Wheel-Lock from a Hunting Rifle

c. 1720–40
Overall: 29.2 x 11.7 cm (11 1/2 x 4 5/8 in.)
Weight: 335 g (11.82 oz.)
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Location: 210B Firearms

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Did You Know?

The engraver's signature, I.C. Stenglin Sr., can be seen on the edge running vertically.


At the beginning of the 1500s a new type of ignition system was invented: the wheel-lock, the first self-igniting mechanism for guns. This type of ignition involved a piece of iron pyrites held in the jaws of a cock. When the trigger was pulled the pyrites pressed against the serrated edge of a prewound revolving wheel, creating a shower of sparks that ignited priming powder in a pan on top of the lock. This action sent a flash of flame through the vent hole to explode the main charge in the breech of the barrel. Originally part of a deluxe hunting rifle, the lock plate's entire surface is engraved in a chaotic scene. Combating cavaliers, Turks, acanthus leaves, and trophies cover every bit of space.
Wheel-Lock from a Hunting Rifle

Wheel-Lock from a Hunting Rifle

c. 1720–40

Germany, Munich, 18th century

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