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Trebuchet Catapults - Fully Assembled Working Model Trebuchets , Trebuchet Kits , Trebuchet Plans

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 8   >   Development of the Medieval Handgun   > p.41

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

Development of the Medieval Handgun

larger kind, which weighed from 16 to 18 lbs. and was used by the foot-soldier, required the assistance of an attendant to work it.

The butt-end of the stock of the culverin was sloped downwards like the handle of a pistol.

The culverin was at length made sufficiently portable to be worked by the soldier himself, and was then known as an arquebus. It was further improved by having its touch-hole bored at one side of its barrel instead of on the top, and it was also fitted with a projecting flash-pan, placed level with the touch-hole. This pan held more conveniently the very liberal pinch of priming powder which, on being flashed by means of a burning-fuse applied by hand, ignited the main charge inside the barrel. At the battle of Morat in 1476, the Swiss had 6,000 men armed with these weapons.

Both the large culverin and the smaller one known as an arquebus, were aimed and fired with their barrels resting on a forked stick.

Between 1510 and 1520 the arquebus above described was superseded by the match-lock arquebus. In this kind of hand-gun the first attempt at automatic ignition appears. It had a long hammer, pivoted in the stock, which held a piece of slow-match in its jaws. The hammer was continued in one piece through the stock, and projected beneath it in the form of a trigger.

When the trigger was pulled back, its upper half, or hammer-end, pressed down the burning fuse it held, till the fuse touched the priming powder in the pan, and thus fired (or did not, according to the weather and other conditions) the weapon. It is probable that during a battle, the fuse held by the hammer of the match-lock had to be continually rekindled by the soldier to keep it in serviceable order.

The match-lock arquebus is even now to be seen in the hands of some remote tribes of northern India.

The wheel-lock was invented 1550-1560. This hand-gun had a small wheel, about the size of a crown piece, and 1/4  inch thick, which revolved at the side of its barrel. The upper edge of this wheel slightly projected, from underneath, through the centre of the flash-pan, near the touch-hole. The wheel had a serrated edge like a coarse file, and on one side of it there was a strong circular spring, and a catch to secure it when it was wound up.

The hammer of the wheel-lock gun held a piece of detonating composition or pyrite, which on being rubbed against rough metal emitted sparks

he Crossbow   >  Chapter 8   >  Development of the Medieval Handgun   > p.41


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The trebuchet kit includes fully precut and drilled frame parts, pins and axles, sling cord and sewn pouch, projectiles and fully illustrated assembly and firing instructions. 

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