Manufacturers marks used on 'Square' style round measures:
WRP: The image below left shows the Manufacturers mark WRP.
I have this mark on two round measures in my collection, detail from the UV numbers advises that
both measures were capacity tested in June 1940.
I have not been able to identify the maker and would again like to hear should anyone know.
G&C: The image below right shows the Manufacturers mark G&C and the year 1953. Vocabulary numbers are
also present - to be discussed later in the page.
I have four G&C marked round measures in my collection, the oldest December 1952, the latest, 1953,
the month of manufacture is not possible to tell as the mark is on a One and a Half Gill measure, as such,
it it not UV numbered.
The 'barrel and tap' like symbol is also shown, which I believe is the 'trademark/logo of Gaskell and
Craftsman: The image above left, shows what looks like a 'Craftsman with a Chisel' and advises 'Trade Mark'.
I have not been able to identify the manufacturer from the symbol and would be greatful to hear if anyone
This mark appears only once in my collection, on a One and a Half Gill round measure, being a One and
a Half Gill size, it is not UV numbered - discussed later - therefore it is not possible to tell the year of
The unusual feature of the measure that the 'Craftsman' mark comes from, is that it has
'Vocabulary Numbers' impressed into the side, as opposed to the base. 'Vocabulary Numbers to be
discussed later in this page.
'Craftsman with chisel'? Trademark.
'MMS' Manufacturers mark - Midland Metal Spinners?
'BB' Manufacturers mark - Burt Brothers
My collection contains marks from six different manufacturers, most of my
measures do not have a manufacturers mark at all.
My collection suggests that manufacturers marks first appeared in 1940, there
was a considerable gap, before the next set of marks appeared in 1952.
I have found three marks used on the 'Italic' and three on the 'Square'
style round measures.
Manufacturers Marks used on 'Italic' style round measures:
MMS: The image below left, shows the manufacturers mark 'MMS' and the year 1940.
Only finding this mark on round measures with the 'Italic' capacity format, and only for the one year, 1940.
MMS marked measures are quite prolific, around a third of my 'Italic' round measures are MMS marked.
My research leads me to believe that 'MMS' stands for 'Midland Metal Spinners'.
I have seen discussion around the Internet surmising that 'MMS' stands for 'Motor Mine Sweepers' - a
class of vessel that was introduced in 1940. I do not subscribe to this idea, for a number of different
reasons, explained towards the bottom of the 'Manufacturers Marks section.
BB: The image below right, shows the 'BB' manufacturers mark and the year 1953. The 'Vocabulary'
numbers can also be seen in this image - 'Vocabulary' numbers will be discussed later.
Like 'MMS' above, this mark only appears on 'Italic' capacity marked measures and only for one
month/year - January 1953.
The 'BB' mark is a trademark of 'Burt Brothers'.
It appears that Burt Brothers made few round measures, however they made a great many of the 'Lipped'
measures used for measuring neat spirit - discussed on another page.
Left: Amongst other things - a different '2'.
Right: A horizontal line between '1' and '2', also 'Gill' not 'Gills', and a different 'G'.
Left: A horizontal line between '1' and '2' and a different 'P'.
Right: A different 'R'
Left: Horizontal line between '1' and '2' and different 'G'.
Right: Almost 'Italic' but not quite!
Most of the above eight examples are from the same manufacturer, made in the same year.
The six images below show some variations that I have in my collection.
1/2 Gallon Italic Gallon Italic
½ Pint Italic Pint Italic Quart Italic
My own 'Abbreviated' style round measures - ( QV & Edward VII ) - all have a 'Broad Arrow', or 'Crows Foot' impressed, as can be seen in the images above.
The 'Broad Arrow' signifies government property. A measure with a Broad Arrow could therefore have been in use with any of the British services, Army, Navy or other government department, for example, Prisons.
Therefore, it is not possible to say with certainty, that a broad arrow marked measure is a Royal Navy rum measure.
Considering 'Round Measures', the 'Abbreviated' capacity marking style was not the only stlye in use during the reign of Queen Victoria - (1837 - 1901 ).
I have three measures in my collection that have Victorian UV numbers, but have the 'Square' format of marking - see below for a discussion of UV numbers and 'Square' format capacity marking.
The image below left, shows the final mark of the set, 'Gallon'.
( The '1½ Gill' measure was introduced some time between 1929 and 1939, as detailed earlier ).
There can be some differences to the character styles, image below centre is an alternate 'Quart'.
