Brrr, It’s Cold Outside

Sub-zero temperatures, sideways rain, sleet, ice, wind, and snow that is sometimes measured in feet rather than inches – this Midwestern weather can challenge the fortitude of even the heartiest bellringer. Some kettle stand locations provide shelter from harsh winter weather, but others are out in the open and subject the bellringer to the weather.

In 1933, Captain and Mrs. Walter Millar, who were the corps officers (local ministers) for the Burlington, Iowa corps, invented a way to shield bellringers from bad weather.  Their kettle booth was made from metal, offered three walls to shield the bellringer, and weighing about forty pounds was portable. The kettle booth served an important role for specific kettle stands and bellringers.


Click image to enlarge.

Clipping from newspaper showing two inset photos of a male Salvation Army officer carying a folded box and image of female Salvation Army officer standing in the box when setup. She is standing in front of a kettle stand. The box is a portable booth to protect a person from bad weather.
Notice promoting Captain Walter Millar's Kettle booths from the War Cry, Central Territory Edition, December 9, 1933.
Black and white photo of a man peaking out from inside a kettle booth while a woman stands outside. A kettle is suspended in front of the booth on a rope. A girl wearing a winter coat passes in front of them. Cars and shops can be seen in the background
Bellringers from Ottumwa, IA stay warm in their kettle hut. c. 1950s-1960s.
Black and white photo of two men in Firemen's uniforms (uniform button down shirts and trousers) while a female Salvationist stands inside a kettle hut. The kettle is attached on a hook to the front of the hut.
These two firemen make a donation to the Red Kettle Campaign in 1964.
Color photo showing a red wood booth with a Salvation Army Red Kettle stand in front. A bellringer can be seen at the window of the booth. A woman places money into the kettle.
Chicago kettle booth, c. 1960s-1970s. Photo by Louis H DeDecker for Chicago American Newspaper
Red wool cape
Capes like this one were popular attire for female Salvationist bellringers. They helped to keep the bellringer warm in cold winter weather.
Salvation Army bonnet
For 100 years the standard headwear for female Salvationists was the iconic Salvation Army bonnet. In 1981 the regulations changed and a brimmed hat became standard.
Soft fabric pointed hat with ear and neck flaps. The hat has a quilted lining. It also has a Salvaiton Army Red Shield logo patch on the front.
Kettle caps like this one provided Salvationists with added warmth for cold bellringing shifts. The hat is made from wool fabric, has a quilted lining, and includes ear and neck flaps.
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