Artifact of the Week: Brass Powder Flask

powderflaskThis artifact is a brass powder flask tip excavated from Fort Rosalie in 2009. This historic fort, located at Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi, was occupied by the French, British, Spanish, and Americans from 1716-1806.

Powder flasks were an important part of shooting equipment with muzzle-loading guns. Flasks could be made from any number of materials—including brass, leather, horn, or bone—which would keep the powder dry and would not create a spark if struck. Although some flasks could be elaborately decorated, more basic varieties were standardized military issue. The tip of the flask usually had a spring to automatically close the spout as a safety precaution; the spring on this artifact has been eroded. Such flasks largely became obsolete with the widespread adoption of pre-made cartridges in the mid-19th century.

NATC 1992 FS 307.18