Thursday, March 27, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Pocket Flask

My late father Maurice Belair became the owner a pocket or hip flask when he was in his late 20s. According to Wikipedia, a pocket flask is “a thin flask for holding a distilled beverage; its size and shape are suited to a trouser pocket”. [1]
Maurice Belair flask
Maurice Belair's flask (front view)

In January 2011, I talked to Mom about Dad’s flask to see if she could tell me how he came to own one. She told me that Dad came home one day and “took out his flask”. Mom asked him “Where did you get that?” and he replied “I bought it.” He then took a drink from it. [2]

Dad bought the flask in the late 1950s, possibly in Sarnia, Ontario where they lived, before he and Mom moved to Timmins, in northeastern Ontario, in the spring of 1958.

Here are some details about the flask:

• In its leather case, it measures approximately 15.5 cm (about 6”) tall (not including the top cap) by 10.5 cm (about 4”) wide by 2.5 cm (1”) deep.

• It seems like it would hold 250 ml (8 ounces).

 The curved flask is made of glass, while its shoulders and cap are made of chrome-plated copper. There’s a tiny bit of rust on the shoulders.

 The brown leather case or holder has stitching at the bottom edge, centre back, and on its underside; it has a front center snap closure.

 The top cap (over the screw cap) has a small dent and some rust on it, with the word GERMANY stamped on top. (I wonder if this is where it was made?) There is no other information on the flask or the holder as to year or make or manufacture.
Maurice Belair flask
Maurice Belair's hip flask (back view)

I never saw my Dad use this flask, as least not so as I remember. He didn’t drink spirits much, according to Mom, preferring beer and wine. Dad stopped drinking around 1970, so he probably put the flask away at that time. I think it was stored in his bedroom dresser. After Dad passed away, I gathered most of his personal items, including his flask, and kept them in a large cardboard box in my home.

About three years ago, I took the flask out of storage. My husband photographed it for me and I filled out a “Family Treasures Form” to record details about it. I then placed the form and photos in a 3-ring binder in which I keep track of family heirlooms.

Sources:

1. Wikipedia contributors, "Hip flask," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hip_flask&oldid=579948014 : accessed 12 March 2014).


2. Jacqueline Belair (Hope, British Columbia), interview by Yvonne Demoskoff, 3 January 2011; transcript privately held by Yvonne Demoskoff (Hope, British Columbia), 2014. Jacqueline is Maurice’s widow and Yvonne is his daughter.


Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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