Black powder cans, anyone?

I haven’t seen any pictures of powder cans recently, and I know some of this group have an interest in more than just the cartridges themselves.

Here’s an intriquing little powder can that is much smaller than I had thought when I saw it pictured and described in a recent auction. I suspect that had the seller given the dimensions, it may have drawn more interest that just my single bid. That’s a .45-70 in the picture next to the can, to provide some idea just how small it is - 4" to the top of the spout x 2 3/8" in diameter. I’m pretty sure the can was intended as a sample, based on its size, and the information on the label which lists a wide array of different products sold by the retailer W.J. & R.H. Scott, as well as the services they provided. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who might shed some light on Mountain Brow powder or the retailer. The only ionformation I have on R.H. Scott is that he was an agent for DuPont Powder. He was located at 60 State Street in Albany, New York, probably in the 1860s.

Frank Sellers in his book American Gunsmiths shows W.J & R.H. Scott as makers of percussion guns in Albany, NY from 1848 - 1874.

Hi Guy.
Your tin is probably a 1/4 pounder. Mountain Brow powder is one that I have not heard of before, but on the otherhand there are lots that I haven’t heard of before. In all likelihood, the powder was locally made. There were a few mills in New York State at the time including the Shcagticoke mills (not all that far from Albany). If they were an agent for Dupont, then it could be Dupont powder they were selling. On the tin it says ‘put up by’ and ‘manufacturer’. The question is: were they a powder maker (I don’t know the answer to that) or did they just repackage and sell others poweders? I would be interested to know what the rest of that line says on the label.

Your time frame is about right. The tin looks about 1850’s to 1860’s period.


Thanks for the response. Gun Powder Cans & Kegs by Ted and David Bacyk and Tom Rowe includes a can by R.H. Scott that is 2" tall by 2 1/4". They call their can a 1/4 pound size. I assume mine is 1/2 pound - I guess I need to fill and weigh it.

Here’s the text from the label on my can, missing a few words where it had flaked off:

Bruce Bazelon’s “Directory of American Military Goods Dealers and Makers 1785-1915” has a long entry for Richard H. and William Scott in Albany, NY. (Even longer than their advertising on the label of the can!)

Their ads indicate they were founded in 1842, listed as gunsmiths 1845-1848 located at 3 and then 9 Beaver Street… Their 1854-1859 billheads [business letterhead?] listed many of the same items listed on the label of this can.

From 1863 on they were listed [in directories?] at 60 State Street as gun makers and dealers in military goods. In 1870 they ordered New York militia buttons, and from 1871 on Richard Scott was listed alone through at least 1881. In 1878 the 60 State Street address was used by another person (William Piddock) and Richard Scott moved to 78 State Street.

Based on the series of addresses listed, it looks like your can dates to 1863-1871.

Thanks for the information. At some point, Richard Scott advertised as being ‘at the sign of the gilt cartridge’. A big golden wood cartridge would be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

Would you please e-mail me a scan or photograph of the page that you got the information from? I’d like to try to fill in a few of the missing words from my label, and the list of goods in your book might be helpful.

Thanks again.