I was going through some Civil War pistol cartridge boxes and thought some might like to see some of the variations. I have sorted them into what I think is their chronological sequence, though I don't know if anyone has gone into the archives to dig out specifications, changes and dates. Only one is marked- the third one down, by Gaylord, though all show the usual asterisk stake marks used by leather workers to close the tack holes created during assembly. It used to be thought the sizes corresponded to calibers, but the government only issued revolvers in .36 and .44 caliber during the war, and the difference would hardly necessitate two different size boxes let alone three. The sizes seem rather to correspond to changes in the cartridge packs supplied to the soldiers.
At top is the earliest and smallest, made without rivet reinforcements on the belt loops or latch tab, which is an early-war sign.
The middle two are the medium size. The flaps may differ, but the bodies measure the same. This size shows a number of variations that are likely chronological within the type, though certain makers may have been supplying an older style specified in an ongoing contract. The two I show both have simple straight lines of stitching securing the latch tab, again an early sign. The Gaylord marked box, however, has rivets on the belt loops and the other does not. There is also a medium size version that shows up with the latch tab stitched and riveted and rivets on the loops, which I think would mark it as the latest version.
The bottom one is the largest and shows a rivet on the latch tab and loops. These used to be billed as the .44 caliber pistol boxes, but the size seems rather to be designed to accommodate a cartridge pack that consisted of a longer split wood block with seven holes to contain six cartridges and a paper twist of percussion caps.
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