Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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rickystl 8th August 2020 04:38 PM

Two Gun Locks
5 Attachment(s)
Hello ALL

Of somewhat passing interest, two new locks to add to my collection.

Top is a typical snaphaunce lock from a Moroccan musket. Patterned in the English style. Better made than most I've seen, and in good working order. Action operates very smooth. All the original parts are present. Even the screws appear to match. Someone later has cleaned and polished the lock.
Generally not the best thing to do with original items, but it's OK in this instance. And it displays very well. Nice to find one in such good working condition and complete. From a recent Czerny's auction.

The second lock is a typical Ottoman miquelet lock that would have been mounted on a shishana rifle or tufek musket. Complete and in working order with the usual heavy mainspring. Silver mounted (but difficult to notice in the photos). Just a good, average lock from this region. From a recent Herman Historica auction.


Philip 9th August 2020 05:01 AM

Nice lock, Rick! The build quality and finish are indeed much better than what is normally encountered from North African workshops. Looking at it from a stylistic standpoint, do you think it might actually be of English origin?

Philip 9th August 2020 05:23 AM

Dutch for comparison
1 Attachment(s)
Hi, Rick

Here's an example identified as Dutch, or Dutch style, in Robert Held, The Age of Firearms (1957), fig. 149.

Like yours, it has a plain, polished surface, with large round disc on the outer extremity of the narrow priming pan. Compare the lockplate profile, and the slender tapered tail of the cock. Also note the protruding "horn" on top of the pan cover, which is a handy finger-rest to help close it.

The neat appearance of your example, and you saying that it works smoothly, strongly suggests European manufacture. I've handled and owned quite a few Moroccan guns over the years and have never been impressed by the operation of native-made mechanisms.

Philip 9th August 2020 06:09 AM

Antecedent for Otto miq
2 Attachment(s)

Here's an early version of the Spanish patilla miquelet lock made outside of Spain, in this case Brescia, in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy, ca 1630. Considering that the earliest surviving locks of Spanish origin are dated to about 1625, and those are in mature form, this Italian-made lock is an early attempt to copy the design. There is something "primitive" about it, note the shape of the lockplate which borrows heavily from wheellocks although the miquelet mechanism does not really warrant this shape. Also, the action is very stiff due to the overly heavy mainspring.

The reason I've posted this is that there are some elements of its design and function that clearly show where the Ottoman version of the miquelet was likely born. Note --

1. The horizontal reinforcing "bridge" connecting the priming pan with the cock pivot screw. This is not a characteristic of the overwhelming majority of European-made miquelets; this one and another example formerly in the W Keith Neal Collection and described by him as Spanish ca 1640 are two of the very few with this "bridge" The purpose of the bridge is most likely to brace the cock pivot against the pressure of the powerful mainspring, in light of the rather flimsy vertical bridle connecting said screw with the bottom edge of the lockplate. Evolution of the lock in Spain, Italy, and Portugal soon eliminated the need for the bridge, but Oriental countries copying the design kept to the original form without improvements.

2. The sear arm (which includes the half-cock sear stud and the extension which engages the trigger) operates via a "rocker" action on its mounting bracket, without the vertical pivot pin seen on just about every European lock made after ca. 1650. Virtually all Ottoman-made locks, up to the 19th cent., lack this pin as well. The mechanism works well enough with this more rudimentary design, although the use of a pivot pin allows for more precise operation which was a welcomed improvement as better shotguns were developed for the sport of wingshooting which became popular in southern Europe during the 17th cent.

3. The extraordinarily heavy mainspring on this lock became a feature of Balkan and Ottoman miquelet locks until their time of obsolescence. In contrast, the locks made in Italy and the Iberian improved greatly in ease of use during the 17th-18th cents. and by 1800, the balancing of main- and frizzen-spring tension and the introduction of roller bearings on better Spanish and Portuguese miquelets made them the equal of the best flintlocks made for sporting use in England or France.

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