Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   A very fine Tusco-Emilian snap matchlock Landsknecht's harquebus, ca. 1525 (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7542)

Matchlock 15th November 2008 02:59 PM

A very fine Tusco-Emilian snap matchlock Landsknecht's harquebus, ca. 1525
 
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The arquebus on top of the photos of four is the object of this post.

The finely wrought and iron carved barrel in three stages, with tubular backsight and pan with swiveling cover, the long, heavily swamped muzzle head left unstocked, as is characteristic of guns from ca. 1500-40.
Delicate snap matchlock mechanism, the zoomorphic serpentine in the shape of a sea horse, with wing nut.
The finely figured walnut stock of early Landsknecht form, with a small butt trap and sliding cover at the underside. The original contents are retained and document that it was not a "patch box". Stored in it are two small iron tools threaded to fit in the rear iron finial of the original ramrod: a ball extractor, with a horn spacer to fit exactly the barrel bore and keep the extractor from being slanted, and a scourer. Those two extremely rare tools are wrapped in their original sleeve made of staghorn skin to prevent them from rattling around. Furthermore this trap retains an original caliber lead ball, now oxidized to a light gray surface and showing a small drilled hole from the extractor.

On the left underside of the rear of the barrel there is a deeply struck mark in the shape of the horizontal Gothic miniscule e, resembling a w at first sight. Without a doubt it stands for Emilia and is known in identical form from the barrel of a wonderful wheel-lock harquebus, ca. 1540, in the Wiener Waffensammlung. Cinquedeas (cinquedeae?) of early 16th century date bear almost the same e mark, e.g. a fine blued and gilt piece in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milano.

Overall length 82 cm, cal. 14 mm smoothbore.


When I had the chance to purchase that piece I could not believe in what perfectly untouched condition it was, and even now, after more than ten years, it strikes me each time anew.

Proud as hell :cool: ,

Michael

Matchlock 15th November 2008 03:03 PM

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More.

Matchlock 15th November 2008 03:07 PM

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Even more.

Matchlock 15th November 2008 03:10 PM

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The rest.

Matchlock 15th November 2008 03:13 PM

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Photos of the Vienna harquebus with finely etched and fire gilt barrel, as well as of the Milano cinquedea, attached, both bearing the same Tusco-Emilian e mark.

Michael

Jim McDougall 15th November 2008 04:19 PM

Absolutely breathtaking Michael!!!
Thank you again a million times!! for presenting these wonderful photos with such detail, even to dismantling the weapons to examine each element....this is better than any museum tour ever dreamed of.

Excellent presentation showing the seahorse alongside the serpentine......brilliant illustration which really shows the creative imagination of these artisans in applying subtle and stylized reflection of traditional or popular themes. Often in ethnographic pieces the stylized zoomorphic creatures remain unidentified positively, but here is a perfect match!

You indeed have great reason to be proud of these, and we are fortunate to have you sharing them with us!!! Thank you so much.


All the best,
Jim

Pukka Bundook 17th November 2008 12:52 PM

Michael,

You have again given us something unique, and in such detail as can not be had elswhere! No books I am aware of show an arm to this measure. I feel very excited about it and would love to try and make something a bit like it!!

I presume it has a cheek-stock? How does it feel when aimed?
May I ask the length of the barrel?
Though I can not see it, I presume the sear passing through the lock-plate has a spring?

It must indeed be unique, having the original worm and ball puller still present!

Thank you again, and all the best!

Richard.

Matchlock 17th November 2008 04:44 PM

Hi, Richard,

I am so glad you like my work. It is hard work as I have to reduce all images in size considerably to be able and upload them.

The sear is of couse spring loaded; the spring is a broad, thin iron strip riveted to the lock plate and working horizontally on the sear; it can be seen right behind the ankled sear, on the right. In earliest locks like this, the single arm springs were just made by hammering a cold iron strip.

The length of the barrel is 61 cm, the length of the barrel tang 5.6 cm; the lock plate is 17.5 cm long, its greatest width is 1.2 cm.

