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Old 3rd October 2014, 08:08 AM   #1
Paul Duffy
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Default Powder Flasks

I am trying to find out more about where these powder flasks were made.They are decorated with Australian fauna, being a kangaroo,and a lyrebird.And Australian flora, waratah flowers.
The flasks are the usual pressed copper. However none of them show a makers name.The word PATENT is stamped on the top of the top of the Lrrebird flasks.The measure is marked 3, 2.3/4, 2.1/2.
The measure on the Kangaroo flask has probably been replaced.
They are not in good condition, all have had hard lives.However I can't find out where they were made.In the early 19th century most products like this would have come from England, as Australia was an English colony.
I can't find a reference to them in Riling, or other literature.
The lyrebird is a good representation and the kangaroo is not so good.The figure does look like some drawings of kangaroos made by english visitors in the early 19th century.
Nor can I find any reference to flasks being made in Australia at this time.
Would any of you have come across them, it is rare to see them now.
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Old 6th October 2014, 09:20 AM   #2
adrian
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I'm unaware of any Australian Colonial flask makers, most items were imported & the local market would have been insufficient to warrant setting up a flask making business. Lead shot was produced locally by some outlets but most ammunition was imported. Australian animals certainly attracted some attention in England, being quite a novelty, so it is not surprising that they have featured as artwork on various items. I'm surprised however that Riley has not recorded these designs, which suggests that they are perhaps rather uncommon. One wonders if they were aimed specifically at the Australian market. Adrian
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Old 6th October 2014, 08:11 PM   #3
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Hi again Paul. I have spent an interesting evening trolling through the "Caps & Flints" magazines - produced by the "Antique & Historic Arms Collectors Guild, Victoria" because there were quite a few flasks featured over the years & any Australiana flask would be a good candidate for an article. In Volume 1, issue 4 (1967) I found a short article on powder flasks in general that depicts 3 such horns. 1 x Lyrebird (same as yours) nickel plated, 2 x Kangaroo (same as yours) 1 copper, 1 nickel plated. This is from so long ago I wonder is one of the horns depicted has ended up in your hands? If you do not have this edition let me know & I'll see what I can do about reproducing the article for you. The info is very sparse & the photo is quite poor. Regards, Adrian Roads
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Old 10th October 2014, 09:21 PM   #4
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Hi Adrian,
Thanks for the info, any news is worthwhile.I know they were sold by Christies in Sydney in 2001, and there was an article in Arms Cavalcade about 6 years ago.But still no manufacturer.I'll get in touch.Cheers,Paul.
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Old 11th October 2014, 12:27 AM   #5
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Because of the way they are fitted up and the overall "look", I would take a wild guess that they are either Dixon or, less likely, Sykes.

Compare the spouts side by side to known examples of either maker and you might find similarities (read exact matches) in the components like the spouts, chargers, or caps.

One thing to remember is that all manufactured, mass produced things like we collect are assembled from bins of parts used across the board in all their flasks of similar size and configuration. The jigs and fixtures used would be horrendulously expensive to make them unique for Australian themed flasks.

Attribution in this way is almost as solid as a signature, but remember, in comparison, the match has to be absolutely identical.
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Old 13th October 2014, 01:09 AM   #6
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Many thanks, and yes I understand what you say about "exact matches".
I'm puzzled that there doesn't seem to be any info around.I have searched the records of the State Library in Sydney for drawings of a kangaroo similar to the figure on the flask, but no luck there either.
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Old 13th October 2014, 01:55 AM   #7
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You might almost have to find a copy of the manufacturer's catalogs to track this one down.i think all design work was probably done in house, so unless a catalog somehow turns up, you might just be out of luck.
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Old 13th October 2014, 07:58 PM   #8
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I have searched the records of the State Library in Sydney for drawings of a kangaroo similar to the figure on the flask, but no luck there either.

Hi Paul, according to that 1967 Caps & Flints article the image of the kangaroo has been taken direct from a broad sheet on the "Wonderful Kangooru". Also that this printed pamphlet was distributed in London early in the 19th century when these animals were first put on exhibition at Vauxhall Gardens, and that this pamphlet has been reprinted in the book "Patriots All". Hopefully they will have a copy of that at the library so you can see if the image is the same as that on your flask. Regards, Adrian.
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Old 13th October 2014, 11:30 PM   #9
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Adrian, that's wonderful.I'll follow up and let you know.I have been looking for flask catalogues for years.And no kangaroos or lyrebirds.
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