Re-Used Props - Containers
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
Many props of Star Trek were later modified or even recycled without changes to represent equipment for a different purpose or of another civilization. Here are quite a few examples of containers and bottles of various sizes. Please note that every statement made here should be taken with a grain of salt. There is no need to seek for explanations. Certainly we are not supposed to watch closely enough to notice that the same boxes can be seen just everywhere in the galaxy.
The tanks were originally seen on the Regula I research station in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". They appeared again in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" on Vulcan, behind La Forge in the underground Farpoint Station tunnels in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" and on Mordan IV in TNG: "Too Short a Season".
These characteristic spherical containers appear in the Cardassian labor camp in DS9: "The Homecoming". We can also see the prop in VOY: "Unity" on the planet of the Cooperative. The Vori use this design for containers as well as for a generator of unknown purpose. The same prop is used on Hirogen ships as a sort of control console. Later, in season 6, the container appears on the Brunali planet.
Finally, the onion-like container can be seen aboard the ECS Fortunate, at the entrance of the mine in ENT: "The Xindi" and in the background, beside the spherical container, in ENT: "Anomaly".
The onion-shaped containers even show up in the new continuity in "Star Trek (2009)". Two of them can be seen on the Narada when Spock and Kirk board the ship towards the end of the movie.
Outside the Trek Universe one of these containers shows up in the Firefly episode "War Stories".
The EPS regulators on DS9 can also be seen at the time portal of Golana (DS9: "Time's Orphan"), where they must have been around for many centuries. The prop can be seen in at least ten more episodes, most often as freight containers. Only in one of its latest known incarnations as flower pots in ENT: "Oasis" the spheres are used in a similar fashion as originally intended. It is a composter named "Bio Orb".
The round compost containers appeared not only in Star Trek but also in "Babylon 5", "Crusade" and "Galaxy Quest".
The same containers can be seen in the Genesis cave in "Star Trek II", on Gamma Hromi II in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor", on the Zibalian ship Jovis in TNG: "The Most Toys" and in the illusory future created for Riker in TNG: "Future Imperfect", here allegedly of Romulan origin.
Speaking of composters, the self-replicating mine from DS9: "A Call to Arms" showed up in at least six other episodes, each time as cargo containers. In VOY: "Memorial" and ENT: "Favorite Son" there was even a combination of this type of composters and the one above. Most remarkably the containers formed a part of the hull of the Tellarite freighter in ENT: "Bounty".
The former self-replicating mine, just like the other types of containers, also shows up in ENT: "Anomaly" (at the very left edge).
Bolian container & mining drill
The Bolian container from DS9: "Who Mourns for Morn?" was only slightly modified to act as the upper part of a drill on the New Sydney colony in DS9: "Prodigal Daughter".
Columns with black top
In TOS: "Dagger of the Mind" (as medical containers), TOS: "The Galileo Seven" (as a transporter test container), TOS: "This Side of Paradise" (as a container on Omicron Ceti III), TOS: "I, Mudd" (on the android planet), TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles" (on K-7) and TOS: "The Enterprise Incident" (in the Romulan cloaking room) we can see the same type of cylindrical columns with a black top. On the three latter occasions they may be air conditioning systems.
The box for the Albeni meditation crystal that Riker gives to Beata in TNG: "Angel One" is the same that O'Brien uses to transport his spider, as seen in "Realm of Fear".
The Acamarian delegation travels with the same type of suitcase in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor" as Vash in "Captain's Holiday" and Wesley in "Ménage à Troi".
The containers used to store the drug felicium in TNG: "Symbiosis" appeared as Starfleet sample containers or transporter test cylinders later in TNG. In real life, these are casings of sonobuoys used by the U.S. Navy.
The sonobuoys also show up in the "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan". Here they don't act as containers but as supports in the ladderway. They can be seen as Spock climbs down to repair the warp drive at the end of the Battle in the Mutara Nebula.
A blue bottle acts as a Zalkonian data storage device in TNG: "Transfigurations". The same bottle appears on a market place on the Mari homeworld in VOY: "Random Thoughts".
Since we could previously see it as a plasma bottle in VOY: "Prototype", Janeway's thermos flask in VOY: "Endgame" probably holds the hottest tea ever. The prop looks like it could be a real thermos flask.
We can see the same type of a small spherical container in at least the depicted six Star Trek episodes from DS9 to Enterprise and additionally in VOY: "Alice", in very different times, locations and functions. In real life this device is called a LOX (liquid oxygen) bottle or LOX converter, as it is used especially in older military aircraft.
Some screen caps from TrekCore. Thanks go to Philip Bober and Lin Jingqiu for sightings of containers, to Greg McAvoy for information and pictures of the LOX bottle, to Tom for spotting the columns in "Star Trek II" and to Shawn Havery and Michael Minnick for spotting several more of the props.