Author Topic: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?  (Read 3957 times)

Offline davec2

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How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« on: August 10, 2021, 02:40:16 AM »
Didn't want to hijack another thread on powder flasks but does anyone have some good information on how the bodies of theses flasks were made?  They had to be pressed out of thin sheet metal, but I am interested in how the molds to form flasks like this were made before the world of pantograph mills, EDM, and CNC equipment.....



"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline alyce-james

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2021, 03:38:23 AM »
Dave, good evening. "The Powder Flask Book". By Ray Riling. Copyright 1953 First Edition. Chapter IV page # 40. "Metal to Market". A number of reprints can be found. Also the cyberspace will be a lucrative well of knowledge. At this time of your quest for the how, I believe the above information well be the best, first to answer many of your questions. Have a deluxe week AJ.
"Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker". by Poet Ogden Nash 1931.

Online Tim Crosby

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2021, 01:00:22 AM »
 Dave, is this a trick question? I figured you'd have all the "G2" er "N2" on that question ;)

   Tim

Offline davec2

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2021, 08:13:55 AM »
Tim,

No I really don't know.  I know how it would be done today.....but I have no idea how it would have been done in the 18th and 19th century.  Like the question I asked the board here some time back about proof and view marks on 18th century barrels.  They are deep, 3 dimensional, and done after the barrels is finished and proof fired (viewed and proof fired).  Had to have been done cold.  How is a mark like the following done without denting the $#*! out of the bore ????  Mandrels ?....for every size bore ????? And a $#*! of a big hammer.... Like these.....how was this done ????






"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Clark Badgett

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2021, 08:13:24 AM »
By the time the metal powder flasks were becoming popular, they were already using trip hammers. Stamping dies, like many other items, were made by hand, by workmen with lots of experience. The pantograph is very old.
Psalms 144

Offline heinz

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2021, 03:39:55 PM »
Davec2,  I believe the stamps would have been applied with the breach plug removed.  The barrel could be slid over a mandrel from the breach and the stamp applied either hot or cold.  Hot stamping saves the stamp.  The barrels are soft iron, not mild steel, so even cold stamping is not difficult.
kind regards, heinz

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2021, 11:47:54 AM »
Didn't want to hijack another thread on powder flasks but does anyone have some good information on how the bodies of theses flasks were made?  They had to be pressed out of thin sheet metal, but I am interested in how the molds to form flasks like this were made before the world of pantograph mills, EDM, and CNC equipment.....






Really interesting question @davec2

The body was made of two parts, that were soldered together. I do not know, if this was made from the inside or from the outside.

I once tried to repair some flasks and a metal worker (plumber) told me, that it is not possible to solder from the inside and one would always see the soldering metal, if it is made from the outside. So I still wonder, how these flasks are made.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2021, 04:22:08 PM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline WadePatton

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2021, 02:54:45 PM »
With the solder pre-placed inside it's quite possible to join metals by heating the outside (until the solder flows). This was sometimes part of the process in lugged bicycle frame making.  Then you rinse soak/rinse out the flux and move on to the next step.

I'm not saying flasks were made that way, but that I know some items were. 

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Offline smokinbuck

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2021, 07:21:35 PM »
There was a man here in central Ohio years ago who could fix a flask, remove dents or re solder seams, and the repair could not be found. He passed away refusing to pass on how it was done.
Mark

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2021, 10:39:49 AM »
I got an antique flask with a broken head. I think,  you can see, how these old heads have been soldered together.



« Last Edit: August 23, 2021, 04:20:50 PM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline davec2

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2021, 09:40:40 PM »
I can solder things like this from the inside or outside.  For me soldering isn't the issue at all.  I do that kind of work all the time.  For me the question is how the two 3D decorated halves of the flask body were made in the 18th century.  Today I would make a metal mold and press or hydro form or magneto-form or ....(whatever forming technique)....thin sheet brass or copper, but making the mold is the tough part.  Today it could be pantograph milled, EDM'd, ECM'd,....whatever.....but how was it done in past centuries.  Carved wood ? (Hard to do and wouldn't last very long).  Cast brass or iron? (Difficult but possible). ???   

I just thought someone here would have seen some period reference as to how the components for these types of flasks were made.   :)
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2021, 10:02:41 AM »
So your question concers pimarilly the exact  forming of the twp halves of the flask body?


The metal powder flask was a product of early industrial manufacturers, an as far as I know, the halves of the flask have been formed the same was, as they are formed today. There is the telling, that Dixon and Sons in Sheffield still had the forms fr the Colt Navy flask in the 1960s, and then made the flasks for the 2nd generation Colt revolvers with these old forms.

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2021, 10:52:05 AM »
I can solder things like this from the inside or outside.  For me soldering isn't the issue at all.  I do that kind of work all the time. ..................


This is very interesting for me, and I wonder how you are doing the soldering from the  inside?



What kind of solder do you use (or what would you recommend for copper or brass flasks?
eutectic alloy?
Sn60Pb39Cu1 (+183C) ?
In52/Sn48  (+118C) ?
Bi58Sn42 (139C) ?
Bi57Sn42Ag1 (139C) ?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2021, 11:23:32 AM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline WadePatton

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2021, 07:46:55 PM »
I can solder things like this from the inside or outside.  For me soldering isn't the issue at all.  I do that kind of work all the time. ..................
This is very interesting for me, and I wonder how you are doing the soldering from the  inside?
...

Solder flows to the heat, you can tease it through a joint with your torch against gravity. One can also use gravity, but then if the metal isn't hot enough or is too hot, no good things happen.

Can't help you on alloys. I was working with 50 and 56% silver for steel and have done less soldering at low temps, except for electric components, but it's all quite similar.


