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Old 17th July 2019, 12:34 PM   #1
fernando
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Thumbs up At last ... a blunderbuss with a bronze barrel

Now, what do we have here ?
The barrel could (could) be a typical British one; that mark on the top could be an erased proof mark ... although being British, should have a set of marks, note an isolated one.
The lock, Portuguese no doubt, with that frizzen spring ... and no only. Front and side plates 'unusually' in brass.
One (important) detail to digest; the name "VIANNA" engraved in the side plate. The fact that it is placed on such place, and with that 'stylized' font, could (could) make us think it is the name of the owner and not of the smith. But this is no more than an easy conclusion. In my Viterbo work, comes listed a Vianna, active in Oporto 1822, well known for having invented a musket lock 'not of flint nor of percussion caps' and a rest for the dog. Could he be the same one ?
You will notice that, the stock is in the British style, bit its elaborate carving work is one practiced by Portuguese smiths.
Noticeable also are the (apparently) stock offset alignment and the provided suspension ring.
The bayonet is gone; in my judgement, deliberately extracted by the owner, due to these things lack of practicability; not so worried about this, though.
Amazing that, the name Viana is also my family one; reason why my local fellow collector, who first saw this piece in an auction, declined its acquisition in my favor.
Any comments, Gentlemen ?

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Old 17th July 2019, 04:11 PM   #2
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In the "Neue Stöckel" there is listed a VIANNA at Oporto (Porto) ca. 1820-1860. In my foto archive I found these fotos of locks made in Portugal too.
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Old 17th July 2019, 06:48 PM   #3
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Thank you Udo; that must be the VIANNA that came listed in Sousa Viterbo's work (dated 1908); although we can only guess that he is the one whom made this lock. If so, it must have been in his early active days, judging by the type of (flint lock). Viterbo mentions in his work that he includes A.J.P. VIANNA in an opuscule dedicated to Portuguese inventors (INVENTORES PORTUGUESES - 1902). I will try and acquire a copy, to dig into this Vianna's activities.
I am amazed with pictures you post; they were released out there by myself . The first is a somehow rare lock posted HERE-
The other one was posted HERE.., a page edited and copied from ESPINGARDA PERFEYTA.
I am glad that you archive such interesting material .
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Old 19th July 2019, 04:57 AM   #4
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Default Interesting locks

Nando: Congratulations on a very interesting blunderbuss! First Portuguese lock I've seen with a brass lockplate.

For the benefit of forum readers at-large, it's the type called pé de cabra or goat's foot, for the projecting "hoof" at the base of the cock which engages the half- and full-cock sear studs. The foot appears to be an adaptation of the Spanish patilla as seen on the common miquelet lock originating in that country, here incorporated in a mechanism that uses an internal mainspring as on other flintlocks.

Goat's foot locks, which are generally seen on guns dated to the first quarter of the 19th cent., appear to be an offshoot of the Portuguese fecho de nó or "knot" lock, originating in the late 17th cent. The knot lock has a similar exterior appearance but lacks the "foot"; an internal tumbler with half- and full-cock detents in the French style provides the sear engagement (see Daehnhardt, Espingarda Perfeyta , photoplates Figs. 19, 20 for an example).

These goat locks usually have lockplates shaped in the French style, as seen on this example. Daehnhardt / Gaier, Espingardaria Portuguesa, Armurerie Liègeoise has two analogous goat's foot locks mounted on pistols, in plate 11.

Udo: Thanks for posting your example of a goa'ts foot lock, whose uniquely shaped and curved lockplate revives that on the earlier and iconic Portuguese fecho de molinhas or "spring lock" (which you also illustrate in your post). A typical case of the Portuguese love of hybridization, and the strength of tradition.

This peculiar style of lockplate illustrates the persistence of the external styling of the molinhas type which is also retained in an outwardly similar and later hybrid called fecho de três parafusos (three-screw lock, from its method of mounting to the stock). But in this instance, the more complex and expensive-to-produce sear mechanism of the original molinhas design is replaced by the simpler "guts" of the typical "French" flintlock.

(to forum readers: please refer to Corrado's post immediately preceding for two views of a molinhas lock, one of which shows the internal workings which as can be seen have a sear system notably different from the familiar, so-called French lock that we commonly see. For those so inclined, Daehnhardt, Espingarda Perfeyta contains two diagrams of a molinhas inside and out with all its parts identified in Portuguese and English, plus photo images Figs 23-27 of several examples all with the curved lockplates). But let's keep our eyes on the goat for now...