The image below right also shows the markings from a 'Quart' rum measure, the character that looks like a '2' is an upper case 'Cursive' style 'Q' - many thanks to Mr John Rowsell for this information.
Abbreviated: The three images below show the capacity markings for the '½ Gill', 'Gill' and '½ Pint' measures.
Handle repair - where handle meets body. Filling of dents and holes.
Handle bottom fixing - pointed. Internal view, single flat head rivet.
Internal 'tinning', older measure. New or unissued measure - tinning shiny.
As rivets became loose, through heavy usage or damage, quite often the measures were repaired by 'running' solder into the top of the handle, at the point where it meets the 'beaker' section.
See image below - left.
Handles that sustained large dents, or holes through persistent polishing, were occasionally filled with solder and buffed to a smooth finish.
See image below - right.
The bottom end of the handle is normally finished off to a point and affixed to the 'beaker' section with a single, flat base, copper rivet, as shown in the two images below.
Occasionally, the bottom fixing is squared off, or even rounded, rather than pointed.
'Fish tale' finish and two rivets. Internal view, two flat base rivets.
The top of the handle, where it is riveted to the 'beaker' section, is usually finished off in a characteristic 'fish tale' like shape, see image below, left.
Two, flat based copper rivets, secure the upper part of the handle to the 'beaker' section.
These can also be seen in the image below left.
The internal view of the upper end, two fixing rivets, is shown in the image below right.
Construction of 'wall' section and base - 3 piece measure.
The handles are generally manufactured from a single sheet of copper, they are formed to have the parallel sides of a rectangle, both ends of the rectangle closed in by a semi circle, as shown in the diagram below centre.
The width across the handles decreases from top to bottom, a slight tapering, hence becoming narrower.
Handle shape: Generally, the shape of the handle, for all measures in the set, does not vary.
See image below left.
Dimensionally, the handle size varies, dependant upon the size of the measure.
Later measures were of two piece construction, the handle and the 'beaker' like section.
Most handles were manufactured to be slightly tapered, from a single piece of copper plate, as previously, but the 'beaker' component was 'spun' on a 'turning machine', from one piece of copper plate.
( There are some very good video's of 'metal spinning' on Youtube.com ).
It is difficult to suggest a date when three piece construction was replaced by two piece construction.
Two of the three piece construction measures in my collection have markings that were in use between the late 1830's and 1879, ( See explanation of Weights and Measures markings on the W&M page ).
This may suggest that the majority of three piece measures predate the application of Unique Verification numbers, ( See the Weights and Measures page for an explanation of Unique Verification ( UV ) numbers ).
In 1879, legislation was introduced requiring the application of UV numbers. Three piece measures may therefore predate 1879?
From whatever time two piece construction replaced three piece construction, the two piece build method remained the only style, right up until the cessation of the rum issue in 1970.
The two edges of the 'wall' piece were castellated, enabling them to mesh together and, once brazed, make a stronger joint than a straight seam.
Image below left - shows the joint in the 'wall' section
The main base component was round and castellated, to mesh into the 'wall' section, this joint was also brazed.
Image below right - shows the base to 'wall' joint.
Construction: Early measures were constructed from three pieces of copper plate.
One piece forming the handle, a second piece, forming the walls of the measure, this
piece was also bent to form part of the base, the third piece forming the remainder of the base.
The image above shows a full set of 'round' 'rum measures', rum measures having became the everyday term for such items - in actual fact, they are 'grog measures', as the round measure was used to measure grog - the mixture of rum and water.
In size order, the set initially comprised of seven measures: Gallon, Half Gallon, Quart, Pint, Half Pint, Gill, Half Gill.
The 1929 edition of the Naval Victualling manual, BR93, does not list a 1½ Gill round measure, but the 1939 edition does. Introduction of the 1½ Gill round measure was therefore sometime between 1929 and 1939.
In 1939, the ratio of water to rum to make 'grog', was changed from 3 parts water / 1 part rum ( half a pint ) to 2 parts water / 1 part rum ( 2 and 1 ) - ( 1 1/2 Gill ), hence a new size measure was required. The 1 1/2 gill remained part of the set until cessation of the rum issue in 1970, making a set a run of eight measures.
An early 'Italic' style capacity marking font to two Victorian measures.
The two images left, show a Victorian
'½ Gill' ( very faded ) and a Victorian
'Gill' measure, both with a Broad Arrow.
The capacity marking font is an early
form of 'Italic' - discussed later.
( Letter 'G' is slightly different ).
