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Old 15th November 2008, 02:59 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default A very fine Tusco-Emilian snap matchlock Landsknecht's harquebus, ca. 1525

The arquebus on top of the photos of four is the object of this post.

The finely wrought and iron carved barrel in three stages, with tubular backsight and pan with swiveling cover, the long, heavily swamped muzzle head left unstocked, as is characteristic of guns from ca. 1500-40.
Delicate snap matchlock mechanism, the zoomorphic serpentine in the shape of a sea horse, with wing nut.
The finely figured walnut stock of early Landsknecht form, with a small butt trap and sliding cover at the underside. The original contents are retained and document that it was not a "patch box". Stored in it are two small iron tools threaded to fit in the rear iron finial of the original ramrod: a ball extractor, with a horn spacer to fit exactly the barrel bore and keep the extractor from being slanted, and a scourer. Those two extremely rare tools are wrapped in their original sleeve made of staghorn skin to prevent them from rattling around. Furthermore this trap retains an original caliber lead ball, now oxidized to a light gray surface and showing a small drilled hole from the extractor.

On the left underside of the rear of the barrel there is a deeply struck mark in the shape of the horizontal Gothic miniscule e, resembling a w at first sight. Without a doubt it stands for Emilia and is known in identical form from the barrel of a wonderful wheel-lock harquebus, ca. 1540, in the Wiener Waffensammlung. Cinquedeas (cinquedeae?) of early 16th century date bear almost the same e mark, e.g. a fine blued and gilt piece in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milano.

Overall length 82 cm, cal. 14 mm smoothbore.


When I had the chance to purchase that piece I could not believe in what perfectly untouched condition it was, and even now, after more than ten years, it strikes me each time anew.

Proud as hell ,

Michael
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Last edited by Lee : 13th March 2011 at 03:04 PM. Reason: Edit first line to make clarification per request of initial poster
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Old 15th November 2008, 03:03 PM   #2
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Old 15th November 2008, 03:07 PM   #3
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Even more.
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Old 15th November 2008, 03:10 PM   #4
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The rest.
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Old 15th November 2008, 03:13 PM   #5
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Photos of the Vienna harquebus with finely etched and fire gilt barrel, as well as of the Milano cinquedea, attached, both bearing the same Tusco-Emilian e mark.

Michael
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Old 15th November 2008, 04:19 PM   #6
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Absolutely breathtaking Michael!!!
Thank you again a million times!! for presenting these wonderful photos with such detail, even to dismantling the weapons to examine each element....this is better than any museum tour ever dreamed of.

Excellent presentation showing the seahorse alongside the serpentine......brilliant illustration which really shows the creative imagination of these artisans in applying subtle and stylized reflection of traditional or popular themes. Often in ethnographic pieces the stylized zoomorphic creatures remain unidentified positively, but here is a perfect match!

You indeed have great reason to be proud of these, and we are fortunate to have you sharing them with us!!! Thank you so much.


All the best,
Jim
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Old 17th November 2008, 12:52 PM   #7
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Michael,

You have again given us something unique, and in such detail as can not be had elswhere! No books I am aware of show an arm to this measure. I feel very excited about it and would love to try and make something a bit like it!!

I presume it has a cheek-stock? How does it feel when aimed?
May I ask the length of the barrel?
Though I can not see it, I presume the sear passing through the lock-plate has a spring?

It must indeed be unique, having the original worm and ball puller still present!

Thank you again, and all the best!

Richard.
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Old 17th November 2008, 04:44 PM   #8
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Hi, Richard,

I am so glad you like my work. It is hard work as I have to reduce all images in size considerably to be able and upload them.

The sear is of couse spring loaded; the spring is a broad, thin iron strip riveted to the lock plate and working horizontally on the sear; it can be seen right behind the ankled sear, on the right. In earliest locks like this, the single arm springs were just made by hammering a cold iron strip.

The length of the barrel is 61 cm, the length of the barrel tang 5.6 cm; the lock plate is 17.5 cm long, its greatest width is 1.2 cm.

The gun does actually not have a cheek stock; the earliest cheek stocks I know came up in the 1530's but were not very common with military guns. My camera is currently on strike, so please allow a week or so for posting images of the left side of the stock.

