"Contact points of flintlocks"
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  1. #1
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    Default "Contact points of flintlocks"

    I am reading a book called Periodic Tales by Aldersey-Williams, about the elements. Stories of their discovery, cultural and symbolic connections, and miscellaneous other stuff. Not as technical as I'd hoped, and not as much fun because of a few things that I am sure just ain't so, and others I am suspicious of but not quite sure.

    In the latter category is the statement on Page 42:

    Some of the platinum [produced by Wollaston and Tennant prior to 1828] was formed into crucibles for scientific experiments or rods for drawing into wire, but most of it went to gunsmiths, who used the metal to improve the contact points of flintlock pistols where it was cheaper and more effective than the gold they had been accustomed to using for the purpose.

    I could barely believe that a high-melting, non-corroding metal (like Pt) might be tried for the nipples of cap-lock firearms, but...Flintlocks? Contact points?
    The frizzen could not be gold even if it were not too soft, or platinum because the shaving scraped off by the flint has to autoignite. Rustproof sears and detents might be nice but gold again would be too soft even if Pt is not..If there is anyone who can definitively explain this as nonsense, an actual but obscure fact, or something in between, I thought I would find him (or her) here.

    Thanks!

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    heres 2 cents worth, maybe it was just used as bedding , it does work harden

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    methinks "contact points" is misleading....more like linings in pans and such to resist corrosion??

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    methinks "contact points" is misleading....more like linings in pans and such to resist corrosion??

    I think this is closer to the truth. I think they used it for touch hole liners to prevent erosion, at least on high class guns.

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    Touchhole liners and blowout plugs. I've seen old smoothbores with those features including a magnificent French double barrel shotgun owned by a friend that was reconverted back to flintlock.

    It is also not uncommon to find small decorative platinum inlays at the barrel or breech. The french piece I described had narrow platinum bands at the rear of the barrels.

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    Could contact points have meant "pivot" points like jewels in a watch movement?

    Vlad

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    My 1881 German gunsmithing book... Die moderne Gewehrfabrikation....

    States that platinum was used earlier, mainly for muzzle loading gun, touch hole linings.

    Contact perhaps meaning, in contact with the powder and gases..

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    I knew I would find it here!

    Would a touch-hole liner be staked-in like a hollow rivet or eyelet, or a would it have been a threaded plug?

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    Quote Originally Posted by magneticanomaly View Post
    I knew I would find it here!

    Would a touch-hole liner be staked-in like a hollow rivet or eyelet, or a would it have been a threaded plug?
    Staked in. Because platinum is so erosion resistant replacement would likely seldom be needed.

    Years ago when I first started riding I owned a series of Yamaha 2-cycle street bikes. Plug fouling was a constant problem until someone clued me in to platinum plugs. The electrodes were smaller but lasted well.

    One thing I would like to state. In my first post I mentioned blow out plugs because that is what the owner called them. I actually suspect they were plugging holes created as part of the manufacturing process and the name is a misnomer same as freeze plugs in an engine block which won't protect against freezing and are actually core plugs used to close the holes created by casting cores.

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    A pressed/staked in touchhole liner, would be a potential projectile.

    All I know of, were threaded in, and filed flush after install..

    Modern ones usually are slotted, or have an internal hex to tighten them .

    Not the greatest idea, Nooks and crannies to hinder the ignition path..

    Easy enough to drill old style liners out a bit, and remove with easy out when worn...


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