war the "BSA" No.1200 is offered again (one might expect it is still a W-E 1200). Ok that's one BSA mess kit and... that's it (zero BSA canteens).
    1945 Dec - 1947 Dec : BSA offers 1200 mess kit and WW2 army issue kit (BSA No.s): IE WW2 mess kit (1232), GI canteen and cup (1228, 1230), mountain cook set (1995) [example mountain set as FYI ].
    1948 Jul.: BSA offered the 1200 mess kit since '45 (made by W-E "i think", steel handle may have changed?).
    It is not until Jul.'48 that a "BSA" canteen is again offered:
    the "New Official Canteen" No.1201.
    1948bDecMsKtnCntn.JPG 1948 Dec Ad .

    '49-52 and beyond I've not yet looked into. So unaware for now, how/if MIRRO or whoever else gets involved etc.

    1952 from above "... by '52 (or earlier) Regal Ware Cook Kit became the "official" BSA mess kit." thx omc 830 views
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  3. OMC

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    re my: "1922 Jun: still W-E 1200 but a Cello (maker) makes the No.1201 canteen (for a stint) and also offers a No.1462: a Cello version of mess kit."
    and my "1923 - 36: ...but FYI for W-E this was not an exclusive arrangement."

    My interest in BSA stuff was nearly forgotten from 20? years ago.
    IMO "Cello" kits are rare. To my surprise and embarrassment I have TWO complete Cello kits, BSA No. 1462... and they're different :content:.
    IMG_2956_61.JPG

    IMG_2957_58.JPG
    Form follows function the 1 on the left a refined form would be later. On pouch: Alex Taylor & Co. 22E 42nd St. New York REG. US PAT. OFFICE.
    The 1 on right may be c1922, about that and how it differs.
    Includes: deeper & 7 1/2" wide pan holds 3 3/4c. The handle & catches on both are good but differ. *Dish is unique being 6 1/4" wide but deep, holds 3c. The cup & pot w/lid are the same, pots are 5 x 2 3/8" holds 3c.
    *dish on later version is 7 1/8" wide but same capacity: 3c.
    Each piece stamped w/CELLO logo incl. TRADE MARK REG. US PAT. OFFICE. Zero BSA marking.

    The CELLO canteen made sense. CELLO / AS Campbell Co. Boston patented their round metal hot water bottle in 1912. Here is that stamp.
    il_1140xN.315041881.jpg
    thx omc
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  4. andrewott United States

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    I would be interested some discussion/thoughts of what the flatware (knife, fork, spoon, eta) that came with these kits looked like, and whether or not it as marked in any way? All aluminum, or sskme steel?
    Lots of ads show at least a fork and spoon, but none of the kits I’ve seen for have any flatware.
     
  5. marksharky

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    I know that this thread has been languishing for quite some time, but I am hoping it can be revived briefly......(if not longer!).
    I have recently been adding some of the old, WW2 and pre-WW2 era Boy Scout mess kits to my collection and I have a question about the labeling of the original Wear Ever kits.

    I know that there were three known label stamps on the handles: 888 Made In USA, Pat. Pending 1915, and Patented 1915
    Does anyone know in what order they were used?
    I am guessing, that the oldest would possibly be the 888 Made in USA (with no mention of date or patent). Or maybe this was the latest?
    Next would be the Patent Pending 1915 stamps.
    Last would be the Patented 1915 stamps.

    I recently picked up an 888 Made in USA stamped handle set, without the "bean pot and pot lid". The set was complete, with the original bolt and wing nut, and unmarked cover with darkened brass BSA snap.
    If by chance these 888 Made in USA (with no date) kits are the oldest, then it may be possible the "bean pot" was actually not included.
    If I understand the US Patent system at the time, patents were granted for 20 years. This would put the ending of the Wear Ever patent in 1935. So, these kits with no patent date, or patent pending handles would seem to fall in the earliest, or the latest category.

    All of my Wear Ever kit pots, pans and parts, are stamped with Wear Ever logo, the item number, and the Boy Scout emblem (all on the bottom).

    I hope those in the know will see this post and chime in! I've been collecting military mess kits for years, and now I've caught the Boy Scout kit bug!
     
  6. OMC

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    @marksharky hello fellow stovie, long time member and so talkative lol !
    Great to have you again engage our site / your site, welcome back old timer!

    Re your reference to pre-WW2, to be clear the earliest kit / handle you're inquiring about predates WW1.

