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Old 30th August 2014, 03:35 AM   #15
Shakethetrees's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 364

Originally Posted by Matchlock
They are all in my collection.

First of all, as I am not a native English speaker:

The general English term is bullet mold, but on thother hand, there is the expression powder and ball.
So, when speaking of bullet molds for muzzleloading guns - should they not be called ball molds, consequently?

Attachments, from top:

- the only known Late Gothic ball mold for haquebuts, ca. 1480-1500, and actually an impressive tool!

- contemporary illustration of such a mold, the handles shaped exactly as they are on my piece, from:
Codex icon. 222, fol. 35v, by Jörg Kölderer, 1595-1515.

- one of the oldest known South German ball molds, to which I cannot assign any closer range of dating than ca. 1460-1540; the dyadic mold of brass, and struck with a maker's mark, a Gothic symbol; the handles of wrought iron, and with swamped globular finials - shaped exactly like the long trigger bars on contemporary matchlock arquebuses from the 1st half of the 16th century!

- 2 images of the lock and trigger bar of my Straubing arquebus of ca. 1540 attached

Some detached brass molds of similar type are recorded, mostly with their iron handles missing - see attachments to post #1.
They seem to have continued being made for a very long period of time, and almost unaltered, especially in Eastern Europe, and in the 500 year-old traditional Early Renaissance German style. The sample in my collection, however, is the only recorded specimen to be truck with a mark in the German Gothic style.
A very similar founder's mark is on the cast brass/bronze barrel of ca. 1490, of my earliest Landsknecht matchlock arquebus of ca. 1520!
A close-up photo of the maker's mark on the barrel of that important piece is attached to the folllowing post!

Please note that the scale is in centimeters, as I live in Bavaria, where the metric system is sort of compulsory ...

Best, Michael


With all due respect, the tool illustrated in the codex is a pair of pincers, used to remove sprues and flashings from balls after they have been removed from the mold. The jaws are open sided, and would not work as a receptacle for molten metal!

The curled handle is similar to the curled triggers you mention, except that this feature is commonly found on old handmade tongs, pliers, ball molds and other similarly constructed tools. I have several in my shop.

I am a master metal smith with over thirty years experience in the field of antique metal restoration, and a number of commissioned pieces as well. Over the years I have collected (accumulated?) a lot of old tools, some coming from Northern Germany directly from the family who used them since the eighteenth century or possibly earlier!

I also consult with several auction houses locally, as well as numerous museums and historic houses in my area on a wide variety of topics.

I have, a long time ago, made movie props for movies filmed in the area until I realized that whenever you get the contract to provide anything for a movie, your entire life is taken over by the production.

I don't mention this in order to blow my own horn, as the saying goes, but, as somewhat of a newcomer who just yesterday got a PM informing me that my membership status in this forum has finally been removed from probation.

I just want to let everyone know a little about me.

I believe this is a factor of tool evolution that has carried across the entire spectrum of two piece blacksmith-made, pivoting tools.

Thank you all for making this one of the most interesting groups like this that I have ever found!
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