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Old 12th January 2019, 05:57 PM   #1
fernando
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Default A flint lock for comments

So i need some help here; where is the cavalry ?

One thing i know is that:
This is a Roman lock, or Llave a la Romana, or Acciarino alla Romana or, in my lingo, Fecho à Romana.

Things i don't know are:
1 - Was it made in Italy ? most possibly yes ... but not necessarily; the Spaniards made them and the Portuguese too.
2 - How old would it be ? Could it still fall into the XVIII century window ?
Note the frizzen inner face is replaceable.

Length:20 cms. (Basically for a shoulder gun).
Weight:665 grams.


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Old 12th January 2019, 06:55 PM   #2
Fernando K
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Dear namesake

Indeed, it is a lock to the Roman. It has all its characteristics, except the face of frizzen, which is narrow and lacks the fluted, as seen in the Spanish and Portuguese productions. For me, it is a copy produced in a country in the East, for the simplicity of the elaboration and the lack of decoration

Affectionately
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Old 12th January 2019, 07:01 PM   #3
Philip
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This is a rather provincial form of an acciarino alla romana (lock in the Roman style), aka romanlock, Italian miquelet, Italian toe lock, etc -- all these terms are neologisms coined over generations by collectors, but they all refer to a snap lock with (1) and external mainspring that bears DOWNWARD on the TOE of the cock (2) combined L-shaped pan cover and frizzen, and (3) twin sear levers, regulated by a single horizontally-acting V-spring and engaging the cock through apertures in the lockplate.

In terms of mainspring configuration it can be classified with the Catalán agujeta (and its derivative Algerian form), the Portuguese fecho de anselmo, and others. However, the alla romana is distinctive in that it has a two-position sear system so it does not rely on "dog" catches or sliding/rotating "brakes" outside the lockplate to provide a safety function.

More familiar to collectors is the common patilla lock aka Spanish miquelet which was also the preferred type of flintlock used throughout Persia and the Ottoman Empire. This type, which has one or two sub-variants, differs in that its mainspring presses UPWARD against the HEEL of the cock. Like the Roman type, it features a two-position sear.

The origins of the alla romana lock are obscure. Claude Blair, in his chapter in the anthology Pollard's History of Firearms, cites this system combined with a wheellock mechanism on a single detached lock in the Artillery Museum in Turin, which he dates as possibly the second half of the 16th cent. At any rate, it was fully developed as of early in the 17th, and became the preferred flint mechanism in parts of Central Italy, particularly the regions Lazio (where Rome is located), le Marche, and Umbria.

Roman-type locks also had a degree of popularity in Spain (where it was referred in contemporaneous texts as the llave de invención) and in Portugal where an important gunsmithing manual written at the close of the 17th cent. calls it a fecho anselmo à romana. In these two countries such locks appear to have been reserved for guns intended for the luxury market, since surviving examples tend to be of exquisite quality.

Where this particular lock was made is open to some question. Compared to published examples of this type, and to many actual examples in varying quality grades which I've handled at auctions and gun shows, this one is quite rustic in its execution. Considerably so, not only for the work on the frizzen but also for the construction of the sears, which on most Italian examples tends to be quite tight and neat despite any lack of artistry on the exterior embellishment. Nonetheless, I'll have to think again about dismissing it as an "eastern" copy. Gen. Agostino Gaibi, in his publications, has extensively discussed Italian export of patilla - type locks to the Balkans, and this is also the type of lock that was almost exclusively imitated (other than the later French flintlock) in Ottoman domains. Morocco copied the Dutch snaphaunce and the rest of the Maghreb adopted the Catalán agujeta with its characteristic dog safety. W. Keith Neal, in Spanish Guns and Pistols, shows a couple of interesting early Spanish detached locks which are stylistically prototypical of the familiar Algerian and Ottoman forms, but neither are the Roman type. I would like to see an intact example of one of these "eastern" guns with a Roman-style lock of some kind mounted on it, then the discussion can proceed further.

Last edited by Philip : 12th January 2019 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 12th January 2019, 07:12 PM   #4
Fernando K
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Dear namesake

The lock is mounted in full-cock, the half-cock SHOULDER is inactive.
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Old 13th January 2019, 08:40 AM   #5
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Here are three locks a la Romana from the book of "Agostino Gaibi, Armi da Fuoco Italiane", All three are very similar to the lock in question. Whereas the upper lock has no signature, the locki in the middle and the next lock are signed "Gio. Verana in Brescia" and "Domenico Aureli". Giovanni Varena is reported at Brescia for 1690, Domenico Aureli has worked at Messina/Sicily around 1759. So the lock in question should have been made in Italy during this space of time too.
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Last edited by fernando : 13th January 2019 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Uploading larger pictures ... if you don't mind !
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Old 13th January 2019, 02:46 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your assertions.
It is obvious rather more pleasant for me the idea that this lock, despite being result of a plain unembbelished execution, doesn't necessarily mean that it is an Eastern reproduction. I take it that, for as much simplistic as its maker would be, he would not skip over the inner frizzen grooving without a reason; rather than having proceeded with a tricky method. He was not going to care about its replacement features and after don't give a dam about the grooves.
Besides, one often sees sophisticated examples of armoury being brought to attention but, in fact, munitions grade stuff is infinitely larger in number; only they don't 'deserve' to be emphasized.
In any case this lock didn't cost me the price i would have to pay for a high end example.
Still we must not forget that Fernando (my namesake) may have a further word to say about this.
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Old 13th January 2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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Hi Fernando

What an interesting, and curious roman style lock. And LARGE !! LOL
Funny, but my first thought viewing the outer "shape" of the lock plate was that it reminded me of of the early Mid-16th Century English doglocks. Just the shape of the lock plate only.
The length and thickness of the lock plate and the rustic assembly of it's sear parts are similar to the quality you see on Moroccan snaphaunce locks. The frizzen design with it's unusual insert is a mystery. Never seen one like it. But there is a curve to the insert, so it was made to be struck by a flint. But the insert is somewhat narrow in relation to the width of the frizzen face. Makes me wonder if the inset was added latter for use with a flint pawl (chunk of flint) versus a typical knapped, flat flint ? Of course I'm just speculating here. But viewing it's overall construction, it would not surprise me if this lock at some point was mounted to a Moroccan or Algeria long gun. But personally, I've never seen a roman style lock mounted to an oriental gun. But most of the locally made Moroccan and Algerian locks tend to be of large size like this one. Probably for the ease of construction as well as making spare parts.

