A Historical use of adhesive properties of sodium silicate is the production of black powder cartridge revolvers by colt's manufacturing company from 1851 to 1873 and, especially in the United States during the civil war.
Sodium silicate was used to seal combustible nitrocellulose paper together to form a conical paper cartridge to hold the black powder, and cement the lead ball or conical bullet into the open end of the paper cartridge.
Such sodium silicate cemented paper cartridges were inserted into the cylinders of revolvers, thereby speeding the reloading of cap and ball black powder revolvers. This use largely ended with the introduction of Colt revolvers employing brass-cased cartridges starting in 1873. Similarly, sodium silicate was also used to cement the top wad into brass shotgun shells, thereby eliminating any need for a crimp at the top of the brass shotgun shell to hold a shotgun shell together. Reloading brass shotgun shells was widely practiced by self-reliant American farmers during the 1870s, using the same waterglass material that was also used to preserve eggs. The cementing of the top wad on a shotgun shell consisted of applying from 3 to 5 drops of waterglass on the top wad to secure it to the brass hull. Brass hulls for shotgun shells were superseded by paper hulls starting around 1877.
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