Military Review

Something about buttons and "tin plague"

36
In 1868, academician Yuly Fedorovich Fritsche presented a report at a meeting of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences that a blatant incident occurred at military and customs warehouses: all tin buttons and bars crumbled. The causes of the "tin plague" at that time were unknown. It was decided this way: in the cold the tin “catches cold” and turns into gray dust. Moreover, the “sick” tin can “infect” the “healthy” one.


Shortly after this meeting, reports of similar incidents in Europe began to arrive at the Academy. The same happened with a huge number of tin bars that were transported to Moscow from Holland freight train.

And how not to remember the World War 1812 of the year, during which Napoleon’s soldiers lost buttons on their uniforms with the onset of frosts - those “legs” simply fell off, and then the buttons fell apart!

Tin "plague", unfortunately, destroyed and the most valuable collections of soldiers. So, in the Petersburg museum of Alexander Suvorov a lot of toys crumbled when the heating batteries burst in the winter.

Or another история, also in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the twentieth century. At one of the military warehouses, the audit revealed the disappearance of several thousand tin buttons for soldiers' uniforms. The boxes in which they were previously stored were now filled with an unknown gray powder. The warehouse manager was threatened with a prison. However, inspectors at his insistence sent the detected powder for chemical analysis, which confirmed that it was tin.

The essence of this phenomenon was explained by metal scientists much later, when they were able to figure out the structure of the tin crystal lattice. The fact is that at temperatures below minus 13-15 degrees Celsius tin white forms a new modification - tin gray. However, the distance between atoms in the crystal lattice of gray tin is greater than white, that is, the atoms are less densely arranged. In addition, the lower the temperature, the higher the conversion rate (it becomes maximum at -33 degrees Celsius). So it turns out that in the bitter cold the tin cracks and turns into powder. "Cure" it is possible if combined with the so-called stabilizer, in the role of which another metal can act.

And if we talk about buttons on military uniform, then in the time of Peter the Great, they acquired particular importance, becoming an obligatory attribute of officers and soldiers uniforms. There is an opinion that Tsar Peter specifically ordered to sew several buttons on the cuffs of uniforms to wean the soldiers to wipe their mouths or nose with their sleeves - and very successfully coped with this task. True, another legend says that exactly the same order was given by Napoleon, and for the same reason.

At the time of Nicholas the First, a relief drawing-stamp appeared on the “professional” buttons (for sailors, for example, it was an anchor). Here it should be noted that Nikolai sanctioned the simultaneous use of two variants of the state emblem. The first is simplified: an eagle with wings spread (lowered) under one crown. In the second version, the eagle had three crowns (these are not all differences). The first option was mainly used by the military, and the second - civilian. But, of course, the change in the image of the coat of arms caused changes in the pattern on the buttons. So, in 1857, when the image of the small coat of arms was changed, the guards began to mint a new eagle on buttons. And in 1904, Nicholas II granted the right to all parts of the Russian army to wear buttons with the image of an eagle.

Something about buttons and "tin plague"


By the way, when they shot the famous film “War and Peace”, several thousand uniforms, copied from a sample of the Russian army uniform of the beginning of the nineteenth century, were made for a special battle scene. The Moscow factory Gosshtamp manufactured for these uniforms a huge batch of shaped buttons with minted imperial eagles. Of course, the drawing was rather generalized, these buttons cannot be called exact replicas of their old sisters, but nevertheless, the work was done enormous and worthy of respect.

In general, on the button it was possible to say a lot about its owner. For example, buttons with numbers reported on a specific military unit. The minted two-headed eagle on the cannons said that the uniform belonged to the artilleryman. An eagle on anchors appeared in 27 September 1904 sailors of the year, in honor of the joyful news of the birth of the Tsarevich.

If the imperial crown was minted on a button, it means that the members of the imperial family had patronage over the regiment (this is the period from 1862 to 1907). And in the 1869, such buttons were worn by the Third Lancers Regiment of the Smolensk Regiment (later - the Dragoons).

I recall a passage from the famous work of Gogol: “Judging by the buttons of your uniform, you must serve in another department,” said Nos to collegiate assessor Kovalev, turned away from him and continued his prayer ...

