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Old 5th July 2010, 09:12 PM   #12
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default More stone handgonnes (Steinbüchsen) and their sources of illustration, ca. 1400-1430

The first Steinbüchse most probably Swiss, ca. 1420-30 (dating criteria: various reinforcement rings, large touchhole, and the cross of Switzerland - cross of Saint George - struck near the muzzle), sold Sotheby's London, Dec 8, 1988, Lot 276, for GBP 5,000. Length overall 34.2 cm, barrel (Flug) 11,3 cm long, bore ca. 6 cm, breech length 22.9 cm. The ring was clearly for suspension purposes but all kinds of speculations are allowed. Please see catalog description attached.

Please note the punched decoration of circles in the wrought iron surface; you will find almost the same arrangement on the breech of a similar but somewhat bigger Steinbüchse to be posted here soon.

Please also note the second to last illustration of a mounted knightly king firing a tiller handgun with various balls leaving the muzzle (ca. 1440)! We know of other instances in contemporary illuminated manuscripts illustrating the same phenomenon of either several caliber fitting balls or a larger amount of shot being fired from mid-14th to early-15th centrury handgonnes. That makes sense because the relatively short barrels were not apt to fire with the exactitude required.

Last not least please note the earliest small rectangularly bent igniting irons of that period of time. As I stated before, there is only one single specimen of that characteristic form known to have survived, and it is in my collection; see last attachment, the upperrmost of four.

To be cont'd ...

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