Top wads - little summary from IAA forum

An especially fascinating specialty is called “top wads.” For example, in the United States of America, from the early days of breech loaders well into the Great Depression, hardware distributors and stores loaded shells suited to local needs. Many commercial loaders were in the western, central, and eastern fly ways. Note the geography of these shotshells:

Clark & Co. Utica, New York; J.P. Dannefelser New York, N.Y.; O. Hesse Red Bank, New Jersey; E.A. Kimball Tacoma, Washington; Kirkwood Boston, Massachusetts; L. Phillips Columbus, Nebraska.

They have different shape not only disc:

and patent for this :
Patent # 271,527 by Otto F. Seibold, January 30, 1883

Information about type ammo:

60mm M4 Ignition Cartridge

ORD-81: 37mm White-to-Green Parachute Flare

or boxes for wads

or more on:
Wads and accessories boxes

Good idea in posting this thread PJB! I didn’t realize that there were that many styles of top wads. I especially like the “star wad” patented in 1883. I must find myself one of those!


Think the CS stands for Wingert’s Chain Shot, see my last auction (can’t remember the lot number). He also just wrote a “C.S.”. We also had a very neat Argentine shell with a pressure-fitted thin metal ‘washer’ to secure the top wad / load in this sale, while the UMC Star wad boxes have been pictured in a back issue of the IAA Journal. Those exist in 12 and 10 gage.
Oh yeah, one of the UMC wad boxes was also in the sale.

In generally I am looking for information about Polish topwads like this:
from Warszawska Spółka Myśliwska (before II WW)

but to get other interesting materials frm other countries:

Very nice pictures, thank you for showing them

and of course first was articles in IAA Journal :) but i don’t remeber from I have this .

Interesting is metal topwads??? by PATENT R.WALKER’S


Richard Walker of Birmingham England intialy made copper percussion caps for muzzle loading guns. His 1834 patent metal wads were not intended for shotshells, but muzzle loading shotguns., note that some have small indents around the edge to allow for escaping air when ramming down the barrel.
Jim Buchanan

To carry on from what Jim said there are two patents on the Walkers discs “cards” the first had three (3) notches and the second had four (4). I am saying second as all the ones with four notches on I have or had, had a letter “B” after the bore size (see pictures).

If this actually made any difference I don’t know, these two came from the same tin! They are called Patent Metallic Gun Wadding.

Edited as the wording was bad.

Jim (ArmourerJim) asked me to post these for him.


and further info on these wads can be found at -

Jim Buchanan

Santa Claus is coming to town ;)

homemade topwads from …

and last fashion “topwads” on headstamp :)

Hi all,

I have a TW Marked KIRKWOOD T BOSTON. I assume the large T in the middle means turkey shot. Is this a good assumption and what size shot is considered turkey.



“T” shot is .20" dia. Not sure of the origin of the use of that letter nor “B” or “F” for that matter.


Hi pjotr.
Here are two more from Poland.
And also some other ‘east european’ topwads.

Regards René