During the Great Patriotic War, the buttons stopped reporting such detailed information about their owner. True, there was such a fact: on the front side of many standard metal buttons of the military uniform of our fighters there is a five-pointed star, a sickle and a hammer. And on the back side, an inscription in English is imprinted: "Made in Chicago." Yes, there were lots of buttons from America at that time.



Finally - the story of how a button saved the life of our soldier, Sergey Iosifovich Rubes, director of the boarding school No. XXUMX of the city of Vladimir. Sergey Iosifovich went to the front in the first days of the Great Patriotic War (at that time he turned 1 year), first served as a private soldier, then became an assistant platoon commander, and in 21 year - a rifle platoon commander. So, in September, 1942, during the battle, an enemy bullet hit the right side of the fighter's chest. From a strong blow, Sergei Iosifovich fell to the ground and lost consciousness. And when after some time I came to myself, I saw that there was a hole in the place of the button. Wow, the bullet landed just in the button ... And if a millimeter to the side ...

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  1. tasha
    tasha 14 January 2016 07: 01 New
    17
    Continuing the theme of buttons on Lend-Lease. There is evidence that, in addition to metal, plastic buttons were also supplied. These buttons were very appreciated because they did not have to be polished. All in all, the allies sent to the USSR about 250mln. buttons.
    1. Sweles
      Sweles 14 January 2016 10: 08 New
      +3
      The original meaning of the button is not a fastener, not a decorator, not a shiny one, it is a SCARK. Talisman scaring away evil spirits. I read at Chudinov ...
      1. Mr. Pip
        Mr. Pip 14 January 2016 15: 19 New
        +3
        Quote: Sveles
        I read at Chudinov ...

        Read jokes less, and the button most likely came from a “bundle” - all the same, initially the clothes were not fastened, but tied up.
  2. qwert
    qwert 14 January 2016 07: 01 New
    10
    Still, the article turned out about buttons as an attribute of military and civilian uniforms, and tin buttons are just an episode from their history. But, anyway, interesting. Article plus.
    I read about tin problems in childhood in the book Tales of Metals, I recommend it to everyone.
    1. Alex
      Alex 14 January 2016 11: 16 New
      +8
      Quote: qwert
      I read about tin problems in childhood in the book Tales of Metals, I recommend it to everyone.

      I can not resist my advice. In addition to the aforementioned S.I. Venetsky, about metals there are still very interesting books:
      Venetsky S.I. About rare and scattered. Stories about metals.
      Venetsky S.I. In the world of metals.
      Lockerman A. A. The Story of the Most Persistent.
      Kazakov B. Ballad about metal.
      Parfenov V.A. Rare metals.

      Kazakov’s book was once one of my first books on chemistry. So to say, the first brick on the road to specialty.
  3. Captain45
    Captain45 14 January 2016 07: 43 New
    +8
    True, there was such a fact: on many standard metal buttons of the military uniform of our soldiers on the front side there is a five-pointed star, a sickle and a hammer. And the inscription in English is engraved on the back: "Made in Chicago"
    When he was serving urgently in the 80's in Mongolia, the Mongolian cirques (soldiers) on the reverse side of buttons of a military uniform had the Mosshtamp stamp. They said, I don’t know how true, even Tugry-Mongolian money was printed on Goznak. The sixteenth republic.
    1. Geronimo73
      Geronimo73 14 January 2016 11: 57 New
      +6
      Goznak was printing and is now printing not only Mongolian money. It is generally common practice to print money abroad.
    2. saygon66
      saygon66 14 January 2016 18: 46 New
      0
      - And in 85 we got a batch of cotton with Mongolian buttons ... Something like a pagoda was squeezed onto them ... Such as the one on the flag of the Mongols on the left ...
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 14 January 2016 07: 59 New
    17
    A brown button lay on the road.
    No one noticed her in brown dust
    But barefoot passed along the road
    Barefoot, tanned stomped, passed.

    The guys were walking on a sunny road,
    Alyosha was the last and most dusty.
    By chance or on purpose, he himself does not know for sure
    Alyoshka stepped on the button with his foot.

    He picked up this button and took it with him,
    And suddenly I saw non-Russian letters on it.
    Guys with the whole crowd to the head of the outpost
    Running away, turning off the road, hurry, hurry, hurry!

    “Tell me exactly,” the chief said sternly,
    And he revealed the green card before him, -
    - Among which village and on which road
    Has Alyoshka stepped on a button?

