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Early Nipple Protector??
I was fortunate on the weekend to be given an unusual nipple protector by a generous fellow collector who learned that I was interested in such items. As he pointed out, this particular example is unusual for two reasons:
1). The protector is made of brass.
2). The steel rings are single rings soldered closed & are not the usual split ring - thereby leading to speculation that this may pre-date split rings & therefore pre-date all the nipple protectors that I have seen to date.

An extract from a recent study & article reads:

"The history of snap caps is vague. Snap caps, or nipple protectors, made of malleable cast iron were introduced in the early 1840s and discontinued in October, 1851; when it was demonstrated that a well made nipple could suffer 7,000 hammer blows with no appreciable damage to hammer face or nipple. However the practice of “dry-firing” the thingy on to an unprotected nipple was eventually stopped and snap caps were re-introduced. This decision was made in 1855, but by 1857, though a specimen had been sent to Enfield by the Royal Laboratory, no pattern had been officially approved. The first change of pattern was adopted on 5th April, 1859, stating that a stronger chain and link were to be used in future. An improvement, to face the leather pad hole with a small brass disc to prevent nipple blockage with leather particles, was adopted on 17th February, 1864, as Pattern No. 4. "

I have found no mention of brass nipple protectors but that by any means excludes their possibility .

Has anyone else ever seen such a brass nipple protector?

Thanks in advance, Adrian.

[img][Image: EarlynippleprotectorSide2.jpg][/img]

[img][Image: EarlynippleprotectorSide1.jpg][/img]

This subject was also brought up on the British Militaria and Firearms site where it was dealt with in some detail.  See <>
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
Picking up on an old thread there was anquiry about old Nipple protectors with photos...As a member of a Chain manufacturing family from the early 1700s I must make some comment..
Splip rings or key rings were being made to a very high standard long before the percusion cap was invented and the chain shewn was curtainly not of european manufacture.I suggest it may have been of eastern or other native make..I have never seen a EUOPEAN CHADELIER chain of such poor quality or brazed at the ends(not soldered)as the rings and links are..The protector on enfields was made of iron (cast steel) and the CHANDELIER chain was joined to the protector by a single link of JACK chain,normally 12 wire gauge.
I know. My comany supplied P.H with 1000s thru' Messrs Berkley & Co.(Slip Ring Manufacturers) of Price Sreet in Birmingham and many thouands before as they did with the door chains on Austin 7 door release pulls..
We also made Curb and Spur Chains for the cavelry together with stall chains..
If you want a bit of chain or a spring give me a call ..
Mike, glad to know you are still with us !

If I have not already posted this, here is a Report from the School of Musketry, Hythe, to the Adjutant General dated 22 Feb 1856.
40. Snap caps made of sheet tin, to be used to be used on the nipple when men are being exercised in the “position drill.”
Synopsis of Report or Trial.
As very few blows render these tin caps unserviceable, and as the demand for them will be very large, requiring much precaution to maintain a proper check on their expenditure :  recommended that the “snap cap” be left an open question, with a view of obtaining one that is durable, inexpensive, and which could, at the same time, offer sufficient protection  to the lock from the jar of the fall of the cock. A snap cap to meet these requirements, and which it is conceived would be found useful in the field to prevent water entering by the nipple, is at present under trial. A model of this snap cap is forwarded.

And, from the Report to the Adjutant General dated 16 April 1856.
13. Snap caps of iron and leather, recommended from School of Musketry, to preserve the locks of rifles from snapping, which practice is essential to the efficient execution of the preliminary drills in training to shoot.
Synopsis of Report or Trial.
The pattern snap caps, formed of iron and leather, mentioned in the Report of 22 February last (No.40 in last year’s Synopsis of Reports on Experiments, &c.), having since this date been in constant use, are found to answer the desired effect admirably.
No breakage of any part of the lock has occurred in the rifles with which said caps have been used.
They will be found less expensive than the uncharged tin caps proposed by the Superintendent  of Royal Factory, Enfield, and less likely to injure the lock. Their expenditure will be more easily checked and controlled.
Recommended that they be at once adopted in preference to the tin caps alluded to in the letter calling for this report.

Again, from the Report to the Adjutant General dated 14 May 1856.
14. Snap; caps of leather and iron, represented as being uncouth and clumsy in appearance.
Synopsis of Report or Trial.
Although the snap cap of iron and leather (the pattern of which was submitted in a rough state, merely to show the principle of construction) is not so neat in appearance as the uncharged tin cap, as far as utility and economy are concerned, there can be no comparison between the merits of the two articles. The iron and leather snap cap, besides obviating entirely the jar to the lock by the fall of the hammer on the nipple, is durable, inexpensive, water and air-tight when on the nipple (the latter quality of the utmost importance on service), and prevents a mixture of caps, which would be rendered probable by the issue of the uncharged tin caps, and would be available on all occasions for parade purposes where file and volley firing is practised.  In these particulars, therefore,  it is superior to the uncharged tin cap, and has been recommended in preference thereto. As far as the training of the troops to shoot is concerned (if all other considerations are deemed unimportant), either snap cap will answer the purpose.
W. S. (Bill) Curtis
Hello Bill and others interested,As you well know I am "still" not with you.. For murder I would have long been back in society.For killing a WHITE shirt with RED & BLUE stripes at a party it seems the sentence is more permanent even though the prosecuters (persecuters) has long since been discredited !!
You seem to have missed my point in that this protector is non-enfield or other european make.I have a Muzzle Loading copy of a SMLE that this protector would suit very well.Never dared fire it but the barrel may well have been made from British railway line from north of the Kyber!!as were many BRENs, STENs and AK47s..
Take care,go well,OLD DOG DEVA 
Mike, my meaning of still with us was that you are at present still the breathing the air of this planet. The unspeakable one is long gone although the damage done by the creature will never be wholly rectified. It is just a relief to know you survive as the time has come when friends all round are dropping off their twigs. Keep Well !
W. S. (Bill) Curtis

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