I have several WWI bacon cans and have seen 3 variations on these:
* Model of 1916, no manufacturer or date,
* Model of 1916, S&B 1917,
* Model of 1916, S&B 1918.
Now for the questions:
1) If they are marked only "Model of 1916" on the lid (and no other information), can one correctly conclude that it was manufactured in 1916?
2) What other manufacturers besides S&B (if any) were there in 1916?
3) What manufacturers of Model of 1916 bacon cans produced after 1916 ?
Marked "Model of 1916" only, no mfgr or date:
S&B dated 1917:
The story of the bacon can begins with the meat can (that is universally referred to as "mess kit") that was recommended for adoption by the Infantry Equipment Board in 1875. The meat can was intended to carry three days ration of meat, and to double as a frying pan and plate. The meat can went through incremental changes in construction and material, but not in function, until 1910 when the Infantry Equipment Board determined that the meat can was unsatisfactory for carrying rations. The meat can was invariably placed into the haversack or saddle bags edge ways and grease would seep out of the meat can and soil the duck material of the haversack and the uniform of the soldiers.
The Infantry Equipment Board decided to recommend that the utensils be shortened and carried inside the meat can, and that a separate container be provided for the field rations. The container recommended for adoption was a sheet steel tin plated box with hinged lid, that it was expected would always be carried upright in the Model of 1910 Haversack in such a way that the grease and etc. could not seep out. The Model of 1910 bacon can was manufactured in two configurations, one hinged on the end and one hinged on the side, both were lightweight sheet steel tin plated, folded and assembled with solder.
Apparently the M1910 bacon can was unsatisfactory and the Model of 1913 Bacon Can was adopted. The M1913 was manufactured from thicker sheet steel, two piece construction - bottom or can and separate lid, that was pressed to shape and fit together quite closely and held together by friction. It appears that the M1913 bacon cans were heavily tin plated after being formed to shape. The Model of 1916 bacon can followed and was very similar to the M1913 bacon can except the lid was deeper and therefore closed further down onto the bottom, presumably to make the assembly more secure (samples of M1913 bacon cans examined the top rather easily popped off) and prevent the seepage of the grease and juices.
Until 1917 all manufacture of bacon cans was at Rock Island Arsenal, and all of the examples of the M1910 and M1913 bacon cans I have examined were not marked by the Arsenal. I think it is probable that most of the existing samples of unmarked M1916 bacon cans were manufactured at Rock Island Arsenal.
In 1917 Rock Island Arsenal contracted with industrial companies to manufacture M1916 bacon cans as well as other equipment. Later in 1917 the Equipment Division at the Ordnance Office assumed responsibility for contracting for this equipment, because of the requirement to coordinate with other divisions in the Ordnance Office and the War Production Board for the materials.
In mid-1918 Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces requested that the issue of bacon cans to soldiers being shipped to the AEF be discontinued and that there be no further bulk shipment of bacon cans. The bacon can was determined to be unnecessary as the front line troops carried canned emergency rations when in an assault and were fed prepared rations otherwise. Apparently by August 1918 all existing contracts for M1916 bacon cans were cancelled and there was no further production. Total production from all sources was reported in America's Munitions 1917-1918 at 4,077,560. All models of the bacon can were reclassified obsolete in 1919 and the item was no longer manufactured, stocked or issued.
During the War the U.S. Marine Corps acquired bacon cans from the army and contracted for bacon cans with unknown contractor(s) and quantity. The contractor(s) were probably making the bacon can on Army contracts and marked them in the same way as those manufactured for the Army. I have not examined any bacon can that was marked in any way that indicated it was manufactured for the Marine Corps. The Marines continued to issue the bacon can in the 1920s and by 1940 it had been dropped from equipment lists.
Follows is a list of Rock Island Arsenal production and the known contractors that manufactured M1916 bacon cans and how they were marked where known:
America's Munitions 1917-1918 lists all of the individual equipment as Quartermaster Department material, however all production of the bacon can was the responsibility of the Ordnance Department. Other resources were the Correspondence Files of the Office of The Chief of Ordnance at the National Archives and Rocord Administration, which included a list of 1,234 WWI Ordnance Department contractors prepared in 1919. All representations of markings shown here were taken from sample equipment.
MODEL OF 1916
marked on all production by R.I.A. and contractors.
unmarked? (Rock Island Arsenal) 1916-19 production from Arsenal records 2,219,785 (reflects production prior to 1917 and combines totals from two different sources so there may be redundancy, total production at Rock Island Arsenal is estimated at 1,399,570, America's Munitions 1917-1918 listed 1,358,570, but does not include pre WWI production.
TAS Co.-TOLEDO OHIO-1918
(The Acklin Stamping Co.) contract EA-39 August 28, 1917 500,000 (not listed in America's Munitions 1917-1918). I cannot account for why these bacon cans were marked "1918" except that perhaps Acklin did not get into production until 1918. It may be that it was because it was a Fiscal Year 1918 contract?
(Cleveland Metal Products) no contract listed in Ordnance Department documents, listed in America’s Munitions 1917-1918 total production 21,700.
(Landers, Frary & Clark) 2 contracts: EA-20 August 1, 1917 200,000 covers only and EA-129 January 1, 1918 250,000 complete, America's Munitions 1917-1918 listed production at 534,000.
S&B-1917 or 1918
(Sturgis & Burns) three contracts and two purchase orders in 1917-18: two for complete cans, two were for bodies and one for covers, America's Munitions 1917-1918 listed production at 1,731,000.
unknown (Penn Metal Co., New York) mentioned in Chief of Ordnance correspondence, unknown if any manufactured.
unknown-may be unmarked (20th Century Stamping Co.) contract by R.I.A. April 27, 1917 334,160 (not listed in America's Munitions 1917-1918)
(William B. Durgin Co.) no contract information located, contractor identified from Ordnance Department list of contractors and products produced.
(Whittacker, Glessner Co.) contract EA-140 February 21, 1918 500,000 (not listed in America's Munitions 1917-1918)
unknown-may be unmarked (Wisconsin Metal Products Co.) America's Munitions 1917-1918 listed production at 131,880.
Ordnance Department documents that cancelled procurement in August 1918 indicated that production was authorized for 9,700,722 bacon cans, most of which were never contracted for manufacture. No information has been located in Ordnance Department files regarding cancellation of contracts.