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pete harrison

Water Cans and Handbowls

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I once saw those 'scoops' advertised in an agricultural shop marked up as manure scoops. Bit of an odd thing to me as mostly we used squeegies and shovels on the farm, but for use as a piss pot - it fits.

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Funny the one on ebay is what my wife who has  a vague equestrian past, always used to call a bran bowl.

A dipper more substantial deeper and with a  rim.

if they are indeed bran bowls they are pretty legitimate if you have a horse boat.

 

 

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11 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

 

 

 

@Ray T

 

Ray I'm genuinely intrigued by the conversations that have kicked off (particularly on Facebook) about what a "Dipper" was in working boatmen days.

 

There seems to be strong documentary evidence the name actually was used interchangeably with Hand Bowl.

 

Can you please ask your working boatmen friend what his memories are on this point, and whether the smaller corn bowl type item as sold here was regularly found in working boats.

(I'll laugh if he says "not if we had to pay £107 for one!")

We are away at Ellesmere in the land boat for a few days. I will ask him next week

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3 hours ago, Derek R. said:

I once saw those 'scoops' advertised in an agricultural shop marked up as manure scoops. Bit of an odd thing to me as mostly we used squeegies and shovels on the farm, but for use as a piss pot - it fits.

Shovel and Wheelbarrow in my days, followed by stiff broom and a hose, twice a day after milking.

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You weren't one of the YMCA's British Boys for British Farms scheme trainees were you Max?

I was at North Cadbury in late '62. Called brooms 'brushes' around Dorset/Somerset area. Never did use such scoops for any feed, or anything else come to that. Shovels were the general order, but we did use small scoops at the Zoo, not the round kind though.

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4 hours ago, roland elsdon said:

if they are indeed bran bowls they are pretty legitimate if you have a horse boat.

 

bowl.jpg

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5 hours ago, roland elsdon said:

Funny the one on ebay is what my wife who has  a vague equestrian past, always used to call a bran bowl.

A dipper more substantial deeper and with a  rim.

if they are indeed bran bowls they are pretty legitimate if you have a horse boat.

 

 

I am not sure what they were called at the time, but we certainly used something like those bowls to scoop up crushed linseed cake, and  pour it into the milking shed feeders, but only after the cows had taken a good drink.

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A former boating family of my acquaintence have at least two of those small 'dippers', although of slightly different design, one painted almost certainly at Braunston and dated September 1920. They were horse boaters. 

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That’s interesting.  I wonder if they were used for scooping horse feed into the horse bowls?  So they, or something similar, might have been a proper “thing” in the past but may have died out at the end of horseboating.  There is no evidence that they were used by GUCCC crews (they don’t appear in the standard equipment list for a pair) or probably FMC pairs either.  If they had been, you’d have thought there would be a photo somewhere!  Also several respected authors from the 40s and 50s use the term dipper interchangeably with the term handbowl.

 

Phil Speight on Facebook said (and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him:)

“I've always believed (they) appeared on the canal because they are readily available, cheap and have deceptively authentic look when painted. Ron was very pragmatic about such things.”

 

I used to call my handbowl a dipper - until about 20 years ago when things became much more pedantic.  I think I will again!

 

Ooh controversial!

 

Paul

 

PS Here is my painted corn scoop  I wonder who painted it...

67D2E914-8235-4A00-9C46-836968D535BA.jpeg

Edited by Paul H

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31 minutes ago, Paul H said:

That’s interesting.  I wonder if they were used for scooping horse feed into the horse bowls?  So they, or something similar, might have been a proper “thing” in the past but may have died out at the end of horseboating.  There is no evidence that they were used by GUCCC crews (they don’t appear in the standard equipment list for a pair) or probably FMC pairs either.  If they had been, you’d have thought there would be a photo somewhere!  Also several respected authors from the 40s and 50s use the term dipper interchangeably with the term handbowl.

 

Phil Speight on Facebook said (and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him:)

“I've always believed (they) appeared on the canal because they are readily available, cheap and have deceptively authentic look when painted. Ron was very pragmatic about such things.”

 

I used to call my handbowl a dipper - until about 20 years ago when things became much more pedantic.  I think I will again!

 

Ooh controversial!

 

Paul

 

PS Here is my painted corn scoop  I wonder who painted it...

What I am starting to find quite interesting is that although there is considerable doubt that corn bowl Dippers were in common use on a narrow boat so many of us have them now.

 

For the record I have two, one was a gift from Laurence Hogg and was painted by Gill Hogg, whilst the other is identical to the one sold on Ebay yesterday and was painted by Ron Hough :captain:

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Looks like those who inherited them from previous horse boating families may well have found a use for them after motors came in, and those that didn't just used the handbowl. No need to go out and seek something that the handbowl would be used for, but if you had one - why not paint it up! The painting tradition carried on, and future generation were left with a half puzzle!

