Early ’58 Pattern’ Water Bottle

The black plastic waterbottle is one of the most common pieces of British militaria to come across, having been in service for over fifty years and manufactured in huge quantities. Much rarer however is its predecessor, the same bottle but produced in green rather than black:

This design was first approved in 1959 and appeared in stores catalogues in 1960. The bottle was produced from green nylon and was the first mass issued plastic water bottle in service with the British. As such it was moulded with instructions to keep it away from heat, which of course could melt the plastic in a way that was not possible with earlier metal bottles. Also visible is a /|\ mark, an NSN number, manufacturer’s initials and the date, here 1965:

These bottles originally had a dark green lid to them. This one has a black lid, so I suspect that the cap has become damaged at some point and replaced with a later example:

Although the bottles were green, the cups that fitted over the top half of them were always black. Occasionally green examples appear for sale at high prices, however these are never genuine and so can be safely ignored.

The green bottles began to be supplemented with and then replaced with black versions from the mid 1960s onwards and it seems that for a few years both colours were produced simultaneously until the green version was dropped and since then it has been exclusively produced in black.

As might be expected, these green bottles are quite scarce and demand prices many times more than the black bottles- if you come across one it is well worth adding it to your collection.

One comment

  1. I’m conducting some serious research on these waterbottles. Except for the box shape prototype, I’ve found NONE made BEFORE 1962, seen none SO FAR made in 1963 and 1966.

    The cap colours match the plastic of the bottle – if you had a darker green cap, it’s likely a 1962 or 1964 cap. The 1962 waterbottle, cap and mug had different NSNs moulded into them and the W/B and cap were of a darker green. The darker green MIGHT also apply to the 1964 W/B and cap (I don’t have an example yet). I’ve not seen W/Bs made in both green AND black dated for the same year yet.

    As the washers failed, new caps would be fitted – probably why yours has a black cap. When the S10 respirator entered service, the storeman removed AND THREW AWAY my precious original green cap to replace it with a black S10. 😦 The green caps seem rarer than the W/Bs, as a result.

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