Stubbie vs. Steinie: Imbibing at Kooskia Internment Camp

By Kali D.V. Oliver

The men at Kooskia were in a unique place among internment camps, not only because it was the only all-male camp, or even because the men were given wages and had agency enough to choose if they wanted to come into, or transfer out of, the camp, but because there were South American Japanese internees as well. The backstory to this statement more than deserves its own blog, so I will save it for another day, but the gist of their situation went a little something like this. During WWII, U.S. representatives were concerned about the safe return of captured American soldiers. However, they faced a bit of a quagmire. There were no soldier-prisoners to trade. After all, those displaced into internment camps could not be “traded” for soldiers. In many cases, the second generation internees were actually naturalized citizens, and who could say that one type of American was worth more than another. So, to avoid yet another political nightmare amidst war, a deal was made within areas of South America that were already experiencing high racial tensions and outbursts of violence towards those of Japanese heritage. The political tensions for Japanese in South America as well ran so deep that after the end of the war when internment camps were dispersed within the United States, South America Japanese internees were refused the right to re-enter the country for nearly 10 years.

To get back on track, why is this important to the beer at Kooskia? Well, since there were South American Japanese internees at Kooskia, a copy of the Geneva Convention was posted within the camp. This allowed internees, even from the first few months of the camp’s opening, to petition for everything from better health care standards to, yep you guessed it, the right to imbibe (Kooskia Internment Camp Archives 1943-1990s).

However, this is not the only link to the right to consume. Some ten years earlier, at the closing of the year 1933, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was repealed, and prohibition was no longer (Wilma, 2001). From then on and still today, it is every person’s right, if they are of legal age, to consume alcohol leisurely. So, in June of 1943, it was granted that the men of Kooskia could run their own canteen, and when that happened, they could also dispense beer (Kooskia Internment Camp Archives, 1943). So, not only did the men at Kooskia have basic humanitarian rights, they would, have the same right that so many other Americans so shortly before had fought to win, to drink.

Photo taken in Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project Laboratory, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.
Photo taken in Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project Laboratory, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Finally, it is time for the “archaeology lesson” portion of the blog. Pictured here are two bottle fragments that represent part of the leisure time consumption of alcoholic beverages. Notice that even though they may look like plain amber glass bottles, the neck and body portions of these pieces vary. One style is called a “Stubbie” and the other a “Steinie,” and both are machine-made bottles produced during the 19th century (Lindsey, 2013). Unfortunately for the glass industry, beer cans became popular in a big way around the end of prohibition. Unfortunately for the can industry, WWII broke out and the popularity of cans was no match for the demand of metal during a shortage of resources, especially when glass could be re-used if necessary. No fear, there is a happy ending; both cans and bottles, including the Stubbie and Steinie style, survive to this day.

Provided by the Society for Historical Archaeology's bottle dating website at: http://www.sha.org/bottle/beer.htm
Small “Stubbie” Beer Bottle. Image provided by the Society for Historical Archaeology’s bottle dating website at: http://www.sha.org/bottle/beer.htm

The bottle on the right of the picture above is a Stubbie. Provided here, as well, is a picture from the SHA website exhibiting what the entire bottle looks like. The Stubbie was created, approximately, in 1935 and has three major characteristics: virtually no neck, in many cases a raised horizontal shoulder line (poss. fill line)[1], and a well-rounded heel (making it smaller at the base than the body). Usually the most common size of Stubbie had a carrying capacity of 11 oz., though it was made in quart size, for example the SchlitzTM Ruby Red beer. The Stubbie style hit its peak of popularity for two to three decades following the 1940s, and can still be found in use today in varying countries, for example Red Stripe Beer ® (Lindsey, 2013).

Image provided by the Society for Historical Archaeology's bottle dating website at: http://www.sha.org/bottle/beer.htm
Image provided by the Society for Historical Archaeology’s bottle dating website at: http://www.sha.org/bottle/beer.htm

The bottle on the left of the picture above is a Steinie, again a picture from SHA.org/bottle provides a full-object comparison. Can you see the differences now? This barrel bodied fellow has: a moderate neck with a “step-up,” or bulge, and a pretty sharp heel. Though both styles have crown-cap finishes, it would seem that the bulb under the lip portion on the Steinie style is more round, perhaps to match the neck bulge, where the Stubbier style seems droopier; however, I cannot be sure if this is a rule that can be counted upon for identifying style or just one exception. The Steinie style beer bottle had a carrying capacity of approximately 11-12 oz in its most common size, though it also came in a quart version, and was most popular from its creation in 1936 to the 1950s. Apparently, the unique neck on the Steinie, and likely the name of the style, was designed as an advertising technique to remind consumers of the taller version of export beers at the time (Lindsey, 2013), which makes sense.

I hope this has been as fun to read as it has been to research. Please feel free to contact us about any of the research or findings produced on this blog at scamp.uidaho.edu. For information on other beers at the site, please scroll down to see Kelsi Lee’s post “Alcohol Consumption at the Kooskia Internment Camp.”