    I began this thread w/comment re exact text on handles:
    > "PATENT APPLIED FOR"
    > "No 888
    MADE IN USA"
    > "No 888
    PAT. DEC. 7. 1915
    MADE IN USA"

    VS your: 888 Made in USA & Patent Pending 1915 & Patented 1915
    Can you confirm your exact text? This to see where we're a match and where/if our findings diverge.
    ------------------------------

    I do have partial answers / comments:
    I'm confident "PATENT APPLIED FOR" is the earliest version.
    As to it's successors, that earliest handle (here is link again, credit @presscall ), specifically the catch end of the handle is very specific and has mating surface on the fry pan (such differences also noted above).
    If you have your 3 examples in-hand and now know the earliest type catch, I know, some of the sequence will present itself.

    Yours is an excellent question. Consider the above and please reply with what you suggest so far.
    I do not have all my examples handy (1 reason for this post was to archive the details, then thin the herd). I was immersed in this topic/research a year ago and dabbled on-topic for years before that. It is not top of mind today.

    BTW I'm confident the earliest ones did not have BSA logo.

    Earliest kit?: My above comment, for me, stands: "I do not yet know when the first kit was made nor exactly what the first complete kit consisted of."
    You question bean pot? as I recall my uncertainty included: pcs with W-E logos or not (1st cup had no logo as I recall), utensils, bag/type of bag...
    It will be great to narrow the year range for the 1st wear-ever kit. So far I get: it is not earlier than 1904 and the kits were in-production pre 1915.

    As to bean pot question:
    For me, it's still unconfirmed what 1st kit consisted of but IF 1st kit was minus bean pot, it stands to reason it was also minus the cup.

    It's tough to confirm what was there originally pre-1915, it maybe tougher to confirm something was not there (vs missing).
    For me all indicators are the 1st kit was complete.
    ----------------------------------------

    By Oct. 1914 Mason was already supplying such kits to the BSA.
    It's not clear, 1914 or earlier, if wear-ever was also already producing their kit -or- was it c 1914 wear-ever made their 1st kit? and beat Mason to getting the kit patented? I dunno.
    --------------------------------------

    Pre 1915: I can't ignore the timing. I consider it likely, these kits were developed / designed to meet demand for WW1 army issue mess kits.
    Wear-ever produced an excellent kit and was positioned and able to meet the huge WW1 demand.
    Of note the 1st kit, complete as seen in OP, clamps tightly and by design when hanging on a belt it runs silent.
    BTW if soldier had lost bean pot or lid the kit becomes a cow bell, lol (who knows but that could have been a reason not to issue this type kit to the dough boys? <-- speculation atop speculation :oops: ). 2125 views
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  7. marksharky

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    I only have one of the Wear Ever sets, so I can't do a side-by-side comparison of the three types of handle stampings. What I can do is show off what is marked on this kit that I have in hand.

    DSC02595.JPG

    The handle of the fry pan is stamped "No 888 MADE IN U.S.A."
    The fry pan bottom has the BSA emblem, and the Wear Ever trademark, and MADE IN U.S.A. The bottom is also stamped No 888.

    DSC02596.JPG

    DSC02597.JPG

    The fry pan also has a latch plate that is riveted on, for the handle end to engage into.

    DSC02599.JPG

    The cup is aluminum, with a tinned steel handle, marked Wear Ever on the bottom, with trademark and BSA emblem. It is stamped with No 893.

    DSC02603.JPG

    DSC02600.JPG

    The pan-plate is marked Wear Ever on the bottom, with trademark and BSA emblem. It is stamped with No 168.

    DSC02601.JPG

    The small "bean pot and lid" is one that I added to the set. When I received the cook set, the small pot and lid were missing. The small pot and lid pictured are unmarked, but older.

    The cover for the set is heavy twill canvas, with a blackened brass, BSA snap. There is a small sleeve inside to hold utensils.

    DSC02593.JPG

    DSC02594.JPG

    DSC02604.JPG


    DSC02598.JPG
     
  8. marksharky

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    Here are a few more close ups on the fry pan details.

    DSC02605.JPG

    DSC02606.JPG

    DSC02607.JPG

    DSC02608.JPG

    DSC02609.JPG

    DSC02612.JPG

    DSC02613.JPG

    DSC02615.JPG
     
  9. OMC

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    With BSA logo stamped into aluminum, green pouch without BSA New York on snap, a none measure cup...
    Still early as mess kits go in general, not among the earliest wear-ever kits imo.
    I ponder is yours before or after WW2 aluminum rations: By Jul '41 production ended for aluminum kits, none made mid '41 to c 45.
     
