Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Matchlock 12th November 2008 05:41 PM

An extremely rare short Landsknechts' matchlock harquebus, Suhl ?, ca. 1540
12 Attachment(s)
The second from top.

Wrought iron barrel and lock, no marks. The stock of limewood, clearly indentifiable by its special smell, the original ramrod of plain beechwood.

Branded in the stock, left to the lock plate, is a plow - the city arms of Straubing/Lower Bavaria. A very similar harquebus is preserved in the local museum (image taken in the Straubing museum attached, my piece at bottom).

It is known that many Nuremberg gunsmiths faced unemployment in the 1530's, so they went to Suhl/Thuringia to build the first gun manufacturing center there. Suhl was most famos for its natural resources of iron. As the quality of the Straubing harquebuses is notably below those of Nuremberg make I attribute them to earliest Suhl manufacture. Being forced to compete with Nuremberg, the new Suhl craftsmen had to sell their products cheaper than their Nuremberg colleagues.

The oldest Suhl marks known to me are on barrels datable to around 1550-60.


Matchlock 12th November 2008 05:53 PM

9 Attachment(s)
The harquebus preserved in the Straubing museum (on top), photographed together with my (slightly larger) piece.


fernando 12th November 2008 11:59 PM

Almost 500 years old and still possible to disassemble it, part by part, screw by screw.

Pukka Bundook 19th November 2008 12:25 PM


I had missed this topic until now.

A Very interesting arm!....and in amazing condition.
Can you tell me why such short barrels were used at this time?

I find it interesting to see the for-sight is (apparently) an integral part of the barrel. Is the rear sight made the same way or has it been attached later?

What I really find interesting, is the flash-pan being made as part of the lock, like one would expect to see on much later arms of the 1600's.
I wonder why the practice of making the pan this way went out of fashion for a while, when it would appear to have been easier to make than forging the pan onto the barrel?

Can you tell me roughly what diameter the bore is?

Thanks again for the lovely pictures!!


Matchlock 19th November 2008 03:23 PM


Short barrels - belonging to short guns - were much in use in the first half of the 16th century beause they corresponded to the stylistic taste of the German Early Renaisssance period. All objects of everday use used to be stout and short then: candlesticks, money boxes, purses, Katzbalgers etc.

The fore-sight is actually dovetailed horizontally, while the original (!) small back-sight is dovetailed laterally. Cf. my Nuremberg harquebus dated 1539 dealt with in one of my former posts, which has the same back-sight, only missing its brass tube which the back-sight of the Suhl/Straubing gun never had.

You are exactly right in noticing the unsual feature of the pan and cover being parts of the lock plate. Actually, this used mostly to be the case in mid 16th century but then turns up again with Suhl matchlocks during the second decade of the 17th century, as well as in French, English and Austrian matchlocks at the end of the 17th century.

On the other hand, pans were never forged integrally to the barrels; they were all dovetailed, either on the left or the right of the touch hole. From ca. 1570 onward, they are mostly put in dovetails from the rear of the barrel and can be easily hammered out towards the rear.

The caliber of the Suhl/Straubing harquebus is 14.3 mm.


Pukka Bundook 20th November 2008 01:00 AM


Thank you for the explanation re. short barrels, calibre, and how sights had been fitted.

Also. thank you for the information on how a pan was fitted to the barrel. with never handling an original, this was a feature I was unaware of!
Very valuable information!!
I also had not been aware that the pan integral with lock was quite common at this early date, I thank you for your information on this detail as well!

Best wishes,


Matchlock 1st December 2008 11:06 AM

A ca. 1550 detached matchlock mechanism with riveted pan
11 Attachment(s)
Just barely more evolved than that of my Straubing harquebus.

The jaws of the serpentine and the wingnut are almost identical to my piece, the triangular ends of the lock plate and the grip of the pan cover show a more modern style, though.


Pukka Bundook 2nd December 2008 05:28 AM


Wonderful to see details of this early lock with rivited pan. For years I've looked for such details and found very little to go on!

Thanks again for the photos!


Matchlock 2nd December 2008 11:04 PM


Believe me, buddy: it's all big fun answering back to your demanding and smart enquiries.

It's my turn to be grateful, really.

It used to be such an almost unbearably lonely life over here till my friend Ed inivited me to our forum - thanks a million, Ed!

Thanks, too, to you and Jim and for keeping me inspired and sharing so much!


Pukka Bundook 3rd December 2008 01:44 PM


No, believe me. It is Us who are grateful to you!!

A couple more queations if I may;

How long is the barrel on this very nice harquebus?
It amazes me the muzzle does not look at all worn!

