Jerry Cans

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steve howe
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Jerry Cans

Postby steve howe » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:45 am

This might seem a bit obscure but has relevance as the rural coal merchant on my project is branching out into oil sales: Does anyone have any ideas what colour fuel cans would have been painted pre-WW2? I am thinking particularly of those used for dispensing Kerosene. I'm guessing petrol cans were probably painted red, but paraffin?....

Steve

shipbadger
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby shipbadger » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:06 am

By kerosene I take it you mean paraffin. A very quick search on google produced www.rusttoretro.com/paraffin-cans-10-c.asp
as an example. Most in the picture are postwar. I'm not quite sure what you mean by jerry cans. We used paraffin for heating when I was young and we had our own can, Pink Paraffin in our case which was refilled either by a chap who came round with a van that had a tank in the back or by visiting the local garage or building supplies yard, both of which sold paraffin from a pump. I'm told this is no longer legal and my local outlet stopped filling my can a few years back and I must now buy it in plastic containers. The house I'm in as I write this had a paraffin powered kitchen range with a tank on top of the garage outside to provide a 'head'.

I would suggest your coal merchant is more likely to have had a bulk storage tank, perhaps a metered pump for delivery and a van to drive round the district selling. He may have had a supply of larger drums for farmers and smaller ones for people to buy (I assume these were subsidised by the fuel companies as they carried their advertising). Colour was an impportant part of marketing paraffin and the product was often dyed to indicate which brand it was, pink, blue and green seeming to be the most common.

Tony Comber

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LesGros
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby LesGros » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:54 am

An "Ask" produced the following:

http://www.ask.com/wiki/Jerrycan?o=2802 ... ap=ask.com

It contains a description and origin of the 30, Jerrycan
LesG

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jon price
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby jon price » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:45 am

The best place to go for info on oil distribution is HMRS book "Oil on the Rails" by Alan Coppin. Lots of good pictures and info. The basic consumer package pre-war was the 2 gallon can
2galoilcan.jpg
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. Supply by road could be made in oil company tankers, or by rail in tank wagons, or 42 gallon barrels, or 2 gallon cans, the latter two in standard open wagons. In mainland Britain in 1938 there were just over 3,000 tank wagons for motor spirit, and the same number of road tankers. A small dealer is likely to get delivery by road tanker, or consignments of cans in a rail wagon. A larger facility might get road or rail tankers but bulk storage facilities tended to be seperate from other goods and had stringent shunting regulations so are unlikely to feature in a small goods yard.. Barrels tended to be offloaded from ships and routed direct, or via bunkering facilities, to oil company depots. Some large coal companies (such as Cory) were operating as oil distributers as well so had their own bunkering.

dal-t
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby dal-t » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:46 am

There ought to be a (mental) health warning attached to threads like this - does anyone know how to get that annoying "Esso Blue-ue-ue" jingle out of your head?
David L-T

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Noel
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby Noel » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:39 pm

Kerosine or Paraffin [the same thing] was introduced in Victorian times, and its use was well established by the 1930s, so there was an extensive network of suppliers. It was probably past its peak of popularity. If your coal merchant had a depot on site this would need railway agreement [and would assume delivery by rail, of course] and would have to comply with the Petroleum Regulations (Kerosine is in class B).

The oil companies had a large number of depots around the country, so the most likely scenario for a new entrant to the trade would be as an agent for one of the oil companies, probably with deliveries arriving by road tanker or lorry, in which case the depot would not be on railway property. This assumes that there was a depot at all, since that would represent a significant capital investment. He might simply collect by road from the oil company depot and distribute directly from there.

Containers for Class B liquids would probably then have been in the house colour(s) of that company. I think it unlikely that a coal merchant would have been involved in supplying petrol or gasoline or motor spirit [again different names for the same thing], unless he was also in the motor trade, in which case supply would have been via the garage premises, with delivery by road from the oil company depot.

I agree with Jon's suggestion of Alan Coppin's book, but question his comments about the locations of oil company depots; these were commonly on, or alongside, railway goods yards, with unloading on a dedicated siding within the yard, with the depot supplied by rail, for onward distribution by road.

As Jon says, much distribution was by two gallon cans, or by a small road tanker with a hand pump. Jerricans appeared after the war, being adopted because they were much more robust.

Noel
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Noel

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David B
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby David B » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:34 pm

My brother has a small collection and I have seen others in various places.

Jerry cans is the name usually given to the 5 gallon, green / khaki type used by the military in WW2 and still readily available. They originated in Germany before WW2 hence 'Jerry'.

Petrol cans were usually 2 gallons, stamped with various names - Esso, National Benzole, Pratts, Shell . . . - and came in several colours. Common ones were red, green, black, blue and the names sometimes picked out in something different. Caps were brass.