  10. marksharky

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    The pouch with my Wear Ever 888, is actually a Khaki Tan. I believe that the tan covers were the earlier ones, and the green were later, closer to WW2. I have one of the all steel, tinned, WW2 era kits that is in a green cover (unmarked cover, but BSA stamped fry pan handle).

    I believe the snaps on the earlier covers did not have the "New York" portion on the bottom, or at least not all of them did.
    I have another cover from an older BSA kit that has the BSA New York emblem printed on it, with a non-New York BSA snap.

    The snap on my early Wear Ever 888 kit is brass, that has been blackened (in the WW2 US Military style).

    DSC02594.JPG

    Here is a photo of my kit cover with both the BSA New York logo, and a non-New York snap (this came with an unmarked BSA kit). The BSA moved their head offices to New Jersey in 1954, so I would assume that all printed logos without the New York address would date to the pre-54 era.

    DSC02618.JPG

    DSC02619.JPG
     
  11. marksharky

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    As an interesting side note, I got out my magnifying glass and looked closely at the snap on the BSA-New York pouch. In very tiny print, it has the "Pat. 1911" stamp under the emblem, at the edge of the snap border. These Pat. 1911 markings are stamped on the back of the older, and oldest, uniform emblems as well.
    There are no Pat. 1911 stamps on my Wear-Ever 888 pouch snap. It is just the emblem.
     
  12. marksharky

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    Since we're on the subject of "emblems and snaps" as a possible way to help date some of these old BSA kits, I went ahead and dug out another kit.
    This kit is an all steel, WW2 made kit. (tinned steel, no makers name, BSA stamped kit handle)
    This kit is in a green cover, with the BSA-New York emblem printed on it, and a brass snap, painted brown. The snap does not have the "New York" address, and also has the very small Pat. 1911 stamped under the emblem at the rim of the snap.

    I am wondering if the brass snaps were on the older kits exclusively, or if the use of brass for snaps continued on into the more "modern" years. It would be interesting to know when the Pat. 1911 was eliminated from the snaps, or if it is just a manufacturer's variation.

    Here are a couple of photos of this WW2 era, tinned steel, BSA kit cover.

    DSC02623.JPG

    DSC02621.JPG

    DSC02622.JPG
     
  13. OMC

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    EDIT: oh wait, PLEASE triple-check, it is 1911? and rule out that it can not be 1917?
    -----------------------------------------

    TYTYTYVM
    "...snap on the BSA-New York pouch. In very tiny print, it has the "Pat. 1911" stamp under the emblem"
    ...my something new learned today.

    I'm tempted to dig into this again but I've not found W-E BSA kit info pre 1915, I am sure that I looked. YOU, kind sir, have found 1911 :thumbup::thumbup:.
    Going forward I will be mindful of W-E Patent 1911, to your credit.

    In light of this revelation, isn't odd the handle boasts only 1915. There is an explanation, I have no idea what it might be.
    Awesome! thanks again.

    You & I haven't touched on and so you are aware: the kits were made in Canada as well, also very early.
     
  14. marksharky

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    The snaps are definitely stamped Pat. 1911

    I have a Boy Scout First Class Pin (large pin), that dates to the 1914 - 1916 era (issue period for this pin). It has the Pat. 1911 stamp on the back as well.
    From what I understand, the Boy Scouts must have patented the official emblems and devices in that year. The Pat. 1911 seems to disappear completely in the mid-1950's from official BSA items, although there are many items that were produced officially, pre-1953, that do not have the Pat. 1911. In my opinion, the 1911 date applies to all official BSA emblems, etc. and not to a specific mess kit design. It does help date items though.
    It seems that the BSA wanted to make it difficult for collectors!

    Here is a great website that shows many of the pins through the years, and details their markings.
    First+Class+Large+Pins |&nbspBoy Scout Insignia Virtual Museum

    Here are a side-by-side comparison of my 1914 - 1916 First Class pin to the early mess kit snap:

    DSC02626.JPG

    DSC02627.JPG
     
  15. OMC

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    oh, yes, of course that makes total sense. Thank you for setting it straight directly.
    the 1911 patent not W-E related, got it.
     
  16. marksharky

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    I think I finally have the details worked out for the evolution of the "Wear Ever 888" mess kit. Bear with me as I sort through the clues and details.

