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Old 15th February 2009, 05:51 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default Mid to Late 16th Century Patrons for Paper Cartridges

The earliest patrons or cartridge containers (Patronenköcher) seem to have been made as early as the 1540's, mostly in Nuremberg but, in the 1580's, also in Brunswick and Suhl, the latter for Saxony. The earliest dated sample known is of 1554.

They all consist of a wooden body drilled out for 4-7 paper cartridges and set into an iron frame which, in some cases, covers the wooden core completely. The lid is spring loaded and there are a few iron loops for leather straps to carry the patron. The catridges were stored with the balls bound on top. For loading, the patron was grabbed at the ball and drawn out, the ball was bitten off by the musketeer's or harquebusier's teeth, the powder was filled into the barrel, the ball went after it smoothly (as it was usually of smaller caliber than the barrel it rolled down easily) and the paper was crunched up and put down the muzzle. Then the whole load was rammed down the barrel with the ramrod.

The usual number of cartridge holes of ca. 4-7 indicates that this was the average number of rounds that 16th century guns could fire before at least the touch hole, and probably the barrel as well, had to be cleaned. There are, however, some patrons known to have received as many as 11 cartdriges. Interesting enough, we do not know of one single contemporary source of illustration of a patron although they are known to have been used together with both pistols and long guns but only for 'military' and semi-military purposes (e.g. by The Royal Saxon Electors' Guardsmen (Trabanten-Leibgarde).

The iron frame was mostly blued, on the Brunswick and some Nuremberg patrons it was finely embossed, and on some highly decorated patrons it was etched and the outer side of the wooden core was sometimes inlaid with engraved bone plaques. They matched the guns in style that they were used along with.

I attach samples from my collection and from other sources.

Michael
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Old 15th February 2009, 05:57 PM   #2
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More.
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Old 15th February 2009, 06:04 PM   #3
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More.
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Old 15th February 2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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More.
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Old 15th February 2009, 06:16 PM   #5
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The rest.

m
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Old 15th February 2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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Plus a few good items from Christie's December 2006 sale, together with the results.

Michael
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Old 15th February 2009, 08:45 PM   #7
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Default Back to the roots ...

The basic shape of the earliest patrons of the 1550's is of course based upon the design of the Late Gothic quivers for crossbow bolts/quarrels.

Michael
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Old 16th February 2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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Completely amazing Michael!!! Up until now I had never heard of one of these, let alone ever seen one.

Sort of a medieval 'banana clip'


It seems that the problem of reloading, especially quickly in the heat of battle
is a dynamic that is not often considered in the historical review of many of these events. Interesting too that these 'ammunition' items kept the basic structure of the quivers for bolts or arrows.

It has been fascinating seeing the various multiple chambered firearms, and curiosa such as combination weapons with blade and gun. I think this overall review of all the interesting aspects of firearms esoterica is great as Michael continues to present here is the best, sort of a themed museum display home delivered !!! Thank you so much Michael!!!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 16th February 2009, 06:11 PM   #9
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Default Special home delivery

Hi Jim,

Thank you so much for appreciating my contributions!

I will post some more images of cartridge boxes/patrons from my collection.

All the best,
Michael
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Old 16th February 2009, 06:26 PM   #10
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Some cartridge boxes from the reseve collection of the German Historic Museum Berlin and my collection.

The one with the bone linlays Nuremberg, ca. 1575, and the blued one with the leather covered body Suhl, ca. 1585, both in my collection.
The etched Saxon patrons dated 1587 and 1589 repectively and the paper cartridges at the GHM Berlin.

Michael
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Old 16th February 2009, 06:27 PM   #11
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Fascinating material, Michael.
Thanks again and again for sharing such continuous treasures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
... the ball was bitten off by the musketeer's or harquebusier's teeth ...


I have once read that guys with missing or bad teeth, had problems in acquiring shooters jobs.

Fernando
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Old 16th February 2009, 06:33 PM   #12
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These two etched Saxon patrons dated 1587 and 1589 repectively and the paper cartridges at the reserve collection of the German Historic Museum Berlin.

Michael
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Old 16th February 2009, 06:35 PM   #13
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One more.
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Old 24th February 2009, 04:11 PM   #14
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Default The Second Earliest Dated Patron, 1559, at the Musée de l'Armée Paris

Of Nuremberg type, etched and gilt profusely.

Michael
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Old 21st March 2009, 09:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Of Nuremberg type, etched and gilt profusely.

Michael


Dear Michael,

absolutely beautiful display of those very rare cartridge boxes, I'm totally blown away by it.

