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Home >> From 1867 to Present Day >> Identity, Culture & Communities >> Artifacts

Daily life and challenges for the various groups involved in the fur trade.

Image 1
Creator: Unknown; Canada; England
Year made: Late 19th Century
Dimensions: 55.6 cm long; 38 cm wide; 36 cm high
Location: The Manitoba Museum; Artifact HBC 39-55
Copyright Holder: The Manitoba Museum

(M36) Traveller's Cassette

Wooden travelling box constructed from pine using the dovetail method of joining. Box has been painted green.

There are a number of compartments in the box that contain a variety of items, including a metal flour tin, smaller empty tins, a metal spice tin, metal plates, a glass bottle, a metal cup, knives and forks, a wooden shot measure, a leather pouch, a screw driver, a nutmeg grater, two pieces of nutmeg and part of a fishing reel.

Other Related Material
What did Frances Simpson carry in her cassette?

Where would you go to stock up on provisions?

Did You Know?
Strong, compact wooden trunks known as “cassettes” were used by Chief Traders and Clerks associated with the Hudson’s Bay Company. They were used to hold and transport personal belongings. The cassettes were originally painted a Spanish brown (reddish brown colour) and were often later repainted green or white by their owners.

These trunks were referred to as “cassettes” by French Canadian voyageurs to distinguish them from packs of trade goods referred to as “pièces.” Cassettes were made by carpenters at the various posts, and were produced in standardized sizes for travelling.

This cassette was once owned by George Simpson McTavish Jr., the son of a Scottish fur trader. He was born at Albany Fort, James Bay and educated in Stromness, the Orkney Islands. In 1878, at the age of 15, he joined the HBC ship Prince of Wales for a fur-collecting trip to Moose Factory.

Upon his return, McTavish worked in a law office before signing on with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1879. He served for 13 years, primarily at Fort Churchill and York Factory as an Apprentice Clerk and Clerk.