From the Vault - featured items from our collection

Reserve, Saskatchewan Mug

Reserve, Saskatchewan Mug

This month’s From the Vault object is a white ceramic mug, which says, “RESERVE SASK / I KNOW WHERE THAT IS”. It would have been created for the town of Reserve, Saskatchewan, which is located south of Hudson Bay (now you too know where it is). It may have been produced for a town reunion or as a general souvenir. While “I know where that is” may have never been an official motto recorded or approved by government, mottos certainly do not have to be official to be in common use.

The symbol on the mug is probably a beehive burner. These were used in logging areas to burn sawdust and wood scrap. Wood would be added to the fire inside from the top of the burner, which also had a grate at the top to contain the sparks. Beehive burners could be thirty to sixty feet high, and their sides were painted or tarred to prevent rusting. From photographic evidence, we know there was a beehive burner (described in the descriptive text as a chip incinerator) at Reserve, SK. Unfortunately they create lots of air pollution as none of their emissions were cleaned. They are being phased out, and are already illegal in some areas. Additionally, people have found uses for the material that was previously burned as waste. Today there is a small but strong community of people dedicated to finding and photographing remaining beehive burners, especially around the United States.

The Pas Lumber Company owned the lumber mill in Reserve and thus The Pas has a strong connection to Reserve. The mug is stamped with “England” at the bottom. It is possible it was mass produced in England, blank, and then printed on it in Canada or the United States, or perhaps the entire order was filled in England. Today it is incredibly simple to order mugs with a specific printed design: there are many companies online or with brick and mortar stores that will fill orders. It is not known when this mug was produced.

This object was donated to the museum in 2007. 

Added: January, 2017

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