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Brass Flintlock Pan Primer Measure
[url][/url][Image: panprimer.jpg]

A friend brought this to me and asked if I knew anything about it.  It has no markings, but would appear to be a self contained flintlock pan powder measure with vent pick.  I said I would post it one the forums for him.

The vent pick screws into the top of the cylinder which would contain some 4F.  The top is sprung loaded, and when pressed, opens up a little hole in the bottom, which feeds into a small funnel measure.

Can anyone please tell me anything more about its history?
Could it also be  nipple primer.
Yes, this IS a percussion nipple primer.  See Blackmore's GUNS AND RIFLES OF THE WORLD for a similar one by Dixon,
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
Here is the nipple primer shown in Blackmore's book mentioned above.  It is of the rather more advanced type where the pricker is attached to the plunger and has the effect of poking the powder grains into the nipple at the same time as the powder is released into the funnel.  Other variations have been seen such as the primer combined with a dog whistle.

[Image: NipplePrimer.jpg]
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
Thanks Bill, makes sense.  Were these used because the percussion caps then, weren't as reliable?  So what time frame would we be talking about, the middle 1800's.
Yes, these will date from c.1850-80.  The small holes in the tops of sporting  nipples often became clogged by fouling or cap debris.
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
The owner of this was pleased with the information that you provided.  He took it to the Brisbane museum and they didn't know what it was, though they suspected that it might have had something to do with muskets.

He was wondering where something like this would have been made and how common it is?

They were usually made in Birmingham or Sheffield and were probably fairly common accessories although their survival rate is very low as there does not seem to be any other useful purpose for them and with the end of muzzle loading they were just thrown away or lost.  The result is that they are now both rare and collectable with correspondingly high values in the range of 300 to 500 pounds sterling.  They were strictly civilian items for use with sporting guns in the period from around 1840 to the end of muzzle loading around 1870.  Value will depend on complexity, for instance the one I showed is more valuable because of its construction and the fact that is was made by one of the well known makers.  Others are even more complex and include such extra facilities as dog whistles so they are correspondingly more valuable.
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
In Dixons cataloque of 1883 page 46 there are five different types of nipple primers advertised.

No 100 Powder primer with inside self acting picker for Musket Nipples ,Brass 28/-doz  
                                                                                                      British plate38/- per doz
No 101                     do                      do for gun nipples  Brass28/-doz   British plate 38/- per doz
No  104N                          do                     do with dog call       British plate 50/- per doz
No 218 N   Improved pattern with outside self acting picker for gun nipples Brass 32/- per doz
                                                                                          British plate  42/- per doz
No 220N                      do             do             with  dog call    British plate    54/- per doz  


Thankyou both for the information that you have provided.  I was impressed by how well made this item was, and the fact that it was still functional.  I think sometimes that a lot of people can be guilty of not giving enough credit to the skill of those who lived so long ago.

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