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Old 12th November 2008, 05:41 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default An extremely rare short Landsknechts' matchlock harquebus, Suhl ?, ca. 1540

The second from top.

Wrought iron barrel and lock, no marks. The stock of limewood, clearly indentifiable by its special smell, the original ramrod of plain beechwood.

Branded in the stock, left to the lock plate, is a plow - the city arms of Straubing/Lower Bavaria. A very similar harquebus is preserved in the local museum (image taken in the Straubing museum attached, my piece at bottom).

It is known that many Nuremberg gunsmiths faced unemployment in the 1530's, so they went to Suhl/Thuringia to build the first gun manufacturing center there. Suhl was most famos for its natural resources of iron. As the quality of the Straubing harquebuses is notably below those of Nuremberg make I attribute them to earliest Suhl manufacture. Being forced to compete with Nuremberg, the new Suhl craftsmen had to sell their products cheaper than their Nuremberg colleagues.

The oldest Suhl marks known to me are on barrels datable to around 1550-60.

Michael
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Old 12th November 2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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The harquebus preserved in the Straubing museum (on top), photographed together with my (slightly larger) piece.

Michael
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Old 12th November 2008, 11:59 PM   #3
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Fascinating.
Almost 500 years old and still possible to disassemble it, part by part, screw by screw.
Feenando
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Old 19th November 2008, 12:25 PM   #4
Pukka Bundook
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Michael,

I had missed this topic until now.

A Very interesting arm!....and in amazing condition.
Can you tell me why such short barrels were used at this time?

I find it interesting to see the for-sight is (apparently) an integral part of the barrel. Is the rear sight made the same way or has it been attached later?

What I really find interesting, is the flash-pan being made as part of the lock, like one would expect to see on much later arms of the 1600's.
I wonder why the practice of making the pan this way went out of fashion for a while, when it would appear to have been easier to make than forging the pan onto the barrel?

Can you tell me roughly what diameter the bore is?

Thanks again for the lovely pictures!!

Richard.
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Old 19th November 2008, 03:23 PM   #5
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Richard,

Short barrels - belonging to short guns - were much in use in the first half of the 16th century beause they corresponded to the stylistic taste of the German Early Renaisssance period. All objects of everday use used to be stout and short then: candlesticks, money boxes, purses, Katzbalgers etc.

The fore-sight is actually dovetailed horizontally, while the original (!) small back-sight is dovetailed laterally. Cf. my Nuremberg harquebus dated 1539 dealt with in one of my former posts, which has the same back-sight, only missing its brass tube which the back-sight of the Suhl/Straubing gun never had.

You are exactly right in noticing the unsual feature of the pan and cover being parts of the lock plate. Actually, this used mostly to be the case in mid 16th century but then turns up again with Suhl matchlocks during the second decade of the 17th century, as well as in French, English and Austrian matchlocks at the end of the 17th century.

On the other hand, pans were never forged integrally to the barrels; they were all dovetailed, either on the left or the right of the touch hole. From ca. 1570 onward, they are mostly put in dovetails from the rear of the barrel and can be easily hammered out towards the rear.

The caliber of the Suhl/Straubing harquebus is 14.3 mm.

Michael
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Old 20th November 2008, 01:00 AM   #6
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Michael,

Thank you for the explanation re. short barrels, calibre, and how sights had been fitted.

Also. thank you for the information on how a pan was fitted to the barrel. with never handling an original, this was a feature I was unaware of!
Very valuable information!!
I also had not been aware that the pan integral with lock was quite common at this early date, I thank you for your information on this detail as well!

Best wishes,

Richard.
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