The top of a preserved potato tin

The top of a preserved potato tin from the 1845 Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The top of a potato tin embossed with the Royal Arms and 'EDWARDS PRESERVED POTATO BY ROYAL LETTERS PATENT'.

The lid was recovered by the US expedition under Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka between 1878-1880. It is described as 'Item 57. Top of a potato can found at Cape Felix' in the 1881 catalogue of items that he sent back to Britain in 1881 [TNA, ADM 1/6600].

Schwatka's expedition visited Cape Felix between 3 and 7 July 1879. Gilder recounted '...three miles south of Cape Felix, was what appeared to be a torn-down cairn, and a quantity of canvas and course red woollen stuff, showing that there had been a permanent camping place…while a piece of an ornamented china tea-cup, and cans of preserved potatoes showed that it was in charge of an officer.' [Gilder, page 133]. This was the same site that McClintock had visited in 1859 and recorded that the material found contained 'a preserved-potato tin' [McClintock, page 369]. This site is believed to have been occupied by twelve officers and men from the Franklin expedition in the summer of 1847.

The tin lid was displayed in the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, 'Case 2, No. 1. Top of a potato tin, and a tin canister.' It was also in Display 15 at the Royal Naval Exhibition at Chelsea in 1891.

Object Details

ID: AAA2268
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Tin
Display location: Not on display
Creator: D. & H. Edwards & Co.
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, Schwatka, 1878-1880
Date made: 1845
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 108 mm
Parts: The top of a preserved potato tin

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