A final note of comparison is that both the molinhas and the later hybrid três parafusos locks do not have the projecting foot on the cock and the miquelet-type transverse sears of the fecho pé de cabra seen on Nando's blunderbuss. This, despite any similarities in cock jaws, lockplate, or frizzen spring. Below is an example of a três parafusos probably of Liège manufacture for the Portuguese colonial trade. This external view shows something that is practically indistinguishable from the molinhas locks that Daehnhardt illustrates (supra):
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Old 19th July 2019, 05:08 AM   #5
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Lest the viewer be confused by the preceding image, what appears to be a projection at the base of the cock is a separate component, a swiveling "brake" which acts as a manual safety catch, to block the fall of the cock at the "half" position. The photo was taken of the lock in half-cock or "safe" position with the brake in rearward position against a ratcheted notch at the cock's base.

This brake has a similar function to the rear mounted dog catches seen on early English flint systems, or on the Catalan and Algerian agujeta type miquelets.
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Old 19th July 2019, 09:09 AM   #6
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Philip, thanks for enjoying (once more) my fine example of a goat foot lock with an 'armoured' frizzen posted by Udo, as also the molinhas diagrams i have 'stolen' from Daehnhardt's page whom, by the way, told me in his exuberant manner that, he was certain that the manual safety catch you talk about, was the best safety cock system he knew.
(Attached one of such lock examples in one of my finest blunderbusses ... ex-Daehnhardt, by the way)

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Old 19th July 2019, 03:26 PM   #7
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This safety catch is very interesting and certainly unique in the field of flintlock- or percussion firearns but it is certainly not better than a dog catch behind the cock. Both systems have the same effect - stopping the fall of the cock. A stopper in front of the cock was later in use at the Austrian cavalry pistol M 1862 and at the Hessian cavalry pistol M 1822/46. During the flintlock aera thre was a similar system in use with the shooters carbine 1817 of Württemberg
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Old 19th July 2019, 04:51 PM   #8
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I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of this blunderbuss and the beautiful decoration, It's a combination you rarely see .
kind regards
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Old 19th July 2019, 09:25 PM   #9
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Respecto a la llave del trabuco de Fernando, los "calzos" estan situados como en el miguelete clasico, el de media monta abajo y el de disparo mas arriba, aunque debe actuar en la curva inferior de la "patilla".
Lo contrario pasa en la llave del post #2 de Corrado, que por tener una platina del "fecho de molinhas" tiene el calzo de media monta en la parte superior de la platina y actua en la curva interior de la patilla. A su vez, la cazoleta tiene una brida falsa o postiza, que no tiene la llave del trabuco der Fernando. (Parece una transformacion de una llave "fecho de molinhas".
Respecto a todas las llaves de la peninsula iberica o del Mediterraneo, se han influido reciprocamente. Como ejemplo la llave "mixta" del fusil y la pistola militar española, que tiene un apendice en la parte delantera del pie de gato, que oficia de patilla, y que se apooya en los "calzos", y que esta presente en la llave portuguesa "pata de cabra", y en la llave "a la moda de Madrid".

Afectuosamente
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Old 19th July 2019, 09:29 PM   #10
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Regarding Fernando's key to the blunderbuss, the "chocks" are located as in the classic miguelete, the one on the bottom and the one on the top, although it must act on the lower curve of the "pin".
The opposite happens in the key of the post # 2 of Corrado, that for having a plate of the "fecho de molinhas" has the wedge of half mounts in the upper part of the plate and acts in the inner curve of the pin. In turn, the bowl has a false or false flange, which does not have the key to the trabuco der Fernando. (It looks like a transformation of a key "date of molinhas".
Regarding all the keys of the Iberian Peninsula or the Mediterranean, they have been reciprocally influenced. As an example, the "mixed" key of the rifle and the Spanish military pistol, which has an appendix in the front of the foot of the cat, which acts as a pin, and which rests on the "chocks", and which is present in the key. Portuguese "pata de cabra", and in the key "in the fashion of Madrid".

Affectionately
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Old 19th July 2019, 09:43 PM   #11
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Llave mixta
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Old 19th July 2019, 10:13 PM   #12
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Default a matter of opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
... Daehnhardt, by the way, told me in his exuberant manner that, he was certain that the manual safety catch you talk about, was the best safety cock system he knew.
(Attached one of such lock examples in one of my finest blunderbusses ... ex-Daehnhardt, by the way)

.


Nando, thanks for the pic of your additional example, it certainly is a fine one!