Paraffin cans I recall being square in section with a pyramid shaped top and a simple shallow square top which needed less than a turn to undo. They were a thick tin or similar and seemed to be stamped in to shape. I have a can in my workshop, with paraffin. The colour was a pale blue though little remains. It is now a mixture of faded blue, rust, dirt and cobwebs.

A good website is The Vintage Garage. This has an index of oil companies and their 2 gallon cans.

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jon price
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby jon price » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:56 pm

Not disagreeing with Noel, but I said that oil company facilities were unlikely to feature in small goods yards, by which I mean the sort of two siding/country station setup often featured on our layouts. The depots would tend to be in larger transport hubs, so attached to lager yards.

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Noel
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby Noel » Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:24 pm

Fair comment, Jon. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

Noel
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Noel

Alan Turner
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby Alan Turner » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:52 pm

You might want to look here: http://www.rusttoretro.com/paraffin-cans-10-c.asp

regards

Alan

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Dave K
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby Dave K » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:24 am

Alan Turner wrote:You might want to look here: http://www.rusttoretro.com/paraffin-cans-10-c.asp

Alan,
These bring back memories.

dal-t wrote:There ought to be a (mental) health warning attached to threads like this - does anyone know how to get that annoying "Esso Blue-ue-ue" jingle out of your head?

David,
You don't mean.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-NRbmfLVoWo

Dave

dal-t
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby dal-t » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:40 am

dal-t wrote:There ought to be a (mental) health warning attached to threads like this - does anyone know how to get that annoying "Esso Blue-ue-ue" jingle out of your head?

David,
You don't mean.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-NRbmfLVoWo

Dave[/quote]

Arrgh - yes! (I think the later ones were even in glorious technicolor - and do I remember a little heel-kick a la Morcombe and Wise at the end, as a singing can faded into the distance?)
David L-T

Philbax
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby Philbax » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:07 am

The jerrycan proper did not appear until a couple of years into WW11 when the 8th army captured |German petrol cans.
These were stronger, better made and more versatile than the British can which was known as a flimsey

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jon price
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby jon price » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:35 pm

You can get flimsies aka petrol cans from several military modelling sources. Search for "British WW2 stowage". They may be any scale from 1/76 to 1/72 but the difference in size is negligible, and as long as you only use one source this won't be distinguishable on the layout.

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steve howe
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby steve howe » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:44 am

Thanks for all that useful information guys, I think Jon is right in his comment that a small trader would have taken delivery of oil in cans or drums conveyed in open wagons. My merchant is dealing solely in Kero. but I might have to stretch a point to justify a tank wagon!

I have attached a couple of drawings of a small installation (at Newport I think) sent to me via one of the Yahoo GWR groups which unfortunately seems to have disappeared to I can't credit the gent's name, but it shows both petrol and Kero. tanks along with ancillary buildings and equipment.

I think my rural backwater might be a bit more rustic!

Steve

001.jpg


003[2].jpg
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Noel
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby Noel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:59 am

The plan shows 'Mex' and 'Shell' on the spirit tank, but not 'BP', which suggests that the plan pre-dates the setting up wef 1/1/1932 of the joint marketing and sales organisation 'Shell Mex and BP Ltd'. It would be interesting to know which of the many Newports in Britain this is, as it shows a small depot; the one in Aberystwith shown in Alan Coppin's book is at least twice the size. The list in his book does include a Shell-Mex depot at Dock Street, Newport, Monmouthshire; if it is this one it was established before 1925. It was close to the docks, in an area of warehousing and terraced houses.

So far as distribution is concerned, horse drawn road transport was in use in the 1890s, if not before, and motor lorries were in common use soon after WW1. A 12T tank would carry over 3,000 gallons, so storage facilities would be needed significantly in excess of this amount. I believe that the bulk use of flimsies was a wartime expedient; drums seem more likely pre-war, but others may know more on that point. Premises for handling and decanting would still be required, conforming with the Petroleum Regulations.

Noel
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Noel

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jon price
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby jon price » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:04 pm

This is a really useful plan. The depot would be about 240mm x 180mm which is eminently suitable for modelling without any kind of compression. When I enlarge the plan I lose the second image (the cross sections of buildings.) Any chance of posting this as a seperate image?

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steve howe
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Re: Jerry Cans

Postby steve howe » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:33 pm

I'll have to do it on Monday Jon as the file is on my comp. at work. In the meantime have you tried right-clicking on the image and going to 'save picture as'? The second image is not as high res. as the plan I'm afraid.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that before regulations were tightened up on these things, old boilers were used as bulk storage... old boilers were easy to come by in Cornwall in the '20s with so many mines closing, although I think a full length Cornish Boiler might be a bit OTT...!


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