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The Lead Business in North America - page 2

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Buck Conner

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The St. Louis Shot Tower supplied large quantities of lead shot, trade balls, and small lead bars to the frontier, mentioning firms like Chouteau, Merle and Sanford, and Chouteau and Valle. A number of one pound lead bars, parts of lead bars and the 1/2 pound lead bars have been found in present day Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado
In a five month period the shot tower was capable of producing :
...... 79,775 bags or
...... 1,994,375 pounds of varied sizes of shot and round balls.
...... 1714 bags or
...... 428,460 pounds of lead bars.
A total of shot and lead in five months of: ...... 2,422,835 pounds

The Youle Shot Tower: The Youle Shot Tower was built around 1830 on the banks of the East River, beyond Kip's Bay on Manhattan Island in the state of New York, the owner George Youle is listed as a dry goods merchant and builder of the shot tower in Longworth's New Directory for 1835-1836.
The shot tower operated for years and was quite productive, selling much of its inventory to hardware and sporting goods dealers in New York and Pennsylvania. In turn the dealers supplied the Indian Bureau, the American Fur Trade and a number of suppliers in the south and west. One of those suppliers being the Tryon Company of Phila. PA, the same manufacturer of the Tyron trade gun and Tryon rifle, along with cutting tools and general hardware.
When one considers the small size of the product manufactured and compares the sizes of the building and lofty tower devoted to its operation, the proportions are greatly distorted. The apparatus was merely a plate of copper with a number of holes punched in it and placed a few feet above a kettle of water in the tower, the melted lead was poured, descended and passing through the holes in the plate into the water, cooled and hardened all in one operation. Probably the hardest part of the manufacturing of shot was moving the material from the ground to the top of the tower and into the furnaces at that location, many accidents have been recorded at this area, thus workers in the upper part of the tower received more for their daily wage than those working at ground level. The idea of a shot tower as a monument was never found to have the same attraction as those towers of light-houses or ones found at stone forts on the frontier, a shot tower was a place of unbelievable heat, hard work and bad air to breathe.
Still operating in New York as late as 1868 where three shot towers, but the new "wind Tower" method, using a short fall against a blast of cool air soon made them obsolete. This new process was patented in 1848 by T.O. Leroy & Co. of New York and by 1873 they where the only surviving shot tower in New York.
[NOTE] I purchased an original [HBC c.] mold appr.. 1750-1800 period, a [HBC] (overstamp) mold app.. 1800-1835/40, and a "St. Louis Shot Tower" mold app.. 1830-1850. I went into the bar lead business, selling to dealers and retail customers, then something happened that our forefather's didn't have to deal with - the EPA let me know I was against policy for the area I was manufacturing in.
Wanting to keep the original molds for my personal collection I had a friend make a new set from the originals and have now sold the reproduction set of molds to Blue Heron Mercantile, Jim will be reproducing the bars mentioned my the time you read this article.
SOURCES:
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.29, No.3 Buck & Ball Molds for Indians - Charles E. Hanson, Jr.
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.32, No.2 American Trade Goods - Charles E. Hanson, Jr.
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.9, No.2 More On The St. Louis Shot Tower - The Engages
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.10, No.4 The Youle Shot Tower - Charles E. Hanson, Jr.
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.14, No.3 Lead In The Fur Trade - Charles E. Hanson, Jr.
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.22, No.3 A Lead Bar From The Hanna-White Cabin - Miles Gilbert & Wayne Rogoski
The Museum Of The Fur Trade Quarterly Vol.3, No.3 The St. Louis Shot Tower - Charles E. Hanson, Jr.

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