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Old 18th September 2008, 09:57 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default Incendiary quarrels/arrows/crossbow bolts

I posted these as a preply to Stekemest's comment on the 1485 Bavarian arsenal inventory, but really wish to share them in a separate thread now.

So here they are, of 15th to early 16th century date.

The watercolor illustration is from an illuminated fireworks book dated 1442, showing just how they were actually made.
Mass production 460 years ago - under the critical eyes of a supervisor! Isn't that cute?

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Old 19th September 2008, 02:35 PM   #2
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Undoubtfully precious items.
...And the illustrations are rather cute, indeed.
Are you familiar with the process ? What part of the material are those two guys 'cooking' ?
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Old 19th September 2008, 04:05 PM   #3
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Default Their chemical substances

The Schweizerisches Landesmuseum Zürich had them analyzed, so here they are:

1. Outer incendiary layer:
88 % sulfur
10.4 % saltpeter/potassium nitrate
1.6 % carbon

2. Inner burning mass:
13.7 % sulfur
83.5 % saltpeter/potassium nitrate
2.8 % carbon

Matchlock - well, as some of the members here have been so very nice and provided me with information by private messages, I feel that I should give my real name:

Michael
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Old 11th October 2008, 06:24 AM   #4
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These are truly amazing items. In Gilkerson's "Boarders Away II", he shows some of these in a Swedish? museum and remarks that they were one of the earliest incendiary weapons used against the rigging of ships in naval combat, circa 16th/17th century. These are extremely rare items! Are the ones pictured yours, Michael, or are they museum pics. If they are yours, I am sick with envy!!!
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Old 19th October 2008, 11:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
These are truly amazing items. In Gilkerson's "Boarders Away II", he shows some of these in a Swedish? museum and remarks that they were one of the earliest incendiary weapons used against the rigging of ships in naval combat, circa 16th/17th century. These are extremely rare items! Are the ones pictured yours, Michael, or are they museum pics. If they are yours, I am sick with envy!!!



Hi, M ELEY,

Thanks for your nice lines.

The two incendiary quarrels on top used to be in my collection until about 15 years ago when I passed them to a friend of mine who had concentrated on earliest crossbows and stuff. My field is earliest firearms.

The ones below I photographed in the Swiss National Museum Zurich, togehter with the 'recipe'.

These earliest accouterments sure range among the greatest rarissimae on earth.

Michael
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Old 20th October 2008, 06:22 AM   #6
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Amazing,indeed. Thanks for posting them, Michael. Would have loved to have had one for my collection, but just a little out of my price range, I suspect!
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Old 20th October 2008, 03:38 PM   #7
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Hi Matchlock,

Thanks for posting these. I've got to admit that I'm interested in these for intellectual reasons only, not collecting them. I have this gut-negative reaction to collecting old incendiaries and bombs, especially if they still have their original chemicals in them.

To me, the most interesting thing is that these highly reactive materials lasted as long as they did.

F

Last edited by fearn : 20th October 2008 at 09:45 PM. Reason: deleting a "not" for clarity
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Old 20th October 2008, 06:48 PM   #8
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Unless they were stored really, really well, I doubt that there is much to fear.
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