References:

Kooskia Internment Camp Archives

1943       Government Public Records, complied by Dr. Priscilla Wegars, pertaining to WWII internment. Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Lindsey, Bill

2013       Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes. Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website, Society for Historical Archaeology. <http://www.sha.org/bottle/beer.htm&gt;. Accessed 1 June 2013.

Wilma, David

2001       Prohibition ends of December 5, 1933. History Link, Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. < http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=3343&gt;. Accessed 1 June 2013.


[1] It is posited in the SHA article I am referencing that the “horizontal line” is possibly a fill line, as a person who brews at home, I have to agree with their consensus. There are different tools for this now, but when bottling home brews the addition of the corn sugar to the beer, over a period of time, is what creates carbonation, leading to head. If you do not leave enough room in the bottle, it could explode, if you leave too much, well it turns out flatter than anticipated.

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Road Work Safety Goggles at Kooskia

CESCO Lens
CESCO Lens

Hello Everyone,

I am back as a research assistant for part of this summer; so, hopefully this means some new and exciting lab blogs about things we are finding while cataloging my favorite material type: glass. This last week several fragments I knew to be lenses of some kind kept coming across my desk. Of course I have been pondering now for days about their true function. Several possibilities came to mind: flashlight lens, movie projector lens, medical/lab equipment lens. All of these were, and still are, viable possibilities, as there are several round lenses varying in thickness from ~1mm to ~3mm and in diameter from 4.5cm x 4.5cm and 5cm x 5cm that have been examined so far. However, the largest and thickest of the lenses appears to be associated with safety goggles (click the link for some recently sold antique photos of what the goggles may have looked like)!

CESCO Lens etched makers mark
CESCO Lens etched makers mark

Imagine how happy I was to finally come across a fragment, though warped from heat within the incinerator, that had an etched makers mark in them…delirious is the work that comes to mind. I started off on a research trail, and landed on the website of the only company I could find that had been open under that name during the timeframe we were looking at for Kooskia. Unfortunately, after contacting this company it was determined the lenses were not crafted by them. I will continue to search. The images below are associated with the same makers marks and timeframe, and I believe the glasses we have lenses for probably look something like this:

Picture Courtesy of Ebay User Photo Courtesy of Ebay User Picture Courtesy of Ebay User Picture Courtesy of Ebay User.

 

Lens thickness comparison
Lens thickness comparison

Please note: Stacey and I are working in between two labs, and she is preparing to go back into the field this summer with more students; so, with our resources spread out I have not yet been able to cross list our archival records with the purchase of safety goggles for more information. However, I have researched the subjects of health and safety within Kooskia’s archives prior to this summer, and I know they did order safety gear. I do not believe any other information than a basic description of “goggles” is listed, but I will continue to research this items and either edit this post or put new ones up on the subject, so bare with me a little while longer.Questions:

  1. Did CESCO make their own line of safety goggles during and/or prior to 1945? If so, did the lenses come in varying thicknesses, or was there just one general type?
  2. If yes to the first question, then was the company shipping nationally at this point (i.e. is it plausible for items to have been shipped to the Pacific Northwest during WWII or the preceding decade)?
  3. Were they awarded any federal contracts between 1933 and 1945 that would have requested safety (or other electrical) supplies for internment or conservation corps camps?

Background on Kooskia:

Lenses of varying size and thickness
Lenses of varying size and thickness

Kooskia Internment Camp (located just outside of Kooskia, Idaho-central panhandle region) was open from May 1943 to May 1945 and was the only all-male, volunteer-based work camp in the United States. Unlike other internment camps, as volunteers, the men at Kooskia had the agency to choose when to come and when to leave; they were able to have family visitors, earn wages, and petition for better healthcare standards during a time of imprisonment. They worked on the construction of what is now called HWY 12, between Lewiston Idaho and Missoula Montana. Prior to the internment camp, Kooskia was also a CCC camp, beginning in 1933.

Recap:

  • The lenses we have found so far vary in thickness greatly from ~1cm to ~3cm. This is why I asked the company if they made more than one type of protective lens.
  • Other possible functions for thinner lenses may include: part of flashlights, medical/lab equipment, or movie projector.
  • The number of workers at Kooskia averaged around 100 volunteers at any given time (fluctuating greatly as the men did come and go to other camps to be with their families or for other personal reasons), this number would relate to the volume of the possible order requested of the company at that time.
  • Overall, it would seem likely that we find a high volume of safety glass lenses, at least in comparison to other possible lens types. It is also highly probable that an order would have been placed for safety gear via government personnel in May 1943 or the month that followed, but we can not rule out the possibility that safety goggles were also used and disposed of in the same area by the Conservation Corps.
  • Any information we receive from CESCO can potentially help to source these artifacts and possibly address whether the items we are finding in the incinerator belong specifically to the internment camp, or can also be associated with the earlier CCC occupation.

Thanks for your time everyone. I hope to post on this again soon.

Note on References: Clicking on the eBay pictures provides links to the sites. All other references are from Kooskia archival records held by the Bower’s Laboratory and Dr. Stacey Camp at the University of Idaho.

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