Join Date: Dec 2004
matchlocks with automatic pan-covers
Da Vinci's diagram is intriguing; the mechanism needed to enable a pan-cover to open mechanically is not that complex and it's a wonder that such a convenience was not put into widespread use. Michael, do you know of any German examples?
The only culture I am aware of that used guns of this type to any extent is India. And even here, they are rarely encountered. Stone (GLOSSARY..., p 442 fig 564, shows a typical example. Quite ingenious: the pivoting cover is flipped outward by a vertical leaf-spring fastened to the lockplate. When the gun is primed, the cover is pressed shut against the spring's pressure, and it's held in closed position by a swiveling dog- catch which is connected to the internal trigger/serpentine linkage via a bell-crank and push rod. The catch rotates backward slightly when the trigger is squeezed, and the spring opens the cover just as the serpentine descends with the glowing match.
I have examined another example, a crude and rustic piece of work, in which the pan cover slides forward via a mechanical linkage. The operation of this type of cover is analogous to the way pan-covers work on wheellocks and snaphaunces. The shape of the stock leads me to think that the gun may have originated in northeast India, possibly the Assam.
I'm not aware of automatic covers ever used in China or Japan.