Author Topic: Yet another powder horn & two measures  (Read 1718 times)

Offline troutbum

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Yet another powder horn & two measures
« on: October 25, 2022, 08:46:15 PM »
Hi folks,

Thought maybe I'd post a few photos of an old powder horn and a couple of powder/shot measures that my grandfather brought back from his home in Graves County, KY.  I hope these photos are of some interest, however it seems like there are quite a few old horns that have survived to the present and plain-jane horns like this one are, maybe, kind of boring.

This horn is undecorated, save for the five remaining tacks that secure the turned (walnut?) plug to the horn.  I remember about 46 years ago, I managed to fish out a ball about the size of a pea that was rattling around inside the horn.  It was crusty and gray, but I figured it was old, old powder, so after applying a couple of lit matches, indeed it went PUFF!





Next is a hand carved powder measure. I don't know what type of woody material it's made of, but it was attached to the horn by a few threads when I first saw it.  I think it served as both a measure and cap for the horn; it is split as you can see, likely due to age and the repeated stress of fitting onto the horn.  I have not yet measured its volume.





Last is an adjustable combination shot and powder measure, marked "BGI CO PAT NOV 23 86" as near as I can read it. The shot is measured in ounces and the powder is measured in drams.





Unfortunately, I do not remember my grandfather bringing any ML shotguns back, only a couple of newer types that can't be mentioned in this forum  :(

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2022, 09:24:10 PM »
Great family treasures! You are fortunate to have them. Thank you for bringing them by. Always nice to see new, good old things posted here on the Forum. The horn is a very nice one with carved rings at the front end and a nicely turned, knob, butt plug. These make this a pretty fancy horn in my view, far above most that are still pretty much just basic horns. Horn looks older than the factory made measure and probably was paired up with a nice rifle one upon a time.
Dick

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2022, 09:58:24 PM »
 At first I thought because of the ghost ring there may have been a band on it at one time. It looks like it was carried on the right side and the ghost portion of the ring on that side wore off with use. Then I thought may be the ghost ring was a stain of some sort. But if you look closely at the right side there is some sort of a mark there where a ring may have sat. Also just to the left of it the horn looks lighter colored. So I am thinking there may have been a band on it at one time.
 Yes much more above an average horn, then again any surviving horn is worth seeing.

  Tim

Offline Levy

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2022, 02:49:38 AM »
The wooden measure looks like it might be cane or elderberry.  James Levy
James Levy

Offline JBJ

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2022, 03:05:59 PM »
To my eyes, your "plain-Jane" horn is anything but plain. Just a very nice, functional horn and I appreciate you sharing it with us. The horner knew what he/she was doing.

J.B.

Offline Tanselman

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2022, 07:19:50 PM »
This is a nice horn that looks very much like it was made in Kentucky. It has the traditional walnut end-grain plug, lathe-turned, with a low dome in this case with the "standard" couple of steps in the turning, and an integral button for strap attachment. These horns also have the raised ring/rings for spout-end strap attachment as your horn does.

I doubt this horn ever had an applied ring. The marks appear to be staining from a reddish liquid that dripped on the horn and ran down its sides. Both views show additional faint staining spots to the right side of the stained runs, indicating the liquid hit a couple other areas of the horn surface as well but in a lighter manner.

You have a nicely made, typical "working" horn from Kentucky in good condition. Now you just have to find the old rifle that went with it!

Shelby Gallien

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2022, 07:38:35 PM »
 I wasn't sure on the band. Tim

Offline troutbum

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2022, 07:14:28 PM »
Thank you all for taking the time to comment on my family's items - I've been a lurker for several years and truly appreciate your insights and opinions.

I do think it's likely that the stains running down the side of the horn are later "additions" to its patina. This horn had, for many years, hung on a capped stovepipe extension of a brick chimney.  The chimney/stovepipe wasn't exactly rainproof, as shown in this photo from 1978!  It's amazing anything survived.



Offline DGB

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2022, 04:41:37 AM »
Hi,
The BGI measure was made by the Bridgeport Gun Implement Co.
Said to have been founded in 1878.
Regards,
DGB

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2022, 09:32:04 AM »
Could the horn ever have had a tape or paper label of some kind attached where the discoloration shows up? I have seen rifles which have or had labels attached for a long enough period of time that there was some change in color associated with the location of the label, usually on the stock. Those places are lighter in color than the surrounding areas. Just a wild thought here.
Dick

Offline troutbum

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Re: Yet another powder horn & two measures
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2022, 02:45:06 AM »
I thought I would update this thread for the kind folks that had asked questions regarding some of the markings on the powder horn, and to provide the hand-carved measure's capacity.  These items are normally kept at our family cabin, a long drive away, though I recently had the opportunity to go there and retrieve them for further scrutiny.

Firstly, I was curious what the carved powder measure's capacity actually was; my thinking was if the measure did not correspond to a useful shotgun load, then it likely was not contemporary to the powder horn and likely made much later, as someone's bad guess.

Not wanting to waste/contaminate good (and scarce!) blackpowder, I used some old "P" grade Pyrodex I had on hand; a little finer that what probably would be used, but close enough.  I found the measure to hold right about 75 grains, or 2-3/4 drams of powder.  If used to measure bird shot too, this would be about 1-1/8 oz.  Assuming this was for a 12 ga. (it fits nicely inside the tube of a 12), this would closely match what I found on Goex's website for a light ML shotgun load (76 gr for 1-1/8 oz shot).  So, this measure may very well have been in contemporary use with the powder horn.

Lastly, some readers were speculating as to the origins of the stains or markings on the horn, so I took some close-ups photos of the horn's top and bottom that I hope can resolve the questions.

Horn Top:


Horn Bottom:


The horn top shows at least three spots, with stains running down to the horn's bottom.  These appear to me to be drips from stained water or the like, and not shadows left from anything that had been attached to it.  But maybe someone else will see something I'm overlooking!

The top photo also shows several dents in the horn's top (I count 6 or 7), right about where the sixth tack would have been.  This would be right against the shooter's body when worn.  Since there isn't much discoloration, it looks like the tack was maybe knocked off a long time ago, maybe the result of whatever caused those dents.

Also, the walnut plug shows a wear line; it seems the horn was attached by a fine string when worn by the user. When I first saw it, it had a short leather thong attached there, much thicker than the wear line.

Well, I think I've beat this poor horse to death - I hope this was of some interest and thanks again for all your insights!