Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Breech loading 1450-1550 (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7364)

fernando 8th July 2009 07:22 PM

Hi Michael,

I risk being asking the obvious, or having negleted some of the 'lectures' you already have posted, so forgive me for asking you now the folowing:

1 - Were breech chamber locking bars allways made of iron, or were some other times of wood?

2 - Were chambers allways only loaded with gunpowder, or were they some times loaded also with the projectile?

Sorry for my ignorance :o .

Fernando

Matchlock 8th July 2009 07:36 PM

Breech of ca. 1460 Containing its Original Load!!!
 
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I had almost forgotten about these. I photographed them in a North German private collection some 20 years ago. There was a fragment of a breech loading cannon with the muzzle section missing, and two belonging breeches, all salvaged from sea. The guy would not deaccession of them.

The sensation about them was that both breeches still contained their original black powder loads plugged by wooden stops! I have never seen anything like that in any museum! (They might have some at the Mary Rose Museum but not to my knowledge). Both their strap handles were missing save small fragments.

Enjoy!

Michael

Matchlock 8th July 2009 07:45 PM

Hi Fernando,

There is no need to worry, sometimes I cannot remember myself what I posted before or not. :D :( :eek:

1. I know of no surviving locking bars for breeches but think that they may have been of either iron or wood.

2. I cannot tell for sure but when relying on the two actually surviving objects I have posted today I think that we may assume that the breech contained only the powder charge and a wooden plug.

Best,
Michael

fernando 9th July 2009 12:15 AM

Hi Michael,
Thank you so much :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
1. I know of no surviving locking bars for breeches ....


Even taking into account Brodaxe's post #18 in this thread? :confused:

Fernando

Matchlock 10th July 2009 02:06 PM

Especially taking broadaxe's documentation into consideration, Fernando.

As e.g. your postings have taught me almost anything must be granted to be a possible solution (remember the wooden hooks on haquenuts?) :cool: ;) Iron wedges would of course have been more stable and thus more probable.

Michael

Spiridonov 18th July 2009 07:54 PM

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Two 15 century breach-loading guns from museum of artillery in Saint-Petersberg

Spiridonov 18th July 2009 07:57 PM

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fernando 18th July 2009 08:00 PM

Excelent examples, Sipiridonov.
Thanks for bringing them up here.
Eventually i have recently read that chamber locks were also made of wood.
Fernando



.

Spiridonov 18th July 2009 08:02 PM

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--

fernando 18th July 2009 08:22 PM

Outstanding pictures of outstanding weapons.
Fernando

Matchlock 19th July 2009 11:05 AM

Thank you so much, Spiridonov,

Your photos are an actual enrichment!

Best,
Michael

Spiridonov 2nd August 2009 06:58 PM

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museum of artillery. Saint-Petersberg

Spiridonov 2nd August 2009 07:00 PM

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else

Spiridonov 10th August 2009 03:37 PM

I think that it is about 1530 year

Matchlock 11th August 2009 03:11 PM

Hi Spiridonov,

Judging by the shape of the buttstock, the decoration of the rear end of the barrel, the shape of the lockplate and the match holder, this is a late haquebut of ca. 1580. I cannnot properly read the date on the barrel but it should be from that period. 1420 is as impossible as 1530.

It would be great if you could get there and try to take a better picture of the date, or of the description which really should mention the date.:)

Best,
Michael

Spiridonov 11th August 2009 05:58 PM

It is clear to see 1420 but i think that it is not date.

Matchlock 12th August 2009 01:15 PM

It is definitely a date but definitely not 1420; maybe some cyphers are misstruck.

Best,
Michael

Spiridonov 12th August 2009 01:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
It is definitely a date but definitely not 1420; maybe some cyphers are misstruck.

Best,
Michael

No - cyphers looks very clear but i will make a new phto specially for you :) It was made by mobile phone. nex will be maket by camera :)

Matchlock 7th October 2009 12:52 PM

A Unique South German Breech Loading Arquebus, ca. 1470-1500
 
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Sadly not in my collection ...

The barrel and one (of originally a set) retained interchangeable breech cast of brass or bronze, the tiller stock a modern replacement. The Late Gothic style with its characteristically chamfered edges suggests a date of late 15th century, the gun may have been cast in a Nuremberg foundry.

