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.
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.
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.
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.