British Army Silver Polish

Although Brasso was the most common metal polish used by members of the British Army for many decades, it was far from the only metal polish used by military personnel. Whilst men usually purchased their metal polish from the NAAFI for personal use on their uniform and webbing, the military also issued metal polish for other jobs such as cleaning plaques, bells, pipework etc. Today we are looking at a tin of military metal polish issued in the 1990s. This is a metal tin with a white plastic lid: 

The simple label indicates that this is an ‘MoD’ silver polish and the contract number and NSN number is printed on the front: 

Instructions are printed on the rear of the label: 

The code on the base of the tin indicates that the polish was manufactured in 1995 and for some reason, the polish has an expiry date of 28th February 1997. Quite how polish would go out of date is beyond me, but the bottle is marked up: 

This bottle still has its contents intact and so was never used. 

One comment

  1. Salt has an ‘expiry date’ and it sat in the ground for millions of years before someone boxed it up for sale 😉
    Same with vinegar, when wine goes off it turns into vingear, when vinegar goes off it turns into…vinegar.
    The vast majority of ‘expiry dates’ came about solely for stock rotation purposes, but now people expect to see them on everything.
    In this case, perhaps the ingredients slowly combine to change the chemical makeup of the polish ? Or perhaps the ‘hydrocarbon’ propellant eventually goes into solution and there’s no ‘hiss’ when you push the button ? Silver is very reactive with sulfer so perhaps one of the ingredients decomposes into a sulfer pased one ? Unlikely, but planned obsolescence or ‘expiry’ is a major driving factor in business.
    Quite likely, it’s to keep the contract going so the supplier has a predictable stream of orders and doesn’t have to keep starting and stopping the production line whenever the military runs out, then orders more and the boxes and labelling all have to be changed to fill that order. Far better to be able to say “the milspec lot goes tx in February, set the line up to refill the standing order in November”. Guaranteed you’ll find the exact same product in a half dozen chain stores with the only difference between them being the writing on the label.

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