The breech was designed to recieve only the measure of powder and a plug while the ball was put in the barrel from the rear before inserting the breech. Originally the breech was fitted with a priming pan and cover which are now missing. The swiveling block at the rear end of the barrel acts as a loading gate.

Length of the barrel including tiller socket: 55 cm
Barrrel length: 46.2 cm
Bore: 12 mm
Weight without stock: 1.85 kg

A 500 year old rapid firing high tech engineering piece!

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 7th October 2009 01:14 PM

A Unique Detached Brass Breech for a Breech Loading Arquebus, ca. 1500
 
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Sold at Hermann Historica, Munich, on October 5, 2009, hammer price 1,350 euro.

In excavated but perfectly preserved condition, originally forming part of a set of interchangeable breeches for a light rapid firing arquebus like the one presented in the previous post.

The tiny touch hole features a small pan like moulding. We may safely assume that the hook shaped staged lug on the underside drilled in the middle was scheduled to receive a horizontal blocking pin when inserted in the rear end of the gun ready to fire.

Overall length 13 cm, bore 12 mm

This, together with the one discussed previously, are the only two items of their kind that are known to me.

Best,
Michael

Spiridonov 8th October 2009 10:03 PM

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Michael, thank you! Its AMAZING!
Looks like hangonne from trattato of Ghiberti Lorenzo http://www.bncf.firenze.sbn.it/oldW.../b.228/main.htm

http://www.bncf.firenze.sbn.it/oldW...itti/index.html

Matchlock 10th October 2009 09:07 AM

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Hi Alexander, and welcome back!

Thank you so much for posting this highly important drawing, you did a tremendous work! :cool: :)

I must admit that I did not know the manuscripts of Lorenzo Ghiberti, so - wow!

Most interesting is the fact that Ghiberti died in 1455 at the age of 70. As the breech loading gun he illustrated is almost identical in all its features to the actual piece that I posted here this could mean that the gun is even older than I thought it was and it should be probably dated at least as early as the 1450's!
I am also fascinated to see what the original tiller stock looked like and that not all of them were just plain sticks.

For easier comparison I repost the images of the gun together with Ghiberti's drawings and would be grateful for any incoming comment.

I also attach a portrait of the artist Ghiberti.

Alexander, thank you again for adding valuable material to our discussions once more!

Best wishes go to Russia from Bavaria,
Michael

Spiridonov 26th October 2009 10:58 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi Spiridonov,
It would be great if you could get there and try to take a better picture of the date, or of the description which really should mention the date.:)

I have made this :)
1/ cifirs on the barrel
2/ mark on the lockplate
3/ mark on the barrel
4/ mark on the barrel

Matchlock 27th October 2009 08:20 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi Spiridonov,

Judging by the shape of the buttstock, the decoration of the rear end of the barrel, the shape of the lockplate and the match holder, this is a late haquebut of ca. 1580. I cannnot properly read the date on the barrel but it should be from that period. 1420 is as impossible as 1530.

It would be great if you could get there and try to take a better picture of the date, or of the description which really should mention the date.:)

Best,
Michael





Hi Alexander,

Thank you so much for remembering our old discussion of the doubtful date Ď1420í on a matchlock harquebus and my request of better images.

I stated that the overall style of the gun suggested a time of origin in the 1580ís but could possibly be as late as the 1620ís. The date on the barrel which read Ď1420í was obviously a total mismatch.

Thanks to your actual images the riddle is now ready to solve and it turns out to be a real bombshell. :eek:

The makerís mark ĎHW above a hunting horní that you photographed on both the barrel and lock plate show that both main iron parts were made at the same workshop. Some variants of this mark are known to be found, together with the proof mark of the town of Suhl, Thuringia, on both barrels and lock plates of matchlock and wheel-lock long guns between the 1580s and the 1630ís which are preserved in various collections, among them the Graz armory. I attach a scan from the StÝckel encyclopedia of marks of makers of firearms and cranequins.

Your consent granted, I have reworked some of your imaged a bit to make them clearer.

