Daily “Tot” – Pusser’s Rum (1640-1970)

What’s this all about… a daily “tot” issued to Royal Navy Sailors for more than 330 years?

Treasured Collections is proud to share a story of all things nautical – sailing, yacht racing, RN, traditions, and more! Capturing the story behind a family artifact is fun and yet important to record known information, knowledge and past experience to share with future generations.

British Navy Pusser’s Rum (R) is the Single Malt of Rum that was issued daily on board ships of Great Britain’s Royal Navy for more than 330 years.  From about 1640 until 31 July 1970, a daily rational of rum was issued to sailors on board ship. Known as the “tot” it became the longest unbroken tradition of the history of the sea.

Being from a family with long traditions with the British Royal Navy, I was very aware of “Pusser’s Rum”. Imagine my surprise when in the local LCBO (our Canadian liquor store), I spied this wonderful decanter of Pusser’s Navy Rum!  Evidently with the Admiralty’s blessing this rum became available to the consumer! The Royal Navy Sailor’s Fund, a naval charity, more commonly called the “Tot Fund” benefits from the sales.

This particular ceramic decanter celebrates the magnificent sport of yachting and sailboat racing. The three images include

  1. The Schooner America August 1851 when she won the Hundred Guinea Cup (which later became the America’s Cup),
  2. Jolie Brise, a 56-foot pilot cutter winner of the first Fastnet Race in 1925, Jolie Brise is still sailing today and went on to win the 2000 Tall Ships Race Overall.
  3. A tiny sloop Spray, which wailed around the world single-handed by Captain Joshua Slocum , leaving Boston April 1895, he returned to Rhode Island June 1898.

For me, being from Portsmouth, Hampshire the home of HMS Victory, flagship of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson…. it was also fun to see the  the slogan “Nelson’s Blood”.

By chance, to add to the fun…. a Portsmouth area chocolate company offer Pusser’s Rum Truffles… neat!

You can see more about Pusser’s Rum and the traditions on their website or just do a Google search!

Treasured Artifacts – Edwardian Repoussé Silver Box – Capture The Story!

I love my job! What a pleasure it is to work with the wonderful treasured collections of my clients…. this silver box, for instance!

It is an exquisite 3″ Edwardian sterling silver trinket box, with a Repoussé forest design, made by Haseler Brothers, Chester, England, circa 1905.

This is one of two special items this client gave me the opportunity to work with. From the start she strongly felt, “There is no information to be collected!” and yet after a very short time, she was thrilled with the amount of information I was able to discover – to explain:

The box was given to my client by her mother, the only information available was an auctioneer’s note which detailed a value and an accurate date.

She wondered whether this might be a stamp box.  Her Grandfather had moved to London from Ireland and ran a Post Office.

As in most cases the maker’s mark can tell us lots of information….

The maker’s stamp is made up of four images on the side, and two on the lid.

  1. Silversmith’s mark – EJH NH in shield.
  2. Lion – standard lion indicates sterling silver .925 weight.
  3. The three wheat sheaves in a shield – Chester City 1701-1925.
  4. E in this style – used in 1905

The initials E J H and N H indicate the names of the silversmiths who made this Edwardian box. These initials represent the Haseler Brothers, Edward John Haseler and Noble Haseler.

The company was originally founded by William Hair Haseler in Birmingham in 1848. The business was located in Branston Street, Birmingham. This particular item was registered at the Chester Assay Office in 1905.

It is noted that a London office was opened in 1876 and in 1901 the company went into partnership with Liberty of London for the manufacture of the well-known Cymric range of silverware.  In 1946 the company became Haseler & Restall.

The textured image seen on the top of the box is known as Repoussé – hammered metalwork into relieve from the reverse side. The forest scene includes wild boar and their young.

Now we know a good deal about the box, we expanded the search into family members.  My client had large framed photographs on the wall of her Grandparents, and her maternal Great Grandmother.

A 1911 census search gave us clues for dates and family information. The package complete giving context to this wonderful artifact to ensure it is passed along down the family. The final project was produced on paper for my client and a computer version emailed to family members.

Although we couldn’t define who had bought this item, or who in the family had owned it….. we have discovered its date, maker and origin.

Amazed at the results, my client was thrilled with her package – for me it was pure joy to work with such a wonderful artifact!

If you would like to discover more information about your family heirlooms… Treasured Collections can help!