Author Topic: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?  (Read 1331 times)

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« on: February 18, 2022, 11:17:13 AM »
Good morning, fellows

A few days ago I was lucky enough to buy an unusual powder flask from an old  collector who is reducing his stock because of his age .

The flask seems to be rather rare, because the flask body is made of pressed and formed semitransparent  tortoiseshell. The flask`s body has probably been made made out of 2 pieces  which are mounted with small nails

The brass top has an unusual charging machanism, which ist described in the book of Marquiset „Poires á poudre“ as „lateral bec doseur“. 
There are no markings which would indicate the maker or the origin.
The previous owner told me, that he got  this flask from a friend in Wisconsin.

It is not sure, if this flask was made for shot or gunpowder, but i found some black residues and some slight corrosion of the brass typical for the contact with potassiumnitrate.

That is all I know of this flask.

What do you think about it?
When and where was it probably made?


























« Last Edit: February 19, 2022, 05:35:44 AM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2022, 11:33:19 AM »
Here is a drawing, how the charging mechanism might work





This type of charger is also called "cross-spring adjustable pump charger" sometimes Dixon type cross spring charger.
A very similar flask is shown here: https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=4301&lot=4344 and this one has been made in Germay. I guess, that brass chargers might have been industrially produced then and used by craftsmen for their shop made powder and shot flasks. (in Europe and America?)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2022, 11:46:13 PM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2022, 05:34:45 AM »


Despite being expensive, tortoiseshell was attractive in the past to manufacturers and consumers because of its beautiful mottled appearance, its durability, and its organic warmth against the skin. It was banned in the 1970ies to protect endangered sea turtle species. So the flask might have been  a high priced item.

A collector was writing, that he owens several similar flasks with a Dixon's type of cross spring charger but the body of these flasks is made of pressed and formed horn of cattle. Some of these flasks have markings of Vienna makers such as Beetz and Hermann, and so my flask might also have been made in Austria.

I am asking myself, if the Dixon's type cross spring charger was a copy of an english made charger, or if it is known, that makers all over the world imported these flask heads from Sheffield to complete their own shop made flasks?




Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2022, 04:05:56 PM »
A very nice powder flask Dutch.
When we see this type, I think French , but they were made over a  large area.  Rilings Powder Flask book will I am sure show examples.

Some on this forum know Much more about these than I do, so we will wait patiently for someone to show up!

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2022, 04:24:40 PM »
  Hopefully "Feltwad", a member here will see this and have some comments.

    Tim 

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2022, 08:30:13 PM »
Yes, there are some similar flasks in the book of Riling, but I got no hints in this dource where and when they have been made. Neither if these flasks have been designed for birdshot or for a musket powder load.

My opinion is, that shot has been mostly carried in leather containers in order to make no noise when  moving.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2022, 12:17:08 PM by Dutch Blacky »

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2022, 12:20:03 PM »
Meanwhile, I have found evidence that the shown  type of cross-spring push charger was not only used in Europe for powder flasks and horns, but apparently also for a powder flask built for the  Paterson shotgun. I quote from Riling pages 349/350:  „Flask figure 821 „…...used extensively on the continent“ „Similar design patented by Gosset“ (Gunmaker in Paris)   
„ ………. We believe that this specimen exemplifies one sort of the scarce flasks which were used with the Paterson shotgun……“

I conclude from this that the mentioned type of charging mechanism was also known and used in the USA. It certainly existed as early as 1820. Proof of this might be a cased pair of  underhammer pistols by Gosset, which contains the original accessories including a powder flask (translucent horn body) with a flask top that looks like a cross-spring push charger. You can see the engraving Gosset Breveté (Breveté means patented)  https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-4027119

Riling no620 is a picture from a flask (design hanging game) by Gosset

Some more flasks made of  formed horn and prowder horns with a cross spring charger are shown on pages 393 - 401 (numbers 1099 / 1100 / 1101 / 1131-2 / 1164-2 / 1107 / 1109 / 1117 / 1118 / 1123 / 1128 / 1131 / 1136 / 1140 / 1164 / 1170 ...........
However, this type of "Gosset" or Dixon´s cross spring push  charger is still much rarer than the types with upper spring and cutter, or the well-known "Sheffield" patent top (see Riling figure No. 1 - 73)

Offline Dennis Daigger

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2022, 03:30:40 AM »
I posted photos some time ago of one of these that I have. I don't think these are particularly rare as there are a number of them for sale on the internet where they are generally referred to as lanthorn flasks and are made from cow horn sheets that are pressed in a form. Most appear to be small flasks that dispense light charges. Mine is in the 35-45 grain range. The chute into the charger is fairly narrow and I don't think these would be suitable for shot.

These are very nice flasks and quite well made. For reference mine came from Norway via eBay for $37.50 and I am simply tickled to have it.
Dennis

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: Unusual flask: designed for (bird?)-shot or for gunpowder?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2022, 09:03:17 AM »
Thanks a lot for your answer,  Dennis

That's the sort of information, because  I like this forum so much.

You are right, Dennis. The material of the flask body might be lanthorn, which is made of heated  cow horn and pressed into sheets. Then it is sanded and the thin sheets become translucent.
So I found an article about the Abbeyhorn company which is making lanthorn and lanthorn products until 1749.

Probably I payed far too much for my flask. A lot more than 100 $. But there  wasm once more the strong "wanna have" feeling, and these lanthorn flasks with a cross spring push charger   really seem to be not so common as metal powder flasks. (i confess, I did not search for those before)

(a similar flask was sold some days before for 77,-€ https://www.egun.de/market/item.php?id=14678972#img)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2022, 01:36:55 PM by Dutch Blacky »