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Schoyen and Petersen Powder Measures

Schoyen Powder Measure
Schoyen Powder Measure

     I have a couple of these but when a friend sent these pictures I had to put this one out here first. It is so pretty I could not resist. Take a good look at the pictures. For the serious Collector, condition is everything! This Measure has the qualities I always hope for. These have always been my favorites.

     I like to start with the Patent papers. First, I want to know what the original design looked like. As you will see later, it helps to know what an early, pre-patent measure might look like "Just In Case" one shows up.

    This is the process. You have an idea and you make a tool. The first one may have problems and ends up trashed. Think about it and start over. When you have one that works, make a patent drawing and file for a patent.

    Once upon a time, a powder measure like this patent model existed. There may have been several. A skilled collector should look at this patent drawing and remember it. Otherwise you miss interesting tools.

    Here you see a Button with a screw in the center on the end of the Central tube B. (left end) As an old time  machinist I think that would be harder to make than the later design.

    Also, the spring (C) to return the central tube to the start position is in a totally different location than used later.

    Figure five shows an unusual screw/clamp to hold the adjusting rod. I have not seen that on an actual measure.

    Figure 4 shows a plunger to adjust the main powder charge. Further along I check the actual parts as they evolve.

   As an interesting side note, John Dutcher met some members of the Schoyen family. For quite a while he had George Schoyens Winchester Hi-Wall. If I remember the story right, he bought the rifle from the family. He mentioned that the family pronounced their name Sko-yen, or Skoy-yen. A lot of collectors pronounce the name Schoy-yen or something like that. Actually that is a European pronunciation. For some reason they do not understand that people who came to America assimilated. They often used a more Americanized pronunciation. My Austrian ancestors did that. George Armstrong Custer's family did not use Kuster with two dots over the U. That would sound more like Koooster! Fun Fact!

    Some people recoil if there are not clear glass bottles on these measures. Personally, these Amber bottles look great to me! I offered this guy quite a price for this measure.

No Luck!

    Further along I show a Measure with nickeled metal powder containers. I like them too! If you search Schoyen Powder measure on the internet, you will find two at halp-Pbase. One with clear glass, and another with nickeled  metal containers that are soldered on. The latter is also from the Dutcher collection and was reportedly Axel Petersens personal measure. From the Petersen family. Those were good days in Denver for John.

    I think it is a personal choice. I will buy any nice Schoyen Measure that does not break the bank! I have found two so far. I wonder where the next one will show up!

    Take a look at this picture. Now isn't that Pretty! I'll sure take it! The blue eyed Sweedish Blonde of powder measures. ( I like them too!)

    Notice what seems to be a serial number on the C-clamp. So far I have not seen one over 100, but there may be some out there.

Schoyen Powder Measure
Schoyen Powder Measure

    Above, you can see a really nice Schoyen and Petersen Powder Measure. For many collectors that is enough. Find one, place it in your collection, Done! For a more advanced collector, having a rifle with all the tools is even better. A complete Schoyen Outfit!

     If you bought the different tools, at different times, do you have the correct tools for that Rifle? It is almost certain that you do not. The Rifles and Tools were made to go together. They were ordered for a specific Shooter, to the specifications he required. These were Custom Made Rifles.

     Perhaps you have six or ten of these beautiful Measures. Do you know what you have? Did you ever really Look at them? 

     I only have two of these measures to take apart and look at. Aside from some external differences that are not important, the two I have are not the same. 


     These two parts are the internal tubes from my two Schoyen Measures. The upper tube is from a Measure stamped 93 on the C-clamp. The lower is from a Measure stamped 71. Look at the hole just left of center on each tube. They are different diameters. These holes determine how much powder is dropped from the small powder container. They were intended to drop a priming charge of Bulk Smokeless powder, or fine Black Powder. The hole in the upper tube measures .252. The lower hole from measure 71 is .237. This is an intentional difference. The two measures throw a much different, "Fixed" powder charge. There is no adjustment.

