Z1780 Original Brass Working Die for a Civil War Breastplate (W.H. Smith Brooklyn Pattern)
Description: Here is an original working die for a Civil War breastplate. This die is made from a piece of solid brass. The main female die is stamped into a brass ingot with posts on the back. This created a working die that could be used, melted, and remade rather than destroying the main die. The brass knobs on the back helped to fasten the die to the top of the press (fly press or screw press). A thin piece of brass was laid over a plate of lead. Once the die came down, the soft lead backing and pressure would assist in shaping the stamped brass item. The edges would then be trimmed, and the back would be filled with lead covering the attachment loops. These types of dies are quite scarce because they would wear down after about a 1,000 or so stampings. They would then be melted and used again. This particular pattern was produced by W.H. Smith of Brooklyn, New York. The die pattern is well known and a lot of plates matching this die have his manufacturing mark on the back. This die is a little larger than our other one (Z1779). The outside edge of the top has been slightly ground down. You can clearly see this die was pressed out of another die as there are several pin marks on the back that are out of line.
Measures: 3.75" x 4"
Recovered: Non Excavated