The gun does actually not have a cheek stock; the earliest cheek stocks I know came up in the 1530's but were not very common with military guns. My camera is currently on strike, so please allow a week or so for posting images of the left side of the stock.

Please feel free to ask for more information. And please share your gun with us when it's finished.

Michael

Matchlock 17th November 2008 05:02 PM

Hi, Jim,

Thank you so much! Your words are so much rewarding indeed.

I have come to love sharing my pieces with you guys, and believe it or not: it has doubled my fun of them. Most collectors seem to keep their treasures hidden from the eyes of others. Well, what they actually gain from their behavior is - loneliness, and no feedback at all. The fun of others has always added greatly to my own pleasure.

As you have been pressing me (thanks a lot) you will be glad to learn that I have been planning to write a book on my collection and on earliest arsenal firearms and accouterments of ca. 1330-1700 in general, with tons of photos and setting up new, exact and transferable dating criteria - which really would be something never tried by anyone before. 30 years of experience, some 3,000 books and more than 280,000 photos taken in museums all over Europe, including England, and a lot of help from my friends should really suffice to make it a good book. Let's wait and see. A whole lot of work lies before me. :o :shrug:

You and Ed, please keep me going!

Michael

Matchlock 17th November 2008 06:11 PM

A very fine and rare Dutch matchlock musket, ca. 1600-20
 
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Richard,

My honest congratulations, man! You got a very, very rare and finely decorated Dutch matchlock musket, ca. 1600-20, probably for a guardsman of a town guard, possibly that of Amsterdam!

I collect only rather plain arsenal pieces but yours is a real beauty!

You are a very lucky guy, no doubt about that. Keep a good eye on your piece. ;)

If you don't mind I would love to see more of it, and I am sure so would the rest of us. If it retains its original length it should measure about 160-162 cm overall, the barrel ca. 123-125 cm. Any marks?!

I attach scans of very similiar Dutch matchlock muskets preserved in the Livrustkammaren in Stockholm.

Have fun, you have deserved to be proud.

Michael

Pukka Bundook 18th November 2008 04:35 AM

Michael,

The trouble is, my matchlock isn't original, but homemade.

This forum is for original pieces, not new ones......but I'm glad you reccognised it for what it was meant to represent!
(has Dutch and maybe English characteristics, but isn't a copy of anything particular,...just a "for fun" gun!)
The overall length is a bit short for an original, as the barrel I had on hand was only 92cm or so.
Sorry for confusing you, it was not intentional.

If you send me a PM with your e-mail, I could send you a few additional pictures if you would still like to see them.

The latest pictures you have just added are fantastic! beautiful work indeed, and Very inspirational!!

Thank you!

Very best wishes,

Richard.

Matchlock 19th November 2008 03:34 PM

Richard,

That should proove to all of us how easily we can be fooled by a photo showing good work! :D

Very well done indeed, telling from that photo

I have sent you a PM with my email, looking forward to seeing more of your piece.

Very best wishes,
Michael

Matchlock 22nd November 2008 06:23 PM

Historic illustrations from the Battle of Pavia, 1525
 
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Note the staged barrels and the unstocked elongated muzzle sections, all corresponding closely to my harquebus.

The snap tinder locks illustrated in these tapestries are of slightly obsolete type in having only a small lockplate for the serpentine and the long spring still nailed to the forestock. This kind of lock is yet found on guns up to ca. 1530.

Michael

Matchlock 22nd November 2008 06:30 PM

For an original snap tinderlock gun of ca. 1530, with a small brass lockplate only for the matchholder and the spring nailed to the forestock, please go to

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7138

Michael

Matchlock 7th December 2008 02:00 PM

Two Brescian snap matchlock harquebuses for Henry VIII's army, ca. 1540
 
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The buttstocks, locks and acorn shaped triggers very similar to my 1520's piece but of longer form throughout and mounted with more modern octagonal barrels.

Both preserved at the collections of the Tower of London and The Royal Armouries Leeds respectively. The lock of the gun at Leeds a modern replacement.

