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1812anim.jpg (12506 bytes)

Method of making Quick Match, c.1787
Submitted by Robert Henderson

This method is taken from a manuscript in the possession of the Royal Artillery Library. It is dated sometime between 1787 and 1793 and contains numerous details of Laboratory procedures useful for scholars interested in the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

"To make Worsted Quick Match; take of Worsted Ten ounces, of Spirits of Wine Three Pints, of Isinglass Half a Pint, and Mealed Powder Ten lbs. The Wordsted is to be put on a Reel and unwound into a Pan as equal as possible; if it should happen to break it must be secured with a double knot to prevetn slipping and when it is all unreeled, fasten the end to the Handle of the Pan. Half a Pint of dissolved Isinglass to be poured upon it, likewise the Spirits of Wine, and some Water and Mealed Powder enough to cover it all over; after being gently pressed with a woodem Spatula. It must stand to soak for one day, next take the end fastened to the Handle of the Pan and draw it gently through the Hand, so as not to break the Worsted, into a clear Pan, fastening the End to the Handle as before, the remainder of the Liquor is then to be poured over it, and it must be left to stand for a Day. Having tied the end to a Quickmatch Reel, reel it off gently, let the match run through the Hand, so as to make it even, and moderately tight on the Reel, which must be placed on a Sifting Table, with two Pieces of wood placed under to keep the Match from the Table. Mealed Powder is then sifted over all the upper part so as to cover the match equally, looking carefully over to see that no part is omitted in the Distribution of Powder. The Reel is then to be turned and the other side carefully sifted over.

The sifted reel is to be lifted off the Table and set so as to lean against a Wall; one Reel is to be fitted after another till the whole is reeled off. In Summer about Ten Days will be sufficient for the Match to dry off, after which it may be cut off, tied in Bundles, weighed and ticketed, then put up in Deal Boxes with Sliding Covers. In preparing the Isinglass 40oz are to be hammered on an Anvil until flat, then pickt in small pieces and put into a Copper Pan, pouring orver it Three Pints of Water, and suffering it to stand soaking one or two Days, then Boilding it for a Quarter of an Hour over a gentle Fire, when it is fit for use.

To make cotton Quickmatch; take of Cotton One Pound Twelve Ounces, of Salt Petre One Pound Eight Ounces, of Spirits of Wine Two Pints, of Water Three Pints, and of Mealed Powder Ten Pounds. The Cotton is to consist of Two Three or Four Strands according to the size wanted and is to be wound into Balls.

The Petre is to be put into a clean Copper Pan, and the bottom unwound upon it, then the water poured in and Boiled together about an Hour, and the Spirits of Wine being put in and simmered together about an Quarter of an Hour, it is taken into another room and Five Poiunds of Mealed Powder put upon it, taking Care to let it soak well, the same porcess to be punctually observed as for Worsted Quick Match.

Note~ Ten Pounds of Mealed Powder are given in the aove proportions of which Five are to be used with the Cotton in the Pan, and the other Five for Sifting over it, after the Cotton is wound upon the Reels or Frames~"

Copyright The Discriminating General 1997


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