Please feel free to ask for more information. And please share your gun with us when it's finished.

Michael
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Old 17th November 2008, 05:02 PM   #9
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Hi, Jim,

Thank you so much! Your words are so much rewarding indeed.

I have come to love sharing my pieces with you guys, and believe it or not: it has doubled my fun of them. Most collectors seem to keep their treasures hidden from the eyes of others. Well, what they actually gain from their behavior is - loneliness, and no feedback at all. The fun of others has always added greatly to my own pleasure.

As you have been pressing me (thanks a lot) you will be glad to learn that I have been planning to write a book on my collection and on earliest arsenal firearms and accouterments of ca. 1330-1700 in general, with tons of photos and setting up new, exact and transferable dating criteria - which really would be something never tried by anyone before. 30 years of experience, some 3,000 books and more than 280,000 photos taken in museums all over Europe, including England, and a lot of help from my friends should really suffice to make it a good book. Let's wait and see. A whole lot of work lies before me.

You and Ed, please keep me going!

Michael
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Old 17th November 2008, 06:11 PM   #10
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Default A very fine and rare Dutch matchlock musket, ca. 1600-20

Richard,

My honest congratulations, man! You got a very, very rare and finely decorated Dutch matchlock musket, ca. 1600-20, probably for a guardsman of a town guard, possibly that of Amsterdam!

I collect only rather plain arsenal pieces but yours is a real beauty!

You are a very lucky guy, no doubt about that. Keep a good eye on your piece.

If you don't mind I would love to see more of it, and I am sure so would the rest of us. If it retains its original length it should measure about 160-162 cm overall, the barrel ca. 123-125 cm. Any marks?!

I attach scans of very similiar Dutch matchlock muskets preserved in the Livrustkammaren in Stockholm.

Have fun, you have deserved to be proud.

Michael
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Old 18th November 2008, 04:35 AM   #11
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Michael,

The trouble is, my matchlock isn't original, but homemade.

This forum is for original pieces, not new ones......but I'm glad you reccognised it for what it was meant to represent!
(has Dutch and maybe English characteristics, but isn't a copy of anything particular,...just a "for fun" gun!)
The overall length is a bit short for an original, as the barrel I had on hand was only 92cm or so.
Sorry for confusing you, it was not intentional.

If you send me a PM with your e-mail, I could send you a few additional pictures if you would still like to see them.

The latest pictures you have just added are fantastic! beautiful work indeed, and Very inspirational!!

Thank you!

Very best wishes,

Richard.

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Old 19th November 2008, 03:34 PM   #12
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Richard,

That should proove to all of us how easily we can be fooled by a photo showing good work!

Very well done indeed, telling from that photo

I have sent you a PM with my email, looking forward to seeing more of your piece.

Very best wishes,
Michael
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Old 22nd November 2008, 06:23 PM   #13
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Default Historic illustrations from the Battle of Pavia, 1525

Note the staged barrels and the unstocked elongated muzzle sections, all corresponding closely to my harquebus.

The snap tinder locks illustrated in these tapestries are of slightly obsolete type in having only a small lockplate for the serpentine and the long spring still nailed to the forestock. This kind of lock is yet found on guns up to ca. 1530.

Michael
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Old 22nd November 2008, 06:30 PM   #14
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For an original snap tinderlock gun of ca. 1530, with a small brass lockplate only for the matchholder and the spring nailed to the forestock, please go to

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7138

Michael
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Old 7th December 2008, 02:00 PM   #15
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Default Two Brescian snap matchlock harquebuses for Henry VIII's army, ca. 1540

The buttstocks, locks and acorn shaped triggers very similar to my 1520's piece but of longer form throughout and mounted with more modern octagonal barrels.

Both preserved at the collections of the Tower of London and The Royal Armouries Leeds respectively. The lock of the gun at Leeds a modern replacement.

I was given the chance of taking these photos in 1990 when the harquebuses were still in the reserve collection at what was then just "The Tower".

Fragments of similar harquebuses were found in the wreck of the Mary Rose that had sunken in Spithead Harbour in 1545.

