Small oval plate, three screw hole, lifting handle.                                Large oval plate, four screw hole, lifting handle.

The two images below show the lifting handles from the six gallon Barricoe, left, and the ten gallon Barricoe, right.

Barricoes using the large oval plate, four screw hole fixing, as image right, appear to be the most prevalent.

There appears to be little standardisation regarding the handle type - small plate or large plate, although the smaller, six gallon Barricoe, may have used the smaller, three screw hole plate design, but not exclusively so.

The image left shows the Barricoe on display at HMS Belfast - without a locking mechanism.

Occasionally, a brass star arangement appears around the bung hole.


Some very early units are decorated with the word 'Rum', in brass letters.

A variety of bung designs can be found, varying from elaborate acorns to tall, plain wooden stoppers.

Carrying handles were not always present, a loop of

rope may have been used to lift and carry the Barricoe.

Wooden blocks screwed to the 'heads' of the Barricoe were also used as handles 

Hasp closed for locking.
Bung in position and hasp open.
Bung of the six gallon Barricoe.

The image left, shows the bung in position with the hasp closed, ready to be locked.

The 'bung' of the six gallon Barricoe is shown in the image below left, made of oak and looking similar to a 'sock darning mushroom'.

Once the required amount of rum had been poured into the Barricoe, the bung would be replaced and the hasp closed and locked, the key retained by the issuing officer until the time when the rum would be mixed with water, for issue.

The Image below right, shows the bung in position with the hasp mechanism open.

View along the top of the ten gallon Barricoe.

The image left, shows a view along the top of the ten gallon Barricoe.

The three brass hoops at one end can be seen and also the twin copper rivets of each hoop.

The hoop closest to the 'head' is often wider than the other two hoops, which are usually the same width.

All of the copper rivets, from hoops on both sides of the Barricoe, should line up at the top of the Barricoe.

Some Barricoes have their hoops secured in position with escutcheon pins - small brass nails, with a round head - this would not have been the case in service, but after a period of time 'drying out', the Barricoe will shrink and the 'staves' become loose, escutcheon pins may help to retain the original placing of the hoops.

At one end of the Barricoe, the hoop joints will all face the same way, at the opposite end, the joints will all face the opposite way.

The image left also shows the hasp raised and the bung removed.

End view showing Ovaloid construction of Barricoe.                        Damage to the brass 'hoops' on the underside.

All wooden parts of the 'Barricoe' were constructed from oak, the 'staves' shaped to give an ovaloid form when assembled.

The 'heads' at both ends are made from two or more pieces of timber, the 'head' assembly is chamfered and grooved into the 'staves', the whole Barricoe assembly being held tightly together by a series of copper riveted, brass hoops.
A brass lifting handle is attached to each 'head' and a brass 'hasp and staple' allows the bung to be locked into place, preventing unauthorised access.

The image below left, shows the ovaloid form of the 'Barricoe'. Due to the ovaloid shape, the Barricoe can be lain on the floor without fear of it rolling away.
A Royal Navy 'Barricoe' does not have 'feet', it rests on the deck, on it's lower 'staves', as a consequence, the bottom 'staves' of a Barricoe, that has not been refurbished, will be damaged, as will the brass hoops that may make contact with the deck from time to time.
The image below right, shows the damage that has occurred to the brass hoops of the ten gallon 'Barricoe' above, the 'staves' have been sanded smooth to remove damage.

Ten gallon 'Barricoe'.                                                                           Six gallon 'Barricoe'.

The image above shows a 'Barricoe' and two copper rum funnels. In the Royal Navy, 'Barricoe' was usually pronounced 'Breaker'.

A 'Barricoe' would be used to transport rum from the Spirit Room - the stowage space where neat rum was stored, to the place where the rum would be mixed with water, in a grog or rum tub, and dispensed to 'Rum Bosuns', for further issue to their mess members.

Documentation shows that as early as the 1950's, and likely earlier, two sizes of 'Barricoe' were in use, six gallon and ten gallon.

I believe that the image above shows a six gallon 'Barricoe', a ten gallon 'Barricoe' is shown in the image below left, the image below right shows another six gallon 'Barricoe', a different variant to the one above.

Like grog/rum tubs, few genuine Barricoes survived  the end of the Royal Navy rum ration intact.

Some may have had a 'head', handles and 'hasp and staple removed', bung hole filled in, thus converting into 'Stick/Umbrella' stands.

These frequently have a transfer applied, depicting a coat of arms, but apart from the timbers, little remains of the original Barricoe. 

I believe the lack of Barricoes in circulation today means that most were destroyed, never making it out of the Dockyard and Admiralty ownership.

Royal Navy Rum Barricoe / Breakers.

Image right, reproduced by kind permission of Charles Miller Ltd - Maritime Auctioneers.
Royal Navy 'Rum Barricoe'.

A six gallon barricoe would be issued to vessels and establishments  with a compliment below 800.

Unlike most rum ration equipment, I believe that the Barricoe was not marked with it's Vocabulary number.

Vocabulary numbers for Royal Navy Rum Barricoes

        Six Gallon

        Ten Gallon             52031

Regarding older Barricoes, the photographic record shows that there was little standardisation.

Two images of a cask possibly used as a water carrier - not a Royal Navy rum Barricoe

The two images below show a type of cask that  often tends to be described as a Rum Barricoe, perhaps they may have been for another Navy, but not for the Royal navy. 

The hoops are galvanised steel, painted to look like brass in this case. The wooden carrying handles are attached to two of the hoops, the same two hoops have feet attached to the underside.

The brass threaded bung screws into a brass receptacle and one head has a hole, presumably where a tap was fitted.

One of my fellow collectors  believes that this style of cask may have been used to hold fresh water in life rafts