Rick

p.s. If you ever decide it needs a new home, keep me in mind. LOL
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Old 14th January 2019, 05:56 PM   #8
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Hello Fernando,

Quote:
one often sees sophisticated examples of armoury being brought to attention but, in fact, munitions grade stuff is infinitely larger in number; only they don't 'deserve' to be emphasized.

IMNSHO, munitions grade and village grade examples are definitely worthy of getting our full attention, too! Not only were these more numerous in their time, they also did most of the real work... And it would certainly be a shame to loose any survivors just because they don't get as much press as flashy VIP pieces!

Just my 2 cents...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 14th January 2019, 06:03 PM   #9
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
...What an interesting, and curious roman style lock. And LARGE !! LOL ...

Early locks could be large, Rick; nothing strange here, i guess !

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
The frizzen design with it's unusual insert is a mystery. Never seen one like it. But there is a curve to the insert, so it was made to be struck by a flint. But the insert is somewhat narrow in relation to the width of the frizzen face...

I still think there was an original intention in this set up. Look at the insert;with its tapering shape it appears to be built with removable features, rather than inserted on a permanent basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
... Makes me wonder if the inset was added latter for use with a flint pawl (chunk of flint) ...

So that when the frizzen (battery) face is worn out by multiple shots, you replace the 'sliding tab'. James D. Lavin mentions this principle in his SPANISH FIREARMS, only with a distinct configuration (pag.160). Three details to support such reasoning are: the striking face tab that portrudes from its base; the battery that is unusually thick, with a depth to allow for the insertion of the tab; and the configuration of the face front, with a motif on the top consistent with that of the battery front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
...p.s. If you ever decide it needs a new home, keep me in mind. LOL ...

Duly noted


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Old 14th January 2019, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
...IMNSHO, munitions grade and village grade examples are definitely worthy of getting our full attention, too! Not only were these more numerous in their time, they also did most of the real work... And it would certainly be a shame to loose any survivors just because they don't get as much press as flashy VIP pieces!

Just my 2 cents... ...



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Last edited by fernando : 17th January 2019 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 15th January 2019, 12:42 PM   #11
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Let me upload some detail pictures in reaction to some technical questions posed by Fernando K. As both my Spanish (Castillian) and technical knowledge are rather limited, i thought best to answer him with the pictures language.

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Old 15th January 2019, 01:05 PM   #12
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Hello


I had two images of the lock to the Roman, but the forum does not admit them because they are too heavy. Let me work a bit with photoshop, be patient

Affectionately
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Old 15th January 2019, 01:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Hello


I had two images of the lock to the Roman, but the forum does not admit them because they are too heavy. Let me work a bit with photoshop, be patient

Affectionately

... Or you send them to me by email and i will resize and upload them, Fernando.
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Old 15th January 2019, 02:38 PM   #14
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There ... Courtesy Fernando K.


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Old 15th January 2019, 03:00 PM   #15
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Could it perhaps be that the originally fluted frizzen face was used and so replaced by the one shown today? Maybe tghe work of a village smith? I have in my collection a miquelet pistol whose origin is rather unclear - Naples or Eibar/ES - but it has a flutet and renmoveable frizzen face too, obviously not too uncommon in those times.
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Old 15th January 2019, 04:01 PM   #16
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Udo, have a look at the battery in Fernando's first picture; doesn't it look like the system of a removable face is the same as in my lock ?
Concerning your beautiful pistol, i go back to Lavin's work, in that he shows the 'extreme' solution for removable battery inner faces.


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Old 15th January 2019, 04:36 PM   #17
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Fernando, I have this book in my library and I know this drawing, but unfortunately it doesn't help to identify the origin of this pistol. But this is another topic and has nothing to do with your lock!
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Old 15th January 2019, 05:15 PM   #18
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Still is always a pleasure to appreciate a beautiful pistol like the one you have just posted, Udo.
On the other hand, there are no traces of worn fluting in my lock frizzen face, judging by the smooth margins left. Also the battery tapering profile doesn't appear to be consistent with a 'classic' frizzen device.
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Old 15th January 2019, 07:51 PM   #19
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Fernando, namesake

The fact that the frizen face is narrowed down, and also the "dovetail" of the original frizen, is a mechanical solution, so that as the insert is put into place, the transversal pressure that is exercised ensure its positioning, without the need for screw or tight fixation, or welding (as I have seen in some copies)

It is unfortunate that we do not have more images, where you can see the configuration of the lock that you had the kindness to upload, for me

affectionately
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Old 15th January 2019, 08:57 PM   #20
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Muy bien, Fernando ... y muchas gracias .
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Old 16th January 2019, 02:23 AM   #21
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Dare I ask ... is the top jaw screw a ‘new’ replacement? The thread form looks too good and too new, to me anyway.
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Old 16th January 2019, 10:48 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleH
Dare I ask ... is the top jaw screw a ‘new’ replacement? The thread form looks too good and too new, to me anyway.

I don't think so, Dale. The ring looks rather original and there are no signs of the thread part having been added later.
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