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Old 15th March 2014, 07:34 PM   #1
Marcus den toom
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Default Flintlock Chronology, 1610's to 1720's

A note from the author: I made this chronology on flintlocks not as an expert on them, so i hope my attempt to portray an accurate timeline has succeeded within the margins of acceptable error.
I based my findings mainly on the shape of the dog since this, in my view, is the most characteristic part on a flintlock and endures the best noticeable change during the ages. My study focuses on the period from 1610 to about 1720 and uses mostly French locks. I apologize for the many animal like names I use for describing the shapes of the ‘dog’.

I made several drawings to portray the time line from 1610 to 1660’s


My findings are that the flintlock mechanism as we know it appeared first in about 1610 in France. King Henry the IV stepped down in 1610 and Louis the XIII came to power.
-1610’s The first flintlocks seem to be of flat iron, with a long slightly curved neck and a bulky ‘head’ in which the flint is held.

-1620’s I couldn’t find any pictures of this decade but when comparing the ‘1610’ and ‘1630’ I would say that the base of the dog got wider and the neck shorter

-1630’s I own a dated detached flintlock mechanism from the French region of Burgundy (1636, see thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=18230). The dog is still flat and the base of the neck is wider (still round) and the neck is even shorter and gets a little ‘toe’ on the right side which will later on develop to a half circle toward the ‘head’ of the dog. The bulky ‘head’ remains, but develops a duck beak shape (see pictures).

-1640’s The neck now starts from about the middle of the base circle and starts to develop the swan neck shaped dog. The ‘toe’ has merged into an almost circle which now almost touche the ‘head’ .

-1650’s The swan neck becomes more noticeable and the duck beak becomes less broad.

-1660’s The dog is in the early 1660’s still flat but will become rounded during the later years of this decade. The circle shape is fully completed but will disappears when the rounded dog comes into fashion. The ‘head’ is less bulky and becomes also rounded. As far as I can see, the beak will become oval or circle like.

-1670’s The rounded dog becomes even more elegant with its swan neck already over its peak. From thus forth the neck will become even less swirly and more S-shaped. The beak is slimmer and rounded.

-1680’s I don’t have an example for this period but comparing the ‘1670’ and ‘1690’ I would say the the dog becomes more like an S shape and the base also gets fuller.

-1690’s The S shape is now fully adapted and the base is fuller, the upper part of the neck develops an edge/ridge (not fully rounded anymore). The lock plate starts to develop the well know ‘banana’ shape.

-1700’s At the end of the 1690’s and around 1700’s the dog becomes flat again. The before mentioned ridge is more noticeable, but will soon vanish again. The flat dog still retains a rounded or shallow edge. The lock plate is even more curved (banana shape).

-1710’s I own a flintlock gun made by Jean Nouf Cour, a French arms maker. It shows a flat S shaped neck and the ridge has now retreated to the ‘head’ section only.

-1720’s The ridge is completely gone and the dog is flat again. The S shape is getting less apparent and becomes straighter from this point on. The lockplate also becomes less curved.

1610’s lock

_____
1630’s lock (1636) notice the bulky duck ‘beak’


___

Last edited by Marcus den toom : 15th March 2014 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 15th March 2014, 07:35 PM   #2
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1640’s (Thanks to Michael I got the second image from his schloss Dyck gun http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...45+schloss+dyck)


____
1650’s

____
1660’s



___
1670’s
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Old 15th March 2014, 07:36 PM   #3
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___
1690’s

notice the red line (the ridge)


___
1700’s

___
1710’s (Jean neuf Cour 1710/15)

___
1720’s
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Old 15th March 2014, 07:53 PM   #4
Fernando K
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Hello, Marcus

Excellent work, but would have to include the lock from another source, such as the English, Scottish, SPANISH, Portuguese, Italians, etc.. Also important the shooting method.

Affectionately. Fernando k

(Sorry for the translator)
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Old 16th March 2014, 11:14 AM   #5
Matchlock
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Hi Marcus,


That's a very good job you did here!


As this is very tricky matter literally requiring decades of experience, I'd like to add a few annotations here.


When it comes to dating, though, one should discern whether the barrel or the lock mechanism is dated; otherwise a later lock could have been stocked re-using an earlier dated barrel.

It is exactly this feeling that I get when looking at the latest instances posted here; while the lock of the gun dated 1709 is exactly ca. 1720-25 (for France), the one at the bottom, in a gun dated 'ca. 1720'), can, in my opinion, not be older than ca. 1730-40.

We should also bear in mind that in the 17th and 18th century - the Baroque and Rococo periods - , France, and especially Paris, had the role of a vanguard in art style which all other countries adopted - with a certain delay, of course! During the 16th c., Italy was first to set up the Renaissance style.

For example, if a French civilian flintlock mechanism is signed by a Paris maker and dated 1719, it will look exactly like a top style Bavarian civilian mechanism dated 1730, with its flat cock and banana shaped concave lower edge of the lock plate! On the other hand, there are many samples of Bavarian military flintlock muskets of the 1730's to ca. 1750 the locks of which look exactly as if they were made in Paris in ca. 1690 - with their big, rounded cocks, broad oval steels and banana shaped, concave lower edges of the lock plate!!!


The flintlock mechanism of the heavy wall gun, ca. 1645, from the Schloss Dyck collection, then once in my possession and posted here, is so close in date to contemporary French locks because it was made near the French-German border!
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ll+schloss+dyck

The same is true for the 1690's lock mechanism of the Bongarde style gun posted above: Bongarde worked in Düsseldorf, next to the Belgian-French influence!

Apart from the regional influences on dating a gun, there is another variant to be considered: the age of the gun maker. E.g., when a gun is signed and dated, and we can trace back the life data of the maker, it will most probably be an old-style gun if the maker himself was an elderly man himself by the time he signed the piece!



Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 16th March 2014 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 16th March 2014, 11:46 AM   #6
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Hi Fernando K and Michl,

Thank you both for your kind post and compliment.
You are both right to say that to make this time line more accurate, it would need also locks from other countries.
As Michl pointed out, the early flintlocks where designed in France, Paris. During my research i found that there are many instances of flintlocks in other countries which would be dated older when looking at my study. Germany and the Netherlands seem to be adopting the styles the quickest, though with minor differences like the lack of the 'toe' (see the schloss Dyck lock).

Hopefully in the near future i might be able to make a follop up in this thread (help is always appreciated )

Last edited by Marcus den toom : 16th March 2014 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 30th March 2015, 05:35 PM   #7
Enmetena
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Very interesting flintlock arquebuses from Poland (now in Sweden ). Looted on 30 August 1655 in Warsaw. They are described as haiduk guns. We know that when king John Casimir escaped Warsaw, he left behind one company of musketeers and 100 haiduks on garrison. As the city had almost no fortifications they soon surrender to swedish army. So it is quite possible that those guns are indeed haiduck ones.

They are very interesting as those are clearly soldier guns, not state of the art. Very early soldier guns with true flintlock (in fact I don't know any older army issued true flintlocks).

They are held in Livrustkammern - inventory numbers 3025 and 3026.

Both guns:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...id=134867&stc=1

Locks close-up:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...id=134868&stc=1
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