Only One Available: This is an original powder horn. Probably made within the last 75 years. Powder horns were used to carry and disperse gun powder for muzzle-loading firearms.
Although forms of pre-packaged paper cartridges go back to the Middle Ages, their extra cost and small benefit to civilian users discouraged wide-spread adoption of them except for militia duty. For example, on April 19, 1775, in Lexington and Concord, paper cartridges were routinely used by many civilians on the opening day of the American Revolutionary War. Similarly, the British soldiers there carried cartridge boxes holding 36 paper cartridges. The advantage of paper cartridges was speed; 3 to 4 rounds a minute were possible using paper cartridges. Measuring each charge before firing reduced the rate of fire to about one round per minute.
There were other methods, including small cloth bags containing the correct amount of powder for a single shot, that might be carried on a bandolier (again requiring a container for a supply for refilling). An important safety concern was that when reloading a muzzle-loading gun soon after a shot there might be small pieces of wadding burning in the muzzle, which would cause the new load of powder to ignite as a flash. So long as no part of the loader faced the end of the barrel this was not dangerous in itself, but if a spark reached the main supply in the powder flask a fatal explosion was likely. Various precautions were taken, both in the design and use of powder measures used with flasks, or in the flasks themselves, to prevent this from happening.
Powder horns also served the important purpose of keeping black powder dry. They began to be replaced by copper flasks in the nineteenth century.
Powder horns were also used for the priming of large naval guns, and in blasting operations; apparently sometimes the horn shape was merely a convenient form of funnel in such cases, and was open at both ends and not used as a container.
The horn is in good condition, with nice carvings towards the spout. Remnants of a cork are inside the spout; could easily be removed if done properly. Perfect for reenactors!
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