I have one similar to the christies lot 171 you placed in this thread.
Do you know if it's made in Nurnberg, or is this difficult to tell?

kind Regards
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Old 22nd March 2009, 06:01 PM   #16
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Hi Cornelis,

I am absolutely sure that your fine patron was made either in Ausburg or Nuremberg. The style of the bone inlay corresponds exactly to that on the wheel-lock puffers and guns characteristic of the late 1570's and 1580's. The iron parts were originally blued, with some of the bluing retained on the inside of the lid of your cartridge box.

It is true that some Saxon patrons were inlaid in the same style but they all usually open by shifting a button on the underside whereas your piece opens by pressing a button on the obverse side.

You're doing very well indeed!

All the best,
Michael

P.S. Could you post an image of that spanner seen in the background?
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Old 22nd March 2009, 09:22 PM   #17
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Dear Michael,

thank you for the info.
Herewith a picture of the spanner/panflask

Best regards
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Old 23rd March 2009, 07:23 PM   #18
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Hi Cornelis,

Thank you for posting that fine combined spanner and priming flask; it is in optimum patinated surface condition and was made in Nuremberg in about 1550. Would you have expected it to be as early as that?

An almost identical sample is in my collection.

I just have started a separate thread on early wheel-lock spanners and their dating:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ted=1#post80827

and it would be great if you attach the images of your piece there as well.

All the best,

Michael
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Old 13th April 2009, 01:42 PM   #19
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Hi Michael,

We are in the process of making thousands of BP cartridges for our next reenactment. It's a labor intensive process. I was wondering who actually made these during the 17-19th Cs. Did the soldier themselves use their time making the cartridges, or was this left to the invalides who stayed serving within the garrisons? Were they made by the armourers? Were there any mechanical contraptions available to speed up the process?

Best

Manuel
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Old 13th April 2009, 02:05 PM   #20
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Hi Manuel,

I have often thought about these issues myself.

The mere fact, however, is: there seem to exist no records on them. I think that is was the soldiers themselves that made them.

What litlle we do know is that each gun was delivered together with its bullet mold. Bores used to vary within small tolerances those days. So he who had the mold would have to cast the balls. For paper cartridges, the lug was not cut off but used to fasten the cord.

Good luck!

Best,
Michael
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Old 13th April 2009, 05:02 PM   #21
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Hi Manuel,

I found this old photo of a Saxon cartridge box and one original late 16th century paper cartridge taken from it. Maybe it provides some inspiration for your project.

I also attach images of original late 16th century paper cartridges in my collection.

Michael
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Old 20th April 2009, 01:46 PM   #22
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Hello Michael,

Very good pictures as always!

Like Jim, I've not seen these before.
The ball tied into the cartridge by the neck probably accounts for the many "unfinished" balls encountered, with the sprue uncut. I would never have thought of tying them in in such a manner.

In the last photos, it is interesting to see the small pouch on the front, for holding tow, to clean the barrel.

Can you account for the "foot" on these cartridge boxes?

Is it to press down upon, whilst withdrawing a cartridge?

All very interesting Michael!!

Richard.

On looking again at these boxes;
Do you think some of the more elaborate ones could have been used with target arms, and the widened base would have allowed them to be used standing on a loading bench, rather than being worn on the person?
I see there are still loops for carrying straps, so they would not be limited to bench use only.

I also observe that some with the catch on the underside could not be used in this manner.
Thanks for the pictures!

R.

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Old 21st April 2009, 08:22 PM   #23
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Hello, Richard,

Exquisite remarks and theses as alyways.

I just beg to differ about the probable intended use of the tow in the pouch of the better quality frog; it is tow indeed but I am afraid it would just have been scattered when trying to clean the barrel with it, and would have left considerable remains on the barrel walls. May I put forward as a thesis instead that it was rather meant to be put in the barrel after the powder and under caliber rolling (!) ball - with the whole load then rammed down with a few strokes of the rod, thus preventing the ball from rolling out of the muzzle when firing down a hillside, e.g.?

The same function has been generally attributed to the paper of a paper cartridge.

That brings us back to the patrons or cartridge boxes.

We do not know anything about their possible use with target guns but usually the bore of their drilled holes is considerably bigger than the usual target bores. Also, their main purpose was rapid loading which as far as I know was never considered to be preeminent in target shooting.

Their widened basis, in my opinion, just seems to have made it easier putting it on a table and inserting the cartridges. As the wood inside the drillings is quite rough we should assume that the actual cartridge bore was slighty below that of the box, otherwise the paper would have been torn open or the tied in ball ripped off. This would, to me, also exclude using pressure or force in withdrawing the cartriges.