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I can imagine historians in a few years- 

”yes some of the old boats have a long wooden stick on the roof, some were painted”

”some folk say they were for holding up a metal prong to watch moving images, others to help turn the boat”

( hearty laughter)

” surely they would have had bowthrusters”

 

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16 hours ago, Paul H said:

That’s interesting.  I wonder if they were used for scooping horse feed into the horse bowls?  So they, or something similar, might have been a proper “thing” in the past but may have died out at the end of horseboating.  There is no evidence that they were used by GUCCC crews (they don’t appear in the standard equipment list for a pair) or probably FMC pairs either.  If they had been, you’d have thought there would be a photo somewhere!  Also several respected authors from the 40s and 50s use the term dipper interchangeably with the term handbowl.

 

Phil Speight on Facebook said (and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him:)

“I've always believed (they) appeared on the canal because they are readily available, cheap and have deceptively authentic look when painted. Ron was very pragmatic about such things.”

 

I used to call my handbowl a dipper - until about 20 years ago when things became much more pedantic.  I think I will again!

 

Ooh controversial!

 

Paul


Well I thank all those, particularly Paul who have contributed to an intelligent discussion on this.  I hvae taken a bit of flak here and (particularly) elsewhere for daring to question whether "dipper" and "hand bowl" are historically two different items, but in the absence of hard evidence I still feel that the relatively modern "painted for the leisure market" corn bowl was not typically found in narrow boat cabins, or at least not for motorised boats.  As Paul suggests, if it were, it shouldn't be hard to produce pictures that prove it.

Some people seem to think this is excessively "anoraky", but I do rather hate stuff being presented as history that may in fact not be history at all.  So we now have these items in various museums, painted by people after regular long distance narrow boat traffic ceased, as if they represent an older history, rather than a modern day adaption of that history.

Don't get me wrong -  they are lovely freely available items with some practical purpose very suitable to display, and even some use on a boat, (though at over £100 I'll not be making too much practical use of my example).  Far better, though, than painted milk churns, watering cans, wooden spoons etc.   Ron's work is fantastic, and it seems will certainly attract a lot of money.  What annoyed me about this advert was it was presented as if this was an old, somehow unused,  item from a genuine boating family.  It clearly isn't, and I would much refer to be honest about these things!

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4 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

Don't get me wrong -  they are lovely freely available items with some practical purpose very suitable to display, and even some use on a boat, (though at over £100 I'll not be making too much practical use of my example).  Far better, though, than painted milk churns, watering cans, wooden spoons etc.   Ron's work is fantastic, and it seems will certainly attract a lot of money.  What annoyed me about this advert was it was presented as if this was an old, somehow unused,  item from a genuine boating family.  It clearly isn't, and I would much refer to be honest about these things!

I interpreted the advert in a very different way to you, and as I have already said I highlighted this item as it was an opportunity for somebody to acquire a piece of Ron Hough's work in 'as new' condition. I had no intention of making a discussion point of the term 'Dipper' or even 'Handbowl', or their historical integrity / connection with a working narrow boat.

 

I can see no reference in the advert that suggested it was from a 'genuine boating family', the only relevant sentence stating:

 

"This example was ordered but seemingly never used as it is in truly ‘as new’ condition."

 

I have also said earlier in this thread that I think it unlikely that these items were in common use on working narrow boats, so the only sentence I have some discomfort with is:

 

"Dippers were used by the boating families to get small quantities of water from the canal for general use." - which I think is a common understanding and is certainly what I would use one for.

 

The last relevant sentence in the advert states "A rare opportunity to own a piece of canal history in pristine condition.", which I interpret as the paintwork rather than the somewhat common corn bowl Dipper.

 

edit = To be honest I wish I had not bothered now, but I am sure the purchaser will be happy with their new acquisition :captain:

 

 

Edited by pete harrison

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43 minutes ago, pete harrison said:

I interpreted the advert in a very different way to you, and as I have already said I highlighted this item as it was an opportunity for somebody to acquire a piece of Ron Hough's work in 'as new' condition. I had no intention of making a discussion point of the term 'Dipper' or even 'Handbowl', or their historical integrity / connection with a working narrow boat.

 

I can see no reference in the advert that suggested it was from a 'genuine boating family', the only relevant sentence stating:

 

"This example was ordered but seemingly never used as it is in truly ‘as new’ condition."

 

I have also said earlier in this thread that I think it unlikely that these items were in common use on working narrow boats, so the only sentence I have some discomfort with is:

 

"Dippers were used by the boating families to get small quantities of water from the canal for general use." - which I think is a common understanding and is certainly what I would use one for.

 

The last relevant sentence in the advert states "A rare opportunity to own a piece of canal history in pristine condition.", which I interpret as the paintwork rather than the somewhat common corn bowl Dipper.