    First off, the "888" model number was for the fry pan only, not the entire mess kit. It appears that the model number for the entire kit was "1200", with a "light weight" kit offered as model "1198". I don't know if the "1198" was a small side run, or how often, or long they offered it.

    The first picture advertisement for this style of mess kit that I can find, is in Boy's Life Magazine, Dec. 1914. The mess kit was marketed by the George H. Mason Company of Boston Massachusetts. A little research into the Mason Company revealed that they were the manufactures of tin and copper cookware, pots, boilers, tubs, etc. They started business sometime back in the 1800's. In 1910, they applied for trademark protection, and in 1912, were incorporated. It appears that the mess kit that they were marketing in 1914, was endorsed by the Boston Boy Scout Commissioner, but not officially a Boy Scout item.

    Screenshot_2020-02-26 Wayback Machine copy.jpg

    In 1915, T.A.C.U. Company, introduced their own version of the mess kit, marketed under their "pots and pans" trade name of Wear Ever. The mess kit design itself was not patent protected, so anyone could manufacture the mess kit style and configuration. In 1915, Wear Ever applied for a patent for their version of the mess kit fry pan, and shortly there after, were granted a patent for the design. It appears that Wear Ever's improvement to the fry pan that allowed them to obtain a patent was the addition of the metal locking lug that was riveted onto the pan rim. In magazine advertisements that appear in Boy's Life Magazines from that era, the Wear Ever kit consists of a "Patent fry pan with handle" as well as the other components made from seamless aluminum. So it appears that Wear Ever merely made their own, slight modification, to they could obtain an "official patent" that they could prominently stamp on the handle for all to see. Since this style of mess kit does not seem to benefit from this locking lug, it would seem that this was possibly a way to gain market visibility and advantage for Wear Ever (just my hunch).

    1922.jpg
    Advertisement from the April 1922 issue of Boy's Life. Lists "patent fry pan".

    From what I understand of the US Patent system, patents are granted for 20 years from the date of first application, with a one year grace period while application is pending (the actual patent date is retroactive to application date). If this holds true for the Wear Ever patent on the fry pan, then it was patented from 1915 until 1935. After that the patent expired, and anyone could make the fry pan with the locking lug. Since the locking lug seems to disappear, and no other company added it to their kits, it would seem to indicate that the locking lug was indeed, just a way to get market advantage through an "official US Patent number" to stamp on the handle (again, just my guess and deduction).

    The Wear Ever advertisements in Boy's Life Magazine drop the "patent" description from the fry pan's after about 1935, and just list the fry pan as a "fry pan". This would seem to confirm that only the fry pan was patented, and expired after 20 years, in 1935.

    The last advertisement that I can find in Boy's Life Magazine, for the Wear Ever kits is in 1941. There is no mention of "patent" when listing the fry pan.

    Based on the US Patent terms, and the 1915 date that shows up on the Wear Ever fry pan handles, here is the timeline that makes the most sense:
    1. First production pans stamped with the "Patent Applied For", starting up to a year before patent was granted in in 1915 (1914?).
    2. Patent granted for fry pan on Dec. 7, 1915. Pans marked with this patent info likely started production in 1916, since the patent granting date is in December of 1915.
    3. Patent expires on Dec. 7, 1935, and the fry pans drop the US Patent information and are just stamped Wear Ever 888 MADE IN USA. (1935 / 1936 - 1941)
    4. Production of the lugged fry pans likely ended at the beginning of WW2, when all aluminum was diverted to war production. At that time T.A.C.U. Company retooled their factories for war-time cookware for the military. This likely did away with all "888" mess kit production.

    I may not have all of the details perfect, but that's how it appears after all my research. If anyone has some additional insights or information, I'd love to hear it!
    Now I just need to find a few more of the Wear Ever Kits so I have one from each production run............

    So, for all you BSA mess kit fans out there, "Happy Hunting"!
     
  17. Simes

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    Phenomonal. :thumbup:

    Not that I'm likely to hunt down Wear Ever kit in the UK that is an insight probaly unavailable anywhere else.
     
  18. Ed Winskill

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    Interesting subject!
    Scout frypan in use at Devil's Dream camp, a mile or so from Indian Henry's Hunting Ground, in Mt. Rainer Nat'l Park, 2007:

    [​IMG]

    And here's a glimpse of another Scout pan; Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier, 1963:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Twoberth

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    Nice to see a Camping Gaz 200 firing up the pan.
     
  20. Ed Winskill

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    Proof positive of Classic Gassie status!