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Old 12th December 2013, 06:51 PM   #1
Matchlock's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default Two Highly Remarkable Tinderlock Mechanisms, Northern Italy and Nuremberg, ca. 1550

Both detached mechanisms are in my collection, stunningly finely preserved, and both retain their original long tiller triggers. They originally belonged to Landsknecht arquebuses.

The mechanism on top is of Northern Italian type, ca. 1550 (meaning that it may have been made in Nuremberg but in the Italian style) and the jaws of the serpentine with its characteristic mid-16th square base at the pivot are formed to hold a piece of tinder exactly like the present one. The right jaw shows a spot of old brass brazing, most probably a working life repair.

The second mechanism is of very fine Nuremberg make, ca. 1550, and is remarkable for featuring two matchlock sepentines! The left one, once served by a small trigger that was mounted on the underside on the arquebus, snapped against a spring into the pan, while the bigger one, of characteristic early-Renaissance form and sophisticatedly shaped and engarved as a sea monster, was activated via the original long tiller trigger. The highly figured jaws of both dogs are formed to hold either pieces of tinder or matchcord.
What is also remarkable is that all the wing nuts on this mechanism are loop shaped.
The lockplate is shaped triangular at both ends, which is only found around both the middle of the 16th and then again of the 17th c.(!).

I spotted only one single arquebus with exactly such a lock system in all my life (I am not talking about the late-16th c. petronels in Graz, e.g.) and in all those hundreds of museums that I have attended, including their reserve collections that are not accessible to the public. It was a long Nuremberg-type of ca. 1550 double-trigger double-matchlock arquebus, overall length ca. 130 cm, and the lock was almost very similar to mine though much plainer; both thriggers were present, the long tiller trigger was twisted. The base of the forward (right) tinder holder is square shaped, much like the other lock to be discussed here. I took the two images attached almost 30 years ago. Unfortunately that lock mechanism did ot have an additional safety function for the sear. About that same time, the 1980's, I discovered a heavy Suhl-made Swiss or Bodensee area matchlock musket in the Munich Stadtmuseum which at that time still presented the arms of the former Munich arsenal in the historic cannon hall. Alas, none of those is any longer accessible to the public. The most interesting thing about that long (ca. 165 cm) and heavy (ca. 9-10 kg) musket was the sear safety-wing nut which was still in place; what was missing from the impressive piece was the wing nut of the serpentine. I enclose two less than mediocre photos because there was only a space between those muskets and the next glass case of ca. 1 m! I attached the two photos to post # further down the line.

The most remarkable fact that in a way connects these two detached mechanisms is that they are equiped each with a wing nut that, when screwed in, blocks the sear! On the double-dog tinderlock this solution may be understandable if the arquebusier wanted to only use the left, snapping, serpentine, but on the other mechanism?!

Any flash of genius, anyone?

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Last edited by Matchlock : 13th December 2013 at 12:51 AM.
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