I've also believed that Daehhardt's enthusiasm for the "Portuguese brake" is rather exuberant, perhaps tinged with a lot of national pride. My tendency is to agree with our friend Udo, who says in his post that it doesn't seem to be better than the dog catch used elsewhere in Europe. If an advantage can be assigned to both, it's that they secure the cock by a means that is totally independent of the sear linkage, and thus could not possibly be deactivated by the trigger in the case of a worn or defective mechanism.

From the standpoint of the shooter's convenience and ease of operation, the half-cock detents of the Spanish-style patilla and the French flintlock are superior in that they can be engaged no matter what angle the barrel is held at, and in a one-hand operation. Although both locks have entirely different sear systems, the heart of the half-cock position is having a sear engage a notch so deep as to prevent disengagement by the leverage exerted via the trigger. (miquelets have two separate sear noses, true flintlocks and their successors only one). In both cases, half-cock is also overriden automatically when the gun is discharged from full cock. The fact that on a well-made lock in good condition, these systems are quite secure is evident in their continued use on locks into the percussion and even as late as the early breechloading periods as long as guns were detonated with an external flint or by a hammer striking a cap or primer or firing pin. From the first half of the 17th cent. until over 2 centuries later, this is a considerable span of time for a relatively simple concept to remain current.
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Old 20th July 2019, 05:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
This safety catch is very interesting and certainly unique in the field of flintlock- or percussion firearns but it is certainly not better than a dog catch behind the cock. Both systems have the same effect - stopping the fall of the cock. A stopper in front of the cock was later in use at the Austrian cavalry pistol M 1862 and at the Hessian cavalry pistol M 1822/46. During the flintlock aera thre was a similar system in use with the shooters carbine 1817 of Württemberg
corrado26


Udo, thanks for posting pics of a similar concept seen on the locks of some military firearms from Germanic states, of which I am much less familiar with than with those of southern Europe. Am I correct in assuming that all the examples in your post also utilize half-cock detents on their tumblers?

It's interesting to speculate why the apparent resurgence of a frontally-acting "brake" or stop at such a late date, at least on a few models of guns, a century or so after the rear-mounted dog catch fell out of general use. What are your ideas on this? If you have personal experience in shooting flint or percussion guns with locks fitted with these external stops, what are your impressions of the functionality and ease-of-use of such devices?
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Old 20th July 2019, 10:13 AM   #14
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Default On matter of opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
...I've also believed that Daehhardt's enthusiasm for the "Portuguese brake" is rather exuberant, perhaps tinged with a lot of national pride. My tendency is to agree with our friend Udo, who says in his post that it doesn't seem to be better than the dog catch used elsewhere in Europe...

Yes, my mentioning his exuberant mode was a way to imply that a spiced statement was to be considered.
Obviously the concept of best, besides being passive of a determined context, is limited to how wide is your information to cover everything of the kind and, even so, your claim that something is the best ... is in the least subjective.
I have an old dog lock blunderbuss. Checking on its mechanism and reading opinions out there i came HERE. (read as from post #29) and rehearsed a little brainstorm where the dog lock system was not denied to (also) have its Achilles' heel.

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Old 20th July 2019, 11:15 AM   #15
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Fernando tocayo, if i well understand your words, i would say that the system in my both locks works in the same half cock manner. Only that in my present example the foot (pie de gato) is a bit bent out and does not catch the full cock 'calço'. It will have to bent it back, either with a cold or a hot operation.


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Old 20th July 2019, 12:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Am I correct in assuming that all the examples in your post also utilize half-cock detents on their tumblers?

It's interesting to speculate why the apparent resurgence of a frontally-acting "brake" or stop at such a late date, at least on a few models of guns, a century or so after the rear-mounted dog catch fell out of general use. What are your ideas on this? If you have personal experience in shooting flint or percussion guns with locks fitted with these external stops, what are your impressions of the functionality and ease-of-use of such devices?


Yes, you are right, they have all a half cock detent on theit tumbler. These safety catches have been nothing than a second safety to prevent self ignition by unexpected movements on horseback

The safety catch at the Hessian and the Austrian pistol have to be activated by hand but fell off by their weight when the cocks were pulled back into the firing position. This devices have been in use only with cavalry arms
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Old 20th July 2019, 02:11 PM   #17
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Fernando, namesake

I do not understand. In post # 1, you can see the foot of the cat at rest, and you can see the pin ready to be mounted on the chock halfway up. Also, it is observed, half covered, the square window in which the firing chock was shown. In post # 15, second photograph, the pin can be seen leaning on its lower curve in a half-high chock (which had remained hidden, covered) and still without being seated in the firing chock, which still remains semi-hidden. So, what is the first little window, the lowest one of all?