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Offline davec2

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2021, 09:55:50 PM »
Dutch,

I have done inside soldering with any alloy from Tix (melting temp down at 275 F) and up to high silver / gold content braze alloys that melt at 1550 F.  My rules for soldering:

1) Absolutely clean surface....no dirt, no grease, no OXIDES of any kind.
2) Appropriate flux on the joint surfaces and surrounding area.
3) Proper placement of the soldering / braze alloy at the joint. (Sometimes you need to warm / heat the part to be joined until any liquid in the flux boils off....otherwise the bubbling of the flux may / will push the pre-placed solder / braze alloy away from the joint.
4) As Wade says, the solder  / braze alloy will ALWAYS run toward the heat.  Always, if possible, heat from the opposite side of the joint to get the alloy to flow through it toward the heat.
5)  If the joint is not going as planned, STOP !!!  Re-clean and start again.  Most botched solder / braze jobs are from applying heat in the wrong place (i.e. directly on the soldering / braze alloy) or heating the joint area too fast and to too high a temperature which will often "burn" the flux and $#@* up the joint.

To solder a powder flask from the inside, for example, I would clean the joint area and then wire the parts together to hold the joint tightly closed.  Place the joint down and put the solder / braze alloy inside above the joint.  Heat gently from the outside until the alloy flows.  With the joint down you will get the capillary action of the liquid alloy as well as gravity helping get the alloy where it needs to go.  And, if you have sufficient alloy in the joint, you can draw it to dry areas of the joint just with the torch.  The liquidus alloy will follow the heat. To go all the way around a flask, I would use tongs to move the flask orientation and add alloy as needed through the open mouth.  This can also be done in two or more heats with re-cleaning and re-fluxing for each round of soldering.

Hope this helps.

PS  A tight joint and capillary action are your friends insuring a clean, very strong joint and making it easy to get the solder to flow where you want it and not everywhere else.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2021, 10:01:45 PM by davec2 »
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2021, 06:50:44 AM »
Thanks a lot to dave and  wade.

That really helps and I will try it. Maybe I can use a Weller Pyropen Piezo?

 

Offline davec2

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2021, 09:34:49 PM »
Dutch,
I use a torch of one type or another for almost all of my soldering and brazing. You can use a soldering iron for low temperature work on small parts but you will need to master a torch for anything using higher temperature alloys or involving larger parts. A typical soldering iron will take a long time to heat even a fairly small part and will not be able to keep up with the heat loss on a larger one.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Clint

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2021, 05:48:40 AM »
I remember my grand mother saying "we had an old gun like that behind the stove when I was little, It was thrown into the wagon when they had the scrap drive in 1916. A LOT of old stuff has been completely eliminated because of those peices being obsolete The powder flasks were probably made on metal 'molds' with a punch press or a fly press. The molds may have been cast and hand finished and were clearly two parts and the forming process was fast and heavy. The question about touch marks brings to my mind a picture of a young to middle age man with a one pound hammer, raised high over his head and striking the proof stamp with one hard fast blow. day after day, light hammer hard hit and never a miss.

Offline T.C.Albert

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2021, 12:27:43 PM »
I'm coming late to the story but I hope its still of interest. An old friend of mine was a retired boiler maker and a true master with a torch. He bought a bunch of reproduction but none the less older unsoldered "peace flasks" and had to figure out how to solder them together too. After a few trials he finally decided the old school way of soldering hollow ware stuff would likely work best for these too, and it did. He ended up using a big copper headed soldering iron, the antique kind you heat up over a burner. This easily fit inside the flask and when at a full heat, it  would easily melt and draw the solder inside the flask while it was being applied from the outside. The only thing he used his torch for was to heat the big copper soldering iron head. I have still one of those flasks and the solder joints are 100 % fine and holding even though a few decades have now passed by since it was assembled.
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Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2021, 02:09:26 PM »
Thanks for this comment @T.C.Albert. Such skilled craftsmen are not easy to find.

Offline Dan Fruth

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2021, 07:12:00 PM »
If you explore the manner in which tin ceiling plates are made, you will understand how powder flasks were made. The design is created, then molded in plaster. The plaster is used as the pattern to mold the dies used to stamp the thin copper or brass for the flask. Once the pieces are stamped, trimmed, and polished the halves are joined together.
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Offline davec2

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2021, 06:22:48 AM »
Dan,

Yes....I understand.  I was just wondering if anyone here had seen any of the original dies used....or the press....or had a contemporary description of the process...or how the dies were made.  I know how they would be made today but I was interested to know if, in the 18th or 19th century, the dies were carved wood, cast brass, cast iron, carved steel....????? There were so many different and complicated design, there must have been a lot of dies around... :o
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Dan Fruth

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2021, 07:35:39 PM »
At Winston Salem NC there is a stove made of cast iron plates, and the wooden patterns were carved. Albrecht at Bethlehem also carved wooden molds for stove plates, so the process was in existence at the time flasks were being made. Never saw any flask molds
The old Quaker, "We are non-resistance friend, but ye are standing where I intend to shoot!"

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2021, 12:27:00 PM »
Hi davec2

you have been asking. how the bodies of metal powder flasks have been formed in the 1800.

I found a chapter in the Riling, The Powder Flask, concerning this question and made two pic of the text. I hope, one can read the text (got only a smartphone for taking pictures)








« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 11:02:29 PM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline davec2

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Re: How were powder flask bodies made in the 1800's ?
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2021, 12:53:53 AM »
Dutch !!!

Thanks so much for posting this.  But isn't it strange that with the thousands of flask designs manufactured not a single set of dies had been uncovered as of that writing ?  Or even an illustration ?  Or original description of the process ?
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780