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pewtr-ampull-msg - 12/17/14


Medieval pewter ampullae. Small pewter bottles that can hold water, earth, oil, etc.


NOTE: See also the files: pewter-msg, casting-msg, cast-cutlefsh-msg, Beg-Pwtr-Cast-art, Int-Pwtr-Cast-art, casting-lnks, Cast-Wax-Seal-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: timbeck at ix.netcom.com

To: Mark Harris

Date: Sun, 6 Jul 1997 01:10:15 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: Re: slush casting


On 07/05/97 02:25:02 you wrote:

>>On toys I have seen a few examples of period dolls slush cast in

>>pewter and I have seen depictions in paintings of cloth dolls.

>I cast pewter medalions and coins in soapstone molds. I would be

>interested in hearing more details of this "slush" casting and

>any documentation on it's being a period technique.



In the MOL _Dress Accessories_ Item #1396 is a hollow tin button cast in a

three-part mould. "The back has two possible blow holes along the casting

seam; shank missing; slush cast."  The item is from ceramic phase 9 giving

it a date between 1270 and 1350 ce.  The book _Pewter A celebration of the craft

1200-1700_ also from the MOL isbn0-904818-36-5 has an example of a

hollow cast doll from c1600 and a series of miniture jugs, flagons, and

ewers from the 13th to 16th century.  I also believe that this is how

ampulae were cast.


The process is explained by Oppi Untracht in _Metal Techiniques for Craftsmen_

isbn 0-385-03027-4.  He says that "hollow castings of pewter can be made by pouring molten pewter into a chilled bronze mold.  After a few seconds are allowed for the metal that makes contact with the mould wall to freeze, the mould is inverted and the still liquid metal in the center of the mould space is poured out into a ladle or container."


This is a good way to make light weight castings and save on metal.  It is

apparently used by pewterers making spouts and hollow components of pewterware.  I think this method could also work with other types of molds with large voids.  But obviously the nature of the bronze to sink the heat would be nice.





From: "Joan Bahur" <thusnelda at member.sca.org>

Date: March 10, 2009 3:19:31 PM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [pewterersguild] Re: Hello From New Member Jutte


I slush-cast the ampullae. It was both easy and not. It wasn't hard to carve the mold, and the technique of pouring in and pouring out is pretty simple, but I couldn't get very many good castings per session. When the mold was cold, the pewter set up too quickly to pour out. After about two-three attempts, the mold would be hot enough to cast about two or three ampullae successfully. After that, the mold would be too hot and the hull would not set completely. If I had the patience to experiment, I could probably find the optimal waiting time between pours to keep the mold at the right temperature, but I keep thinking about the next thing I want to do. I'm sure you all have been there!





From: "geologyst1" <geologyst1 at yahoo.com>

Date: March 24, 2009 3:50:18 PM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [pewterersguild] ampulla & introduction


Anyhow, I am relatively new to the SCA, but have been dabbling in metal casting for a while now, mostly playing with fine and sterling silvers, and a little aluminum every now and again. I am really excited to dabble into pewter, and I am glad that you guys would have me.




PS.. as to closing ampullae, as opposed to soldering one closed, is there any reason that once crimped closed, that one couldn't be inverted and "dipped" to be sealed? (not suggesting that this be done with a liquid filled ampulla, but it seems that one filled with sacred soil, martyr's ashes (real or otherwise) or any other solid would suffer any negative effects from this...

sorry if that seems naive.. just a thought that popped into my head, I really don't know anything about this stuff 



From: Anne-Marie Rousseau <dailleurs at liripipe.com>

Date: March 24, 2009 4:40:48 PM CDT

To: <pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com>, "geologyst1" <geologyst1 at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [pewterersguild] ampulla & introduction


re: the closure of the pewter ampullae...

crimping actually works really well! and requires no more material ($$),  just some labor (not so much $$) and a 
big rock ;). dipping in tin or another sealant would cost more money, tho it occurs to me that a wax seal 
would be uber cheap...

if anyone has access to one of the MoL books...is there anything about a wax or pewter seal?  I don't remember 
there being, but I could be mistaken....





From: "widow_elspet" <widow_elspet at yahoo.com>

Date: March 24, 2009 5:36:14 PM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [pewterersguild] Re: ampulla & introduction


<<< if anyone has access to one of the MoL books...is there anything about a wax or pewter seal? >>>


I took a quick qlance, but they are too spread out in MOL to answer quickly. 
One does say that there appears to have been a roof top. Page 163 says crimping or biting. You gotta love teeth as a tool.





From: "Joan Bahur" <thusnelda at member.sca.org>

Date: March 24, 2009 9:24:11 PM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [pewterersguild] Re: ampulla & introduction


"Dipping" to seal an ampulle would be pretty tricky - it melts very quickly. When my pewter supply is getting low I often "dip" the pieces I just molded to melt the sprue back into the pot, and it happens very fast. 

Looking through the Portable Antiquities Scheme, I find that most of the extant ampulles appear to be simply flattened. Here is one that was folded over:



A few of them have holes, as if someone thought it easier just to puncture the ampule to pour out the contents; although after being buried in cultivated fields for several hundred years it is probably difficult to determine exactly how they looked on the day they were buried or dropped.





From: "Joan Bahur" <thusnelda at member.sca.org>

Date: March 24, 2009 7:50:36 AM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: [pewterersguild] Re: Gulf Wars


My ampullae are hollow and you can put water, earth, oil, etc into them. You are correct that the lead-free pewter is harder than leaded, so the neck of the ampulle is much stiffer than period versions, and the thickness of the walls of the neck vary with the direction of pouring out. I haven't tried it, but I think they could be pinched shut and maybe bent over with a sturdy pair of pliers. After pinching the opening shut you could also seal them by soldering. A lot of the extant ampulles found in English fields appear to have been torn open, so they must be much softer.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org