I was given the chance of taking these photos in 1990 when the harquebuses were still in the reserve collection at what was then just "The Tower".

Fragments of similar harquebuses were found in the wreck of the Mary Rose that had sunken in Spithead Harbour in 1545.

Michael

Matchlock 7th December 2008 02:04 PM

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More.

Matchlock 7th December 2008 02:06 PM

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The one with the replaced lock.

Matchlock 7th December 2008 02:09 PM

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More.

Matchlock 7th December 2008 02:10 PM

Another similiar, ca. 1550-60, at the Palazzo Ducale, Venice
 
Of somwhat later form.

Michael

Matchlock 7th December 2008 02:14 PM

Another similar, ca. 1550-60, at the Palazzo Ducale, Venice
 
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Of somewhat later form - the pics.

Michael

Pukka Bundook 8th December 2008 02:10 PM

Michael,

It takes a week for the computer to download these pictures, but it's worth it!
It is very interesting to see such early guns with triggers fitted. By 1530-40, things were looking rather modern!

OK, What's going on with the two from the Tower?

I note both have wood spliced in, in between the pan and the lock plate.

It would appear they both at one time had the type of lock with integral pan, but for a very long time have had the pan dovetailed into the barrel.
Is this not a retrograde step?

I think the 'smith who replaced the lock did a very nice job, and also on the sidenail on the other one, but I think I would have aged them a bit more, so as to look in keeping with the rest of these very interesting guns.

Two more Q's if I may;
1, On the harquebus with replaced lock, I see a slot through the tunnel back sight; Is this to insert an aperture?

2, I see none of these pieces have a flash fence; When were fences first fitted, and where?

Lovely to see the clean stock of the gun with replaced lock, showing the marks of the draw-knife!

Thanks for the pics & your time,

Richard.

Matchlock 8th December 2008 06:00 PM

Good evening, Richard,

Your queries are both so rewarding and demanding that I have to ask to be granted a bit of time for answering them at large. :cool: :D

Of course, most of the time being needed for scanning my analog pics ... :shrug: :eek:

Best,

m

Matchlock 14th December 2008 05:16 PM

Richard,

I'm back with you at last, thanks for being so patient. Answering your queries proved to take some time.

I do think that the pans of the Tower/RA harquebuses belong originally. I cannot explain for wood being inserted below both of them, though. The original lock shows no sign of a pan being riveted formerly. In fact, the pan recess was traditionally chiseled by the barrel smiths, so the barrels came complete with sights and pans. Chiseling in the pans later does not make much sense, I am afraid.

As to the replacement lock, it has become a museum policy widely accepted not to 'age' or patinate replacements so they can easliy be indentified as such by researchers, which I think is a fair enough thing.

The slot thru the rectangular tunnel sight (which does not have a small back sight underneath) was meant for exactly what you have been thinking of, my brilliant friend: the insertion of small plates with different sizes of apertures.
This is a feature quite common to pieces of the 1530's and 1540's and, as far as I know, does not show up either before or after that period. Just kinda experimenting in those years ...

Mentioning the upcoming of flash guards/fences is another very good and demanding point. I have tried to do as close reasearch as my archives allowed and can now state that the earliest tiny sample of a flash guard is to be found on some of the many snap tinder lock harguebuses preserved at the Zapadoceske (West Bohemian) Muzeum in Pilsen, Czechia. I would date them, for various stylistic reasons, to ca. 1525-30, notwithstanding the fact that they have been dated as early as the late 15th century by other arms historians like Dr. Arne Hoff and R. Daehnhardt years ago. My research, however, is based on the shape of the locks as well as the staging of the barrels and their sighting, and compared to both dated or closely datable guns, like the ca. 1525 Peter Hofkircher gun at Graz featuring the same type of lock and staging and sighting of the barrel. The Hofkircher gun does not have a fash guard, though. Btw, Arne Hoff attributed that gun to the late 1500's as well but we know today exactly when and by whom it was made; Peter Hofkircher supplied the Graz Armory with that kind of pieces after 1524.

