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Old 8th April 2012, 04:15 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default A Very Rare Nuremberg Arquebus 'Bronze'/Brass Barrel, ca. 1500-10

In excavated condition, the forward section secondarily bent.

Octagonal throughout, the swamped rear end with integral back sight, the breech section struck with an indistinct mark, possibly a Gothic majuscule or minuscule letter, the short octagonal reinforced muzzle section with integral blade fore sight. The right-hand side priming pan retaining its riveted swiveling cover. Two quadral loops for stock pins on the underside.
Overall length 83 cm, which is unusually long for average period arquebus barrels which measured between ca. 52 and 65 cm;
bore 18 mm, which again is unusually large compared to the period average bore of ca. 11 to 16 mm.

The piece and images are not mine.

A similar Nuremberg arquebus brass barrel was sold Sotheby's, 23 May 1978, lot 212, length 80.65 cm, of evidently more advanced/later staging and form, interestingly also bent, dated 1516 and cast in high refief with the arms of a bishop from the Prussian family von Schlaberndorf; it is now preserved in the museum of Castelnaud, France.

We know quite exactly what the complete original early-16th century Landsknecht snap-matchlock arquebus fitted with such a barrel looked like:
- in Theuerdank (printed in 1517), the Emperor Maximilian I is depicted aiming a similar but shorter type of arquebus also mounted with a brass barrel;
- it the Ermitage arsenal in St. Petersburg, Russia - best greetings to our forum member and my personal friend Alexender, who lives there! - , a complete and very short Nuremberg snap-matchlock arquebus with a brass barrel of slightly more advanced sectioning is preserved, ca. 1512-15, the butt stock painted with the coat-of-arms of the Nuremberg patrician (Patrizier) family of Behaim, of characteristic overall length of 78.2 cm, barrel 52.1 cm, bore 10.9 mm, inv.-no. 5054)

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 8th April 2012 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 8th April 2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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The other photos.
m
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Old 8th April 2012, 06:04 PM   #3
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A similar brass barrel, possibly French, three-stage sectioned and more pronouncedly staged, but also ca. 1500-10, with socket for a tiller stock, in excavated condition. Measurements unrecorded but probably ca. 60-70 cm long.
In the museum of Grandson, Switzerland.

m
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Last edited by Matchlock : 8th April 2012 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 13th April 2012, 01:25 PM   #4
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A matching arquebus, painting of 1508.

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Old 13th April 2012, 07:31 PM   #5
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Right, the painting is by Jan Joest, in the Nicolai Church Kalkar.

Btw, could you please post the link to this high-rez image? I could not find it on the web. Thanks!

A very similar Nuremberg barrel, also in excavated condition, of characteristic length and the breech struck with a Gothic minuscule mark s, is included in an upcoming sale. I will post details here as soon as the auction is done.

Best,
m

Last edited by Matchlock : 13th April 2012 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 13th April 2012, 07:48 PM   #6
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Its on Flickr, search Nicolaikirche Kalkar.

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Old 13th April 2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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It sadly does not show up on Mozilla Firefox, just carvings ...

m
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Old 13th April 2012, 08:23 PM   #8
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Its still there! Don`t search in the thumbnails, they are hardly recognisable.
Bildgrösse Anzeigen: nicht Klein, sondern Mittel.

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Old 13th April 2012, 09:09 PM   #9
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Thanks again!

Up to now all I had of this was a 30 year-old old post card, not bad, just a bit dark. Anyway, I posted it in an earlier thread here.

Now we even recognize the bluing on the iron parts, the blued iron ramrod finial and both the right-hand serpentine and the figured back sight (both close ups attached).

The fact that the stock is painted red is by no means coincidental. As I remarked several times before, the basic Gothic colors were red and green. This of course does not mean that all period works of art actually showed these basic colors; they were typical and 'ideal' of the 15th/early 16th c. 'feeling for art' - and therefore preferred by artisans who were required to represent the 'ideal' Late Gothic taste to their contemporaries.

Also attached are a general view of the Kalkar altar piece and two self portraits of the artist Jan Joest, who was born ca. 1455 and died after 1519.

