Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
An extremely rare short Landsknechts' matchlock harquebus, Suhl ?, ca. 1540
The second from top.
Wrought iron barrel and lock, no marks. The stock of limewood, clearly indentifiable by its special smell, the original ramrod of plain beechwood.
Branded in the stock, left to the lock plate, is a plow - the city arms of Straubing/Lower Bavaria. A very similar harquebus is preserved in the local museum (image taken in the Straubing museum attached, my piece at bottom).
It is known that many Nuremberg gunsmiths faced unemployment in the 1530's, so they went to Suhl/Thuringia to build the first gun manufacturing center there. Suhl was most famos for its natural resources of iron. As the quality of the Straubing harquebuses is notably below those of Nuremberg make I attribute them to earliest Suhl manufacture. Being forced to compete with Nuremberg, the new Suhl craftsmen had to sell their products cheaper than their Nuremberg colleagues.
The oldest Suhl marks known to me are on barrels datable to around 1550-60.