 

edit = To be honest I wish I had not bothered now, but I am sure the purchaser will be happy with their new acquisition :captain:

 

 

Well I’m glad you bothered.  Your post not only highlighted the opportunity to acquire an example of Ron’s painting but stimulated a useful discussion on the authenticity or otherwise of what we now refer to as dippers.

 

Ron was the genuine article but painted far more items for the tourist market than he ever did for working boats even in his early days in the 50s.  I am lucky to have several examples of his work and one of the best is wooden tea tray for goodness sake.  I’m still looking for a picture of Rose Bray offering Arthur and Ernie tea and cucumber sandwiches on one!

 

Am I right in thinking the seller of the “dipper” and waste bin was Lockside Antiques I wonder...

 

Paul

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On 28/04/2019 at 21:09, alan_fincher said:

 

 

 

@Ray T

 

Ray I'm genuinely intrigued by the conversations that have kicked off (particularly on Facebook) about what a "Dipper" was in working boatmen days.

 

There seems to be strong documentary evidence the name actually was used interchangeably with Hand Bowl.

 

Can you please ask your working boatmen friend what his memories are on this point, and whether the smaller corn bowl type item as sold here was regularly found in working boats.

(I'll laugh if he says "not if we had to pay £107 for one!")

@alan_fincher

Spoke to "my" narrow boat captain yesterday along with another ex captain who used to steer Whitby in Waterway's days.

 

As far as they were concerned they only came across corn scoops / dippers in the early 60's, M said his dad, who was a horse boater as well as steering motor boats, never had one neither did any other boaters he knew at that time 1907 - 1968. Both gents said they always knew the big containers as handbowls.


To add to the confusion I have a mini "handbowl" about the size of what I will call a dipper. It was painted by Gill Hogg, no idea who made it.

Not sure whether it was usable or made for the tourist market. 

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$T2eC16F,!y0E9s2S5VnsBRlT3NYeLg~~60_12.jpg

 

20170803_180822.jpg

Edited by Ray T

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When I went to Ellesmere Port last week the bowl shaped thing in this picture, from last year was no longer on display

30261212_10155259322632341_8337035883840536576_n.jpg

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It does look out of place, so to speak. First time you put it down right way up - bang goes the paintwork.

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14 hours ago, Ray T said:

When I went to Ellesmere Port last week the bowl shaped thing in this picture, from last year was no longer on display

 

Somebody must have pinched it then because it was definitely there the week of the Boat Gathering as this picture shows. ?

 

942405511_P1260892(1).jpg.21a7e5d272b608abfe86f1c1e00c8c2b.jpg

 

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Given the prices these things now fetch on Ebay, perhaps CRT are preparing to sell it? ?

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2 hours ago, koukouvagia said:

Somebody must have pinched it then because it was definitely there the week of the Boat Gathering as this picture shows. ?

 

 

 

How strange?

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Recently, I have had the good fortune to acquire several water cans, unpainted, made some years ago by the noted tinsmiths AG Lester of Birmingham. There are some 3 gallon and a few I gallon. If anyone is interested in the painted version, I may be able to help. PM me for further details.

Dave

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2 hours ago, dave moore said:

Recently, I have had the good fortune to acquire several water cans, unpainted, made some years ago by the noted tinsmiths AG Lester of Birmingham. There are some 3 gallon and a few I gallon. If anyone is interested in the painted version, I may be able to help. PM me for further details.

Dave

I don't need another can.....I don't need another can.....

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I posted a while back about decent cans. All but one 3 gallon are now spoken for. Among the Lesters output was an old, solid can with a bucket handle, doubtless a survivor from carrying days. It carries a couple of dents, nothing that can’t be eased out with care. I’ve just removed the drab olive paint someone had applied and was delighted to uncover copper rivets holding the handles to the body, something I’ve not come across before. Would anyone care to put a name to the manufacturer? It’s a new one on me!

Thoughts welcome.......

Dave

4B3A9421-4CAB-4273-95D0-7E850E9EF4F8.jpeg

6CABF885-0CD8-4AFF-A95D-FD16FFCDF90D.jpeg

D8845CF4-7B84-4ADF-874E-7109E22F8887.jpeg

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6 hours ago, dave moore said:

I posted a while back about decent cans. All but one 3 gallon are now spoken for. Among the Lesters output was an old, solid can with a bucket handle, doubtless a survivor from carrying days. It carries a couple of dents, nothing that can’t be eased out with care. I’ve just removed the drab olive paint someone had applied and was delighted to uncover copper rivets holding the handles to the body, something I’ve not come across before. Would anyone care to put a name to the manufacturer? It’s a new one on me!

Thoughts welcome.......

Dave

 


No idea, but it's rather nice, isn't it?

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