Apart from a left-hand stocked arquebus in the Vienna Imperial collection (the lock mechanism parts poor reconstructions), and a highly interesting piece formerly in the Renwick collection, the stock painted with the coat-of-arms of the Emperor Maximilian I when still king (1500-07), its present whereabouts unknown since the 1980's, no similar complete small arquebuses of that type are known to me. The latter two feature brass barrels and snap tinder locks while the Jan Joest arquebus is equipped with a wrought-iron barrel.

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 14th April 2012 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 14th April 2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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Another, similar Landsknecht arquebus but of plainer and somewhat earlier type, not yet fitted with a lock mechanism and the stock left unvarnished but mounted with a brass barrel, together with a thick length of match cord, a powder horn and a priming flask, is depicted as part of the Herrenberg Altarpiece, by Jörg Ratgeb, 1518-9.

m
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Old 15th April 2012, 08:53 PM   #11
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An arquebus, similar to the one illustrated by Jörg Ratgeb, mounted with a brass barrel, the snap-tinderlock serpentine inaptly depicted to be attached on the right-hand side of the barrel (!), from the earliest Maximilian armory inventory, by Bartholomäus Freysleben, ca. 1495-1500, cod. icon. 222, fol. 181v.

It is labeled as messing hanndtpüchse (brass-barreled arquebus).

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Old 17th April 2012, 05:01 PM   #12
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Another brass arquebus barrel, of comparable dimensions but with socket for a (replaced) tiller stock, the pan with no provision for a cover, with early-style bell-mouthed muzzle, ca. 1490-1500, from the former arsenal of the Princes of Schwarzburg, now in the museum in Rudolstadt, Thuringia; author's photos, 2000.

m
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Old 17th April 2012, 05:05 PM   #13
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For much more information on Late-Gothic brass and iron arquebus barrels, please see my thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=bronze+tiller

Best,
Michael
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Old 17th April 2012, 10:01 PM   #14
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Michael, great photos! As You have guessed socketed handgonnes is my favorite type. Thank You for sharing this photos. By the way what is the shapeless piece of bronze on the bottom side of the barrel? Is it broken hook?
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Old 19th April 2012, 03:36 PM   #15
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You really are a great observer, Alexender!

Honestly I was wishing you would not ask because I don't know what it is. It looks like some amateurish later addition for what reason ever. Actually its position is too far at the rear for being the rest of a former hook. Seems like it is screwed to the barrel.
I just tend to ignore it. Nobody can explain for any possible later alteration on a 500 year-old item.

Anyway, I have added another close up.

Best,
Michael
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Old 19th April 2012, 04:30 PM   #16
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A very similar socketed tiller arquebus is illustrated in a miniature in the illuminated Book of Hours (Stundenbuch) belonging to Mary of Burgundy, first wife of the later Emperor Maximilian I, ca. 1470 (portaits attached).

Please note that the arquebus is ignited by a piece of coal or tinder, and that several balls are shown leaving the muzzle.

Best,
Michael
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Old 20th April 2012, 01:17 PM   #17
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Default A Very Fine Brass Barrel Tiller Arquebus, ca. 1490-1500

Formerly in my collection. It is the finest Gothic arquebus ever recorded.

The barrel octagonal, in two stages and with bell-mouthed muzzle, no sights, the small right-hand side pan integrally cast, the originally swiveling cover missing. The breech struck with a founder's mark, a stag's head and antlers. Similar marks are known from contemporary cranequins.

The original brown limewood tiller stock is lavishly punched over its entire length with a lozenge pattern and Late-Gothic star- or flower-like designs, the way the were used to decorate contemporary book bindings.
A mid-15th c. caduceus (Heroldsstab) in the Historic Museum Dresden shows similar staging and zigzag decoration, and both a haquebut stock in the Bayerisches Armeemuseum Ingolstadt (inv.no. A210) and a small cannon (Tarrasbüchse) in the Burgmuseum Wels, Austria, are similarly punched (attachments).

A similar but plain socketed arquebus is preserved in the Polish National Museum Warsaw, the original tiller stock hollowed out to receive the ramrod (attached).

Best,
Michael
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Old 20th April 2012, 01:39 PM   #18
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Some more book bindings with similar punched decoration.
m
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:45 PM   #19
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A similar brass barrel, ca. 1490-1500, probably founded in a Nuremberg workshop, and in excavated condition, the breech struck with a Gothic minuscule s mark, fetched 8,000 euro including buyer's premium at Hermann Historica's yesterday.
It is mainly the short and pronounced octagonal muzzle section that accounts for the assigned date.

