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Old 19th May 2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default The Earliest Known Bullet/Ball Molds, ca. 1480-1600

They are all in my collection.

First of all, as I am not a native English speaker:

The general English term is bullet mold, but on thother hand, there is the expression powder and ball.
So, when speaking of bullet molds for muzzleloading guns - should they not be called ball molds, consequently?

Attachments, from top:

- the only known Late Gothic ball mold for haquebuts, ca. 1480-1500, and actually an impressive tool!

- contemporary illustration of such a mold, the handles shaped exactly as they are on my piece, from:
Codex icon. 222, fol. 35v, by Jörg Kölderer, 1595-1515.

- one of the oldest known South German ball molds, to which I cannot assign any closer range of dating than ca. 1460-1540; the dyadic mold of brass, and struck with a maker's mark, a Gothic symbol; the handles of wrought iron, and with swamped globular finials - shaped exactly like the long trigger bars on contemporary matchlock arquebuses from the 1st half of the 16th century!

- 2 images of the lock and trigger bar of my Straubing arquebus of ca. 1540 attached

Some detached brass molds of similar type are recorded, mostly with their iron handles missing - see attachments to post #1.
They seem to have continued being made for a very long period of time, and almost unaltered, especially in Eastern Europe, and in the 500 year-old traditional Early Renaissance German style. The sample in my collection, however, is the only recorded specimen to be truck with a mark in the German Gothic style.
A very similar founder's mark is on the cast brass/bronze barrel of ca. 1490, of my earliest Landsknecht matchlock arquebus of ca. 1520!
A close-up photo of the maker's mark on the barrel of that important piece is attached to the folllowing post!

Please note that the scale is in centimeters, as I live in Bavaria, where the metric system is sort of compulsory ...

Best, Michael
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