Sep 25, 2008

Spanner for a Wheel Lock Gun

Spanner for a Wheel Lock Gun

1600s

Steel

Overall: 16.5 x 2.5 cm (6 1/2 x 1 in.)

Gift of Dr. Marvin Shie 2008.171

Location

Did you know?

This spanner operated a wheel-lock mechanism that enabled a gun to fire.

Description

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.

See also
Collection: 
MED - Arms & Armor
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Arms and Armor
Medium: 
Steel

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