Overall: 16.5 x 2.5 cm (6 1/2 x 1 in.)
Gift of Dr. Marvin Shie 2008.171
This spanner operated a wheel-lock mechanism that enabled a gun to fire.
Early firearms required many different tools to operate. These tools did not have to remain purely practical but could be decorated and embellished. A spanner was integral to a wheel lock gun. The wheel lock works by spinning a spring-loaded steel wheel against a piece of pyrite to generate intense sparks, which ignite gunpowder in a pan, which flashes through a small touchhole to ignite the main charge in the firearm's barrel. The spanner was needed to turn the wheel and spring, readying the gun to be fired.
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