Was this type of stock meant to be held underneath the arm for firing, or fit the shoulder?

Thank you Micheal.


Matchlock 3rd December 2008 03:41 PM


The length of the barrel is 44.8 cm, the bore is 14.3 mm smooth.

The whole piece is in unbelievably good codition, showing only very little wear throughout. The fact that the muzzle shows almost no wear at all may be due to retaining its original wooden limewood muzzle plug, seen in the picture given below.

The buttstock does not really fit the shoulder very well but its proportionally unusual length makes me feel that it cannot have been held before the breast.

Thank you for referring to old handling marks, which all my pieces have, in a different post; the part rub-off of the brown lacquer on this harquebus would imply that it was actually fired from the shoulder. When trying to put it under the shoulder I am unable to aim using the sights.


Matchlock 3rd December 2008 03:43 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The second from top, retaining its original muzzle plug.


Pukka Bundook 4th December 2008 05:30 AM

Good evening, Michael.

The information you have supplied in your last post here is worth its weight in gold!
To find someone to share the information you have available, is Very rare, and very precious.
Thank you for going into detail on the handling marks, and how the gun fits, and can or cannot be aimed. This practical info has never come to light before, that I am aware of.

Thank you!!


PS, If I may, How far does the muzzle plug reach into the bore?

Matchlock 4th December 2008 11:09 AM


The muzzle plug reaches 4 cm into the bore.

I will have a photo taken. My old analog camera is no good any more. Most of my photos posted are analog.


Pukka Bundook 4th December 2008 02:02 PM

Thanks for the answer, Michael.

Somehow it does not surprise me, that your old camera is no good any more!
what with 280,000 pictures taken in museums, etc! :)

Matchlock 4th December 2008 08:16 PM

So you remembered that figure, Richard ...

Well, I wrecked more than one camera in that marathon - mostly the flashes got overloaded and the optics got kinda shaggy, too.

I think I'll finally go digital.

All the best,


Matchlock 4th December 2008 08:32 PM


It's so rare to see smilies in your posts so I really appreciated that one.

I must admit that I didn't consider them as kinda serious, either, and consequently was hesitant employing them at first, but now I have come to regard them just as part of the internet fun that we all share.

Imagine - our contacts would not have been possible even 10-12 years ago - and now we're connected internationally in no time at all.

I feel sometimes we can learn from our Grand Master Jim - and from our kids :) ;) :cool:

With a very special good night going out over there,


Pukka Bundook 5th December 2008 03:13 AM

Good morning Michael.

:) :) :) :) :) :) :)

That's to get your day off to a good start.

If you go digital you won't regret it!
viewing the pics as you take them is a great way to go!....or taking a few hunderd pics on a card.....


Matchlock 6th December 2008 11:18 AM

Good morning, Richard,

Thanks for so many smilies!

I will go digtal, it is only that many digital pics seem to look just like plastic to me - kinda cold and sterile.:shrug:


Matchlock 27th March 2009 04:28 PM

See what that sleeping Landsknecht guy has rested on his knees!
1 Attachment(s)
A 1530's matchlock harquebus with blued iron parts, brass tunnel back sight and heavily swamped muzzle section, the stock left 'in the white'!!!!

Detail of a painting of the Resurrection by Simon Franck, ca. 1540, in the basilica of Aschaffenburg/Northern Bavaria.


Matchlock 24th March 2012 03:01 PM

2 Attachment(s)
A piece of period artwork, by Reinhard Solms, ca. 1540, from his Kriegsbüchlein (war booklet).

Note both the characteristic tubular back sight - which on most original guns of that period is missing nowadays - and the shape of the butt stock.


Matchlock 6th April 2012 10:18 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Please compare this fine piece with a ca. 1530 Landsknecht matchlock arquebus being loaded, with the tinned iron bandolier conatainers and powder horn depicted, all illustrated in a contemporary Swiss piece of period artwork:


Matchlock 29th August 2014 12:21 PM

Quite a Perfect Fake of a Straubing Landsknechts' Matchlock Arquebus, ca. 1540
12 Attachment(s)
This item was sold by auction with Fischer, Lucerne, Switzerland, 8 Sepember 2011, lot 360,
inadequately termed a 'matchlock musket', though the item was intended to pretend to be
the formal predeccesor of both muskets and pistols, which is an arquebus.

This fake was done with utmost perfection, almost beyond imagination.

The facts, though, are:

1. Both my dear and great friend Armin König and I knew the person Armin had sold his replica to, R.G.; he lived in Linz, Austria, and he died only this spring.
On my request, Armin rebuild not my sample but the best preserved that is still in the (stored) collection of the Gäubodenmuseum Straubing, Lower Bavaria.
It is illustrated here in contrast with Armin's gun, in 'aged' condition.

