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The 'THATCHER' knapsack
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Greg Renault
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:22 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Quote:
In the way an artist prepares a canvas I guess?

So much so that I always use gesso (acrylic, art supply shop) on canvas before painting it.  Whenever the project permits, I prefer to use pre-gessoed canvas; it flexes with the material and improves resistance to water.
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judging by the 'bleedthrough' on the pack, the 'Thatcher' doesn't appear to be sized, agreed? Two other knapsacks where I can also see bleethrough;

Durham: (DLI)

(photo courtesy of Frank Packer)

RA 5th Bttn (NAM):



Two other morsels which have cropped up previously on the forum (my bold);

WO62/44 Storekeepers Instructions Book 29 Dec 1812

"Mr Main is to clean the paint from the knapsacks which were rejected of Mr Higgins and Mr Jackman's contracts in consequence of size having been used in the process of painting them, and after being so cleaned they are to be submitted to you for the purpose of being stamped and returned to him, who is to paint them properly, and redeliver them into store for inspection without slings."

And;

"Report on the proceedings of a board of General Officers...upon a subject of a knapsack, made by Mssrs. Bicknells & Moore of Bond Street...11 December 1812...
      ...The board having examined the knapsack...and considered what has been stated by them relative to its properties and advantages - viz: That it is made in exact conformity to the sealed pattern; but prepared in a very peculiar manner, to obviate the evil of cracking either from being exposed to the sun or soaked with wet _ that it is considerably lighter than the sealed pattern, and they presume much more desirable,  the preparation being the same as the patent Leather, the utility of which as been fully proved _ that the composition laid on the Russian Duck to render it waterproof, is of such a nature as to preserve it till the duck wears out and never comes off on the coat..."


Question: would they really care about bleedthrough?
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John Waller
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul Durrant wrote:

Question: would they really care about bleedthrough?


Probably not. Sizing might improve the proofing and reduce the amount of paint required and we know some manufacturers prepared the canvas before painting in some way.

This from the Trotter archive

Letter from Mr J Trotter to Matthew Lewis esq., 15 July 1803

"We have the honour to represent for your consideration that the North Devon Regiment of Militia and the Royal Cornwall & Devon Miners complain that their knapsacks lately received are now in a worse condition than those of the late war at their expiration of six years service. The paint peeling to render them unfit for the purpose intended since when we have investigated the business to its origin and consequently have reason to apprehend that about 20000 are in a similar state from the same cause. Owing to the extent of the supply in March and Messrs Smith and Baberís declaring themselves incompetent to more than half the quantity is due reason we had recourse to the house of Buckley long in the habit of painting knapsacks to perhaps a greater extent than any other and otherwise of good repute. The precautions we adopted to secure the best painting together with the expedition and punctually were unusual to him but readily asserted. He was strictly guarded throughout the process, but his mode of preparing the canvas differed from others, as well as in quality of paint which exceeded Babers. These were stated to hi †from time to time, but as a painter he judged his the superior and consequently continued the practice at his own risk until a series of complaints made by the strappers, by the packers and others (who necessarily had the handling of them and were directed to narrowly examine them and to return such as were imperfect) determined us to alter the process of painting from his to Baberís as nearly as possible, Baberís being a patent, He was open to the conviction which reiterated circumstances produced on the minds of everyone and cheerfully obeyed. We say thus much prove he acted under misjudgement and not intentionally to deceive or acquire greater profit and as will appear by the enclosed copy of his letter he is now ready to make every atonement in his power, whilst deeply impressed with the effects of his prejudice to his own process in this exercise of his business and we flatter ourselves that your justice will not impute any part of the misfortunes we allude to,. To any inattention or avoidable cause on our part, still we deem it our duty to lessen the evil in its present state as much as may be in our power with which it meet your sanction to write a circular letter to those corps in possession of Buckleyís knapsacks (which are known to us) requiring a statement of their condition and the immediate return of such as are imperfect, to be restored as soon as repainted and restrapped by Mr Buckley, for we find that by boiling and washing them in a mixture of soft soap and water the paint will completely scale off and the canvas receive fresh painting so as to produce as good a knapsack as if new. In the meanwhile the soldiers to
Use his haversack as a substitute.

