Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
An excellent link Ibrahiim, once again lending to the 'recipe' for gunpowder in perspective. It does seem that there must have been a lot of trial and error involved in early days with the varying character and properties of the components as derived either naturally or through processing.
When one realizes that 'chemistry' in these opening years of the 19th century was barely out of the 'alchemy' stage, and many elements were not yet properly identified, nor compounding of them. …..it is amazing that simply mixing achieved required effects.
Fernando, thank you for the additional perusal toward the subject of humidity and the profoundly contextual case for powder used at sea in the age of sail.
One of the references I found noted that the hold for powder was enclosed with 'curtains' which were kept damp to prevent accidental spark, as well as men covering feet with cloth or material to also prevent same.
I would think that storing the components separately to avoid detonation would be prudent, especially as intermittent remixing seems to have been required. However none of the sources thus far has suggested that means of storage. Surely there had to be a modicum of powder 'at the ready' in case of attack or battle as you suggest, but it seems the powder was always noted as in barrels, suggesting it being wholly combined.
I have not read descriptions of the detail on the 'cartridge' sacks of powder but it does seem familiar, as I say this is not an area I often study.
Thank you for the link to this process as well. These surely are pertinent, but as noted very long, detailed and scientific, and do indeed 'soak' the pages.
A LOT to learn, and I admire those who have knowledge and command of it all.