Historic Tools of North Castle

Gunpowder Can

This item at Smith’s Tavern is a tin container of gunpowder with a partially destroyed label that read fully “Orange Ducking Powder Laflin & Rand Powder Co. New York”.  It is an oval-shaped tin container with a small screw cap on top (it still contains some gunpowder). The powder from this container would be used to fill shotgun shells for duck hunting.


Laflin & Rand Powder Company was gunpowder and early smokeless powder manufacturer notable for producing the smokeless powder used by U.S. Army infantry rifles from 1896 to 1908.  


Matthew Laflin manufactured potassium nitrate for the Massachusetts militia during the American Revolutionary War and built a gunpowder mill in Southwick, Massachusetts after the war.  After Laflin's death in 1810, his grandchildren expanded the family business with two mills in New York and one in Wisconsin. These mills produced gunpowder for the Union forces throughout the Civil War. Laflin Powder Co.was incorporated in 1866 to consolidate operations to compete successfully for the reduced gunpowder demand after the war.  Laflin Powder Co. further consolidated gunpowder manufacturing around the Orange Mill Historic District near Newburgh, NY by merger with the competing Smith & Rand Powder Co. on August 24, 1869, to form the Laflin & Rand Powder Co. of New York City, with Albert Rand as president.


The reason why many of Laflin & Rand's black powder offerings were sold under the "Orange" brand name (e.g. Orange Ducking Powder, Orange Rifle Powder, Orange Lightning, Orange Extra Sporting, etc.) is because their original production plant was named "Orange Mills" and happened to be located in Orange County, NY.


Reference:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laflin_%26_Rand_Powder_Company and https://www.willishenryauctions.com/catalogs/antiques-estates-auction-apr-16-2016/lot-94a-antique-gun-powder-tin/

Catalog Items:

Item 133D

Location:Left Shelf - 3rd
Length: 11 cm
Width: 4 cm
Height: 15 cm
Weight: 320 g