6 compartment stainless mess trays

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tralfaz
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:35 pm
Location: PNW USA

6 compartment stainless mess trays

Post by tralfaz » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:56 am

Hi there. I'm new and while I've been collecting and trying MREs I've noticed a lot of people using mess trays. I don't have a military background, so I'm not familiar with them. I see a lot of 6 compartment stainless steel ones from USA on the internet with the same basic shape and design. Some made and sold new, ebay has some older ones, even some claiming to be from WWII. I even see some with a year stamped on them and wonder why in 1942 they were stamping the year of production on standard mess trays. I don't know if there are any mess tray geeks hanging out here. Can anyone give me a brief history of them, or point me somewhere that has some info about them?

Thanks

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Smitty
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:25 pm
Location: BC, Canada

Re: 6 compartment stainless mess trays

Post by Smitty » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:05 pm

I'm in no ways an expert, but the popularity of mess trays are definitely based on ease of presentation, and ration reviewers recognize that. There is definitely much to be said about Steve1989's presentation that plays into the popularity too I'm sure.

Lots of military items the world over, no matter how mundane, usually have date of production and manufacturer stamps on it. Though with the Mess Trays, you will need to be wary of reproductions and folks claiming they are WW2. I've seen a few E-bay adds stating "WWII" or "Vietnam Era" with clearly reproduction trays that were just beat up, scratched, hit and dented to make them look old. No date stamps, nothing, and the rolled edge looks like it was done by a kid with a hammer in shop class.

If you're on the hunt for one of those, make sure you familiarize yourself with them before dropping money. If you don't care, there are a lot of cheap knock-offs that work excellent.
All the best, Gents.

- I'm also making videos mainly for my own enjoyment, but hey, maybe you might want to check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4-9gp ... C1dSyPX0w/

tralfaz
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:35 pm
Location: PNW USA

Re: 6 compartment stainless mess trays

Post by tralfaz » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:40 am

Thanks, Smitty. Since I am new to this strange world of military meal obsession I don't know much background. I have seen there are a few places selling new trays, I just assumed they are some standard food service trays sold to cafeterias, prisons and what not. I got 4 beat up ones off ebay for a good price. Since I am not a collector (I tell myself) I don't real care how authentic they are. I still have a few questions:


Do all trays made for the military have date stamps?

2 of mine have a USN stamp, do all authentic ones have a USN, USMC etc. stamps?

Some of my trays have little nuggets of metal welded on underneath at stress points. It seems like a cheap knock off would not have something like that.

Are knock offs lighter weight than authentic ones?

Since authentic ones have been manufactured over the years and by different companies, are some NOT made specifically for the military, but were purchased and used by the military as needed?


And then the most important question. Why do I care?

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