Michael
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Old 7th December 2008, 02:04 PM   #16
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Old 7th December 2008, 02:06 PM   #17
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The one with the replaced lock.
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Old 7th December 2008, 02:09 PM   #18
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Old 7th December 2008, 02:10 PM   #19
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Default Another similiar, ca. 1550-60, at the Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Of somwhat later form.

Michael
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Old 7th December 2008, 02:14 PM   #20
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Default Another similar, ca. 1550-60, at the Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Of somewhat later form - the pics.

Michael
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Old 8th December 2008, 02:10 PM   #21
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Michael,

It takes a week for the computer to download these pictures, but it's worth it!
It is very interesting to see such early guns with triggers fitted. By 1530-40, things were looking rather modern!

OK, What's going on with the two from the Tower?

I note both have wood spliced in, in between the pan and the lock plate.

It would appear they both at one time had the type of lock with integral pan, but for a very long time have had the pan dovetailed into the barrel.
Is this not a retrograde step?

I think the 'smith who replaced the lock did a very nice job, and also on the sidenail on the other one, but I think I would have aged them a bit more, so as to look in keeping with the rest of these very interesting guns.

Two more Q's if I may;
1, On the harquebus with replaced lock, I see a slot through the tunnel back sight; Is this to insert an aperture?

2, I see none of these pieces have a flash fence; When were fences first fitted, and where?

Lovely to see the clean stock of the gun with replaced lock, showing the marks of the draw-knife!

Thanks for the pics & your time,

Richard.

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Old 8th December 2008, 06:00 PM   #22
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Good evening, Richard,

Your queries are both so rewarding and demanding that I have to ask to be granted a bit of time for answering them at large.

Of course, most of the time being needed for scanning my analog pics ...

Best,

m
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Old 14th December 2008, 05:16 PM   #23
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Richard,

I'm back with you at last, thanks for being so patient. Answering your queries proved to take some time.

I do think that the pans of the Tower/RA harquebuses belong originally. I cannot explain for wood being inserted below both of them, though. The original lock shows no sign of a pan being riveted formerly. In fact, the pan recess was traditionally chiseled by the barrel smiths, so the barrels came complete with sights and pans. Chiseling in the pans later does not make much sense, I am afraid.

As to the replacement lock, it has become a museum policy widely accepted not to 'age' or patinate replacements so they can easliy be indentified as such by researchers, which I think is a fair enough thing.

The slot thru the rectangular tunnel sight (which does not have a small back sight underneath) was meant for exactly what you have been thinking of, my brilliant friend: the insertion of small plates with different sizes of apertures.
This is a feature quite common to pieces of the 1530's and 1540's and, as far as I know, does not show up either before or after that period. Just kinda experimenting in those years ...

Mentioning the upcoming of flash guards/fences is another very good and demanding point. I have tried to do as close reasearch as my archives allowed and can now state that the earliest tiny sample of a flash guard is to be found on some of the many snap tinder lock harguebuses preserved at the Zapadoceske (West Bohemian) Muzeum in Pilsen, Czechia. I would date them, for various stylistic reasons, to ca. 1525-30, notwithstanding the fact that they have been dated as early as the late 15th century by other arms historians like Dr. Arne Hoff and R. Daehnhardt years ago. My research, however, is based on the shape of the locks as well as the staging of the barrels and their sighting, and compared to both dated or closely datable guns, like the ca. 1525 Peter Hofkircher gun at Graz featuring the same type of lock and staging and sighting of the barrel. The Hofkircher gun does not have a fash guard, though. Btw, Arne Hoff attributed that gun to the late 1500's as well but we know today exactly when and by whom it was made; Peter Hofkircher supplied the Graz Armory with that kind of pieces after 1524.

The next in line and only barely more evolved flash guards are featured in the 1539 harquebuses at the GNM Nuremberg and in my collection, as well as in the ca. 1540 Straubing harquebuses at the Straubing museum and in my collection. The detached lock at the Innsbruck museum of ca. 1550, posted here earlier, seems to prove that flash fences had beome quite common by the mid 16th century.

