Join Date: Dec 2004
Frizzens, and their construction
Thanks, Fernando, for the supplemental images. The interior of the lock shows that this was truly a fine thing in its day, a pity that it has suffered so much from the ravages of wear and corrosion. The design of the mecha da caxeta (or whatever the concise English term is for the internal leaf spring that supports both the full-cock sear stud and which gives tension to the half-cock sear and trigger arm) has really deluxe touches, it is not the straight bar that is seen on more utilitarian locks.
Rick, the use of a set-screw to secure the striated striking-plate onto the frizzen body was common in Spain as well through most of the 18th cent. J D Lavin, our go-to author in the English-language literature on the subject, notes that during the 17th cent., the strike plate was narrower than the body, whose sides extended outward a couple of millimeters on each side of the dovetail to form a "lip". These early plates tended to also have grooves that were shallower at the center than at the top and bottom of the plate.
In the 18th cent., the frizzen body and plate were flush on each side. The grooves also took on an equal depth top to bottom. P 160 of his A HISTORY OF SPANISH FIREARMS has diagrams of both types, I'm sure you and Fernando have this book.
Examining the 3 guns with patilla locks in my collection, I note the following that reflect a change in design during the final decades of the 18th cent. and a regional variant on copies made outside of Spain:
1. Elimination of the set-screw. The dovetailing is so precise as to be hardly visible, and the sides are flush, with grooves of constant depth both consistent with the above paragraph.. This, on a Catalan-stocked fowler with a lock of provincial style by Fernando Murúa, analogous to a very similar one by Guisasola / Navarro dated 1796, Metropolitan Museum no. 16.135 which you can access online via the Collections section of the Museum's website.
2. Elimination of the grooves. On this gun, a fowler by Miguel de Zegarra (court gunsmith to King Carlos III) 1770s, the frizzen is shaped like that of a French flintlock with curved face and "tombstone" rounded top. But the strike plate is still dovetailed in place and the joint is very difficult to discern.
3. One-piece flintlock-style frizzen with no grooves. This on a miquelet lock of south German or Austrian origin. It and the stock with its fittings were made to accommodate a war-trophy Ottoman smoothbore damascus barrel of the 17th cent., the gun built around 1690.