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Old 23rd February 2024, 09:16 PM   #1
survtech
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Default Ottoman flintlock

Here we have a pair of Ottoman pistols, they were the first pistols in my collection. Note the false ramrods. The Ottomans carried the real ramrod (Suma) around their neck on a lanyard because of the risk of dropping it whilst on horseback. The sum is also from my collection,.
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Old 24th February 2024, 04:01 AM   #2
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Beautiful! Do you have any references of Islamic makers stamps? posted a pistol here a few weeks ago but no luck.
cheers Phil ( Also in Perth)
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Old 24th February 2024, 06:47 AM   #3
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Default Hello Phil from Perth

Hi Phil

No marks at all, but I spoke at length with Dr. Robert Elgood, who has written several books on Islamic arms.

He had this to say about my pistols: -

Dating eighteenth and nineteenth century Ottoman empire pistols or pistols made in Europe for the Ottoman empire is extremely difficult. Over the last forty years I have watched attributions swing between these two positions. There was a time when many were attributed to Europe but today it seems to me that the preference is to attribute the majority to the Ottoman Empire. This may merely reflect the changing nature of collecting and commercial value. Ottoman pistols were of negligible value when I first started collecting, the quality being compared unfavourably with European weapons. Today they are viewed in a different manner. Very fine firearms were made in Europe for the eastern market, particularly at Liege and St. Etienne, but Europeans also worked within the Ottoman Empire. There are many complaints about this by European authors reporting the Muslim threat to Europe, the Italian soldier Marsigli in the early 18th century being one example. He had the misfortune to be captured and enslaved in Istanbul and saw things at first hand. However the majority of gunsmiths were indigenous Muslims. Given the size of the empire it is not surprising that there are many variations of pistols to suit regional markets, some extremely conservative, but many purchasers wanted to have a European pistol and the local Ottoman makers produced these. The trade in European arms and export of locally produced arms is discussed in my Balkan arms book. Suffice it to say that there was a continuous European influence that modified what the Ottoman client wanted, but not as much as one might suppose. I suggest that first and foremost he wanted horse pistols (kubur) with a large bore barrel. The stock was usually walnut and the butts had a bulbous eighteenth century look. The changes made to grip design by French makers like Le Page and Boutet were adopted sporadically, usually by the more cosmopolitan trading ports, but a pistol resembling a dragoon pistol was the popular choice very late into the nineteenth century. In my Greek book I cite a man who carried five such pistols including a pair stuffed into his riding boots, preferring them to a revolver in a Balkan war in the 1870s.
The most noticeable feature of your pistols is the rainproof pan on the lock. This detail existed on sporting guns in the first decade of the nineteenth century and was patented by Manton in 1813. It is comparatively rare on Turkish pistols and certainly dates the pistols to the nineteenth century. A fine English pistol with wire inlaid stock, the silver hallmarked for 1809-10 was published by Blair. However the locks are otherwise quite different, ruling out any possibility that your pistols copied such a pistol. In any case your pistols are rather later than that.

The two stage barrel with a swamped muzzle is of a type widespread in the Balkans and Turkey. The pineapple barrel tang is very unusual and appears to be copied from a trigger guard. There is a false breech. The Turkish style simulated ramrod confirm that these pistols were made in the Balkans or Turkey, rather than Europe. The Damascus twist barrel supports this view. The gold decoration is a fairly late design. One cannot be sure when it was added but probably when the pistols were made. The silver decoration on the stocks includes a stylised crest topped with a crown containing fleur de lis. The small medallion showing a man and other details are similar to details on late Tosco-Emilian pistols but to a more restrained degree. The pistols suggest Italian influence but there is a motif showing two minarets which indicates the Ottoman origin of the pistols.
There is a pair of Turkish pistols in the Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait that seem to me to be earlier than yours and I would now date these Kuwait pistols twenty years later. I suggest without entirely satisfactory evidence that your pistols were probably made in Prizren or Sarajevo about 1840-1860 and would have been shipped to Istanbul for sale.




I had all Dr. Elgood's books but passed them on after I sold the pistols.


Cheers

Mike
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Old 24th February 2024, 08:53 AM   #4
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Interesting how research we took as gospel is now being replaced, certainly makes sense that these aattributed german/ austrian pistols could well have been made within the Ottoman empire either by European gunsmiths or skilled local gunsmiths to a European style.
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Old 24th February 2024, 11:04 AM   #5
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Beautiful pistols indeed.
Interesting how different cultures handled the situation of the loose ramrod.


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Old 24th February 2024, 09:58 PM   #6
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Default Ramrod

Interesting how different cultures handled the situation of the loose ramrod.

Yes, it is Fernando.

I have this picture in my mind of someone drawing their flintlock from their belt with a cowboy-like flourish and putting their attackers eye out as the ramrod flies out of it's sleeve like an arrow from a bow.

Another image is of the poor soldier who, after loading his pistol, gets shot as he tries to figure out how the captive ramrod fits back into the pistol.
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Old 25th February 2024, 09:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survtech View Post
... Another image is of the poor soldier who, after loading his pistol, gets shot as he tries to figure out how the captive ramrod fits back into the pistol.
A bit of a tricky procedure indeed; every other time i tried to do it myself, hesitation took place .
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Old 25th February 2024, 11:31 AM   #8
Norman McCormick
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Hi,
My only example of a suma is a utilitarian Ottoman military combination of rod and powder flask early 19thC. Pictured is also an illustration of same from the book Description of Egypt.
Regards,
Norman.


P.S. A very fine pair of pistols you had.
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Old 25th February 2024, 11:43 AM   #9
Norman McCormick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil.reid View Post
Beautiful! Do you have any references of Islamic makers stamps? posted a pistol here a few weeks ago but no luck.
cheers Phil ( Also in Perth)

Hi Phil,
I have a Caucasian Miquelet rifle with a barrel cartouche. Despite being in touch with several sources over the years I have never been able to find an answer. Hope you might have better luck.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 25th February 2024, 10:04 PM   #10
survtech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick View Post
Hi,
My only example of a suma is a utilitarian Ottoman military combination of rod and powder flask early 19thC. Pictured is also an illustration of same from the book Description of Egypt.
Regards,
Norman.


P.S. A very fine pair of pistols you had.
Thanks Norman, and thanks for the photo, Sumas could become the focus of a whole new genre of collecting.
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