    Four days searched, four days jumped
    Fighters on all roads, forgetting food and sleep,
    On the road we met a stranger
    Severely examined him from all sides.

    But there are no buttons from the left pocket
    And short pants are not sewn in Russian,
    And in the back of your pocket - gun cartridges
    And a map of the fortifications of the Soviet side.

    So the spy was caught near the border.
    No one will set foot on our land, will not pass.
    In the Aleshkina collection, that button is stored,
    For a small button - a big honor to him!
    1. Sofia
      14 January 2016 09: 06 New
      +3
      Yes, a great song by Julia Kim. She still has a continuation - the second part. Thank!
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 14 January 2016 10: 52 New
        +5
        This is a folklore version, and the original text by Evgeny Dolmatovsky, he is the real author of these lines, which were published in 1939, look like this:
        Brown button
        Lying on the road
        No one noticed her
        In brown dust.
        But past the road
        Bare feet passed
        Barefoot tanned
        Stomped, passed ...

        The guys were walking
        Amid the smells of flowers.
        Alyoshka was the last
        And the most dusty.
        By chance or on purpose -
        I don’t know for sure -
        On the button Alyoshka
        He has come.

        He raised this button
        And he took her with him -
        And suddenly I saw the letters
        Not Russians on it.
        To the head of the outpost
        Guys all the sting
        Running around, turning off the road.
        Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up!

        "Tell me plainly -
        Said the boss strict
        And the map before you
        Green revealed: -
        Near which village
        And which road
        On the button Alyoshka
        Has he come?

        Japanese company badge
        Here, on this thing,
        And such a button
        We can’t throw it away!
        To the button, perhaps
        Trousers will have to be sewn.
        Hard work
        I tell you, my friends! ”

        Adapting fast stirrup
        Habitual movement
        And boots whip
        Having cleared from the earth
        With a rifle behind him
        The border guard rushed
        On that dusty road
        Where did they find the button?

        Fighters on all roads
        They rode four days
        Four days searched
        Forgetting food and sleep.
        Gray-haired stranger
        In the village met
        Severely examined
        Its from all sides.

        But there are no buttons
        At the back pocket
        And sewn not in Russian
        Wide pants.
        And in the back of my pocket -
        Cartridges for Nagan
        And a map of fortifications
        Soviet side.