We have the honour etc

J Trotter"


[40 regiments received these knapsacks]
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The button stick has some writing on it. Lars has taken some better pictures. Can we decipher it? I was hoping for a name, but can't work out if the first two words are starting with W's or H's... William Halkett or Walton?


I should be at Kew shortly and might have time to pull some musters for the 1st Foot Guards and see if anything jumps out. Its a longshot though, with three strong battalions to check of at least 1000 men each, over five years with changes every month.







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Eddie
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ben wrote:
The button stick has some writing on it. Lars has taken some better pictures. Can we decipher it? I was hoping for a name, but can't work out if the first two words are starting with W's or H's... William Halkett or Walton?


How's about this one?

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9112470


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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further to the above discourse on the button cleaning stick, on the main inside pocket/bag of the knapsack, we found writing on the flap:



One of our members, photographer Kevin Booth (DeviousWolf Photography) played with the image to see if he could reveal more...

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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The plot thickens    q15
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halondella
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Thatcher Knapsack Reply with quote

Paul and All,
Another Winter season, time to make more Knapsacks. Has there been any more thought on the Thatcher Knapsack? I still have not come up with a satisfactory answer to that darn " strap to nowhere" on the top. It has been speculated that there is a missing internal flap or bag.  The lone strap and it's missing mate could attach to that. Has anybody made a pack with such? If so, would you share pictures or information? Thanks and regards.
Harry Pilotto
42d RHR (USA)
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul Durrant wrote:


Beneath the main buckles...



Harry,
Absolutely convinced that there were buckles to receive the straps under the main harness (see above).

There's nowhere else and these tears are definitely that - tears. They are not worn away areas as nothing rubs them. The back of those buckles may touch the paintwork but it is only the buff of the harness that touches, not the metal of the buckles.

Here is my reconstruction:
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halondella
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:20 pm    Post subject: Thatcher Knapsack Reply with quote

Paul,
Thank you for your prompt and informative reply. I too came up with that solution, had to go back and modify the first three packs I made to add those buckles. Why those straps  are 2 1/2" back rather than at the edge I cannot figure out. But looking at your construction really makes thing fall into place for me.
  Now one more question: how did you add that funny interior bag? Is it a bag (4 sides) or an envelope? It appears to be whip stitched to body, was it added during original construction or as an after thought? Seems to me it is more a hindrance than a help for packing gear.
 Again thanks. It is a pleasure to find folks that willingly share this kind of information.
Regards, Harry
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Thatcher Knapsack Reply with quote

Hi Harry,
To be honest, it's a pleasure to see folks having a bash at it and exploring 'living' archeology!

With regards to your queries;
halondella wrote:
Why those straps †are 2 1/2" back rather than at the edge I cannot figure out. But looking at your construction really makes thing fall into place for me.

Yes, this was an early question I asked myself throughout my investigation and was the reason I began to doubt that the bottom flap buckled to something within the pack. If it was buckled to something inside I suspect the straps would be on the edge; buckled like this means that when the bag diminishes in thickness (using shirts and extras within) the straps can tighten and pull the bottom flap further around the base rather than it coming to an abrupt halt when it hit the buckles. Like this, a bottom portion of the flap can actually come over the buckles.


halondella wrote:
†How did you add that funny interior bag? Is it a bag (4 sides) or an envelope? It appears to be whip stitched to body, was it added during original construction or as an after thought? Seems to me it is more a hindrance than a help for packing gear.


Ha! I must confess to ignoring this altogether.
The bag, a much coarser linen, appears to have been tacked in with rather larger stitch work in a way that suggests it was done after the fact (see photo below). It certainly is not stitched through the skin of the pack. As you say, it seems to be more of an hindrance than a help. I'd put my money on it being added by either the individual or at regimental level.


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