Flintlock mechanism for rifle
Napoli, 18th century
Material: Wrought embossed iron
Sizee: 17 cm long
Review by Gherardo Turchi
Such an astonishing Spanish flintlock mechanism is completely made of wrought embossed iron. It was realised by one of the several gunsmiths working in Naples throughout the eighteenth century. It’s highly supposed to be carried out for a rifle or a similar long barrel weapon.
The Spanish flintlock replaced wheel lock mechanisms as of the late seventeenth century, although it would catch on in the following century mainly. Flintlocks were not only cheaper and easier to realise, but also safer than wheel locks as any cocking wrenches weren’t required.
A similar ignition mechanism was produced in Italy too, by Brescian and Southern Italy gunsmiths especially. It was known as Roman lock and it was formally replaced by the percussion cap mechanism as of 1820’s. Nevertheless, Italian gunsmiths kept on realising it till the mid nineteenth century for Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern markets mainly.
By focusing on the flintlock we’re analysing, we can appreciate the bottom of its plate is finely engraved with a manlike item, just like the frizzen spring whose feather gets to the tumbler screw. The bottom of the hammer is deftly inlaid with an odd mask looking item reaching a dolphin head shaped inlay. Both the upper and the lower jaw are finely engraved with some tiny floral shaped elements, like the back of the hammer as well. A woman looking item is then inlaid under the pan.
Greatly preserved, such a refined flintlock is very likely to be realized for a rich customer who wanted the value of his rifle to get hugely improved.