A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Gun Cleaning. A personal Point Of View.

This post has been prompted by several posts on forums concerning the problems people are having with gun cleaning. Principally the cleaning of the barrel.

All of the problems I have read about to date, to my thinking, seems to come from the use of modern cleaning agents & solvents. I fail to see why anyone would bother to try & fix something that is not broken! A method that has been working for over 300 years, but it seems that muzzle-loader users are getting lazy; they don't want to use the old tried & true methods because it seems too arduous & time consuming. So they turn to simpler quicker methods.

Some facts: When you oil the bore of your gun, pistol or rifle, the barrel absorbs some of that oil. If you use a modern solvent or cleaning product it will remove that oil from your barrel. Then you will have to purchase some other modern product that promises to stop your barrel rusting after you have cleaned it!

The best method is the oldest method, clean your barrel & lock with boiling water, dry the barrel with cloth or some other natural plant fibre. If I have a fire going I usually let the barrel stand where it will warm but not get too hot. Next, using a natural plant fibre again I oil the barrel & lock with sweet oil or neetsfoot oil. Job done. If you are seeing signs of black on your cleaning cloth, then you have not washed the barrel sufficiently. DO IT AGAIN! If you are getting signs of rust on your cleaning material, it can be because the wash water was not hot enough, or you did not dry the bore sufficiently. Keep running oiled material down the bore with your ramrod or cleaning rod until the bore is clean.

There is such a product as water soluble engineers oil, my Father called it "Pigeon's milk"! This product is what my Father told me to use when cleaning the barrels on my guns, this is what he used on his guns. The same method was used as in these videos, but the water soluble oil was added to the wash water, just a small amount. I have not used this oil since I was a lad, but it worked well back then. If it is the right oil, it will turn white in contact with the water.
Take care out there.
Keith.





Monday, 3 December 2018

Securing Corked Bottles 2. Another Way.

Cover the cork with a piece of cloth or light leather & tie around the neck of the bottle.

Securing Corked Bottles. The Beer Knot.



The Apothecary Fold.

The apothecary fold is an 18th century paper container that apothecaries made to hold prescriptions. These same containers can be used to hold herbs or spices in your knapsack.


My thanks to weaver, one of our group members for bringing this item to my attention.
Many thanks weaver.
Regards, Keith.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

More Information on the Penny Knife.


I should have picked up on this information a long time ago when Willy contacted me saying that the penny knife looked just like a Trattenbach pocket knife. Somehow I missed Willy's post! Then recently I was contacted by Robert asking for more information on the Penny knife, I told Robert that I had no more information to give him. Then I get an email from Robert with this, to me anyway, astounding revelation that these penny knives were being made over 500 years ago in Austria, & they are still being made today! So my apologies to Willy for missing his post, & my thanks to Robert for the information he sent me that started a new line of research.
Here below then is what I have found so far:

Penny Knife Information.
Almost everyone knows the pocket faucet - a folding pocket knife with a turned wooden handle that fits in any trouser pocket and is used in a variety of ways, from jausen to mushroom picking. In 1422, the knife production in Trattenbach was first mentioned in documents, since 1682 it is considered an independent guild. One of the secrets to success was the hard, high-quality sharp steel used for the blades. The knives were exported to large parts of Europe and as far as Africa. Today two more factories produce the Trattenbacher pocket felts by hand. The knowledge about the history, production and use of the pocket fagot is still upheld today in Trattenbach:

The Trattenbach pocket knife, a foldable knife that consists of a blade and a lathed wooden handle, has been hand-produced in Trattenbach for nearly 600 years.
Since 1682, Trattenbach’s cutlers have been recognized as an independent guild. 
 The first written mention of knife-making there is from 1422. 






Monday, 26 November 2018

Immigration in 18th century America.


Immigration in 18th century America.

