Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Exquisite remarks and theses as alyways.
I just beg to differ about the probable intended use of the tow in the pouch of the better quality frog; it is tow indeed but I am afraid it would just have been scattered when trying to clean the barrel with it, and would have left considerable remains on the barrel walls. May I put forward as a thesis instead that it was rather meant to be put in the barrel after the powder and under caliber rolling (!) ball - with the whole load then rammed down with a few strokes of the rod, thus preventing the ball from rolling out of the muzzle when firing down a hillside, e.g.?
The same function has been generally attributed to the paper of a paper cartridge.
That brings us back to the patrons or cartridge boxes.
We do not know anything about their possible use with target guns but usually the bore of their drilled holes is considerably bigger than the usual target bores. Also, their main purpose was rapid loading which as far as I know was never considered to be preeminent in target shooting.
Their widened basis, in my opinion, just seems to have made it easier putting it on a table and inserting the cartridges. As the wood inside the drillings is quite rough we should assume that the actual cartridge bore was slighty below that of the box, otherwise the paper would have been torn open or the tied in ball ripped off. This would, to me, also exclude using pressure or force in withdrawing the cartriges.
As I have tried to show above, I just think that their general shape followed that of the former Gothic bolt quiver; please remember quivers originally had leather lids, too (almost all of them missing now). From ca. the 1520's, we have sources of illustration of harquebusiers's powder flasks which were also based on the basic triangular quiver shape.
I attach the only known source of illustration depicting a cartridge box and the way it was worn by its bearer. It is from an epitaph of ca. 1580.