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Old 28th December 2017, 07:10 AM   #25
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 490
Default Portuguese style lock

Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi David.

Yes, your lock is identical to mine, and came from the same batch. The story as told by the late Turner Kirkland was these locks were made (in Belgium I think) sometime before 1950 for sale to South Africa. Well, the sale never went through. So in the early to mid 1960's Turner bought the entire lot for little more than scrap metal cost and posted them for sale in his catalog, mainly as a novelty item. I seem to recall the price was around $12.50USD then. I do remember them in the earlier catalogs. Why the maker chose to copy an early Portugese lock design is unknown. Possibly for the simplicity. So any of these locks you see all came from this same lot. Notice there are no holes in the lock plate for mounting.


Rick, it may be that this batch that Turner bought in Belgium was assembled and then simply warehoused before they could be fully finished (note the grinder marks), and drilled and tapped for the sideplate screws needed to mount them onto whole guns. If they were made sometime between WW II and the 1950s, the market for such things in the final decades of the African colonies might have simply petered out due to the influx of inexpensive surplus rifles smuggled in from postwar Europe.

Long guns with this type of Portuguese lock were made in Belgium in the 19th cent. and possibly before. There is one of superb quality, maybe made in Liège and probably for export to Portugal or its colonies, dated 1821 that is published in Rainer Daehnhardt / Claude Gaier, Espingardaria Portuguesa, Armurerie Liègeoise (1975), pp 86-87. The specific type of lock is a fairly late one originating towards the end of the 17th cent. in Portugal, a Luso-French mechanical hybrid combining the innards of a French flintlock and the exterior design of the earlier Portuguese fecho de molinhas. The centuries-long presence of Portugal as a colonial master in equatorial and east Africa (Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Moçambique, etc) created a familiarity with and demand for Portuguese armament among the local cultures. (hence the local production of crude copies of 15th-16th cent. Portuguese and Spanish-style broadswords as symbolic regalia in Kongo and other areas down to the last century).
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