Author Topic: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn  (Read 1272 times)

Offline Tanselman

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A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« on: December 04, 2023, 05:09:28 AM »
Tansel powder horns were dropped and damaged at times, just like other horns. Based on my horns and others I've handled, I'd estimate about 40% of known Tansel horns have damaged/replaced plugs. Sometimes the original plug would be resized a little and remounted after the damaged area was "cleaned up" back to solid horn. Other times a new plug was installed on the shortened horn. At times losses were small, often just slightly past the plug's original small nails where most damage started from, but other times a significant chunk of horn was lost along with its carving... but at least the horn survived.

A Tansel horn in my collection was damaged and then salvaged, and it has a partial story behind it. The horn lost about one and a half inches from its base when the damaged area was removed. The owner then decided to convert it to a blowing horn... used to call dogs back in those days... and perhaps wondering children. The conversion job was done in a careful manner, showing the horn was still valued despite its damage and partial loss. A coin silver band was fitted around the thin open end and attached with small brass rivets. The band, while decorative, was probably more to protect the thin end from further splitting if bumped or dropped again; the band also provided a small silver loop for attaching a cord at the front/open end.

The spout also had a silver band added, quite a bit wider and slid over the spout tip. It was held in place by two brass pins near the outer end that held the band to the horn spout, while also holding a nicely turned horn mouthpiece in place. Overall, the "recycled" blowing horn shows some ingenuity and how much the owner valued it, even after sustaining major damage.

A partial history accompanied the horn. An older lady in Kansas City, Missouri, who had lived in the same house her family occupied for several generations, decided to sell the old family horn. The blowing horn had been in the family for as long as she could remember, and when it was no longer used, it was hung by a cord on the kitchen wall. When the lady took it down to sell it, it left a "shape of the horn" on the wall where it had hung for years... from the paint darkening around it over many years aided by cooking oils and smoke, but not behind it where the wall was protected.

The salvaged blowing horn has the following dimensions [including the horn mouthpiece]: outside curve = 12-1/2," inside curve = 10-3/4."

Shelby Gallien










« Last Edit: December 22, 2023, 04:41:43 AM by Tanselman »

Offline Robby

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2023, 03:26:41 PM »
I am working on a Tansel blowing horn. Its nice to know there is at least one out there to justify my effort. Very nice, thanks for the showing.
Robby
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2023, 04:38:12 PM »
 That is a Really neat horn, Great repurposing. The carving looks so fresh it almost looks unused.

    Tim

Offline homerifle

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2023, 06:00:42 PM »
Great piece! Thanks for showing it.

Offline jdm

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2023, 09:24:57 PM »
Thanks for sharing this. I never get tired of seeing the  Tansel family's work.   Jim
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Offline Tanselman

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2023, 03:09:27 AM »
Tim,

The carving is very clean on this horn, which appears to be the work of Stark Tansel. A natural "left-hand carry" horn was converted to a right-hand carry when carved, and while the eagle was flipped appropriately, it was placed down on the bottom of the horn, almost out of sight. If you laid the horn across your knee to carve with the spout hanging down, the upper rounded surface closest to you is where the eagle was placed, but that's not the outer face when carried on the right side. The wear patten indicates it was carried as a right-hand carry horn, and the only visible wear is on the inside fish-mouth and farther up where it obliterated the soldier's face and raised hand that, from a faint outline, originally held a short sword. It seems like, when the younger Tansels got to Indiana, they didn't make much of an effort to always use right-handed horns, but rather used about anything by turning it when needed to "make" a right hand carry. The earlier Kentucky horns are almost always an actual right-handed horn.

Shelby Gallien

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2023, 05:46:55 PM »
 Thanks, I went back and enlarged the Pix to 500% and can easily see what your talking about. The rest of the carving is really crisp and clean.
 I have always wondered what the used to cut the teeth. I have made several Tansel style horns and it is not an easy job.

   Tim 

Offline Tanselman

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Re: A Damaged Tansel Powder Horn Made Into a Blowing Horn
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2023, 01:24:50 AM »
Tim,

I've never tried to cut or carve a horn, but the chip cutting is always two clean cuts that don't dig into the throat's lower surface significantly. Going on no experience other than an educated guess, I'd think they probably used a narrow bladed, small chisel [like a short screwdriver ground into a chisel tip] and just pushed it in to cut each side. Probably went all the way around cutting one side first so it was easy to gauge separation of teeth, then turned the horn around and went around again to cut the other side. But you never know, maybe they had an antique Shopsmith!

Shelby
« Last Edit: December 07, 2023, 07:02:11 AM by Tanselman »