by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
Stone jars for storage have been around for a long, long time. Humans have been using a wide variety of stone and earthenware jars for 1000’s of years. This was no less the case during WWI when the British Army used 1 gallon stone (clay) jars for rum storage. The jars had a natural glazed stoneware appearance but the top shoulder and upper part were glazed a light brownish/yellow. When used by the military for the storage of rum they were marked with the letters SRD in black which stood for ‘Service Rum Dilute’ or better know to the troops as Seldom Reaches Destination!!
The jars were also used to store other liquids such as lime juice and other liquids, and hundreds of thousands of these jars were produced. They can still be found today in antique shops and homes around the country. Apparently 3577 rum jars were destroyed when the British evacuated Gallipoli in 1915. Now, Resicast have brought us a very useful set of diorama accessories in the form of Rum Jars and Crates.
The set comes in the standard Resicast zip bag with a paper insert showing a good picture of the jars and crates to aid painting along with the manufacturers details on the lower front. Inside are two further zip bags, one containing the Rum Jars and another containing the crates. Cast in a light grey resin the parts appeared free from any air bubbles or damage.
You get 20 rum jars in 5 sets of 4 jars each. Eight of the rum jars have open tops, whilst the other 16 have the stoppers still in, so a bit of a party going on somewhere!!! The jars look very well cast and have the correct shape, they only need to be removed from the casting plug and perhaps the open jars drilled with a slightly deeper opening.
To accompany the jars you get 9 crates. 5 of the crates are closed and the other 4 are shown open. Of the open four crates, two contain the tops of 2 rum jars (2 per crate) and two of the crates have 1 jar each remaining. The crates are nicely detailed with wood grain, and the 5 closed crates have the packing straps in evidence. The 4 open crates show packing (most probably straw) around the jars and in the empty space where appropriate, and also show the broken open packing straps. No lids are provided for the four open crates but these would be an easy thing to make if you wanted to show them.
This is a very handy and fun set of accessories and although I have related the rum jar to the British and Commonwealth troops during WWI, I would imagine that you could use these just about anywhere from the late 1800’s onwards depending on your needs. So whether sitting in a Chemists shop, or the local watering hole, I would imagine you could find these types of jars all over the place.
Information about the ‘rum tot’ in WWII seems patchy, but whether ‘official’ or ‘unofficial’ I am sure the practice was carried out at unit level, particularly within infantry units, but I would be delighted for any more information on that.
The casting is excellent and the set should require only a sharp razor saw to remove the plugs from the crates and you have a nice unusual set of items for your dioramas. Normal precautions apply when working with resin.
My thanks to Resicast for the review sample.