Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Here is a Nuremberg manufactured wheellock arquebus of the 1580's to ca. 1590.
It should be considered as the characteristic type of short wheellock gun that would seem ideal for Styrian carters, together with their sabers; its caliber of 13.6 mm excactly fits the inner diameter (14 mm) of the cartridge containers wrought integrally with the scabbards.
The saddle ring mounted opposite of the lock denotes that it was employed by a horseman, probably one of the armed riders escorting the carts.
Landeszeughaus Graz, inv.no. RG 10.
Robert Brooker: Radschloss Sammlung (sic!) - Wheellock Collection. Landeszeughaus Graz, Austria, 2007, p.319.
The long iron finial of the wooden ramrod threaded for a worm or scourer is an early feature that, in some instances, was tradionally kept until the end of the 16th century; it emerges first in about 1530 when wooden ramrods were often fitted with iron finals to both ends.
A very fine, long (1.63 m overall) and elegantly designed sniper's wheellock musket of ca. 1590, in the Italian manner but obviously made at an Augsburg workshop, and preserved in almost mint condition, is in The Michael Trömner Collection and will be introduced in a thread of its own.
Attached at the bottom are three images which I took in my collection on 19 June 2014.
This extraordinary and outstanding musket comes from the amory at the Fortress Hohensalzburg from where it was deaccessioned illegally (to say the least), together with literally thousands of all kinds of weapons, by the museum's director Dr. Albin Rohrmoser, in 1986-89. Right on dectection, he shot himself. Nevertheless the Salzburg museum Carolino Augusteum was scandalized because some people know the facts, and my analog photos are documents.
I photographed the reserve collection just a few days before its disposal; there was literally heaps of guns and long pikes all of which, so I was told by a staff member, got readied to be collected by some dealers the next day.
Dieter Mayer, who lives in Neuötting, Bavaria, eyewitnessed everything I am telling.
Attached to the following post find two photos I took - two, out of 200+ ...
I definitely know the people involved. For years thereafter, sheer masses of Salzburg arsenal arms and accouterments kept floating the market, including international sales houses like Christie's London, Galerie Fischer Lucerne and Hermann Historica Munich, e.g.
- some 60 combined wheellock and matchlock muskets, Suhl, ca. 1665-70, their butt stocks all drilled! for crude attachment to the wall by long screws, all done in the early 20th century; when I attended the Carolino Augusteum in Salzburg first on 8 November 1987, on the walls of the aisle to the bureaus of the museum staff I noticed old b/w photos depicting the early 20th c. display - with a long row of those muskets screwed to the walls!
One of them has been in The Michael Trömner Collection since April 1988, when I bought it from Franz Christof in Greding, Bavaria; both he and Georg Britsch had acquired hundreds of firearms deaccessioned from Salzburg only weeks ago from another dealer, Werner Mewes, Ulm:
- mid-16th century long pikes, the iron heads retaining almost all their original bluing!, and mounted on their original ash wood hafts (original length ca. 6 meters, and cut down to 4.60-4.80 meters in the 1st haf of the 17th century; I purchased my two fine specimens at Christie's sale on 19 September 1990, lots 47 and 48, and they have been in The Michael Trömner Collection ever since:
- musket rests with their original fir wood hafts painted red, the iron forks and pointed shoes both preserving either their original case-hardened or blackended finish, and still retaining their Salzburg inventory brass tags
Also attached to the following post are three photos of a Thirty Years War musket rest which I took in the Salzburg depot at the Fortress Hohenwerfen on 8 Nov 1988 - only 2 months before I was offered, and bought, that very same item doubtlessly identifiable by its brass inventory tag!
- finely decorated Nuremberg manufactured patrons/cartridge boxes from the very same series delivered to the Graz armory in 1577-78. I won my sample at Christie's sale of The Eugen Nielsen Collection, 31 March 1993, lot 176; it represents the top quality officers version adorned with dozens of tiny brass studs all shaped like strars. The Graz armory holds the only other two samples I have ever come across, inv.nos. PK 15 and PK 18; cf. Brooker, p. 625 - cf. previous post, and my posts #1 and 10 - right above in the thread you are reading at this moment:
Although some stylistic features of the Graz arquebus in discussion can be found with guns dating from ca. 1570 in general the author is convinced that this Styrian arsenal specimen should not be dated any earlier than ca 1580.
Its latest feature is definitely the bridle (German: Studel) bridging the arms of the dog spring as well as the leaf spring of the safety catch, and securing both of them to two screws simultaneously.
The earliest known wheellock featuring an external bridle to the dog spring is an unusually long combined wheellock and snap-tinderlock musket of ca. 1570, the bridle! to the spring of the tinder holder dated 1574.
According to the Schloss Dyck inventory, that fine and most likely Nuremberg manufactured gun measured 2.45 m overall.
Cf. Max v. Ehrenthal: Die Waffensammlung des Fürsten Salm-Reifferscheidt zu Schloss Dyck, Leipzig, 1906, no.111, p.18.
That piece was probably a paramilitary sniper's gun, its barrel providing long range performance by its length of 211 cm. It was sold Christie's London, as part of the whole Armory of Their Serene Highnesses the Princes von Salm-Reifferscheidt at Schloss Dyck: Part II, 23 Sept. 1992, lot 388.
See attachments to this post.
The bridle to the dog spring of that musket may be considered to be an original Nuremberg technical innovation of the early 1570's, and as an amendment added to this specimen in 1574. This would also account for the unprecedented fact of dating such a tiny part as a bridle.
According to his more than 35 years of research studies, the author defines the long tubular slotted rear sight called 'unusual' in the catalog description, to form - together with the triangular bone inlays of the stock - another stylistic and technical criterion for limiting the time line of dating this gun to ca. 1555-1575, which would generally mean 'ca. 1565-70'.
The long tubular rear sight originated in the 1550's. As the gun combines both traditional and most current elements for post-1570, the date 1574 struck on the bridle definitely marks the year of manufacturing.
The decisive fundamental principle for correctly dating any item, defined first by the author is the most recent/latest stylistic, formal and technical feature found on any object.
Working life alterations and adaptions basically have to be considered of course, and are especially typical of arsenal arms that were kept in working order, and ready to be used in case of an emergency over centuries.
E.g., in the former arsenal at the Fortress Hohenwerfen near Salzburg, Austria, sold at auction in New York in 1927, there were a few Late Gothic haquebut barrels dating from ca. 1490-1500, the stocks probably 16th to 17th century, and transformed to percussion in the mid-19th century!
Cf. sales catalog The Great Historical Collection of Arms & Armour: the Entire Contents of the Armoury, Fortress Hohenwerfen near Salzburg, Austria; Inherited & Augmented by H.I.&R.H. Archduke Eugen, F.M. Anderson Galleries, N.Y., 22nd February through 5th March 1927, lots 583 and 584, p.94;
these two lots sold again, with one of them illustrated:
Sotheby's N.Y., 1 June 1991, lot 420.
Original copies of both catalogs in the author's 3,000+ volume library.