This is a follow-up to my post of earlier today, to include a reference to a May 1913 article from the The National Coopers’ Journal on second hand barrels. It confirms completely the essential points made in the two news stories of 1889 and 1899 I cited.
This will parry any suggestion that popular literature is not always a reliable source.
In perusing this interesting, modern-looking document, one may reflect on the still-vital importance of the coopering trade in the United States on the eve of World War I. The arrival of Prohibition must have dealt it a huge blow.
Presumably the trade recovered with the revival of distilling and brewing in 1933, but within 20 years, all brewing kegs changed over to metal in North America. (The pattern may soon continue today, with replacement of metal containers by plastic – think Brewlock from Heineken, and KeyKeg…). While distilling still continued use of wood and does to this day, changes in other areas of packaging and increasing mechanization in coopering itself ultimately rendered the ancient coopers’ craft largely irrelevant.
Note re first image above: the image of barrels and coopers was obtained from this Scottish museum site, here. The second image is from the 1913 article linked in my first paragraph above. Both are believed available for educational and cultural purposes. All trade marks and images shown belong to their respective owners or authorized licensees. All feedback welcomed.