A hug
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Old 20th July 2019, 02:28 PM   #18
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A screw, Fernando ... of a three screws lock .


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Old 20th July 2019, 02:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of this blunderbuss and the beautiful decoration, It's a combination you rarely see .
kind regards
Ulfberth

Thank you for the kind words, Dirk .
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Old 20th July 2019, 03:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26

The safety catch at the Hessian and the Austrian pistol have to be activated by hand but fell off by their weight when the cocks were pulled back into the firing position.


Thank you, Udo, for alerting me to an interesting point. In looking at your images again I see that these catches have what appear to me a stud to help the fingers engage the device, and they are in general of a sufficient shape and mass which allow gravity to disengage them while the weapon is being fully cocked. So, a semi-automatic safety of sorts -- manual activation, but self-disengagement.

In this important respect they differ from the Portuguese version, which is simply a small pivoting "wing" whose edge engages the foot of the cock. Its design does not appear to utilize gravity to disengage during cocking; on the two examples that I have, which are on good-quality Liège-made Portuguese locks in unused condition, the action of these devices is quite stiff due to tight manufacturing tolerances. If the pivot becomes sufficiently loose through normal use and wear, the brake could conceivably swing away during cocking if the muzzle of the gun were pointed downward during the process, but to me this would be a chancy and clumsy procedure.

(for convenience I attach an image again below)

The design seen on your Hessian and Austrian locks appears to be a lot more sophisticated than either the Portuguese brake or the early dog locks, and I can now understand the rationale behind the revival of the concept, at least for some cavalry weapons.
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Old 20th July 2019, 03:24 PM   #21
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Dear Fernando

Glup.............................................. .........
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Old 20th July 2019, 03:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Dear Fernando

Glup.............................................. .........


.
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Old 20th July 2019, 04:16 PM   #23
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Hi Fernando

WOW!! CONGRATULATIONS !! What a wonderful piece. That has to be one of the most interesting blunderbuss I have ever seen. Talk about a hybrid ! LOL
I too have never seen even a typical Spanish miquelet lock - much less a Portuguese lock - with a brass lock plate. You usually only see a brass lock plate on higher end English/other European guns. But the detailed quality of this piece certainly qualifies in that category. The carving and engraving are wonderful.
As you note, the English style butt stock and plate are very unusual for a shoulder arm coming from this Region. Also, as you note, the slight cast-off of the butt stock, usually reserved for longer barrel fowlers/rifles to assist the shooter while pointing/aiming. But I can't imagine the cast-off being an advantage for a blunderbuss. Hmmmm.
Another thing I notice is the trigger itself. While obviously functional, it appears rather plain compared to the rest of the gun.
Anyway, again, congratulations. What a great addition to your collection.

Rick
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Old 20th July 2019, 05:31 PM   #24
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External Lock Safeties: The external dog style safety behind the hammer seems to have appeared around the Mid-17th Century - at least on English locks. On locks from that period, it was the only means of a safety as the tumblers on vertical sears had only one firing notch or one slot hole in the case of horizontal sears (ala snaphaunce). By the last quarter of the 17th Century, with the wider use of the true French style flintlock with the second safety notch on the tumbler, these dog style safeties started to disappear. Apparently they were simply considered unnecessary by this time. Although you do occasionally see a specimen from the late 17th to early 18th Century with the dog catch used as a secondary safety. But these show up on sporting/private contract style guns.
However, as Corrado mentions, the use of the dog style catch as a secondary safety persisted well into the percussion era in the Hessian/Austrian/Dutch Regions. I've always thought this curious.
The swivel style safety in front of the hammer seems to be a unique feature to Portuguese style locks. Acts as a secondary safety while engaged, and a hammer stop when disengaged. Actually a clever idea. But it would take an extra movement to disengage while the dog style would automatically disengage when the hammer is pulled back into firing position.
Then, sometime about the end of the first quarter of the 18th Century the external safety re-appeared on some sporting/private contract type guns. This time in the form of a sliding secondary safety. Apparently, this sliding safety was deemed useful enough the the British military included this, and other features in their last flintlock officially produced. The photo shows this exact lock dated 1835, and includes the sliding safety, internal frizzen spring, and semi-waterproof pan. An attempt to include all the latest and best features. However, this period also was the beginning surge into the percussion period. So this very late period flintlock never saw much use. In fact many were never even mounted to guns and quickly became surplus. That is why you can often find these locks available today in pristine mechanical condition like this one.
Anyway, it's interesting these external safeties were in use back and forth for some 200+ years.