The next in line and only barely more evolved flash guards are featured in the 1539 harquebuses at the GNM Nuremberg and in my collection, as well as in the ca. 1540 Straubing harquebuses at the Straubing museum and in my collection. The detached lock at the Innsbruck museum of ca. 1550, posted here earlier, seems to prove that flash fences had beome quite common by the mid 16th century.

I am attaching pics of one of the Pilsen harquebuses and the Innsbruck lock, as well as links to the Nuremberg, Graz and Straubing guns.

Best wishes as ever,
Michael












Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Michael,

It takes a week for the computer to download these pictures, but it's worth it!
It is very interesting to see such early guns with triggers fitted. By 1530-40, things were looking rather modern!

OK, What's going on with the two from the Tower?

I note both have wood spliced in, in between the pan and the lock plate.

It would appear they both at one time had the type of lock with integral pan, but for a very long time have had the pan dovetailed into the barrel.
Is this not a retrograde step?

I think the 'smith who replaced the lock did a very nice job, and also on the sidenail on the other one, but I think I would have aged them a bit more, so as to look in keeping with the rest of these very interesting guns.

Two more Q's if I may;
1, On the harquebus with replaced lock, I see a slot through the tunnel back sight; Is this to insert an aperture?

2, I see none of these pieces have a flash fence; When were fences first fitted, and where?

Lovely to see the clean stock of the gun with replaced lock, showing the marks of the draw-knife!

Thanks for the pics & your time,

Richard.

Matchlock 14th December 2008 05:23 PM

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A Pilsen snap tinder lock harquebus of ca. 1525-30, featuring the earliest form of a flash guard integral to the pan.

I was wrong, btw.: the ca. 1550 Innsbruck lock does not have a flash guard.

Michael

Matchlock 14th December 2008 05:33 PM

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The flash guards of the 1539 Nuremburg harquebus and the one of. ca. 1540 from Straubing.

Michael

Matchlock 14th December 2008 05:34 PM

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The Innsbruck detached lock.

Matchlock 14th December 2008 06:57 PM

Please see here for another period back sight with an inserted aperture:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7138

Michael

Matchlock 14th December 2008 07:02 PM

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And an insight into the - most probánly interchangeable! - blade aperture.

Michael

Pukka Bundook 15th December 2008 02:28 PM

Michael,

Thank you for your answers.

I am still non-plussed by the wood spliced in, on the gun from the tower. ..(With the new-made lock)
If the pan was not originally fitted to the lock, the only other alternative I can think of, is that the stock was re-used, and fitted with the present barrel and lock. The stock appears to have had wood spliced in, ahead of the present lock, as well as above it, under the pan.

I suppose recoil damage could be the reason for the wood being added, but it doesn't really add up.

Re. the flash fence; It is interesting to see the developement of the flash-fence, over an approximate ten year period, from the very small fence, on your Pilsen tubelock of 1525-30, and the one on the Nuremburg of 1539,...fully fledged!
Re. aperture sights, made between 1530's and 1540's;
This is a very modern sight, I wonder why it fell into dis-favour?
I have seen this sight used later, but they were added to target guns and rifles, in the late 1500's. These target rifles appear to have been of an old fashioned form when made, but could possibly have been made that way to fulfill the requirements of a certain target class.
These guns were generally highly decorted and expensive, and it is on these later guns I have usually seen the replaceable sights.

On your last pictures Michael, the tunnel appears to have ben "staked"..as in punch marks in the top, to apparently hold the sight. Is this correct?

All best!

R.

Matchlock 16th December 2008 11:06 AM

Richard,

I am sorry to learn that my reply on the Tower/RA harquebus has not been able to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. I cannot explain for the sliced in pieces of wood any better, though. Blaming it on possibble recoil damages does not make much sense, I, too, am afraid.

You are definitely right in attributing tubular back sights mostly to target shooting; I have seen such oversized sights placed on matchlock, wheel-lock, and flintlock guns apparantly re-used for target shooting. Of course, these are mostly 19th century crude alterations.

