tin foil

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roger zavoda

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is it true that rev. war guys are using :tin foil: in their smooth bores to load? :doh:
 

tenngun

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I've seen field guns loaded with foil cartridges but never a small arm. For a demo it might be messy compared to paper, I can't see it would be easier to make. Biteing the bottom would feel funny on the teeth. Putting together a thousand dollar set of hc clothing much more for the camp and gun using foil seems like a step in the wrong direction.
 

pargent

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Some organisations in the US believe that using paper cartridges is madness and dangerous so they make their members use tin foil to be safe when loading , it is a common practice world wide to use tin foil in cannons because embers may be present with a sloppy crew , but to bring this to small arms is purely the work of over zelous safety wombles set loose in the land of the free :idunno: :slap: :rotf:
 

cankeney

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In the Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR) it is done for safety. Cartridges loaded with a ball must be in foil so they can never be mistaken for a paper blank cartridge. Doesn't seem to make much of a difference in accuracy or performance in my experience.
 

pargent

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So they have both blanks and live cartridges in their boxes at the same time , must be just a yank thang , the paper one is pretend and the shinny one is real , ok works for you lot obviously , meanwhile the rest of the old world will stick with the tried and true practise of the one with the lead ball in it is the real one , only for use on the range at targets , for hunting etc , and the blanks are for demos and these two shall never cross .
 

cankeney

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That's the point...that they cannot get crossed. If a loaded round makes it's way into a cartridge box or shooting bag it will be easily caught.
 

Loyalist Dave

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TOTAL FALLACY

Thee is no way to ensure that the shooters within that organization always use foil when firing live ball, including when hunting or informal target shooting, other than their personal attention to detail.

Thus there is no way of ensuring that a person on the reenactment field carrying paper cartridges, has not loaded a paper cartridge containing a ball into their musket (a cartridge which was created for hunting or an informal target shoot), but was inadvertently mixed with blank ammunition...except... by the fact that the blank shooter can feel there is no ball, the blank shooter does not load the actual cartridge into the bore, and the blank shooter does not ram down that cartridge.

And these factors are not sufficiently inadequate to justify the foil wrapped cartridge.

And before somebody chimes in with "all cartridges are inspected" it all comes back to the individual loading the musket, and if they can't tell the difference between a live and a blank, paper wrapped cartridge, the addition of the foil isn't going to help....in fact it would lull such a dolt into a false sense of safety....

LD
 
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cankeney

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I guess we reenactors are living lives that are just too dangerous and on the edge for some folks. :doh:
 

dgracia

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roger zavoda said:
is it true that rev. war guys are using :tin foil: in their smooth bores to load? :doh:
No. Did they even have tin-foil? Any tinsmiths with some 18th ct. facts out there?

Certainly wasn't Aluminum foil because that takes MASSIVE amounts of electricity to make.

Twisted_1in66 :thumbsup:
Dan
 

tenngun

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Aluminum was discovered around late 18 early 19th century. It was very expensive and Victoria had an aluminum bar in the crown jewells. Tin has been known since about 5000 years ago. Making it in to foil to shoot out of a gun would have been too expensive. I don't know how thin you can make true tin foil.
 

nwtradegun

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tin foil if you are talking about alumiums foil would not have bine used. at that time aluminum was more valuable than gold. neppleon had a state dinner and the utensils where made from the ,ost valuable metal of the time. ALUMINUM.
 

Spence10

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twisted_1in66 said:
Did they even have tin-foil? Any tinsmiths with some 18th ct. facts out there?
On this board I've generally found that facts don't count any more than a good guess, but here's some rumors spread by Benjamin Franklin which might be germane.

"THE SOUTH CAROLINA AND AMERICAN GENERAL GAZETTE
September 24, 1770
From Dr. FRANKLIN'S Letters and Papers on Philosophical Subjects;

[clip]

But there is another circumstance of importance to the strength, goodness, and usefulness of the powder, which does not seem to have been enough attended to: I mean the keeping it perfectly dry. For want of a method of doing this, much is spoilt in damp magazines, and much, so damaged as to become of little value. If instead of barrels it were kept in cases of bottles, well corked; or in large tin canisters, with small covers shutting close, by means of oiled paper between, or covering the joining on the canister; or if in barrels, then the barrels lined with thin sheet lead; no moisture in either of these methods could possibly enter the powder, since glass, and metals are both impervious to water.

By the latter of these means, you see tea is brought dry and crisp from China to Europe, and thence to America, though it comes all the way by sea, in the damp hold of a ship. And by this method, grain, meal, &c., if well dried before it is put up, may be kept for ages sound and good.

There is another thing, very proper to line small barrels with; it is what they call tin-foil, or leaf-tin, being tin, milled between rollers, till it becomes as thin as paper, and more pliant, at the same time that its texture is extreamly close. It may be applied to the wood with common paste, made with boiling water, thickened with flour; and, so laid on, will lie very close and stick well: But I should prefer a hard sticky varnish, for that purpose, made of linseed oil much boiled. The heads might be lined separately, the tin wrapping a little round their edges. The barrel, while the lining is laid on, should have the end-hoops slack, so that the staves standing at a little distance from each other, may admit the head into its groove. The tin-foil should be plyed into the groove. Then one head being put in, and that end, hooped tight, the barrel would be fit to receive the powder, and when the other head is put in and the hoops driven up, the powder would be safe from moisture, even if the barrel were kept under water. This tin-foil, but about eighteen pence Sterling a pound, and is so extreamly thin, that I imagine, a pound of it would line three or four powder barrels. I am, &c . B.F."

