Nazi Paraphernalia in Lab

Today’s guest post is by Fraser Parlane.

Many of you most likely deal with gas cylinders. Many of these cylinders have a small window, (or four squares) stamped next to the service dates (these are month, then year). As you can see, this particular bottle dates back to 1945. Of course, this is during WWII era. During the war, Nazi Germany stamped swastikas on their gas cylinders. You can still see that these cylinders came from german companies.

Allied forces “captured” substantial German assets after VE day and shipped them back to the US in mass quantities. As such, there are very many swastika cylinders still in use here. Most are not recognized because the swastika was covered with a box stamp that makes it look like four small boxes.

Update: Someone found a cylinder with a unaligned stamp on it.

21 Comments

  1. Do you mean the tiny icon in the upper left? Isn’t that just a grid?
    (Sorry, tough to tell at this magnification…any clearer pic, or historical background you could tell us?)

  2. pretty skeptical of this. any real references (besides reddit). 🙂

  3. The number in the first picture says 10-45, i.e. stamped after the end of the war in Europe by some five months (assuming these are dates of course). So why a swastika here?

    Also, the refills/safety check dates(?) are followed by a + sign. So maybe the + in a box indictaes first fill and the + alone afterwards some sort of recheck date.

    I agree with sam and am sceptical of this.

    • from ehs.ucsb.edu/units/labsfty/labrs/pdfs/Comp_gas_markings.pdf

      “…… Of the remaining marks, the month and year numbers represent the date of manufacture, and retest date. A (+) sign indicates the cylinder may be 10% overcharged, and a star indicates a ten year test interval”….

      no indication of meaning of + in a box, unless this indicates the manufacture date

    • the plus indicates ten year service for fixed gases

  4. I love the show How It’s Made. It’s one of the shows I really miss now that I don’t have cable.

    Here’s a segment on how gas cylinders are made. Awesome.

    http://youtu.be/uehXEqm1mSM

  5. Right after I read this I went to my lab to see if we had any and ALL of the cylinders had the same marking. Pretty neat..

  6. This is a hoax, isn’t it?

    • No, this is not a haox. I put my version of the story on this thread earlier today. I can supply pics of the unadulterated swastika cylinders and ones that have had the square overstamped. it is actually a rather interesting piece of history.

    • It isn’t a hoax. We had just got one in the shop back from a job site and our yard guy noticed it and said he had seen a segment a couple weeks earlier on the history channel about the bottles and other items we had taken from the Germans during war times. So it is true there are quit a few of them in circulation.

  7. I worked for the Linde Div. of Union Carbide(UCC) from 1985-1999. As I understand it, UCC purchased the Von Linde Gas Company somewhere around the end of WWII. Initially, hundreds of thousands of our cylinders were stamped with the swastika and overtamped with a square stamp, to create the “Linde Windowpane” design. (an old cattle rustler’s trick!) most are actually stamped well, some are stamped a bit askew, some were never stamped at all. I can provide pictures of those unstamped versions if you would like. Eventually, the Linde company in Germany decided that UCC may have purched the company but NOT the Linde name. So, they took them to court and millions of dollars in layer fees later… Linde got their name back and UCC spun the “Linde Div.” off into what is now Praxair. I have long sought documentation for this story but to this day have come up empty. It would be nice to get the exact facts and the timeline to know what really happened.

  8. Flávio Gomez says:

    Mr Parlane, you’re mistaken. The Nazi cylinder story is an old myth. The “swastika” stamped on gas cylinders is reversed from the Nazi version, and was stamped on gas cylinders long before any Nazis ever turned up. In your picture we see a cylinder dated 3-20 (March 1920) with a “swastika” on it, but there were no Nazis in 1920. In fact, the “swastika” has been used since ancient times. After it gained an unfavorable public image in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the cylinders were overstamped to hide it.

    Too bad. The “captured Nazi gas cylinder” makes a fun story, but it just isn’t true. It’s a case of imagination running without facts.

    • If this is a myth it is interesting that I I was pointed out the “window” as a former swastika by an AIRGAS sales rep when I was in a position regularily purchasing compressed gases from them. At this point I can only truly believe yes there was a swastika however it may not have been necessily associated with Nazi Germany

  9. I just ran across a breathing air cylinder at work that clearly has a swastika and the date 11-37 on it. I don’t know how to post a pic on here. Anyone know how to, I can provide the pic.

  10. Here’s a tank from 37 still has the swastika

  11. I can’t figure out how to post a pic but I have a oxygen tank with the swastika on it

  12. http://imageshack.com/a/img661/4066/1yLd3E.jpg

    Here’s a picture of one that’s on my welding cart right now.

    The Swastika is next to the 1927 date, which doesn’t really make any sense, and there’s a windowpane next to the 1920 date, which REALLY makes no sense. Also, I don’t recall the name of the cylinder manufacturer, but I’m pretty sure the writing was all in English, not German.

  13. FYI. I work for a gas distributor in canada. Don’t wanna say where…but I’ve heard this story before and if you look closely at the “window pane” you can see where the new marks where made

  14. Also the date is when the tank was recertified. The manufacture date could be on the other side. Some of these tanks have been painted so many times that you can’t even make out the serial number

  15. Harrison Austin says:

    I have a bottle with a swastika that has not been box stamped at all

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