This is perhaps one of the rarest of the Spanish-American War canteens! The experimental 1898 enamelware canteen with original cover and original cork and chain. Made by the Dubuque Stamping & Enameling, Co. Told it was possibly used in cavalry thus the short leather strap. The strap is period to the piece and has not been added. I believe it was put on near the time of manufacture. There were from what I can tell, 3 versions made in enamel and approximately 1,000 made of each. Compare that to the 260,000 of the regular style from Rock Island Arsenal. This was tried in the field for 1 year and then they scraped them because if it got dented the enamel would crack on outside and inside and enamel would get in the water when you drank it. They soon went back to the all tin canteen. From the dimensions and shape I can say this is the 1898 that is #317 in Mike O’donnell’s U.S. Army & Militia Canteens from 1775-1910. The best dimensions I can get (because of the canvas cover) is a little over 7″ diameter and the thickness of sides is approximately is 1 11/16th.
From the research I have done there of course are very few of these around and the only ones I could find pictured are dented or rusted and none, including the images in the book, have an intact cover. This is the original canvas cover. It was not added later. I don’t have a problem saying this may be one of the nicest ones around.
Chances of finding another out of only 1,000 that were made would be tough and to find one like this very tough maybe impossible. I travel a lot and try to hunt down the hard to find and rare items and it is not often I come across something like this. It is museum quality and has the rarity factor to go along with it.