Monday, 13 April 2015
With reference to the mystery object shown in the previous blog entry, the above and below picture shows the mystery object with the cover beside the brass nozzle (which has NO adjustment for the powder measure) open. This round opening in the top plate is to keep pistol balls in. The object which Crowbard (and, I think, Roger) spotted as being a gunpowder flask. The point is that it is rather a specialised gunpowder flask which would have been cased up with a pair of duelling pistols. I did in fact spell 'dual purpose' as 'duel purpose', which was intended as a clue.
As Crowbard mentioned (but didn't really apply) there are double purpose and triple purpose powder flasks. This one is a triple purpose flask, with a nozzle to release, when the release lever is pressed, a set measure of gunpowder. The other hole in the top of the flask, when the cover is swivelled, contains spare pistol balls, if both the first exchange of shots is ineffective.
The third purpose of the flask, is shown below. If the base is unscrewed, a further space is revealed which would have held spare flints (or spare percussion caps after about 1820).
The object is English and would have been made around 1800 to 1820. It would have been carried in the duelling pistols' case, so that the seconds could have loaded, and if necessary, reloaded the pistols with which the duel would have been fought to decide who of the two duelists was in the right (the one who was still upright at the end of the affair, of course). If I've not made anything clear I'm sure I can rely on one of you to inform me of the fact...... and then, if I disagree with you, we can settle the matter the traditional way - with a duel!