     Bulk charges were from 5 to 10% of the larger main powder charge, depending on the powder you intended to use. The upper tube "May" have been for a 38-55. The lower for a 32-40. We have so little information about these measures, all I can do is Guess. I am pretty darn sure these Measures were not for the same caliber or powder charge.

     The larger slide, which drops the main charge, seems to measure from 15 to 70 grains on both tubes. That is a good range for cartridges of the day. So, these measures could vary the main charge, but not the priming charge. Fine tuning the two charges was not possible. This makes me think the measures were made for a particular caliber and possibly, a particular rifle.

Schoyen Measure Number 93

      I am hoping these photos will stimulate some interest among Collectors. There must be quite a few more of these measures out there. I bought this particular Powder Measure in Denver a few years ago. It must have been sitting in a box or closet for all these years. The seller took it in trade and knew nothing about it. I am happy someone saved it, but it's history is lost.

     I have never seen an ad for these measures. Other than the patent papers, no information on their use has ever been published. I am hoping there is more out there than just a few scattered pictures with no detail. If you know more, please let us know. Collectors are secretive by nature. If you keep everything secret, it will be lost and no new collectors will come along.

Schoyen Powder Measure
Schoyen Powder Measure
Schoyen Powder Measure

      Bigger powder containers hold more powder. These containers are bigger. It is possible this measure was used with a larger caliber rifle. I used to have a H. M. Pope target rifle in 38-72. It seems there was a period of time when this cartridge was popular with target shooters, because I have seen several Custom rifles chambered for it.

     I always wondered if Schoyen made hunting rifles. He was in the right place for it. There was a lot of hunting going on in Colorado. So far I have had no luck.

     I have no idea when these powder containers were placed on this Measure. Perhaps the owner got tired of breaking those glass jars and did something about it! Exactly when, we will never know. 

     The most interesting feature I see here are the "Windows" to show how much powder is left. These seem to be made of a layered plastic rather than glass. They remind me of the "Milwaukee Brass Works" powder measures. They were installed in the same way and seem to be the same material.

     This is the highest number I have seen on one of these measures, except for one on E-bay recently. It was number 94. It was broken and corroded so I did not get serious about bidding on it. It would be nice to have consecutive numbers, but I have no desire to have things in bad condition. I also limit my efforts to finding nice items I do not have to "fix".

     When I saw this measure I "Liked" its looks. For me that is all it takes. When I look at a rifle, I either like it or I do not. It is the same with cars and airplanes. If I don't like its looks, I do not buy.

     About ten minutes after I bought this measure a "Big Time" dealer saw it and said, "It is not right, it does not have glass jars!" I suppose he was the "World Expert" on these measures! My answer was simple. "If you get more of these with metal containers, please sell them to me if you don't want them!"

     I am not an "Expert" and I certainly do not know what all Schoyen and Petersen did back in those days. However, I do know what I like. I also remember that Measure pictured on P-base that belonged to Axel Petersen. I don't know who put the Nickel Metal Containers on that one. It sure is pretty though and I would love to own one like that too.

Schoyen Powder Measure
Schoyen Powder Measure
Schoyen Powder Measure

     I added a few more pictures of this measure here at the end because information is so scarce. No one has ever shown the inside, or photos of the measures disassembled. If you click on the small images you can get a closer look. The closeup of the windows will give you a good idea of how they were installed. Then look at a Milwaukee measure if you have one.

     Note the color and finish of the nickel on the powder containers. The nickel and wear matches all over. Someone told me the "Old Type" nickel plating used toxic chemicals and is no longer done. I do not know if that is true.

     Above left note the stamping in between the two threaded caps. It seems odd that these measures are stamped, Pat. Pend. All I have seen have this stamp. The number 93 is stamped on the side of the clamp. I assume this is toward the end of production.

     As you can see above, the patent was definitely issued Jan 24, 1905. Another puzzle!

     There are some differences in the threaded caps the powder containers screw into. The two measures shown so far, seem the same. Some others have serrations on the bottom edges of the threaded sides. Look at other published pictures and you will see them. I have No Idea where the heck Schoyen got his Caps and Jars. If you know, please send an e-mail!

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