Designs for ornamental gun fittings 17th century arquebus - Stock Image

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This is page 4 of a 1660 work by C. Jacquinet Gunsmiths and gunsmiths' ornaments. The full page is 18 x 16 centimetres in size.

Jacquinet, the French author and engraver, has crammed the gun ornaments onto the page so that some overlap slightly. The main item, in the centre, is the firing mechanism of a flintlock arquebus, a firearm that preceded the musket. An arquebus is smooth-bore – it has no rifling inside the barrel to cause a bullet to spin. As a result it would use spherical balls of metal rather than the elongated bullet shape that we recognise today. (Earlier arquebuses did not use a flintlock mechanism.)

The firing mechanism works like this: The upright piece at left that looks like a bird's beak is attached to the hammer. The 'beak' is a clamp with a screw, and into this clamp is fixed a piece of flint stone. When the trigger releases the hammer, the flint dashes against the frizzen (the upright piece of metal opposite), and a spark flashes down into the flash pan, a saucer containing gunpowder. The resulting explosion drives out a spherical ball that is jammed into the barrel (muzzle-loading).

The arquebus decoration includes chubby-faced figures, putti, that are representations of young angels. One such figure is pointing at the name Thuraine. Thuraine was one of the gunsmiths at the court of King Louis XIV in Paris.

From the same document on the ornamentation of early muskets:

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Antique engravings: Europe
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