1707: As a result of the Act of Union (the Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament united to form the Parliament of Great Britain), a large migration of Scottish to America began. They settled in colonial seaports and the Lowland laborers became indentured servants in the tobacco-raising colonies and New York.
1709: German Palatines, fleeing the devastation of war, settled in the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania.
1717: As punishment, criminals in England were transported to America, mostly to Virginia and Maryland.
1718: Large numbers of discontented Scottish again emigrated to New England and later to Maryland and Pennsylvania; they had been driven out of their homeland by high rent, absentee landlords, and short leases for farming land.
1730: Germans and Scotch-Irish migrated from Pennsylvania to Virginia and the Carolinas.
1732: Georgia, settled by James Oglethorpe, provided a place for imprisoned debtors.
1740: In an attempt to encourage Jewish immigration, the Naturalization Act was enacted by the English Parliament. It gave British citizenship to colonial immigrants.
1745: Another wave of Scottish immigration when rebels against the attempt to re-throne the Stuarts were sent to America.
1755: On suspicion of disloyalty, Nova Scotia expelled French Arcadians. Those who survived settled in Louisiana.



Sunday, 18 November 2018

The Gunpowder Bag.


Two of the author's five leather gunpowder bags.

A gunpowder bag is used for carrying extra gunpowder on extended journeys into wilderness area, or when one plans to be living in the wilderness long term. A leather bag of gunpowder is far lighter to carry than multiple powder horns.

The Gunpowder Bag.
   takes fire readily from the spark of a steel: but it is much improved by being kept dry in a bag that has contained gunpowder.”
Samuel Hearne, Northern Canada, 1772.
A hundred miles upstream from Jamestown, on an exploring journey by canoe, Smith was badly burned and injured by the explosion of a gunpowder bag.

Supplies for 24 Abenakis and Iroquois who have joined our party:
24 pounds of gunpowder in one bag of half an ell
Supplies for the six militia men: 6 pounds of gunpowder in bags of one eighth of an ell.
1756-1760 journal of Louis Antoine de Bougainville
France, Archives de Colonies series C11A, volume 117, folios 191v to 194, National Archives of Canada, microfilm f-118.

  15           Leather Powder Bags 
From American Fur Co. Papers. Vol. Y, Z. Missouri Historical Society
Invoice of Sundry Merchandise furnished Rocky Mountain Outfit 1837 under charge of Fontenelle, Fitzpatrick & Co.

"He thinks every man should have a wallet of Oznabrigs to carry his provisions in when they leave their horses at the passes of the mountains, and two pair of mockasheens, that blankets would be wanted and clasp knives, thread for the linen and woolen bags for transporting the powder when taken from the waggons...................
Letter of Judge Henderson to Propietors remaining in North Carolina
Boonsborough June 12, 1775.

"Wednesday Morning a sorrowful Accident happen'd at the House of Cap. Thomas Homans in the westerly Part of this Town near Hooper's Meeting House: A small Quantity of Powder (suppos'd to be about a Quart) in a Leathern Bag, having been some time since put up on the Jam of a Chimney in a Chamber wherein they had been us'd to make a Fire, and the Family being about moving into the Country, did not suppose they should every have Occasion for a Fire there: But a young Child being out of Order two or three Days ago, they made a Fire in the same Chimney, and unhappily forgot the Powder…….
The Pennsylvania Gazette
April 12, 1739
BOSTON, February 26. 





Friday, 16 November 2018

More Documentation on the use of Wads or Wadding with Round ball in Smoothbores.



Round Ball & Wads or Wadding.
“ I slipped a boullet upon the shot and beate the paper into my gunne."
Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson 1636-1710.  Being an account of his travels and experiences among the North American Indians, from 1652 to 1684.

Foard’’s findings are supported by Rogers (1968) who found that various unusual and unauthorised methods of loading were used by soldiers to speed up the time between firings since the time of Charles I. Powder was poured into the end of the barrel, the musket ball dropped on top without wadding. The charge was then rammed home by banging the butt of the musket on the ground. This led to the range and penetration ability of the musket ball to suffer.