Tag Archives: history

Hand fire-arms

Hand Fire-Arms through History

Hand fire-arms
Hand fire-arms
  1. Hand cannon for foot soldier in cast iron, belonging to the first half of the fourteenth century. The touch-hole (German, Zünderloch) is on the upper part of the cannon.
  2. Hand cannon for foot soldier, from a MS. of the end of the fourteenth century. The touch-hole is on the top of the cannon.
  3. Hand cannon for foot soldier, from a manuscript of the year 1472, in the library of Hauslaub at Vienna.
  4. Hand cannon for a knight, called a petronel, from a manuscript in the ancient library of Burgundy. The articulated plate armour is characteristic of the latter half of the fifteenth century, though the bassinet has a movable vizor. These hand cannons were in use at the same time as the serpentine arquebuse, and even as the flint and steel arquebuses and muskets, ie till the beginning of the sixteenth century, as may be seen from the drawings, by Glockenthon, of the arms of the Emperor Maximilian I. (1505).
  5. German hand cannon, fixed on wooden boards or stands, belonging to the beginning of the sixteenth century. The touch-hole is still on the upper part of the cannon. From the drawings of Glockenthon, done in 1505.
  6. German hand cannon in fluted iron, of the beginning of the sixteenth century, or end of the fifteenth century. It is only 9 1/2 inches in length, 2 inches in diameter, and is fixed on to a piece of oak about 5 feet in length. In the Germanic Museum, where it is wrongly ascribed to the fourteenth century.
  7. Hand cannon in wrought iron, called a petronel, to be used by a knight. It is of the end of the fifteenth century.
  8. Hand cannon with stock of the end of the fourteenth century. The touch-hole is on the top of the cannon.
  9. Angular hand cannon on stock; to be used in defending ramparts. It is a little over 6 feet in length, and the touch-hole is on the top of the cannon. This piece was used in the defence of Morat against Charles le Téméraire (1479).
  10. Eight-sided hand cannon with stock. The touch-hole, which is on the top of the cannon, has a cover moving on a pivot. This cannon is 54 inches in length, and the balls or bullets about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. It belongs to the first part of the fifteenth century.
  11. Persian matchlock cannon, copied from the Schah-Namen, in the Library of Munich.
  12. Hand cannon on stock, end of the fourteenth, or beginning of the fifteenth century. In this piece the touch-hold is on the right side.
  13. Hand cannon with serpentine, a match-holder, without trigger or spring, invented about the year 1424.
  14. Serpentine or guncock for match, without trigger or spring.
  15. Serpentine without trigger, but with spring.
  16. Serpentine with spring, but without trigger.
  17. Serpentine lock, without trigger or spring.
  18. Hackbuss lock with spring and trigger.
  19. Hackbuss (in German, Hakenbüchse) or hand cannon, with butt end and serpentine lock. It belongs to the second half of the fifteenth century. The match is no longer loose, but fixed to the serpentine, which springs back by means of the trigger. This sort of cannon is generally about 40 inches in length, and it is usually provided with a hook, so that when it is placed on a wall it cannot slip back. The hackbuss without a hook is, as a rule, better made, and was subsequently called arquebuse with matchlock. It had also front and back sights (in German, Visir und Kern).
  20. Chinese arquebuse.
  21. Swiss arquebuse of the second half of the fifteenth century.
  22. Double arquebuse (in German, Doppelhaken). This weapon had two serpentines, or dogheads, falling from opposite points, and was generally used in defending ramparts; the barrel was usually from 5 to 6 1/2 feet in length.
  23. Hackbuss, loaded from the breech by means of a revolving chamber, a weapon belonging to the beginning of the sixteenth century.
  24. Hackbuss and gun fork (German, Gabel), from the drawings of Glockenthon; it may also be seen in the engraving of the “Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I.” From this we see that the hackbuss, or match arquebuse, was used for a long time together with the wheel-lock arquebuse.
  25. Serpentine hackbuss with match, also called musket. It is also furnished with a fork, called a fourquine in French.
  26. Hackbuss or musket, with link.
  27. Serpentine hackbuss with link, also called arquebuse, loaded from the breech by means of a revolving chamber. It dates from the year 1537, and bears the initials W. H. by the side of a fleur-de-lys.
  28. Eye protector, belonging to a musket in the Arsenal of Geneva.
  29. Hand cannon with rasp, early part of the sixteenth century. It is entirely of iron, and is called Münchsbüchse (monk’s arquebuse). For a very long time it was wrongly thought to be the first fire-arm ever made, and to have belonged to a monk named Berthold Schwartz (1290-1320), who was also said to have invented gunpowder. This little weapon is about 11 1/2 inches in length, and the barrel 5 inches in diameter. It preceded the wheel-lock, and appears to have suggested the idea of it. A rasp scatters sparks from the sulphurous pyrites by friction.