Here are the details.

m
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Last edited by Matchlock : 24th April 2012 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:53 PM   #20
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More close-ups.
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Old 25th April 2012, 10:03 PM   #21
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A supplement to post # 17:

The Warsaw tiller arquebus can also be closely dated to ca. 1500; one basic fact, though by far not the only one, is that the swiveling pan cover is fixed by a screw - the earliest known use of a screw on any firearm.
As I stated here earlier, screws - though well-known - are not recorded to have come into use on items involving mechanics before the end of the 15th c., such as the Maximilian tournament breast plates (Stechzeuge) of ca. 1490 and 1495 preserved in the Vienna Armory.
Their screw heads are of early, highly figured shape.

Interestingly enough, screw heads on finely made wheellocks still retained that Gothic shape up to the mid-16th c., as can be seen on a mechanism dated 1551, also in Vienna; author's photos.


Best,
Michael
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Old 28th April 2012, 07:28 PM   #22
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Landsknecht arkebuses with brass barrels, the stocks stained black, similar to the sample preserved in St. Petersburg (see post # 2).
Albrecht Altdorfer, 1513-15, Schweizer Krieg, from the Triumphal Procession (Triumphzug) for the Emperor Maximilian I.

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Old 28th April 2012, 08:04 PM   #23
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The next generation of Landsknecht arquebuses, and at the same time the last employing brass barrels, early 1520's, the multiple-staged barrel with long, accentuated muzzle section, the parts of the snap-tinderlock not yet united on a lock plate but separately nailed to the stock. Only the serpentine is shown to be mounted on a small plate; the cocked serpentine against which a long spring acted was mostly triggered by a right-hand side lateral push button. Only one arquebus lying on the ground is shown to feature a long tiller trigger.
Most stocks are depicted plain and undyed but one is represented to be painted red.
The length of typically thick and early match cord was only used to light a small piece of tinder that was placed in a tube at the top of the serpentine and was probably replaced before firing the next shot.

Please note the earliest bandoliers with small tinned-iron powder containers.

From a series of tapestries depicting scenes from the Battle of Pavia, 24 February 1525, preserved in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. They were woven in Brussels workshops in the late 1520's, after desings by Bernard van Orley.

Best,
Michael
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Old 30th April 2012, 06:27 PM   #24
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A woodcut from Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Vier Bücher der Ritterschaft (fol. 170), published in 1511, of an arquebusier holding his arquebus with the barrel down.

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Old 1st May 2012, 06:16 PM   #25
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Brass-barreled snap-tinderlock arquebuses, from an illustrated inventory of the 'Maximilian' armories, ca. 1502; BSB Munich, cod. icon. 222, fol. 114.

Two stocks are shown painted red, and the tinder serpentines are incorrectly depicted to be mounted on the barrels.

As the mechanical lock parts must have been nailed or clamped to the stock, they seem to have been triggered by a right-hand side lateral push button, most probably located in front of the serpentine and activated by a finger of the left hand.

Some of the wooden ramrods are depicted to have an iron finial, most probably threaded for a worm and scourer - just the way they were made for 'service' use until the early 18th c.


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Old 1st May 2012, 06:34 PM   #26
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Default 16th to 17th C. Worms, Scourers and Ball Extractors for Wooden Ramrods

Author's collection.

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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:58 AM   #27
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Default 16th to 17th C. Worms, Scourers and Ball Extractors for Wooden Ramrods

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Author's collection.
m

How fine and professional theses tools are.
Judgind by its number and variety, this collector must have had a gun repair workshop in his prior (renaissance) incarnation.
I wish i had a fraction of these.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:22 PM   #28
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Thank you, 'Nando,

Actually their number seemed to have slightly increased within the last years, so I took some new images today:

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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:30 PM   #29
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A snap-tinderlock arquebus, together with its accouterments including worms, scourers and ball extractors for the ramrod finial.
From a South German manuscript, ca. 1525-30.

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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:00 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Thank you, 'Nando,

Actually their number seemed to have slightly increased within the last years, so I took some new images today:

m


Astonishing
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