Author Topic: On the development of cappers and primer chargers  (Read 2847 times)

Offline Shopdog

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On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« on: February 13, 2021, 05:45:21 AM »
Hopefully I am not beating the perverbial dead horse but I am curious as to the antiquity of  spring loaded “push chargers” on priming horn/dispensers  and straight “line-style” cappers (think classic Ted Cash design) for percussion caps.  At what time were these developed and at what time did they enter into general use?  This is not to be an argument as to their “authenticity” - I use both whole heartedly (whilst hunting) and I am aware of the discussion regarding the usage or not of priming powder historically.  I am just curious when these particular “technologies” became commonplace amongst the typical shooter of muzzle loading firearms. 
Joe
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Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2021, 09:22:42 PM »
I have impressions, based on stuff I've seen, read about and handled, but I have no reference documentation, so my opinion is simply that.
The push plunger spring loaded pan primer as sold by Tow and others nowadays, is a modern invention, I think, perhaps invented during the second quarter of the 20th C.
Percussion cap dispensers, I believe, have been around since the American Civil War.  The kidney shaped capper, I think, is a very old design, but the straight in-line capper is likely a modern invention.  When was the coil spring invented, for example?  The kidney capper works with gravity - no pushing spring.
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Offline Shopdog

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2021, 11:26:04 PM »
That’s a good question on coil springs - this according to the internetz - first coil spring patent was 1763 but what we think of today (such as the style used in push plunger chargers) the wire coil spring, was invented in 1857.  Regardless  of patent dates I bet you’re assessment is the correct one and the chargers and straight line cappers are likely 20th century inventions. 
Joe Davis
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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 09:47:05 PM »
 I think both of these items are primarily junk designed to separate the pilgrim from his money. The priming horns, and flasks, with the coil spring valve scare the bejabbers out of me. The temptation to make a non authentic necklace out of the primer seems to be almost irresponsible. A guy I used to see at rendezvous had a nice silver flask with a push valve in it. We shot at several primitive  shoots on the West coast. I often saw the end of that valve encased in a lump of 4F, and expressed my misgiving about an accident. I heard it finally happened, the lump of 4F ignited and set off the flask. Luckily all he got out of it was a new Rendezvous name “ short beard” named for the powder burned into his skin on his neck, and chin. The cappers are more irritating than dangerous. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to wait for some pilgrim to get his capper working, I’d be wealthy. I do feel they are almost a necessity on cap and ball revolvers, but find a plain homemade leather capper much more reliable on a rifle, and infinity cheaper.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Shopdog

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 03:04:48 AM »
But what’s wrong with a self made tracheotomy device?  As to caps I wonder if modern cap design and chemical make up are more forgiving than fulminate of mercury or whatever was used.  Would 19th century caps have lasted long exposed in a modern “open” capper to the elements?
Joe Davis
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Offline Clark Badgett

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2021, 05:23:23 PM »
I have owned the inline capper and now own the snail type that Taylor mentions above. I have seen old originals of the snail type and other box types as well. Both types I have found quite easy to use, of just about any nipple I've tried. Certainly much easier than trying to fumble around with a small cap. Now if we want to talk about the big musket caps, those things are easy to grab and stick on a nipple.
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Offline jbigley

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2021, 08:09:54 PM »
I have owned the inline capper and now own the snail type that Taylor mentions above. I have seen old originals of the snail type and other box types as well. Both types I have found quite easy to use, of just about any nipple I've tried. Certainly much easier than trying to fumble around with a small cap. Now if we want to talk about the big musket caps, those things are easy to grab and stick on a nipple.
I, too, have used a capper for decades (same capper, all those years; no problems at all).
I haven't fought Blackfeet or Redcoats for a while, so I use a pan primer, too, although I do not hang one around my neck. (Don't carry a neck knife, either. I just don't like things dangling from my neck--beads, cappers, knives, "bling chains", etc.) I've never had the priming powder glob up on the valve nozzle, but if it did, would be a simple matter--and common sense--to just clean it off.  HH, I think your friend Short Beard was probably a true "pilgrim"  at the time, (although he might not be one now).  :D
I agree with the sentiment that for a trail walk or some other type event, pan primers are just another possibly unnecessary piece of gear to have to fumble with, so would not use it.
Just my .02 --JB

Offline T.C.Albert

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2021, 11:22:25 AM »
I will have to look for a patent date, but Im pretty sure a commercially made flat coil spring snail type capper was being produced in the late 1830s early 1840s. However, the straight ones I always believed were pretty modern.
T Albert
« Last Edit: February 17, 2021, 11:30:18 AM by T.C.Albert »
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Offline Leatherbark

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2021, 01:43:05 PM »
I always thought if a guy used one of those little spring loaded pan chargers he should unscrew the rear plug and put a cork in it so when it does ignite there won't be any shrapnel.  Just a big burned spot.  I would bet that is why Thomson Center uses a plastic cap plug in the bottom of their "U View" clear powder flask

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2021, 07:22:49 PM »
I use a spring valve primer a lot. Mine hangs around my  neck but the primer stores in a shirt pocket hunting or at the range. I don't ever recall  having any gobs of prime built up on the end even when hunting  shooting in damp weather.

Offline smallpatch

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2021, 08:15:08 PM »
I believe plunger chargers are for sure a contemporary invention. Don’t know if these are historically accurate, but the technology was there....... and no clogged tips.
Here’s one from Brian Anderson, and one by David Rase.







In His grip,

Dane

Offline al56

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2021, 04:33:45 AM »
Small patch I believe horns for priming and small hunting horns had stoppers close to the two horns you show.  I have one in my small collection that has the similar type of stopper.  The actual date I don't know for sure but guessing pre 1900.

Offline Longknife

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2021, 08:48:00 PM »
As far as coil springs go,,,,,, That famous Austrian made rifle that Capt. Lewis took on the expedition in 1803 has coil springs in the mechanism,,, and they are brass!!!,,,Please don't discuss this rifle though!!!!...Ed
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Offline JBJ

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2021, 03:38:48 PM »
Ned Roberts, in his book "The Muzzle-loading Cap Lock Rifle", shows a variety of cappers on pages 64 and 65, including two straight cappers. I don't have any idea how old that makes them but the book was first printed in 1940. ???
J.B.

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: On the development of cappers and primer chargers
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2021, 03:55:48 AM »
I always thought if a guy used one of those little spring loaded pan chargers he should unscrew the rear plug and put a cork in it so when it does ignite there won't be any shrapnel.  Just a big burned spot.  I would bet that is why Thomson Center uses a plastic cap plug in the bottom of their "U View" clear powder flask


Thank you for the proposal to remove the rear plus of  a modern pan charger, and replace it with a cork. I was always concerned about the danger of ignition of the priming powder.