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Old 14th December 2008, 05:16 PM   #23
Matchlock's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310


I'm back with you at last, thanks for being so patient. Answering your queries proved to take some time.

I do think that the pans of the Tower/RA harquebuses belong originally. I cannot explain for wood being inserted below both of them, though. The original lock shows no sign of a pan being riveted formerly. In fact, the pan recess was traditionally chiseled by the barrel smiths, so the barrels came complete with sights and pans. Chiseling in the pans later does not make much sense, I am afraid.

As to the replacement lock, it has become a museum policy widely accepted not to 'age' or patinate replacements so they can easliy be indentified as such by researchers, which I think is a fair enough thing.

The slot thru the rectangular tunnel sight (which does not have a small back sight underneath) was meant for exactly what you have been thinking of, my brilliant friend: the insertion of small plates with different sizes of apertures.
This is a feature quite common to pieces of the 1530's and 1540's and, as far as I know, does not show up either before or after that period. Just kinda experimenting in those years ...

Mentioning the upcoming of flash guards/fences is another very good and demanding point. I have tried to do as close reasearch as my archives allowed and can now state that the earliest tiny sample of a flash guard is to be found on some of the many snap tinder lock harguebuses preserved at the Zapadoceske (West Bohemian) Muzeum in Pilsen, Czechia. I would date them, for various stylistic reasons, to ca. 1525-30, notwithstanding the fact that they have been dated as early as the late 15th century by other arms historians like Dr. Arne Hoff and R. Daehnhardt years ago. My research, however, is based on the shape of the locks as well as the staging of the barrels and their sighting, and compared to both dated or closely datable guns, like the ca. 1525 Peter Hofkircher gun at Graz featuring the same type of lock and staging and sighting of the barrel. The Hofkircher gun does not have a fash guard, though. Btw, Arne Hoff attributed that gun to the late 1500's as well but we know today exactly when and by whom it was made; Peter Hofkircher supplied the Graz Armory with that kind of pieces after 1524.

The next in line and only barely more evolved flash guards are featured in the 1539 harquebuses at the GNM Nuremberg and in my collection, as well as in the ca. 1540 Straubing harquebuses at the Straubing museum and in my collection. The detached lock at the Innsbruck museum of ca. 1550, posted here earlier, seems to prove that flash fences had beome quite common by the mid 16th century.

I am attaching pics of one of the Pilsen harquebuses and the Innsbruck lock, as well as links to the Nuremberg, Graz and Straubing guns.

Best wishes as ever,

Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook

It takes a week for the computer to download these pictures, but it's worth it!
It is very interesting to see such early guns with triggers fitted. By 1530-40, things were looking rather modern!

OK, What's going on with the two from the Tower?

I note both have wood spliced in, in between the pan and the lock plate.

It would appear they both at one time had the type of lock with integral pan, but for a very long time have had the pan dovetailed into the barrel.
Is this not a retrograde step?

I think the 'smith who replaced the lock did a very nice job, and also on the sidenail on the other one, but I think I would have aged them a bit more, so as to look in keeping with the rest of these very interesting guns.

Two more Q's if I may;
1, On the harquebus with replaced lock, I see a slot through the tunnel back sight; Is this to insert an aperture?

2, I see none of these pieces have a flash fence; When were fences first fitted, and where?

Lovely to see the clean stock of the gun with replaced lock, showing the marks of the draw-knife!

Thanks for the pics & your time,

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