Thread: Small handgonne
View Single Post
Old 29th June 2021, 06:32 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 68

Originally Posted by Philip View Post
Thanks for posting a very interesting acquisition.

This could possibly be a late handgonne, perhaps first half 15th cent. by virtue of its side-mounted integral priming pan and corresponding touchhole. Being derived from artillery pieces, the early ones tended to have touchholes at the 12-o'clock position. The hole and pan on the right side of the barrel would of course be the next step along in the evolution towards the matchlock barrel.

The décor on your piece reminds me of a folksy version of Baltic / Scandian area knotwork so prominent in medieval north European decorative art.

I am looking through Howard L Blackmore's Guns and Rifles of the World (1965) and note an all-iron Hakenbüchse with a similarly long straight tiller, and a barrel length and caliber not too far off from the numbers cited for your example (barrel 8.34 in., bore diameter 0.60 in. cited in the photo caption) The piece is in the Tojhusmuseet, Copenhagen ( inv. no B.1); if any readers have the book an image is on p 99, fig. 42. Am in a bit of a rush with impending errands at moment, will try to scan or photo the page later.
Thank you Philip, very helpful! I went to the website of the museum and found this one. Not sure if this is the one the book is refers to.
I also copied the text.

Made in Denmark around the year 1400. This is a so-called Lodbøsse, the oldest firearm known in Denmark and the oldest firearm in the museum's collection. The shotgun is one of the first kind of firearms. It gained its entrance into Europe in the late Middle Ages. In many ways, it's a kind of handheld cannon. It was found in 1859 at the rampart Vedelspang at the eastern end of Langsø in South Schleswig. A castle was built here in 1416 by the Danish king Erik of Pomerania, which was destroyed in 1426 when it was taken over by Count Henrik of Holstein. It is believed to have been in use for several years before due to signs of use, so you date it to approx. 1400. The gun is destroyed once destroyed by blasting. It was accidentally found by the 2nd Infantry Battalion from the Danish army in 1859, which had camped in the area. They met a worker who had dug it up, who would throw it out when he thought it was "a piece of worthless old iron". Reproductions were later made and fired with a contemporary powder charge. It has shown that it was not very powerful, but the powerful sound, fire and smoke, has been a good psychological scare against any enemies.
Attached Images
cel7 is offline   Reply With Quote