Monday, July 3, 2017

Ideal No. 4904 U.S. Army Mobile Canteen - OD HP

Our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Battalion has done a lot of work of late and the guys are gettin' hungry. Time to call in the Mobile Canteen. Today a vehicle like this would more than likely just be referred to as a Food Truck and it would probably end up appearing in "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", "Bizarre Foods", or some Travel Channel special on food trucks, but mobile canteens have been a staple of work crews everywhere for a long time. An early non-motorised predecessor was the Chuck Wagon developed by Texas cattle rancher Charles Goodnight who outfitted an Army surplus wagon as a mobile kitchen to feed the cowhands along long cattle drives back in 1866. In the '50s the Army authorized the use of mobile canteens on Stateside bases and 'roach coaches' (as they are still referred to today) became a staple of life on military installations. Today however the trucks are run by civilian vendors with a license to come on base vs. those trucks in the past operated by military personnel.

Like the bulldozer we've been looking at the past few days, Ideal took their civilian delivery van and re-purposed it for the military. My reference lists this as being produced in 1951-52. The civilian versions were available in multi-colored varieties and all included operating doors and the typical lump of featureless plastic which passes for a driver and measures 5" (12.7cm) L x 2 1/8" (5.39cm) W x 2 1/8" (5.39cm) H. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

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