Saturday, 25 April 2015

Flasks, Pocket & Saddle.

Flasks, Pocket & Saddle.
Finding the right type of water bottle for your persona & period seems to be an ongoing quest, or at least it is for me. I have tinned iron military water bottles but they don’t hold much water & I prefer something from an earlier period. Being quite old now, I feel more comfortable with an earlier period water container. I have a costrel, but the sealant inside failed & exposed the leather & fouled the water. I have re-sealed this bottle, but in doing so I overheated the costrel & shrunk it. It did seal, but now I don’t trust it.
Recently someone in one of the Ranger groups asked for advice on what type of water bottle he should get. In my search for more information I used the term “flask”. This surprisingly brought up the name “saddle flask”. Further searching brought up “pocket or saddle flask”.
Now this is a new one on me, so I researched further. Most of the saddle flasks I found were Persian, but I did manage to find some English flasks, & some American flasks.
Early American glass. The first factory in what is now the United States was a glass plant built at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608. The venture failed within a year because of a famine that took the lives of many colonists. The Jamestown colonists tried glassmaking again in 1621, but an Indian attack in 1622 and the scarcity of workers ended this attempt in 1624. The industry was reestablished in America in 1739, when Caspar Wistar built a glassmaking plant in what is now Salem County, New Jersey. This plant operated until 1780.

This is purportedly an American saddle flask. From the name I think we can safely assume that this large leather covered water bottle was carried on a riding saddle or in a market wallet tied to the saddle or similar. Then there is the accompanying name of “pocket flask”. I think this is a mistake, because further research indicates that these are two different flasks, & I think these pocket flasks were meant to be carried in a coat pocket.
This green glass saddle flask is also reportedly an American flask.

Large circa 1760 colonial American black glass flask.

Wistarburgh Saddle Flask 18th Century.

Rich, dark green American chestnut with hemp wicker. 4” tall and 2 3/8” at the widest point. Recovered during 1961 demolition of historic building in downtown Philadelphia. Found inside a wall. This one I assume is a pocket flask.

Pocket flask. American 1765-74.

Midwestern flask 1815-40.

This image shows an English leather costrel on the left, & a leather saddle flask on the right.

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