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Two Snap Shot black sporting powder cans in different sizes, both in very nice condition. MARK GREENIG/RECORD

Black powder cans are all about the graphics

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outdoors Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
Black powder cans are all about the graphics
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Probably the most appealing aspect of making hunting and fishing items collectible are graphics. This week’s example from Canadian Industries Limited of Montreal, Canada, is a perfect example of that belief. Let’s talk about their highly collectible snap shot black sporting powder cans.


First, some history.

This company had its’ beginnings in 1862 when the Hamilton Powder Company was incorporated. That same year they acquired the ten year old Canada Powder Company. Their primary product was black powder, a necessity for that time period. Early pioneers needed black powder for a variety of reasons.

In 1878 the company was purchased by American business man Dr. Thomas C. Brainerd. He was well known in the powder making industry. To meet the tremendous need for explosives in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Dr. Brainerd built a dynamite plant in Quebec.

In 1910 five explosives companies, a cartridge company and a plant making acids/fertilizers merged to form Canadian Explosives Limited. During the 1920s this organization diversified into paint and varnish, coated fabrics and plastics. In 1927 the company changed its name to Canadian Industries Limited.

As World War II began, this company put its’ knowledge at the service of their government. At one point, they had manufacturing plants worth more than $100 million and employed 33,000 individuals.

In 1954 the organization was divided into two separate companies due to a U.S. court ruling. Today, there are 36 plants across Canada. They also manufacture products in the West Indies, Liberia and Mexico.

We know the black sporting powder snap shot cans were produced after 1927 when the company was called Canadian Industries Limited or C-I-L. These very visually appealing metal cans came in at least two sizes. The background is a deep midnight blue. The round graphic of a dead falling duck in a marsh is surrounded by the words, “Black Sporting Powder-Snap Shot.” The waterfowl symbol indicated just what the product would do — kill waterfowl. There is even blood red on the duck. The back of the each can has the Canadian Industries logo and the words, “Explosives Division Montreal, Canada. The larger can dimensions are 5 3/4” high, 4” wide and 1 1/4” thick. The smaller can size is 4 1/8” high, 3 3/8” wide and 1 1/4” thick. Both caps are screw on with lettering. Interestingly, the large can cover has the letters, “F.F.F.G.” The small can cover has “F.F.G.” I am not sure of their meaning, may pertain to amount of powder in each respective container. Be clear of one thing, it’s this type of collectible that even the most serious enthusiast will actively pursue.

One of the best visual references for collectible powder containers is the text, “Top of the Line Hunting Collectibles” by Donna Tonelli. This extensive text comes with values, and does illustrate snap shot powder cans. Tonelli’s text values one of these containers in very poor condition at $250. Due to the items condition, I believe that figure is high. For a snap shot powder can in at least very good condition, that amount should be accurate (be advised as gun powder ages it can become very unstable).

Consider yourself fortunate if you have one of these delightful powder cans. As I have stated before, you can always sell an item of this quality, but will be hard pressed to replace it. Because of the popularity of this specific collectible, I suggest you hold out for top dollar. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.

Article written by Mark Greenig (Special to the Record)