Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Matchlock 9th February 2009 04:52 PM

Late Gothic Tiller/Stick Guns, mid to late 15th century
12 Attachment(s)
The first samples of this type of tiller or stick guns, with wooden sticks attached to a socket behind the actual barrel and no lock mechanisms, seem to have entered the weapon scene in about 1440 and left it again around 1500.

On some early pieces of ca. 1440-60, the tiller consisted of an iron stick welded to the rear end of the barrel, its end sometimes bent upwards for aiming it held in the arm pit.

The fine sample with the copper alloy (brass or bronze) barrel and the stamped decorated limewood tiller stock ranges among the latest ones made, its priminig pan attached to the right side of the barrel - the swiveling cover now missing - allowing for a date of ca. 1500.

The stamped decoration between lozenge friezes, comprising six pointed stars and flower heads, corresponds closely to the decorative stamping on contemporary book bindings and gun stocks all reflecting the Late Gothic decorative taste.

The arsenal inventory of the City of Landshut/Lower Bavaria of 1485 illustrates two copper alloy barrels with wooden tiller stocks referred to as "older handguns" (allter handtpuchsn), which leads to the conclusion that they had been in the arsenal for quite some time by 1485 and had become regarded as obsolete (see attachment below).

The actual guns U.S. and German private collections.


Matchlock 9th February 2009 05:10 PM

12 Attachment(s)
The poor b/w photos picture many iron stick haquebuts of mid-15th century date preserved at the museum of the City of Hasselt/The Netherlands.

The b/w photo at the bottom shows a copper alloy stick gun with a wooden tiller stock drilled out to receive the ramrod, ca. 1500, preserved at the Musem Polskiego in Warsaw. For a stock hollowed for the ramrod cf. my four barrel Landsknecht mace posted here earlier.


Matchlock 10th February 2009 06:17 PM

3 Attachment(s)
More details and the indistinct founder's mark, a stag's head and a pair of antlers, or possibly a fork (?).


Matchlock 27th April 2012 03:44 PM

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A tiller arquebus from an illuminated manuscript by Daniel Aubert, 1461, Biblilothèque Nationale de France.

As in many medieval depictions, the actual act of manual ignition is not illustrated.


Matchlock 27th April 2012 03:46 PM

For similar items, please also see

Matchlock 28th April 2012 05:15 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Tiller-stock arquebuses with what seem to be brass barrels, in illustrations from the Wolfegg Hausbuch, Bavaria, ca. 1480.


Matchlock 28th April 2012 06:59 PM

For the earliest known actually surviving tiller arquebus, ca. 1400-10, please see

Matchlock 30th April 2012 04:43 PM

4 Attachment(s)
A highly interesting wrought-iron tiller arquebus with folding socket section (the wooden tiller stock missing), unlocked by a wing-nut for carrying on the shoulder. Large touch-hole molding, the barrel reinforced by various iron rings.
Overall length 45.5 cm, bore 12 mm, weight 2.9 kg.

Probably of Spanish make, mid-15th c., the tiller inscribed stating that it was deaccessioned by the former arsenal of the Castle of Montjuic, near Barcelona.

At the beginning of this thread, I posted another contemporary tiller arquebus from the same provenance, in my collection.


Spiridonov 3rd May 2012 09:59 PM

Michael, GREAT photos! Thank You!

Matchlock 16th May 2012 04:08 PM

Please see also

Matchlock 19th July 2014 09:04 PM

9 Attachment(s)
All the barrels shown below came from Montjuic Castle, Spain.
Ed was offered them as a lot by a dealer in 2009.
Thanks a lot,
Ed, my old friend, for the photos!;)

All of them date from ca. 1450.
One of them even retained a portion of its original wooden tiller stock!

For a fragmented barrel of the same type and date in the Royal Armouries Leeds, and dated too early by their experts please also see:

Actually, it was Ed who invited me to join in 2008, guiding my first steps here!

My God, more than 4,100 of my posts have lain between - disregarding the fact that I was hospitalized for more than a year and a half, from Sept. 2012 through late April 2014, and just a step away from dying, again and again and again ...

My will to be STRONG, TRUE, and FREE, finally saved me.

I still wish Ed would be around here once more, just the way he used to years ago ...


All images attached to this post were taken by Ed in 2009, and are copyrighted by him.

Matchlock 20th July 2014 12:34 AM

11 Attachment(s)
The attachments depict the forerunner types of the 'long' arms discussed above, not yet fitted with reinforcing rings.
They are termed Bohemian pipe guns (German: Böhmische oder Hussiten-Pfeifen) dating from the 1430's
The ones shown here are preserved at the Museum of Tabor, Czechia.

They all retain their rear original sockets, the hafts of the two on the image attached on top being modern replacements.
The socketed barrel shown on all images following the first is 42 cm long overall including the socket, its bore 20 mm.
A wrought iron! ball of that caliber excavated from a historic Hussite battleground is shown next to the muzzle.

For more on that type of longarms cf. my threads:

Matchlock 20th July 2014 12:48 AM

5 Attachment(s)
On top:
Two good close-ups of the notably swamped muzzle section of the round wrought iron barrel;

Three contemporary sources of illustration;

- ca. 1450;

- Eberhard Windeck, Das Buch von Kaiser Sigismund (illuminated manuscript, Sotheby's, 7.7.2009;
folio 140r, The battle of Kratzau, with Hans von Polenz (the captain of the Silesian army) and his forces overwhelming those of the Hussites and their armored carriages in a bloody battle (11 November 1429);
illustrations from the workshop of Diebold Lauber,
ca. 1445-50


- Tiller guns, ca. 1450; from:
Martial d'Auvergne, Vigiles de Charles VII, king 1422-61.

Please also see my threads:

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