PUBLIC PROPERTY MARKED POWDER FLASK

$550.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 286-1065

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

These flasks were made for use with military rifles, particularly the 1817 Common Rifle, but could be used with the Hall or any of the older patterns still in service. Producing hollow-body copper flasks was a challenge. Few, if any, American makers at the time were up to it, but James Baker of Philadelphia contracted with the government for 2,000 in 1825. He then seems to have wisely subcontracted the work to a British, firm and delivered them in 1827. He is thought to have had a second contract for 3,000 in late 1827, but details are sketchy.

This measures about 7 inches tall and 4 inches wide. The body is copper with a raised light infantry or rifleman’s bugle set horizontally on either side. The words “PUBLIC PROPERTY” in raised letters appear beneath it on one side. The brass collar and spout are in place, as is thumbpiece and spring, which is functional. All four lugs are present as are four rings. One appears to be brass and the others are darker, so they may have been replaced over the years, which is not uncommon from being put on and off shoulder straps and cords, but all are the split ring style.

The obverse, with lettering and bugle, shows very well. Both sides were polished, but there are only one or two small dings visible, with one tiny horizontal split about midway between the “Y” and the lower edge of the flask. The bugle shows some darker brown along the edges, likely the remains of the original brown lacquer finish. The reverse likewise shows few dents or dings, but there is some age spotting, scattered at upper right and a bit more concentrated at lower left. The horn shows the same traces of brown along the edges of the raised bugle.

The flask is solid, but the seam does show some openings and a few dings along the bottom. The brass top shows some dirt and some traces of lacquer, but has mostly a medium tone. The spring has darkened.

This is key piece in a collection of U.S. military accoutrements, particularly those for riflemen in the U.S. army and militia. The pattern changed just a few years later, but they continued in use in various designs into the 1850s and were often seen as identifying an elite rifleman.  [sr]  [ph:L]

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