Jun 1, 2007
Jun 1, 2007
Jun 1, 2007

Combined Priming Flask and Wheel-Lock Spanner

Combined Priming Flask and Wheel-Lock Spanner

c. 1600–1650

Horn with brass and steel mounts

Support: Brass and steel mounts

Overall: 18.1 x 5.7 cm (7 1/8 x 2 1/4 in.)

Weight: 140 g (4.94 oz.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.43


Did you know?

Many accessories that were used in hunting were made of the very animals that were to be hunted, this one here was made of horn.


Early firearms required many tools and accessories for their proper use and maintenance. This clever design fulfilled a dual purpose as a spanner and priming flask. Small containers like this one would hold fine-grain gunpowder used to set off (or prime) the main charge in the barrel. A spanner would be used to operate a wheel-lock mechanism that enabled a gun to fire. On the gun, the jaws of the lock clamped a piece of flint or pyrites designed to rub against the rough edge of the wheel projecting into the pan. The wheel was revolved by a tightly coiled spring wound by the spanner and released when the gun's trigger was pulled causing sparks to ignite the gunpowder in the breech.

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