In a previous post on this blog you will find a list of Indian trade
goods, and in that list it states:"Brass & tinn Kettles large & Small".
But of course these sizes are relative. The large tin kettles are almost as big
as a water pail, so the small tin kettles are simply small in
comparison to a pail, but not necessarily small enough to carry
in a knapsack.
There are modern tinsmiths selling small tin kettles which they say
are "based" on examples found in museums. By this they mean they are made to look roughly the same as the example in the museum. They may not be made of the same material, and they are often not the same size or shape.
Extant Tin Kettle This Early Specimen was Recovered From a Well at
Fortress Louisbourg Smaller Size : 6” Tall by 8 3/4” Wide 3 Panel Body
Construction with Single Riveted Flat Ears for Attaching the BaleCapacity: 1
Gallon, 1 Pint c. 1719 - 1768(Fortress Louisbourg NHS, Parks Canada)
This tin kettle is dated 1719-1768, but note that it is wider than it
is tall. 6 inches tall is fine, but it is almost 9 inches wide.
Tin Kettles or Pails with
Flat Rectangular Crimped Dog Ears Found at Fort Ligonier & Reconstructions
of the Same As Pictured in Neuman and Kravic’s “Collector’s Encyclopedia of the
American Revolution” Heights Excluding Bales and Ears: 9 1/4” and 7 1/4” (Fort
These look basically the same as ones being sold now, but again, look
at the sizes. In this instance the width is not mentioned and it can be
difficult to judge the width by the depth.
A Small Post Revolution British Tin Kettle Round Double
Riveted Tin Ears, Iron Bale, and Tin Cover Sporting an Iron Ring Handle Provenance
: 1st Foot Guards c.1800-1810(Armémuseum, Stockholm Sweden)
A smaller tin kettle that we are more used to seeing, but look at the
date, it is 19th century.
Brass Sheet Metal Kettle, Likely FrenchFrom the Wreck of
the Machault Sunk in the 1760 Battle of Restigouche in the Bay of Gaspé
in Quebec Provincec. 1755 - 1760(Parks Canada)
So, if your period pre dates the American revolution, and you are
looking for a small kettle to carry in your knapsack, I suggest you use one of
the tin lined brass or copper kettles being offered by some of the present day traders.
A modern made tin lined brass cast trade kettle. Not the best example of what is available today, but it is closer than using the wrong size of tin kettle.
RECOVERING THE TINSMITH’S ART Tin artifacts are among the most
fragile items from the site, but substantially perfect replicas can be copied
from the scraps, using historic craft skills.
My thanks to David Swampfox for this list of goods.
In Public Record Office, C.). 5.61, London, England. Enclosed in a
letter of Amherst to William Pitt, February 27,1761
p.334-335 Sir William Johnson Papers
A list of goods intended for Northern tribes.
A List of Such merchandise as is Usually sold to the Indians — the prices
differ with the times —
Deep blue Strowds with a narrow white cord
Plain Blue Strowds
Scarlet or Aurora Do
Garterings and bindings for strouds of different sorts
French blankets, or twilled lettered white blankets
Purple & white french Rateen for Stockings
English white blanketsof 20-24-&30 to a piece with black or Deep blue
Wals cottons, or Pennistons for stockings
Green Knapt Frize for Do: & also for Blankets
Red, Yellow, Green & blue halfthicks
Flowered serges, lively colours or gay
Calicoes, Claimancoes for gowns &ca
Ribbons of all sorts, especially deep red, yellow, blue & Green
Linnens & ready made Shirts of all Sizes
Light coloured & white threads
Awl blades for making Indian Shoes
Scalping and Clasp knives
Vermillion and Verdigrease
Jews Harps small & large
Stone & plain rings
Hawks bells different Sizes
Small white Beeds & other coloured Do Small
Horn Combs different sizes
Brass wire different Sizes
Scizars & Razors
Looking Glasses….Different sorts
Brass & tinn Kettles large and Small
Women & Childrens Worsted & yarn hose with clocks
Roll of paper Tobacco. Also Leaf Do
Pipes long & Short
Red Leather Trunks in Nests
Black & white wampum in great demand
Silver works or toys, which the Indians wear of different kinds
Tomahawks or small hatchets well made
Also pipe Hatchets
Tobacco & Snuff boxes
Gilt Gill Cups and half gill Do
Good Gunpowder, large grain
Small bar lead of 1-1/2 lb each
Goose, Duck & Pidgeon Shot
Light & Good Fowling pieces
Beaver & Fox Traps
Iron Spears or giggs for striking fish with & Beaver with
New England, or York rum in rumlets of Caggs of 220.127.116.11 & 4 Gallns each
Note the mention of tin kettles large and small. More on this later. Keith.
"Woodland buffalo east of the Appalachians were hunted to extinction
by the end of the 17th century, making their horns difficult if not impossible
to obtain for powder horns. Powder horns made from Woodland bison during
the Colonial wars are unknown. Most of the Woodland bison horns are
plain. Rare examples of these horns have a pattern of brass pins hammered
into the butt plug of the horn. Within a circle of pins there is a
design of pins. Based on Indian lore, Some researchers believe that the
pattern of pins represent a constellation of stars visible on the night a baby
was born, giving the child a lifetime sign".
Fort Ontario State Historic Site presents a new conference with a
focus on Native American history, French and Indian War battles and campaigns,
the archaeology of 17th and 18th century forts, the base side of soldiering
during the War of 1812, and the African-American military experience. The Fort
Ontario History and Archaeology Conference runs April 21 to 23.