Rick
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Old 20th July 2019, 06:35 PM   #25
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Rick, much obliged for the kind words .
... And, no sir; you don't need an extra movement to disengage the safety device. The hammer 'round' foot is designed in a way that, while having an insertion to hold the safety device in half cock position, is also built in a manner that pushes it off, when you roll it around and up to full cock position.
... If i make myself understood.


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Old 20th July 2019, 06:52 PM   #26
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Hi Fernando

OK. Yes I now understand. I did not know this. Thanks. Is the safety on the lock in the photo the only safety ? Or does it act as a secondary device ?

Rick
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Old 20th July 2019, 09:18 PM   #27
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Default primary safeties

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Fernando

OK. Yes I now understand. I did not know this. Thanks. Is the safety on the lock in the photo the only safety ? Or does it act as a secondary device ?

Rick


Hey Rick, thanks much for your explanation of dog catch history and introducing the sliding safety concept to add context to our discussion.

Here are the three different detached locks that I got last year in that German auction, A is the "three screw" hybrid, B is the so-called "half Portuguese, half French" style, and C is the "knot lock". Note that all three use the interior workings of the French flintlock. But only B has a tumbler with half- and full cock detents -- thoroughly French mechanicals albeit with Portuguese stylistic flourishes on the cock and frizzen spring design. A and C have one-notch tumblers, with the external brake serving as the only safety.

Given the Portuguese love of combining mechanical and stylistic features, I wouldn't be surprised if Nando or another forumite has a gun with one of the above lock types combining both a brake and a half-cock notch. A custom job for a sportsman who wanted a doubly safe lock on his gun. What I show here appear to be production items, likely made in Liège for export to Portugal's colonies.
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Old 20th July 2019, 09:37 PM   #28
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Rick, much obliged for the kind words .
... And, no sir; you don't need an extra movement to disengage the safety device. The hammer 'round' foot is designed in a way that, while having an insertion to hold the safety device in half cock position, is also built in a manner that pushes it off, when you roll it around and up to full cock position.
... If i make myself understood.


.


Obrigado, Nando. I examined my locks again, and what you say has opened my eyes to what I had wondered about but didn't understand at first. There is a subtle bit of mechanical engineering that enables the effect that you describe. The três parafusos lock A and the fecho meio à portuguesa e meio à franzesa B in the images previous have the cock base shaped with a little projecting "tongue" below the safety engagement notch -- As the cock is pulled back fully to arm the mechanism, the rotating base makes this tongue push the brake out of the way, allowing the cock to travel its full arc to contact the frizzen. Ingenious!

What we have here is what mechanics call a "cam", and there is prior application in the case of wheellocks, whereby a cam turned by the rotating wheel spindle pushes the pan-cover activating arm forward on its pivot to open the pan and expose the priming powder.

I am now a lot more enthusiastic about the Portuguese brake than i was before now. Whether this will grow into Daehnhardtian exuberance depends on whether I can get used to the idea of using two hands to activate a safety mechanism, as opposed to the convenience of half-cock.

Last edited by Philip : 21st July 2019 at 03:49 AM. Reason: clarification of terms and descriptions
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Old 20th July 2019, 09:44 PM   #29
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This is an amazing weapon, Fernando and it has your name on it! Perhaps it was yours in a former life! Not a gun person, but of course I must point out (if no one else previously has done already) the possibility of this being a naval piece. Brass and bronze blunderbuss were popular with sailors for obvious reasons. Bronze was resistant to the brine air of a ship which rapidly corroded iron weapons (It is why solid brass-hilted swords so unpopular with infantrymen due to sweaty hands and the possibility of dropping it was ignored by naval forces). There is a direct correlation with brass muskets and blunderbuss used in sea service.

The bayonet on yours does in fact appear to have been removed contemporary with its usage. The three main places you see these blunderbuss are at sea, used as defense as coach guns/to discourage robbery in shops and as defense on fort walls (these types usually mounted on a swivel). I'm not familiar of this type of bronze weapon ever being carried by foot troops. If naval, it is very possible that the bayonet was removed for practicality. On a ship, the blunderbuss main purpose was to discourage boarders clambering over the side of a ship, blowing a hole through a charging gang of mutineers or some such. Not much time or real purpose to having a bayonet. In any case, just my thoughts and I think you have an amazing piece for your collection!
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Old 21st July 2019, 09:58 AM   #30
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
...OK. Yes I now understand. I did not know this. Thanks. Is the safety on the lock in the photo the only safety ? Or does it act as a secondary device ?...

No Rick; primary ... and sole !
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