I am attaching pics of one of the Pilsen harquebuses and the Innsbruck lock, as well as links to the Nuremberg, Graz and Straubing guns.

Best wishes as ever,
Michael












Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Michael,

It takes a week for the computer to download these pictures, but it's worth it!
It is very interesting to see such early guns with triggers fitted. By 1530-40, things were looking rather modern!

OK, What's going on with the two from the Tower?

I note both have wood spliced in, in between the pan and the lock plate.

It would appear they both at one time had the type of lock with integral pan, but for a very long time have had the pan dovetailed into the barrel.
Is this not a retrograde step?

I think the 'smith who replaced the lock did a very nice job, and also on the sidenail on the other one, but I think I would have aged them a bit more, so as to look in keeping with the rest of these very interesting guns.

Two more Q's if I may;
1, On the harquebus with replaced lock, I see a slot through the tunnel back sight; Is this to insert an aperture?

2, I see none of these pieces have a flash fence; When were fences first fitted, and where?

Lovely to see the clean stock of the gun with replaced lock, showing the marks of the draw-knife!

Thanks for the pics & your time,

Richard.
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Old 14th December 2008, 05:23 PM   #24
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A Pilsen snap tinder lock harquebus of ca. 1525-30, featuring the earliest form of a flash guard integral to the pan.

I was wrong, btw.: the ca. 1550 Innsbruck lock does not have a flash guard.

Michael
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Old 14th December 2008, 05:33 PM   #25
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The flash guards of the 1539 Nuremburg harquebus and the one of. ca. 1540 from Straubing.

Michael
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Old 14th December 2008, 05:34 PM   #26
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The Innsbruck detached lock.
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Old 14th December 2008, 06:57 PM   #27
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Please see here for another period back sight with an inserted aperture:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7138

Michael
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Old 14th December 2008, 07:02 PM   #28
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And an insight into the - most probánly interchangeable! - blade aperture.

Michael
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Old 15th December 2008, 02:28 PM   #29
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Michael,

Thank you for your answers.

I am still non-plussed by the wood spliced in, on the gun from the tower. ..(With the new-made lock)
If the pan was not originally fitted to the lock, the only other alternative I can think of, is that the stock was re-used, and fitted with the present barrel and lock. The stock appears to have had wood spliced in, ahead of the present lock, as well as above it, under the pan.

I suppose recoil damage could be the reason for the wood being added, but it doesn't really add up.

Re. the flash fence; It is interesting to see the developement of the flash-fence, over an approximate ten year period, from the very small fence, on your Pilsen tubelock of 1525-30, and the one on the Nuremburg of 1539,...fully fledged!
Re. aperture sights, made between 1530's and 1540's;
This is a very modern sight, I wonder why it fell into dis-favour?
I have seen this sight used later, but they were added to target guns and rifles, in the late 1500's. These target rifles appear to have been of an old fashioned form when made, but could possibly have been made that way to fulfill the requirements of a certain target class.
These guns were generally highly decorted and expensive, and it is on these later guns I have usually seen the replaceable sights.

On your last pictures Michael, the tunnel appears to have ben "staked"..as in punch marks in the top, to apparently hold the sight. Is this correct?

All best!

R.
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Old 16th December 2008, 11:06 AM   #30
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Richard,

I am sorry to learn that my reply on the Tower/RA harquebus has not been able to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. I cannot explain for the sliced in pieces of wood any better, though. Blaming it on possibble recoil damages does not make much sense, I, too, am afraid.

You are definitely right in attributing tubular back sights mostly to target shooting; I have seen such oversized sights placed on matchlock, wheel-lock, and flintlock guns apparantly re-used for target shooting. Of course, these are mostly 19th century crude alterations.

I also agree that the use of replaceable aperture blade sights was the anticipation of a very modern feature long ago. The only reason I can think of why that idea was dropped for centuries is that the guns of those time periods just did not hit well enough to catch up with the exactly cut aperture sights.

You are, in my opinion, also right in commenting on the two staked punches on top of the back sight in order to hold the aperture in place. Of course, it was no longer easliy interchangeable after the staking.

Thank you for paying such detailed attention to my posts, my friend!

All the best,
m
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