        That's how the spy was found
        At ours near the border.
        No one to our land
        Do not set foot, will not pass!
        In the Aleshkina collection,
        That button is kept.
        For the little button
        A big honor to him!
        1. Sofia
          14 January 2016 11: 05 New
          +3
          Thank you, I did not know that it was Dolmatovsky. Apparently, because she often heard it performed by Kim, he was considered the author. And the second part, about which I wrote, he also performed.
  5. Amurets
    Amurets 14 January 2016 08: 23 New
    +4
    I ran into tin problems myself. I don’t remember why, as a child, my father brought the remnants of tin electrodes for electroplating. Put these remnants in a jar and took them to the barn, to the street. And then I needed to solder something, when I opened the jar where my father kept soldering materials, I saw a gray powder. The father said warm up and get tin. And for sure, somewhere in half an hour I had solder.
    But what about buttons? Yes, I somehow didn’t pay attention, we had plastic ones. The only thing I remember was that the army buttons didn’t have to be paired when they handed things over for dry cleaning.
  6. Free wind
    Free wind 14 January 2016 08: 33 New
    10
    At the beginning of the 20th century, in one of the warehouses of Petrograd, hundreds of thousands of buttons were found to be missing, it only saved that the inspectors sent powder samples to the chemical laboratory, where they found out that it was tin, but in a strange form. Because of the tin plague, Scott's Antarctic expedition perished, reaching the South Pole, though the second, but could not return, because of the unopened tin containers with fuel, people froze.
  7. Gorinich
    Gorinich 14 January 2016 09: 34 New
    0
    I wish the author of the article is better to write a statement. One of the points of the Soviet high school.
    1. Sofia
      14 January 2016 12: 18 New
      +9
      Thank you very much. I would like to learn from you, if I may. But, unfortunately, I discovered here only one of your material a year ago and, unfortunately, with twenty minuses. You have to go to school after all, otherwise I was born with a salary and position according to the staffing table ...
      1. Gorinich
        Gorinich 14 January 2016 15: 25 New
        0
        A journalist like you is not. (Maybe that's why the requirements for you should be tougher?) By the way, the minuses to my article have nothing to do with it.
        1. Sofia
          14 January 2016 16: 30 New
          +5
          I would not like to engage in such a dispute, I do not like this kind of conversation at all, I just touched your tone in the first comment. You have an article - and I have an article, therefore, here we are equal and act in the same roles, and the requirements are the same. And if the cons have nothing to do with it, then they don't matter? And the opinion of other people does not matter? And what about in this case with your comment and minus?
          1. Gorinich
            Gorinich 14 January 2016 17: 20 New
            0
            For which I put a minus it is already clear to you (note that it is the only one), but it’s incorrect about the roles. You write to make money, sometimes I just try to convey an alternative point of view. Therefore, we are not equal and do not play the same roles. Sorry for the tone, but I will not apologize for the meaning.
            1. Sofia
              14 January 2016 18: 55 New
              +2
              I do not require an apology. It is not necessary for me to define my goals of writing the text, not knowing them or me. Besides, these are goals, and I talked about roles. And about the minuses, I meant something else: if you write that they are unimportant, it means that yours is not important either? Let's stop this, let everyone remain with his, agree? Otherwise we will get into a dispute about texts, professionalism and so on, and so on, and this is long and somehow pointless.
  8. Alex
    Alex 14 January 2016 11: 10 New
    +4
    So it turns out that in severe frost the tin cracks and turns into powder. It is possible to “cure” it if combined with a so-called stabilizer, in the role of which another metal can play.
    If we continue the medical terminology, then rather we should speak not about “treatment”, but about “preventive vaccination”. wink
    1. Sofia
      14 January 2016 12: 15 New
      +1
      For sure! Thank!
  9. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 14 January 2016 11: 15 New
    +1
    About the uniforms of Napoleon’s soldiers who were left without a button
    in the cold - very interesting. Chemistry and life!
  10. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 14 January 2016 11: 23 New
    +4
    About another, similar metal.

    There is a "chemical" hypothesis about the gradual death of Rome
    from the widespread use of lead in everyday life.
    Lead cups, combs, plumbing lining ...
    The accumulation of lead in the body, transmission to children from pregnant mothers
    etc. ... sad
    1. Alex
      Alex 14 January 2016 13: 33 New
      +4
      Yes, a very interesting version. Although, IMHO, it is unlikely: lead compounds are mostly poorly soluble, it is quite difficult to accumulate them in the body in sufficient quantities. And the placenta, as they have now established, is a very good barrier against many misfortunes, including heavy metals.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 14 January 2016 15: 33 New
        +1
        I also have doubts. Lead is rapidly oxidized.
        Only if you scratch the surface and lick, for example, it becomes
        hazardous to health.
        On the other hand, aluminum utensils were banned for the same reason -
        poisoning. Scrub the porridge with a spoon in an aluminum pan and
        in the mouth - ate a little metal?
        1. Alex
          Alex 15 January 2016 11: 10 New
          +2
          Quote: voyaka uh
          On the other hand, aluminum utensils were banned for the same reason - poisoning. Scrubbed the porridge with a spoon in an aluminum pan and mouth - did you eat a little metal?

          In principle, this is true, although aluminum for food purposes is not so much prohibited as limited (or not recommended). The main ways of its entry are not dishes, but tap water: at water treatment plants, aluminum salts are used as a coagulant, which is very difficult to clear from. Initially, maintaining the right balance is also not an easy task, so you have to switch to the "water triad": industrial, domestic, and drinking water.
      2. Vladimirets
        Vladimirets 14 January 2016 20: 15 New
        +3
        Quote: Alex
        lead compounds are mostly poorly soluble

        You wanted to say that they are slightly soluble in water? But they can be, for example, fat-soluble. Or getting into the stomach under the influence of acid is perfectly absorbed. what
        1. Alex
          Alex 15 January 2016 11: 05 New
          +3
          Yes, I was talking specifically about water. But it is the basis of almost all biologically important solutions.

          Being inorganic substances, salts (and especially heavy metals) are very poorly soluble in organic liquids, and fat is no exception. In any case, I have never heard of fat-soluble lead compounds.

