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Old 25th May 2010, 08:37 AM   #17
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 490
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Dear Michael,
You might be interested in an article, "The World's Oldest Dated Gun" by the late British firearms expert Howard L. Blackmore, publ. in ARMS COLLECTING, Vol.34, No. 2, pp 39-47. He discusses a Chinese hand-cannon dated 1332 (now in the Historical Museum, Beijing), and includes photos of another example dated to ca. 1409 (Rotunda, Woolwich), and three further specimens dated 1421, 1423, and 1426 (S. Yoshioka Collection). All these are of bronze with inscriptions including the dates; the three Yoshioka pieces are of a type also known to have been in use in Vietnam early in the 15th cent. The Munich iron handgun which is the subject of this thread may be an early one indeed, but Mr. Blackmore, in his GUNS AND RIFLES OF THE WORLD (NY: 1965), illustrates two Hakenbuechsen which he believed may predate it: an iron one (Historisches Museum, Bern, no. 2193) believed to be late 14th cent., and a bronze specimen (National Historical Mus., Stockholm, no. 23136) attributed to the same period.
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