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“Images above show the Ernest Shakleton (ed), Aurora Australis (Antartica 1908) and an Advertisement for the ”
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.
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
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