          If a piece of lead enters the stomach, then it can have only two ways: either dissolve and absorb (to what extent, this is a separate issue, for heavy metals this indicator is very small, but their toxicity is rather considerable), or go outside see the rest food. Given the rather aggressive gastric environment and the low chemical activity of lead, one can only guess what the consequences will be. But on the other hand, it’s not very customary to bite lead goblets, even as an appetizer, is it? request lol
          1. Vladimirets
            Vladimirets 15 January 2016 16: 41 New
            0
            Quote: Alex
            If a piece of lead gets into the stomach, then it can have only two ways: either dissolve and absorb (to what extent, this is a separate issue, for heavy metals this indicator is very small

            Most likely, nothing will happen with the absorption of pure lead; it will come out naturally. smile
            Quote: Alex
            for heavy metals this indicator is very small, but their toxicity is also rather big

            Rather, the toxicity of their individual compounds.
            Quote: Alex
            But on the other hand, it’s not very customary to bite lead goblets, even as a snack, isn’t it

            No questions.
            Quote: Alex
            Given the rather aggressive gastric environment and the low chemical activity of lead, one can only guess what the consequences will be.

            The gastric environment is aggressive, no doubt, but, mainly, for the biological objects that get there - viruses and bacteria, and not all of them. But what does lead turn into when cooking? After all, various acids and salts are used there, and even heating is going on? what
            1. Alex
              Alex 15 January 2016 23: 29 New
              +2
              Quote: Vladimirets
              But what does lead turn into when cooking? After all, various acids and salts are used there, and even heating is going on?

              Well, in order not to go into chemical details very much (and you, as my long-standing counterpart, know how I easily switch to popularizing my favorite science repeat ), then there is most likely such a chain. When heated, lead is first oxidized to a simple oxide of PbO (in a thin surface layer), then the oxide, as a more active compound, transforms into a salt. In a real frying pan, it will most likely be an acetic acid salt of lead - one of the few soluble ones, which also has a sweetish flavor ("lead sugar"). This thing may well get into the body and digest. The limiting stage here will be the first stage of lead oxidation, but it does not proceed so quickly.

              In general, somehow.
    2. Weyland
      Weyland 14 January 2016 22: 30 New
      +1
      Quote: voyaka uh
      There is a "chemical" hypothesis about the gradual death of Rome from the widespread use of lead in everyday life.


      With plumbing - has long been refuted. There, inside, in layering pipes, such as scum - so thick that lead had no chance smile
  11. Djusha
    Djusha 14 January 2016 14: 00 New
    +4
    if my memory serves me, the so-called The tin plague played a significant role in the death of Captain Scott's expedition. The traffic jams of kerosene cans were either entirely tin, or tinning with tin, tin from frosts crumbled, kerosene evaporated.
    1. Sofia
      14 January 2016 18: 58 New
      +1
      Yes, you are right. It was this plague that caused the death of the expedition - people just froze, very sad.
      1. Alex
        Alex 15 January 2016 11: 14 New
        +2
        The cans with fuel and alcohol were not welded, but soldered, so the seams scattered. The only glass bottle with alcohol was only half a liter, Scott wrote in his diary that "this is all that separates us from death."

        Yes, it’s sad that the expedition was badly organized. As soon as Scott listened to Amundsen, you see, people would remain alive.
  12. Kombrig
    Kombrig 14 January 2016 20: 05 New
    +3
    Very often tin items found in the earth suffer from this “disease”, therefore, before cleaning the item, the tin needs to be normalized, for this it needs to be heated to a temperature slightly lower than the melting temperature, after which the tin structure again changes from gray to white, now you can clean subject, better mechanically, dry cleaning can give unpredictable results .....
  13. certero
    certero 15 January 2016 02: 03 New
    -3
    Quote: parusnik
    In the Aleshkina collection, that button is stored,
    For a small button - a big honor to him!

    It seems that Aleshka has reached the ranks. And all that was needed was to arrange an excellent provocation with his uncle, the head of the outpost :)
    True, there is another option - Alyosha himself was a spy and everything was started for the sake of "And the map in front of him
    Green revealed: "Which Alyosha both spied and remembered.
    1. corporal
      corporal 15 January 2016 05: 16 New
      0
      Quote: certero
      Alyosha was a spy himself

      bully Abakumov will turn over in his grave .... laughing

      By! Both of your assumptions are logical errors.