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Old 1st May 2018, 08:30 AM   #1
adrian
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Default Early round wooden powder flask

At an auction last weekend I was fortunate to acquire an early powder flask which generated very little interest when it came time to bid.

It is obviously old but I did not think it likely to be as early as the 16th Century as per the brief description. It has a small leather draw string bag on one side, this I at first thought to be for flints & I therefore thought it likely to be a flask for early flintlocks.

However having spend several hours perusing the excellent information that Michael "Matchlock" (R.I.P.) posted here on early powder flasks I find that this is indeed most likely 16th century & that the pouch would not therefore have been intended for flints, but for other small items.

The info is however mainly about other shapes of flasks, such as Trapezoid & although Michael most tantalizingly showed a photo of an almost identical flask (see 2nd photo) in a collection (his I assume) I have been unable to locate any discussion about it. I would like to learn what country of origin is most likely & also if for military as opposed to sporting use & any narrowing of the date range would be very nice.

Does anyone recall having seen one of these discussed before or able to help with info in any way please?
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Old 1st May 2018, 09:25 AM   #2
corrado26
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Until some years ago I had in my collection this powderflask which probably is very similar to the piece shown. The number "2887" says that it was in earlier times an item of the Austrian "Landeszeughaus" of Graz.
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Old 1st May 2018, 09:52 AM   #3
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Thank you for posting that, all three examples are indeed very similar.
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Old 1st May 2018, 01:26 PM   #4
Pukka Bundook
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Adrian,

A very interesting and rare flask! It has to be from the same area and time as that of Michael and Corrado. Wonderful piece of history!
It is so similar that I think we can say identical, so very likely from the same 'home'.
I think somewhere I saw some of these posted by Michael.

Would the search be under bullet bag/pouch or something?

Can you please give us the dimensions? also, I presume a measure was used to gauge the correct amount of powder, and that the flask has the spring-loaded cap only.
We do not often see items of this age. thank you for showing it!

Best regards,
R.

Found this thread with a similar depiction;
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=Ball+pouch
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Old 1st May 2018, 01:41 PM   #5
Pukka Bundook
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Adrian,

This flask in one of Michael's threads (below) has the same small pouch arrangement, but is slightly later.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=Bullet+pouch

However, in the engraving of the wall display, we see three depictions of flask with pouches Very similar to yours!

I thought these were for balls, but Michael thought them too flimsy, and more likely for wadding or cleaning material, (tow I suppose) and for small tools, worms and scrapers etc.
I still wonder, but sadly we can't ask Michael!

Wonderful acquisiton though, and sincere Congratulations!!

Richard.

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Old 1st May 2018, 08:49 PM   #6
adrian
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Can you please give us the dimensions? also, I presume a measure was used to gauge the correct amount of powder, and that the flask has the spring-loaded cap only.
We do not often see items of this age. thank you for showing it!


Hi Richard, thank you for your input & comments. The body is 130mm diameter & the spout is 57mm long.
It has a spring loaded cap & also it has a spring loaded shut off below the base of the spout. In reading Riling's "Powder Flask" book he describes this arrangement & attributes flasks with this double shut off system as being, logically, transitional between early flasks with a spout cap (one step up from a removable spout plug) & flasks with a shut off, a system so successful it is still used today. Both functions on my example have completely seized up, though I am sure that this could be remedied with a penetrating lubricant & TLC.

Michael showed quite a few examples of trapezoid flasks with this double system.

It is undeniable that the spring loaded cap is unnecessary when there is a base shut off - & it would have been an added expense. I speculate that it survived in use as a safety cap, to prevent a spark falling into the open & vertical spout, & as a measure of wet weather protection. Once powder horns, which hang horizontally, superseded powder flasks that hang vertically, any need for a safety/weather cap was greatly diminished.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 03:39 AM   #7
Pukka Bundook
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Thanks for the measurements, Adrian.

I see the cut -off now. A well thought out arrangement for earlier times.
As you say, more fire and rain proof.

I am very pleased you had the ability to visit with Michael!
He wanted me to go over, but the farm keeps me trotting.
I do know that if I had ever got there, it would have been very hard to leave, after seeing his great treasures.

One more question if I may;
The wooden body to the flask, where is it divided?
By this I mean is it made in two halves and glued /pinned together?

Thank you again for showing it. A fantastic piece!

Richard.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 09:02 AM   #8
adrian
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I am very pleased you had the ability to visit with Michael!
The wooden body to the flask, where is it divided?
By this I mean is it made in two halves and glued /pinned together?


Hi Richard, unfortunately I have not visited Michael either, I have only his posts on this forum to guide me. The photo of his flask is from one of his many threads.

I have closely looked at the flask to try to find a seam, I cannot see one. Either it has been well done & lacquered over to be invisible, somewhere on the wide edge, or it has been hollowed out from one side & the "patch" then covered by the leather pouch. I have seen flasks, of not so refined construction, made from a wood burl in this way, so that is possible.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 12:54 PM   #9
Pukka Bundook
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Thank you for the reply, answers, and clarification, Adrian.

I would like to make one like this to go with my snap-lock sometime.

Thank you again,
Richard.
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