I'm feeling very sad for that nice guy, R.G., and his wife because he we had been friends since 1989. He was only 68 years old when he was gone.
This why I waited up this day - apart from the mere fact that I had to spend more than a year and-a-half in hospitals, from September 2012 through April 2014.

2. All measurements are identical with Armin's replica models.

3. That gun is simply in an 'OVERAGED' state of condition, though extremely well done - it must have been buried in a heap of dunk in Hungary for two years or so ...

The experts and the well-reonwned traditonal Swiss auction house Fischer are not to blame for not identifying it as what it actually is.
All the historic background information provided by their catalog had come from that person, who, of course, got it all from me.

I had to go down there all those 600 kilometers (one way, and we drove back the very same day!) just to handle, dismantle and photodocument that object for about an hour.

Even still:
On that research done with utmost meticulous precision, and an investment of about 500 euros, plus with all my knowledge backing me up -
Had I not known that that R.G. had ordered, among others, a Straubing replica from Armin years ago, and had I not known what he was always striving for - to produce, and sell, optimum 'quality' fakes - , I would not have been able to discern whether that object was made in ca. 1540 or in 2009!

That really shook me to the bone!
I was just lucky enough to have all that accumulated background knowledege, plus my 40-year-old studies, personal contacts, and a whole lot more.
Without all that, I would never have had the slightest chance to tell whether that sample was authentic and some 470 years old - or just 3 years, like it actually was.

Luckily, both Armin König and I can prove every single detail that I have listed up here.
As always, this is nothing than the bare facts - as sad as it is true.

As ever, though, and to me as a skilled collector, the sober outcome of it all was:
Provided that I not had my fine and original Straubing arquebus for more than 30 years by then, and had consequently been in search for it still - what do you think I told my dear friend R.M.
He drove and accompanied me on that trip, and has been at my side for about a quaret of a century.

So here is what I told him right away, on leaving the viewing rooms:
"Even if I had been able to tell for sure, I would definitely NOT have bought that gun - just because it was in a state of condition way too bad for my collection."

Next to it are:

the crucial question is:
Can it PERFECTLY, and FINALLY, FILL A CERTAIN GAP in my collection?

Enjoy comparing, and studying; I will be adding more and better photos soon.

Best for the moment being,

Armin König
Kirchstr. 3
D-95691 Hohenberg a.d. Eger
Northern Bavaria, Germany

Michael Trömner
Rebenstr. 9
D-93326 Abensberg
Lower Bavaria, Germany

Matchlock 29th August 2014 03:13 PM

12 Attachment(s)
Attached to this post are only images of the fake sample.


Spiridonov 2nd September 2014 10:45 AM

Hello, Michael! My Dear Friend, thank You for sharing this. It's especially precious that You show us disassembled parts of arquebuses and inner surfaces of locks. Usually we can see only exterior and it doesn't give us complete information.

Matchlock 8th September 2014 12:48 PM

Originally Posted by Spiridonov
Hello, Michael! My Dear Friend, thank You for sharing this. It's especially precious that You show us disassembled parts of arquebuses and inner surfaces of locks. Usually we can see only exterior and it doesn't give us complete information.

Hello Alexender,
My dear friend!

I knew right from the start that you would appreciate this important little extra information I tried to convey posting these images.

Unfortunately, they a are of much worse quality than the ones I usually take; I had to employ a digital camera that beloged to the firm my friend works for - and that thing was set to only a minimum rate of resolution. So each image was less than 50 kB, which is literally ridiculous, just nothing!
My own camera is set to a minimum of 4 MB for each picture ...

Anyway, I tried to make the best out of those 'photos' by photoshopping.

Best as ever,

bkp747 8th September 2014 07:29 PM

Another fantastic post, Michael. I love your detailed pictures, and the depth of your knowledge concerning weapons of this period. Thanks, again.

Matchlock 10th September 2014 10:06 AM

Originally Posted by bkp747
Another fantastic post, Michael. I love your detailed pictures, and the depth of your knowledge concerning weapons of this period. Thanks, again.
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart!

It is appreciations like this that make all the toil I took seem worthwhile: 40 years, almost solely dedicated to achieving that state of knowledge, expertise - and, of course, to gather together what is now

The Michael Trömner Collection.

With all my very best regards and wishes,

Micharl Trömner

Spiridonov 28th October 2014 03:03 PM

The harquebus preserved in the Straubing museum (on top)

Anybody know contacts of this museum?

Andi 28th October 2014 08:55 PM

Here is a link zu Gäubodenmuseum Straubing:

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