1.1.1907

Venesta's tea chest were used in two-well known Antarctic expeditions.

Venesta boards and boxes gained special notoriety from two well-publicised Antarctic expeditions, Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition and Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition.
At the same time that Venesta’s tea chest business expanded so too did they begin the importation and sale of the Luther boards used for tea chests but trademarked as Venesta boards and rapidly become a synonym for plywood in Britain and France.

The boards and the boxes gained special notoriety from their use on two well-publicized Antarctic expeditions. Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition (1907-1909) took some 2,500 Venesta boxes to the Antarctic, where they withstood difficult conditions including exposure to salt water and burial in ice, and were reused in many ways: as furniture and fittings within living quarters, ‘for making of the hundred and one odds and ends…in such an expedition as this’, and also as covers and binding for the fewer than 100 copies of Aurora Australis, ‘the first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in the Antarctic.’

Shackleton’s memoirs, with his descriptions of Venesta boxes, were quoted in advertisement for trunks, ‘made on the… principles’ of Venesta boards throughout 1911-1913. For Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition of 1910-1912, Venesta crates were reused to make the covers of the South Polar Times (a newspaper produced by the men of the expedition) and (with sealskin) to make boots.

*Passage from “Plywood – A material Story” produced by Christopher Wilk for the V&A Museum