I also agree that the use of replaceable aperture blade sights was the anticipation of a very modern feature long ago. The only reason I can think of why that idea was dropped for centuries is that the guns of those time periods just did not hit well enough to catch up with the exactly cut aperture sights.

You are, in my opinion, also right in commenting on the two staked punches on top of the back sight in order to hold the aperture in place. Of course, it was no longer easliy interchangeable after the staking. :rolleyes:

Thank you for paying such detailed attention to my posts, my friend!

All the best,
m

Pukka Bundook 16th December 2008 01:40 PM

Target arms and shooting.
 
Good morning, Michael.

I am not dissatisfied with your answer re. the wood spliced in on the 'tower' harquebus, it seems to me though, there is more to it and some things remain unexplained.
Re. the tubular back sights with a 'peep aperture, I am sure some of these are more modern add-ons, as you state, and crudely done.
I was really meaning the original ones, made and fitted to target arms in the late 1500's and early 1600's
From what I have read, some of these arms turned out surprising degrees of accuracy!.........Much better than military arms made two centuries later!

For instance, at a target shoot in Basel Switzerland in 1605, the targets fired at with smooth-bored targets guns, were about 75cm in diameter, (30")
and the range was 190 yds, or about 170-odd Metres.

For rifled arms, the target was 1 metre (roughly 40") in diameter, and range was 268 yds, or roughly 242 metres!
At this shoot, only cheek-stocks were allowed, with no resting of stock against the shoulder,...and fired off-hand.

Even today, such shooting is above what many can accomplish!

Re. the staked in aperture,
Maybe it would be better to refer to it as replaceable, rather than adjustable?
If it was found to work well, leave it alone, if it didn't, wack it out and try again!.......do you think?

With very best wishes,

Richard.

Matchlock 17th December 2008 10:24 AM

Exactly, Richard.

I fully agree with each single point you made.

Thanks a lot!

Michael

Matchlock 27th March 2009 04:18 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.

Michael

Matchlock 27th March 2009 04:33 PM

See what that sleeping Landsknecht guy has rested on his knees!
 
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.

Michael

Matchlock 27th March 2009 04:36 PM

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Here's the pic.

cornelistromp 28th March 2009 04:03 PM

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Hi Michael,

what a beautiful and extremely rare range do you have, absolutely amazing, that is what I still miss in my collection!.... :)

re: Emelia blade marks
I have added a few pictures. Boccia 199 200, wallace A744 745 746 , sword end 15thC

Best regards

Matchlock 28th March 2009 04:08 PM

Thank you so much, Cornelis,

These marks add greatly to the documentation of my Brescian harquebus!

Best,
Michael

cannonmn 22nd December 2011 12:46 PM

Michael wrote:

Quote:
As you have been pressing me (thanks a lot) you will be glad to learn that I have been planning to write a book on my collection and on earliest arsenal firearms and accouterments of ca. 1330-1700 in general, with tons of photos and setting up new, exact and transferable dating criteria - which really would be something never tried by anyone before. 30 years of experience, some 3,000 books and more than 280,000 photos taken in museums all over Europe, including England, and a lot of help from my friends should really suffice to make it a good book. Let's wait and see. A whole lot of work lies before me.


Well Michael, if it has been completed, please tell me how to order one! If not, here is more encouragement, I will make an advance reservation for my copy. I'm certain due to the high cost of putting color photos in hard-copy books, that you would consider an accompanying DVD with the thousands of photos on it. I have seen this done very successfully in a recent book by the Spanish Ministry of Defense on Spanish Naval Cannons. Not only can many more color photos be inserted, but they can be life-sized if desired to maximize detail. The reader has to scroll around to see it all unless they have a room-sized computer screen, but it is certainly worth the effort for large-format original documents, for example.

Matchlock 22nd December 2011 02:54 PM

Hi John,

I am still trying to find an editor and adding a cd with tons of images has been part of my plans. We're on the same page.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 25th May 2014 06:41 PM

Please also see:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...vingrove+museum

Best,
Michael


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