Spence
 

zimmerstutzen

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I knew that sealed lead containers had been used for powder stores. Lewis and Clarks journals make mention of them.

Tin foil existed. That Franklin even wrote suggesting it be used with munitions, probably means such use was very uncommon. I remember a candle lantern at a local historical site that had a very thin rippled layer of some silvery metal as a reflector on the back side of the candle. Don't know what that was.
 

crockett

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Sam Colt got going on his combustible cartridges right off the bat and he used a very thin tin foil made in Germany. It was tin, not aluminum. I don't know how far back tin foil dates- as always- just because it was around means zip- should have some type of documentation on its use.
 

Crewdawg445

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Yes, last event I went to they were using foil for the load in the 6lb field cannon. Reason, linen smolders... Why run the risk of injuring others when foil works? I'm all about traditional methods but somethings are just clearly better for a reason.
 

dgracia

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Aluminum foil around the charge on both BAR and Continental Line Rev War reenactments is the standard for precisely the reason that they won't start a fire whereas smoldering linen, cloth, or paper, will or at least can. In this case, historical accuracy takes second place to safety. If we were really being historically accurate in reenactments, we wouldn't use blanks. :doh:

Twisted_1in66 :thumbsup:
Dan
 

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In the early 1980's, we were doing an UnCivil War tactical on Saturday and the Reenactment of Balls Bluff on Sunday in Southern Maryland, in the late summer/early fall. In those days we used paper cartridges for blanks, but no staples or anything metal was allowed because we did not want it to become a projectile. We tore the paper with out teeth and dumped the rest of the cartridge and powder into the bore. (We "policed" the area of the paper cartridges on the ground after the battle.)

Well, at that Saturday tactical, the grass was extremely dry and the Federals actually started a fire in the dry grass from the smoldering paper musket cartridges. We stopped the tactical and many of us ran to stomp out the fire. It was touch and go at first, but we got the fire out after it covered more ground and faster than we thought it would.

After that, everyone went to just dumping the powder from the cartridges in the musket barrels and threw the paper on the ground or back into the cartridge box. We never again had problems with our blank charges setting fires.

Since firing musket charges with the paper in them so easily caught the dry grass on fire, it was easy to see why the Artillery used Aluminum Foil for their blanks even then. Artillery had to ram the cartridges; as the barrels are very close to horizontal and thus could not use only powder for their blanks, as we did in the muskets.

Gus
 

Artificer

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Sorry, meant to write "we tore the paper with our teeth..."

Gus
 

Claude Mathis

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tenngun said:
I don't know how thin you can make true tin foil.


the use of tin in dentistry:

"In 1783 I stopped a considerable decay in a large double under tooth, on the outside of the crown or near the gums, with fine tin foil, which lasted for a good number of years." ("A Practical and Domestic Treatise on Teeth and Gums," by Mr. Sigmond, Bath, England, 1825.)

"Fine tin foil or gold leaf may be injected into a cavity successfully, and retained securely for many years." (Joseph Fox, Dover, England, 1802.)

"The statement has been made several times that tin foil was used in the United States for filling teeth as early as 1800, at which time dentistry began to be cultivated particularly as a science and art, and was beginning to be regarded as of more importance than it formerly had been. The writer has not found any record of its use in this country earlier than 1809. Tin may often be employed with entire confidence. I have seen fillings forty-one years old (made in 1809) and still perfect. Several molars had four or five plugs in them, which had been inserted at different periods during the last half-century. I prefer strips cut from six sheets laid upon each other. If the foil is well connected, the cut edges will adhere firmly; if they do not, the foil is not fit for use." (Dr. B. T. Whitney, Dental Register of the West, 1850.) First reference to the fact that tin is adhesive.

"Tin is desirable in all unexposed cavities. It has a stronger affinity for acetic, citric, tartaric, malic, lactic, and nitric acids than the tooth has: a good material where the secretions are of an acid character, it is better that the filling should waste away than the tooth. One cavity in my mouth was filled with gold, decay occurred, the filling was removed; cavity filled with oxychlorid, which produced pain; filling removed; cavity filled with gutta-percha, still experienced pain; filling removed; cavity filled with tin, and pain ceased in an hour. A tin filling was shown in New York which was sixty years old; made in 1811." (Dr. E. A. Bogue, British Journal of Dental Science, 1871.)

Aluminum itself was first available in ingot quantity in 1888. The earliest production of aluminum foil was in France about 1903, by Gautschi, employing the classical pack rolling method of reducing metal to foil thicknesses.

Gautschi stacked a number of thin sheets of aluminum into a pack and rolled this between heavy iron cylinders heated internally by hot water. This was repeated each time with a progressively smaller gap between the iron cylinders, until the desired foil gauges were obtained.

In the United States, commercial production of aluminum foil was begun in 1913, for use in industry, but wasn't available to the consumer until the 1940's.
 

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