Some reproduction measures may also have the name of a ship inscribed - HMS Victory, for example.
Base of a promotional measure. Base of an alternate manufacturer. Side of a promotional measure.
Most reproduction measures have a number of things in common.
The capacity is marked as GI ½ LL, also the handle is of solid construction and brazed to the measure.
The design on the base varies according to the manufacturer / promoter, as does any additional markings to the beaker section.
Some alternate base and side markings shown below.
Reproduction Round Rum measures: Various naval visitor attractions and maritime themed outlets offer a
souvenir copper rum measure, usually of the type shown below.
Commercial organisations also use similar measures for promotional
Reproduction measures are quite easily identifiable, as can be seen below, but increasingly, they are being sold on auction sites as genuine Royal Navy rum measures, individuals without a detailed knowledge may purchase what they think to be a small piece of naval history, often at a price close to that of a genuine measure.
Clearly, they have their place as souvenirs / mementoes, and collectable in their own right, but collectors of RN rum memorabilia should beware.
Entrance to Royal William Victualling Yard, Plymouth
Vocabulary Numbers: 'Vocabulary' numbers are a number system used to identify items of Naval Stores.
The predecessor of Vocabulary Numbers was 'AP' or 'Admiralty Pattern'
numbers and the successor to 'Vocabulary' numbers was NSN numbers - NATO
I believe that 'Vocabulary' numbers where phased in, as far as items of rum issue equipment were concerned, in the early 1950's.
My earliest 'Vocabulary' marked measue is July 1951, a 'Square' capacity marked measure. My earliest 'Italic' 'Vocabulary' numbered measure is January 1953.
Vocabulary numbers are a five digit sequence, some example images shown below.
All round rum measures have the same first three digits, the last two digits changing to reflect the size of the measure, as shown in the table below.
All bar one of my Vocabulary marked measures have their numbers on the base, the one odd measure has it's 'Vocabulary' numbers on the side - this is the 'Craftsman with chisel' measure discussed in the Manufacturers marks section.
PS: The image above left shows the PS Manufacturers mark and the year 1956.
My oldest PS marked round measure is March 1956, the most recent, June 1957. Between those two
dates however, I have several PS marked measures.
I have not been able to discover the Manufacturer from the initials 'PS', again if anyone should know, I
would be very grateful to hear.
Manufacturers Marks - General: I believe that a few of the manufacturers above were making round measures
for the Royal Navy long before they were allowed to add their Manufacturers
There are distinctive features on both the PS and G&C round measures that
match earlier round measures, without Manufacturers marks - for example, the font used to impress the PS marked round measure - 'Vocabulary' numbers, is very distinctive, it can also be found on measures that do not have a Manufacturers mark, from the same era.
½ Gill 'Square'. Gill 'Square'. 1½ Gill 'Square'.
The next three images below show the capacity markings for the 'Half Pint', 'Pint' and 'Quart' measures.
The image right, shows the verification mark applied to the side wall of the Half Pint Victualling yard measure.
Enough of the central roundal remains to suggest that this is the earlier of the two City of London marks.
The mark to the upper left quarter appears to be a 'G', suggesting that the measure is from the George IV reign, approximately 1830.
Pint round measure with A.P. number '82'.
Vocabulary numbers for Royal Navy 'round' rum measures.
1 1/2 Gill
'G&C' Manufacturers mark and 'Tap and Barrel' like Logo -Gaskell and Chambers.
The above image shows 2 copper round measures from the Victualling yards.
The left hand one's capacity markings have completely faded, but it holds 1/2 Pint. the right hand one a Gill.
The base of the measures is shown in the image immediately below. Both of the measure are two piece construction, showing a 'brased in' section and the crossed anchor emblem of the Victualling Commissioners.
City of London - George IV verification mark?
Admiralty Pattern numbers ( A.P. ) were the forerunner of Vocabulary Numbers.
For 'round measures', the numbering started with the Gallon at number '79', running down to number '85' for the 1/2 Gill. The 1.5 Gill 'round measure' was not introduced until the late 1930's, hence it's A.P. number is out of sequence with the rest of the set at number - '86'.
The image top left shows a 1 Pint measure, the first two digits to the left, '82', are it's A.P. number.
The image bottom left shows a 1 Gallon measure, it's A.P. number is also the first two digits - '79'.
The additional 8 digits / letters ( CP.7141.93 ) are the same for both the Pint and Gallon measures. At this time, it is unclear what the additional digits/letters represent.
