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Old 15th November 2008, 12:06 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default A fine North Italian combined powder flask and wheel-lock-spanner, ca. 1550-60

This is highly unusual in being a combined powder flask, turnscrew and swivel two size wheel-lock spanner. Its surface retains much of its original blueing. The decoration consists of punchend scrolls, circles and, along the edges, what seems to be a stitch pattern.

Less that 10 similar flasks are known, among them pieces in the Wallace Collection London, the Odescalchi Collection Rome, and another of unknown whereabouts.

The explanation for the stitch pattern is that in the first half of the 16th century, gun stocks and powder flasks were sometimes covered with velvet or leather which had to be stitched along each and every edge. You can see these stitches on two velvet-covered matchlock gun stocks of ca. 1535-40 in the Vienna armory and on one of two wheel-lock harquebuses originally belonging to King Henry VIII, now preserved in the Tower of London (both locks now missing, one incorrectly replaced by a 19th century dummy matchlock mechanism).

Another fine wheel-lock harquebus in the Vienna collection, ca. 1540-5, actually never had any textile covering to its pear wood full stock, yet it shows the stitching pattern along its edges - now shrunken, as is the case with my powder flask, to decorative relics of what used be functional some years ago.

I attatch some photos I took of the three Vienna guns 20 years ago.

Michael
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Old 15th November 2008, 12:10 PM   #2
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On it goes with my flask.
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Old 15th November 2008, 12:47 PM   #3
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The three guns with stitch pattern stocks in the Hofburg (Hof- und Leibrüstkammer) Vienna.

Note that the wheel-lock harquebus features an additional snap-matchlock cock left to the wheel, its tinder holder head now missing - cf. my thread A matchlock chronology ca. 1520-1720. The finely etched and fire gilt North Italian barrel is deeply struck with a maker's mark on the left rear end, just above the brim of the stock: a horizontal Gothic letter E, doubtlessly for Tusco-Emilia. This mark is known from fine cinquedeas and is also on the barrel of a short Brescian snap matchlock harquebus, ca. 1525, in my collection.

Michael
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Old 10th January 2014, 02:39 PM   #4
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The Belgian Musée de l'Armée in Brussel holds another sample with triple wheellock spanner, ca. 1570-80, the screwdriver missing.
It is shown with the hinged basic plate of the top mount open so that one can see the riveting of both the horizontal spring-loaded cut-off lever and the internal little plate that actually closes and opens the entrance of the nozzle as it moves together with the cut-off.

m
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Last edited by Matchlock : 10th January 2014 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 10th January 2014, 02:46 PM   #5
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A better image of the sample in the Wallace Collection, London, ca. 1580-1600; the screwdriver is missing from the tip of the spanner.

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Last edited by Matchlock : 10th January 2014 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 10th January 2014, 07:05 PM   #6
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This plain but 'untouched' all-iron combined powder horn and swiveling wheellock spanner, probably Austria or South Tyrol, ca. 1550-60, was sold as a lot together with a little brass flask at Bonhams London, 23 July 2008, for 500 GBP.
The screwdriver is still present though damaged.

m
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Old 10th January 2014, 08:05 PM   #7
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I found this powder flask with screw driver at the last auction of Czerny's.
It ight be of interest (auction 40 lot number 1038)



http://czernys.com/auctions_lot.php...o=47351&asta=40
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Old 10th January 2014, 08:14 PM   #8
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Thank you so much, Marcus,

This is also Italian, ca. 1600, finely pierced and notably made overall!

Best,
Michael
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Old 24th May 2014, 05:57 PM   #9
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