Apr 23, 2020

Wheel-Lock from a Hunting Rifle

Wheel-Lock from a Hunting Rifle

c. 1720–40

Steel, engraved

Support: Chiselled with grotesques, masks and foliage

Overall: 29.2 x 11.7 cm (11 1/2 x 4 5/8 in.)

Weight: 335 g (11.82 oz.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.40


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.

See also
MED - Arms & Armor
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Arms and Armor

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