Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1807 percussion cap

One of the problems of flintlock weapons was that sometimes the priming powder didn't ignite because the lock wasn't able to keep it entirely dry. The solution was found in 1807 by Alexander John Forsyth who patented a priming powder made from an unstable mix of chlorate of potash, sulphur and charcoal, which exploded when it was struck. He saw it as a useful development for sportsmen who were wild fowling on wet days. It took 30 years for the technology to be recognized and adopted by the military authorities. In the meantime, it was gradually improved by gunmakers and private individuals,who developed the copper percussion cap.

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