Possibly '93' represents 1893, however it remains uncertain.
The full list of A.P. numbers for round measures is given in the table below right.
The image top left, below, shows the entrance gate to Royal William
Victualling Yard, Plymouth.
Above the two pedestrian access gates, to the left and right hand sides, sits a crossed anchor crest, a closer view of the crest is shown in the
image bottom left, below.
Victualling yards at Deptford, Gosport and Gibraltar show the same crest, and incidentally the same Ox heads, ( higher up on the Plymouth gate ).
The crossed anchor crest is the emblem for the Victualling Commissioners.
' 3 Trees' style of Reproduction 'round' measures.
Before seeing the image left, I assumed that the application of Broad Arrows to round measures, ceased at the end of Edward VII reign ( 1910 ).
The Pint round measure left, has a UV marking showing 'GR' - ( George V - 1910-1936 ).
The capacity marking is an Abbreviated style, but not the same as the Victorian/Edward VII style - compare the 'P', image left ( upper case ) to the 'p' in the image for the 1/2 Pint and Pint Abbreviated, above.
The style of 'P' left, is used in the later 'Italic' format, see below. The 'Gill' above right, shows the year, 1914.
Many thanks to Mr Geoff Pringle of oldnautibits.com for permission to use the above left image.
'PS' Manufacturers mark.
Admiralty Pattern (A.P.) numbers for Royal Navy 'round' rum measures.
1 1/2 Gill
Gallon round measure with A.P. number '79'.
M.M.S. 1940 Motor Mine Sweepers? The 'M.M.S. 1940' makers mark, found to the base of some 'round'
measures, is frequently said to stand for 'Motor Mine Sweepers', a class of
vessel that came in to service in 1940.
I do not subscribe to this idea, for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, to the best of my knowledge, no other type of vessel, either before or after 1940, is referenced to a measure, of any type / size.
The Motor Mine Sweepers of 1940 were a small class of vessel - with a compliment of 20 men. Small vessels were not issued with both types of rum measures - 'round' and 'lipped'. Small vessels were issued with 'lipped' measures only! They could however, request to be issued with 'round' measures if required.
According to BR93 ( The Manual of Vitualling ) a vessel the size of the 1940 Motorised Mine Sweepers would only be issued with a Quart, Pint, 1 1/2 Gill and 1/2 Gill, round measures ( If specifically requested ). If M.M.S. 1940 does indeed stand for Motor Minesweeper etc, then this is contradicted by the fact that there are Gallon and Half Gallon measures in the 'M.M.S. 1940' set!
Finally, reference the two images below. The image left shows the base of a brass, wardroom, 'finger bowl'. It is marked M.M.S. 1940 - ( No vocabulary number, as pre 1950's ).
The image right also shows a brass wardroom finger bowl, apart from the base markings, it is identical. It is marked VOC. No 52105 ( Vocabulary No 52105 ) M.M.S. 1956.
To the best of my knowledge, the RN did not commission a second batch of Motor Mine Sweepers in 1956!
Victualling Commissioners emblem to the base.
Victualling Commissioners emblem above the gate.
Victualling Yard 1/2 Pint (l) and Gill (R) round measures.
The first set of four that came my way have the makers mark shown in the image above left.
I thought that the mark looked like 'three trees', so personally referred to these measures as such, three trees reproduction measures.
I later came across similar measures, with extended oval handles top to bottom, the makers mark was however, two trees, as shown in the image above right. This mark being a little clearer.
The makers mark is the same - minus one 'tree', but being clearer, perhaps the makers mark looks more like a flower of some sort. In any case, I have not been able to identify the maker from their mark. Should anyone know who these particular marks belong to, I would be very grateful to learn.
Square: The round measures in my collection suggest that the 'Italic' capacity marking format did not extend
beyond March 1953.
Round measures after this time were marked with the 'Square' capacity marking format.
Oddly, I do have a small number of round measures from the Victorian era that are marked with the
'Square' font - the vast majority of Victorian measures were marked with the 'Abbreviated' font.
I also have a couple of George V, UV marked measures, with the 'Square' font, likewise, the
vast majority of George V round measures, were marked with the 'Italic' font.
The 'Squares' begin to appear in greater numbers towards the end of George VI reign, and apart
from the QEII, March 1953 Italic, mentioned above, they are the only type issued during the reign of
Elizabeth II, up until the cessation of the rum issue in 1970.
The three images below show the capacity markings for the 'Half Gill', 'Gill' and