I am quite sure that a closer inspection would discover an additional Suhl mark (SVL either together with or without a hen symbol) somewhere in the rear sections of either the barrel or the lock plate on this gun, too.

Telling from the chiseled decoration on the raised frieze at the rear end of the barrel, a dating into the 1580ís to 1590ís would be typical. Attached please see details of an almost identical frieze on the barrel of a combined wheel-lock and matchlock musket dated 1583. This is backed up by the significant shape of the pan, the grip of the pan cover and the form of the lock plate with its crescent shaped upper end at the front.

From what I have been trying to deduct we should by now expect the date on the barrel to read somewhat between the 1580ís and the 1600ís. And a date indeed it is as the decorative points between the cyphers indicate. For a number of reasons the style of the cyphers could not be correct, no way. As I cannot repost numerous dates from the 1500ís to the 1600ís here those who wish to do further research are requested to check my earlier threads. To cut a long story short: all the cyphers have been overstruck at some later date to suggest the sensationally early date of origin of 1420. This can only have been done in a fraudulent intention, perhaps while the item was in private hands some time during its long history. Not the form of one single numeral is correct, neither for 1420 nor for any period before the 19th or 20th century - which gives us a close hint to when that spurious date was struck over a correct older date which probably read 1620.

What else can be said? The barrel has been considerably shortened by about two thirds of its original length, so the impression that the piece conveys today is far from being congruent with what it looked like 400 years ago.

And: All items, whether preserved in museums or not, should be examined very closely in order to discover alterations or even (part) fakes.

Fascinating outcome, isnít it? ;)

Thank you so much again, Alexander, we keep looking forward to more exciting discussions! :)

Best wishes,
Michael

bluelake 3rd November 2009 01:03 PM

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Very interesting thread. Korea had very similar breech loaders, made of bronze, called bulangipo, which were used from the 15th century up into the late 19th century. They came in a variety of sizes.

The pictures here were taken at the Korean Army Museum at the Korea Military Academy.

Spiridonov 7th November 2009 11:43 PM

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When I was looked at "A Unique South German Breech Loading Arquebus, ca. 1470-1500" I was confused by one interesring detail. The part of the shape wich in red ring looks too futuristic for Ghiberti Lorenzo death-date. It is similar with element of shape of arquebuses from Zeugbuch Kaiser Maximilians I (1502).
Else one interesting detail - It seems that earlier here there was a lever for opening which has been lost later

Matchlock 8th November 2009 11:55 AM

Very keen observations, Alexander! :) :cool:

Best wishes,
Michael

Spiridonov 8th November 2009 02:06 PM

What do you thing about dating of this barrel? Maby the notebook of Ghiberti Lorenzo was added later by another author?

Matchlock 8th November 2009 06:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiridonov
What do you thing about dating of this barrel? Maby the notebook of Ghiberti Lorenzo was added later by another author?


Hi Alexander,

As I have tried to point out occasionally in former threads, any substantial dating of an object of arts and crafts should not be confined to only one criterion but should instead be based on as many criteria as possible, the latest (= 'youngest') of which would then denote ideally the correct date.

The figured and moulded staging which you rightly observed on the stocks of the Maximilian arquebuses in JŲrg KŲlderer's watercolors of the Maximilian Armories (generally dated to ca. 1507) is actually a very common Late Gothic ornament found on many objects from the 14th throughout the 18th century, comprising such different fields as architectural columns, bronze mortars, furniture, book bindings, etc. It is, of course, also found on various kinds of weapons. What I want to say is: the simple presence of this widely used decorative element alone does not account for any close dating of this object.

In the case of the breech loading arquebus other features like the staging and characteristic muzzle section of the barrel and the overall impression it conveys show in their synopsis that this is clearly a product of the second half of the 15th century and can most probably be narrowed down to ca. 1470, +/- ca. 10 years.

Best, ;)
Michael

Zwielicht 30th December 2009 04:27 PM

Matchlock,

Thank you for a photos of breech loading harquebus in the post #5!

But one thing I cannot understand from those photos - where was the hole in the cartridge, through which it's powder charge was ignited, and was the bullet put in the cartridge or right to the barrel before it?

Also, what are the dimensions of this a weapon (at least the basics - length, weight, caliber etc.)


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