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Old 12th September 2014, 04:46 PM   #10
Matchlock's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Hi Andi,

Thanks for adding that really precious item!

Assigning a date closer than, give or take, some 200 years, to objects of everyday use, and as simple as this - because perfectly shaped, unsurpassable, and therefore traditionally made the same, from at least the early 15th through the early 19th centuries! - , is impossible.
Maybe we will live to see science develop working! methods for dating wrought iron - no way so far.

Dobutlessly, though extremely rare to detect today (at least as to the author's experience), are igniting irons retaining their original priming prick (German: Zündstachel) - the author invented that term, taking the photos attached at the museum of Mariazell-Gusswerk, Styria, Austria, some 30 years ago.

It was in that very moment that the following thesis jumped to the author's mind:
All these igniting irons must, of, course, have been made with a delicate prick, both originally, and right from the very beginning - which was obviously the late 1200's, ca. 1280, - at least ! ...

As I have tried to demonstrate, the earliest datable actual igniting iron, and recorded to have survived, is preserved in
The Michael Trömner Collection.
Please see posts #1, and 12, in this thread, and re-attached below.

(Andi, I'm sure both you and Chris remember viewing, and enjoying, among all the rest, that particular item when you were down here in Abensberg, Lower Bavaria
with me just a few months ago!(well, actually Bavaria can't get any lower thanhere, where I grew up ... :rolleyes)
Please give my greetings to Chris,
and do see come back and me as often as you can, the two of you!

The author puts forward as a thesis that, by circa 1400, igniting irons got wrought reinforced, elongated, and oval pear-shaped - for the simple reason that the former too thin and delicate, pricked ending proved not to be able to withstand, let alone hold, the read heat (circa 1,000-1,200° Celsius) long enough to really work out in war, and actually ignite several barrels, as rapidly as possible, when it all came down - to fragments of seconds.

As shown before, the touch holes of the earliest barrels were quite small, so they perfectly fitted the ends of the firing tools to enter:

Those delicate wormlike endings got heated and, re-heated, over and over again; of course, they were left to rust in between - and probably came off quite soon.

So all that we can see non the surviving samples is the pear-shaped section, able to withstand both the heat and the rust; the original forward prick is gone long since.

Michael Trömner
Rebenstr. 9
93326 Abensberg
Lower Bavaria, Germany

Attachments, appearing in order:

- Konrad Kyeser, Eichstätt, Bavaria, dated 1405
- (Detail)

Manuscript Besançon BM MS.1360, 1401-1450, fol. 121r; holding institution: Bibliothèque municipale de Besançon

- The earliest known surviving igniting iron, 14th c., preserved in

The Michael Trömner Collection

Abensberg, Bavaria, Germany

Attached Images
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