As I have tried to show above, I just think that their general shape followed that of the former Gothic bolt quiver; please remember quivers originally had leather lids, too (almost all of them missing now). From ca. the 1520's, we have sources of illustration of harquebusiers's powder flasks which were also based on the basic triangular quiver shape.

I attach the only known source of illustration depicting a cartridge box and the way it was worn by its bearer. It is from an epitaph of ca. 1580.

Michael
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Old 23rd April 2009, 02:33 AM   #24
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Hello Michael,

Thank you for answeing my questions, and for the added pictures.

It seems for everything we learn, we have two more questions!
These patrons are something else I'd like to try making.

Regarding the tow for cleaning a barrel Michael, I am afraid I must beg to differ. In the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, tow has been used for cleaning barrels. (before that time I do not know)
I still have two fairly large rolls that belonged to my grandfather.

To clean a muzzle-loading gun, it is wound onto a tow-worm or a cleaning jag, and when wrapped on tightly, it does a very nice job of cleaning, and does not leave debris behind. I still clean my flint and matchlock gun with it.

I can not say that the tow in the pouch was indeed for cleaning, or for use as wadding though, so you may well be spot on in your belief!

Thank you for sharing these wonderfully ancient and fascinating items with us all. They are another small window into another age!

with best wishes,

Richard.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 06:46 AM   #25
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Hi Guys,

Tow was also used to remove the residues from the pan and flint after ever 4 to 5 shots, otherwise the left-behind goo would prevent the BP in the pan from igniting. We still use it for this very same purpose.

Best

M

BTW: Nice tomb statue...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Hello Michael,

Thank you for answeing my questions, and for the added pictures.

It seems for everything we learn, we have two more questions!
These patrons are something else I'd like to try making.

Regarding the tow for cleaning a barrel Michael, I am afraid I must beg to differ. In the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, tow has been used for cleaning barrels. (before that time I do not know)
I still have two fairly large rolls that belonged to my grandfather.

To clean a muzzle-loading gun, it is wound onto a tow-worm or a cleaning jag, and when wrapped on tightly, it does a very nice job of cleaning, and does not leave debris behind. I still clean my flint and matchlock gun with it.

I can not say that the tow in the pouch was indeed for cleaning, or for use as wadding though, so you may well be spot on in your belief!

Thank you for sharing these wonderfully ancient and fascinating items with us all. They are another small window into another age!

with best wishes,

Richard.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 02:12 PM   #26
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Quite right, Celtan.

Cleaning the barrel isn't the only use for tow, Use as wadding, and for general cleaning was common....and still is as you state.

Cheers,

Richard.
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Old 23rd April 2009, 03:57 PM   #27
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Hi Manuel and Richard,

Of course you are both right, but I forgot to mention that the tow in the pouch of my frog consists of many short fibers, each only ca. 5 cm (2 in.) long.

Best,

Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 23rd April 2009 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 25th April 2009, 02:49 PM   #28
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Ah! Thank you Michael.
That Does make a difference!!

Probably wadding then as you alrady stated. Would be much easier to pluck out a small wad of it, than if it were in long strands.

Thanks again for the photos!

R.
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Old 25th April 2009, 04:30 PM   #29
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Hello Richard,

Interesting enough, I sometimes extracted wadding plugs and felt plugs out of some loaded smoothbore flintlock barrels over the decades. They were placed on top of the ball to obviously keep it from rolling out.

In 17th century loaded military barrels I sometimes discovered very fragile wadding pieces from newspapers or books, especially in wheel-lock pistols. They may have been used to form the paper cartridges. A few torn and crumbled pieces of printed paper I found in an untouched leather holster for a long wheel-lock pistol of ca. 1620; the text was German, printed in early 17th century types, with the date 1621 clearly visible. This must have been from a paper cartridge because it contained traces of black powder and was found on the bottom of a lateral compartment containing a wooden block drilled for four paper cartriges, the wood heavily damaged and with considerable remains of black powder on the inside walls.

Even for me who has actually seen and handled a great lot of unique things, this was so unbelievable that I made a photo documentation (sadly not of the paper fragments) which I attach. The length of the holster was 64 cm, the caliber of the bores ca. 12 mm each.

This considered, I now doubt myself that those short strands of tow were actually used as a wadding because the paper of the cartridges would have served that purpose. I think that Manuel's thesis is more convincing than my own and that tow was used for cleaning the priming pan of the match- or wheel-lock musket.

Extremely demanding, these discussions, thank you so much!

With all my best wishes,
Michael
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Old 25th April 2009, 04:32 PM   #30
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The rest.
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