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"Method of making Quick Match, c.1787" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2020 9:51 p.m. PST

"This method is taken from a manuscript in the possession of the Royal Artillery Library. It is dated sometime between 1787 and 1793 and contains numerous details of Laboratory procedures useful for scholars interested in the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

"To make Worsted Quick Match; take of Worsted Ten ounces, of Spirits of Wine Three Pints, of Isinglass Half a Pint, and Mealed Powder Ten lbs. The Wordsted is to be put on a Reel and unwound into a Pan as equal as possible; if it should happen to break it must be secured with a double knot to prevetn slipping and when it is all unreeled, fasten the end to the Handle of the Pan. Half a Pint of dissolved Isinglass to be poured upon it, likewise the Spirits of Wine, and some Water and Mealed Powder enough to cover it all over; after being gently pressed with a woodem Spatula. It must stand to soak for one day, next take the end fastened to the Handle of the Pan and draw it gently through the Hand, so as not to break the Worsted, into a clear Pan, fastening the End to the Handle as before, the remainder of the Liquor is then to be poured over it, and it must be left to stand for a Day. Having tied the end to a Quickmatch Reel, reel it off gently, let the match run through the Hand, so as to make it even, and moderately tight on the Reel, which must be placed on a Sifting Table, with two Pieces of wood placed under to keep the Match from the Table. Mealed Powder is then sifted over all the upper part so as to cover the match equally, looking carefully over to see that no part is omitted in the Distribution of Powder. The Reel is then to be turned and the other side carefully sifted over.

The sifted reel is to be lifted off the Table and set so as to lean against a Wall; one Reel is to be fitted after another till the whole is reeled off. In Summer about Ten Days will be sufficient for the Match to dry off, after which it may be cut off, tied in Bundles, weighed and ticketed, then put up in Deal Boxes with Sliding Covers. In preparing the Isinglass 40oz are to be hammered on an Anvil until flat, then pickt in small pieces and put into a Copper Pan, pouring orver it Three Pints of Water, and suffering it to stand soaking one or two Days, then Boilding it for a Quarter of an Hour over a gentle Fire, when it is fit for use…."
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Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2020 4:43 a.m. PST

The construction of slow match:

'Matches in artillery are a kind of rope impregnated with a certain composition to retain the fire and propagate it from one end to the other,'

'Match is made with tow of flax, or smooth hemp, beaten with mallets and switches, and carefully combed to separate the brittle, hard and coarser parts from the filamentous substance. Match is not, however, the worse for small particles of hemp with may remain in it. Flax tow is preferable.'

'When only two twists have been taken from the hemp stock, the third twist, well cleaned of hards, makes good matches.'

'Such portion of the flax tow which falls under the hatchel, and when the flax is combed, is purchased from the hatchellers, by the rope-makers, who arrange it in hanks, to be spun without any further preparation, in the same manner as they work the ropes.'

'The tow is spun with the same spinning wheel as rope-yarn, and the threads somewhat twisted before making the matches.'

'Matches are made with three threads: this sort is preferable to those which are composed of a greater number.'

'Matches should be 1.42 or 1.78 inches circumference; when larger they consume too great a quantity of materials; when smaller they are too easily extinguished.'

'Matches which are covered with a third thread are defective, let them be ever so well purified; because this covering conceals the defects, and quickens unequally the consumption of the match.'

'The three threads which are to be laid…together, should be considered as so many strands of a rope; therefore their twisting ought to be sufficient to slack lay them as a rope. They are set in lengths of 100 or 108 feet each, which, after being assembled and laid together, should be reduced of one third. The three threads are then fastened to a wheel and their effort to untwist, added to the twisting occasioned by the wheel, complete their laying. The rope-maker holds the three strands with the hand, and observes that they are laid gradually and regularly upon each other…'

From Louis de Tousard's American Artillerists Companion, Volume I, 366-372. This manual is not in copyright. Originally published in 1809, it was reprinted by Greenwood as part of The West Point Military Library.

The were at least two other methods of making slow match, one from Casimier Semienosvic's artillery treatise of 1676 and the other by French artillery General Lamartillerie which was accepted by General Gribeauval in 1782.

14Bore01 Aug 2020 11:31 a.m. PST

We inherited a Webster Dictionay of 1860 so just before the ACW, bicycle isn't in it but gun cotton is and basic recipe to make it.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2020 12:04 p.m. PST

Thanks Kevin!.


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