Have you ever seen a real powder horn? Maybe you’ve seen one in movies about the earliest days of the United States. Powder horns were made from the hollow horn of a cow or ox and were turned into a lightweight, waterproof container to store and carry gunpowder.

The large end of the powder horn was fitted with a wooden plug or brass cap which could be removed to fill the horn with gunpowder.

The small end was used to pour a small amount of gunpowder into the barrel of a gun or into a cartridge and had a cap or valve to close it to keep the gunpowder dry.

Each time a soldier or hunter was going to shoot, he used the powder horn to dispense the gunpowder into his weapon before adding a bullet or musket ball.

Powder Horn

The photo shows two powder horns in the collection of the Norway Museum & Historical Society. The large one is about 13 inches long and is made from a bull’s horn. The other is a cow’s horn and is eight inches long. Both are nice examples of long-ago workmanship.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: