Object Detail

Maker and Role
Unknown Maker
19th Century
Object Type
Turtle shell, brass
7 1/4 x 5 x 3 3/4" (18.4 x 12.7 x 9.5cm)
Turtle shells have historically been used for a variety of different containers. By the nineteenth century, craftspeople began to use these shells as powder flasks. The practice was especially popular in the United States and Japan. Unlike metal flasks, these items were not mass produced. Rather, they were made by individuals who either used the flasks themselves or sold them as relatively expensive luxury items. To make these flasks, artisans removed the body of a turtle from its shell and then fitted the container with a spout, usually made from either brass or silver. The entire flask was then coated with a protective finish.

Gunpowder was sold in bulk and gunpowder flasks were used to carry gunpowder when out in the field.
DuPont Museum Collection
Object No
Currently on Display
Maker Details