Wednesday, 15 February 2017

18th Century Tin Kettles.

“GYPSIES” by J. Harris, London 1788.

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 Ligonier Collection).

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 GaspĂ© 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.

If anyone finds any more primary documentation in regards to pre American Revolution tin kettle sizes & shapes, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Indian Goods List.

By Frances Back.
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
Black 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 stripes
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
Needles sorted
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
Pewter Spoons
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 & 4 Gallns each
Note the mention of tin kettles large and small. More on this later.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Wood Bison & Powder Horns.

"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".

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Fort Ontario Launches History and Archaeology Conference.

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.