Gunpowder canister, Gorham and Windham, ca. 1890

Contributed by Gorham Historical Society


The Oriental Powder Company on the Gambo Falls of the Presumpscot River in South Windham was a major gunpowder producer during the Civil War, supplying approximately a quarter of the gunpowder used by the Union Army. The Mills drew employees from both the Windham area and Gorham, on the other side of the river.

Mills began producing gunpowder along the falls around 1820 and continued until the early 20th century. The Oriental Powder Company began in the 1850s. The manufacturing process was dangerous and explosions were common.

This canister, made of tin, was painted and labeled. The still-visible label shows that the can held unglazed A grade powder. The date appears to be August 4, 1890.

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About This Item

  • Title: Gunpowder canister, Gorham and Windham, ca. 1890
  • Creator: Oriental Powder Mill Company
  • Creation Date: 1890-08-04
  • Subject Date: circa 1890
  • Locations:
    • Gorham, Cumberland County, ME
    • Windham, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Tin, paint, paper
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Gorham Historical Society
28 School Street, Gorham, ME 04038
(207) 793-8569

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