The Manufacture of Minie Cartridges

I hope that the ‘powers that be’ won’t take me to task for dis-obeying the rules on including reloading information hereabouts. I found this in a small volume entitled Instructions of Musketry, published in 1854 by the HMSO in London.

Happy collecting, Peter

Today the instructions would read, obtain from your local Pharmacy a quantity of plastic pill containers…

Much more fun your way, thanks for that

In the same vein as plastic pill bottles, didn’t the Czar’s Cossacks (back in the muzzle-loading days) have metal tubes with corks in them as cartridges? I’ve read that, but never saw one.

Peter, Great post. As the heading states, it is cartridge manufacture and not reloading, so you are safe as well as being highly informative, IMHO. Thanks again, Bruce.

I have seen pictures of bandoliers that have a row of little bottles hanging off them. I presume thats what you mean. I thought they were more southern than the cossacks, more like Turkish/ Ottoman but (?)

Here’s an early British one … 1680.shtml

The Bottles hanging off a shoulder belt are a feature of the Harquebusiers of the 1500s ( pre-measured charge of powder in a turned wooden flask with stopper, tied by a leather thong or woven string to a shoulder sash…part of the distinctive Uniform of the “Musketeer” or the 1600s and early 1700s. The string was connected to the Stopper, which was a tight fit to the flask, which could be then removed, poured down the barrel, and returned to the tied stopper. Shot was carried in a separate “tache” ( pocket, or pouch) attached to the lower end of the sash.

The Cossacks, later, utilised small metal containers ( like cigar tubes) fitted to “cartridge pockets” sewn into their jackets, at an angle, to make them easier to withdraw when loading a Flintlock carbine. The “Cartridge Pocket” design remains part of the Cossack Uniform to this day.

Of course, the pharmacy pill bottles are all the rage these days ( safety reasons) but we use brass “cartidge” powder containers ( Reject 45/100 cases ( non-pierced primer flash holes) fitted with a .45 Colt case as a stopper…the fit is friction tight, and can be manifpulated by the fingers ( the rims on both cases serve to grip). The BP content can go up to 100 grains FFFg. WE use them on Movie sets for Flintlock Blanks Loading.

The Paper Cargtridge manufacturing detail above is typical of all the makers of “Cartridges” from the 1750s through to the last percussion Cartridges of the US Civil War. It is not known when “Cartridges” of Paper came into use, but it is thought to have originated in Italy in the mid-1600s, as the preferred " Cartridge Paper" was Carta Da Fabbriano, a small town in central Italy that made Cartouche paper ( Cartridge Paper) from Linen…it was thick, and resistent, as used in the 1300s and 1400s by all the great Renaissance Artists for both Paintings, and for the planning out and “stencilling” of Frescos.

It was found that by rolling it and sealing it with wax, it made an efficient Powder container, that could also hold a Ball; and that the paper was tough enought to act as a wad for the Powder; all this sped up the operation of Loading a Flintlock; It also did away the need for a separate “priming” Powder flask to prime the pan, as a small part of the Cartridge Powder charge could be used to fill the Pan, then close the Frissen, prior to loading, the barrel.

The paper cartridge also necessitated that Infantrymen have Sound Teeth…escpecially the front ones, for Biting off the tail of the Cartridge, to open the powder to be able to pour it (a) to prime the Pan, & (b) to load the Musket.

The Term “Ball cartridge” arose in this period, to denote a Cartridge fitted with the Musket ball.

The cartridge word in allk the Romance languages derives from the Itallian Cartuccia ( rolled paper) …Cartouche, Cartucho, Cartuchoe, cartuze, etc.

The German “Patrone” ( with its eastern derivations of Patronni, etc; and some of the wirder Slavic words ( Metak, naboju, etc) are of unknown etymology to me. The Turksih “Fisek” derives from their word for “Firework” ( which has an Italian Equivalent ( “Fuzetta”…small firework) and from whence is derived the English “Fuse or Fuze”.

Derivations and etymolgies of words relating to ordnance is an intriguing historical research.