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Old 16th April 2014, 12:23 PM   #289
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Well, Micke (and all!),

After an hour spent scanning my 25 year-old analog photos and photoshoping, here finally are the two Gothic war crossbows from the former arsenal of the City of Straubing, Lower Bavaria, and a third Straubing crossbow in the Deutsche Jagd- und Fischereimuseum Munich now.
As not a single one of all the Straubing weapons has been on display since the 1960's nobody knows them - nobody but me. I photographed them in the reserve collection.
With their long, slender and almost delicate tillers they still reflect the High Gothic stylistic taste of ca. 1400, and were pobably made in about 1430-40. Together with the fine sample from the Harold L. Peterson collection, which now is in the collection of a friend of mine, they range among the earliest surviving crossbows, not much younger than the oldest known specimen of ca. 1400, preserved in the Stadtmuseum Köln (Cologne).

The tillers of all three of the Straubing crossbows are branded at the right-hand forward section with a capital letter S, the 15th c. arsenal mark of Straubing. They are still equiped with the iron hook for engaging the cord of the pulley (Riemenrollenspanner), the predecessor of the cranequin, which - telling by the oldest known records of period artwork, especially altar paintings - seems to have entered the scene around ca. 1440.

The measurements of the two crossbows still preserved in Straubing are:

1. tiller length 89 cm, length of composite bow (stated to be of yew wood in the 1882 inventory) 76 cm, diameter of bowstring 1.25 cm, position of nut 24 cm rearward of the staghorn foresight, length of iron tiller trigger 45 cm, iron stirrup 12 x 10 x 9.5 cm, maximum thickness 2 cm. The original leather binding of both the bow and stirrup missing.

2. tiller length 85 cm, and consisting of either limewood or maple, length of composite bow 73 cm, retaining traces of red paint at both ends, position of nut 25 cm rearward of the staghorn foresight, length of tiller trigger 43 cm, iron stirrup 14 x 9.5 x 12 cm. The original leather binding of both the bow and stirrup missing.

The 1882 inventory is remarkable for listing two more crossbows of exactly this type, one of them in all probability being the specimen in the Munich museum of hunting and fishing referred to above, plus a third one of late 15th c. type, and equiped with tiller lugs for engaging the cord of a cranequin. All three of them must have been deaccessioned between the two World Wars of shortly after WW II.

Author's photographs.

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