Electric Gunpowder

A nice ad by The Maresfield Patent Gunpowder Company (Limited), London.

Is “Electric” simply a brand name, or does it refer to the manufacturing process?

Falcon, it was named “Electric” because according to the manufacturer it was made of an improved mixture with rapid combustion and little or no residue left (for a powder made in 1856). The factory was located in Maresfield, Sussex, hence the company’s name. Regards, Fede.

Hi Fede,

Very interesting add, especially from that date, I thought that the powder was from a 1890’s (ish) period, so that just blow that out of the water.
Have you even seen an example of an “Electric” named cartridge (and I don’t mean electric ignition!) I refer to Electric on the case. I can think of only ever seeing two such examples, both were/are certainly circa 1900 or maybe earlier.


Some more info and pictures from Jim.

A poster for the Maresfield Electric.

I forgot to say that the Kynoch Electric dates from 1890.

And the Hazard powder Co. of the USA also sold an Electric brand of powder, seen in red cans.


Thanks Jim, this information has made me feel a lot better on my dates for the cartridges.


Hi Fede and all.

The Maresfield Gunpowder Mills were established by John Shelley in 1848/49. In 1852 the mills were leased to Henry Drayson. The company name was changed to the Maresfield Patent Gunpowder Company. There was an explosion in 1854 and the mills temporarily abandoned. By 1857 (obviously 1856 according to the advert) the mills were in productions again.
in 1858, Drayson looted the company and hightailed out for parts unknown. His partner Fredrick Spray was left holding the bag and went bankrupt shortly after.
The company was reestablished as the Maresfield Gunpowder Mills in 1858 and continued to operate until they went bankrupt for a final time in 1864.

Nice Advert. The Dupont museum has a great poster for Electic Gunpowder by ‘The Maresfield Patent Gunpowder Co Ltd’ which would date from 1852 to 1858. They also have a Rifle Gunpowder label by them as made by ‘Draysons & Harvey’ Maresfield, Sussex. Not sure of the date on that one.

I have a tin in my collection of ‘Victoria Rifle Gunpowder’ made at the Maresfield Mills, Expressly for the Rifle Corps. This would date from 1858. The Victoria Rifles had a name change in September of 1858, which neatly dates the tin. I also have a letterhead dated April 1857. With this advert (was this from the Dupont photo archives? I seem to remember seeing this somewhere), that is all of the pieces that I know of from this mill and I have been looking for a long time.

Thanks for sharing this. Nice to see a rare gunpowder item on the form.


Mike, Jim and Will, excellent pictures and information, thank you very much.

Picture of one of the only two types of Electric named cartridges I know of, I would love to see any more if anybody has them.

The company that used this name on it’s cartridges was Horrell & Son of Crediton in Devon.