The illustrations and descriptions have been taken from An Illustrated History of Arms and Armour: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by Auguste Demmin, and translated by Charles Christopher Black. Published in 1894 by George Bell.

Pistols, 1500-1856

Pistols, 1500-1856

Here is a small collection of typical or notable pistols spanning from the sixteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century.

Pistols, 1500-1856
Pistols, 1500-1856
  1. Barrel for number 4.
  2. Wheel-lock pistol of the sixteenth century. This was the sort of pistol used by the German cavalry, and also by the Ritter, or knights.
  3. Wheel-lock pistol with double barrel, beginning of the seventeenth century.
  4. Wheel-lock pistol, firing seven shots.
  5. Double wheel-lock, end of the sixteenth century. Arsenal of Zurich.
  6. Wheel-lock and mortar pistol, called in German Katzenkopf, of the seventeenth century.
  7. Wheel-lock and mortar pistol of the seventeenth century. It is entirely of iron.
  8. Flint-lock pistol, end of the seventeenth century.
  9. Pistol with flint-lock, of the beginning of the eighteenth century.
  10. Colt’s revolver, invented by Samuel Colt, of the United States, in 1835.
  11. Mat revolver, invented a short time back by M. Le Mat.

The illustrations and descriptions have been taken from An Illustrated History of Arms and Armour: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by Auguste Demmin, and translated by Charles Christopher Black. Published in 1894 by George Bell.

Friday Link Letters

Friday Link Letters

Busy week here at the Opera! Luckily there is always time to find interesting things to read and watch on the Internet:

This looks like a great method for making papier mâché clay. You mix up a bunch of pulp from egg cartons and magazines, then form it into balls which you can store until needed.

Hat tip to Seán McArdle for pointing me to this wonderfully illustrated guide to Louis-style chairs.

Check out this one-day build where Adam Savage builds Han Solo’s blaster. It’s well over 16 minutes long, so fire up some popcorn and settle in.

Finally, here is a very vintage video from the Stan Winston archives showing an Alien Queen head sculpture in progress:

A Friday of Links Gone By

Have you entered the Prop Building Guidebook contest and voted on your favorite prop yet? This is the last time I’ll remind you, because the contest ends next Tuesday.

The BBC has a lengthy story on the history of the tin can. It is far more thrilling and complex than you may have imagined.

Jesse Gaffney has a great post on how to make running water on stage. It’s a common trick amongst props masters, but it is great to see all the steps photographed and explained in detail.

Tested has an interesting post on the low budget special effects from yesteryear, particularly those employed by Ed Wood.

Chris Schwartz points us to a paper written by Matt Pelto on the difference between an artist, artisan and craftsperson (follow the link at the site to see the actual paper). It’s an appropriate question for props people, who may refer to themselves as artisans, builders, designers, artists, or many other descriptors. It is interesting to read the actual historical origin of some of these terms.

Janet Sellery runs a website dedicated to health and safety in the arts. She is based in Canada, so the workplace laws are specific to there, but the list of resources she provides is useful to everyone. I like her slogan, too: “Creative Risks without Safety Risks.”

Some Weekend Links

Some Weekend Links

Just a reminder to enter the Prop Building Guidebook contest if you haven’t already. You have until April 30th to send in a photo or video of a prop you’ve made; there are already dozens of really great entries.

NYC Past has gigantic black and white photographs of New York City throughout history, from the early twentieth century through the 1990s.

When you have the time, take a listen to this interview of Christina Haberkern, a film prop maker. She mainly does graphics and illustration for ISS, and has made props for films such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Argo, Inception, and J. Edgar. It’s a much more in-depth, down-to-earth and personal glimpse into the life of a working prop maker than most of those behind-the-scenes “aren’t props fun and crazy” fluff pieces that are often produced.

Here’s a fun idea: ray gun parts you can mix and match to make your own ray gun. The Propnomicon website has pictures and details.

Finally, as a nice break before the weekend, check out this video where famed prop maker Dragon Dronet (Star Trek shows and films, Babylon 5, Eraser, and many more) is challenged to recreate a prop gun from District 9 in only 3 days. It’s a fairly quirky film that ventures into the surreal, but it does a great job showing Dragon’s process, and the result is a really cool prop.