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Wheel lock key

Italian gunsmith

Brescia, late 16th century

Material: Iron

Misure: 23 cm long

Review by Gherardo Turchi

This elegant double head wheel lock key is made of forged iron. It can also be used as a screwdriver. The bottom of its handle was skilfully tip shaped to grip the head of the screws wheel lock mechanisms were provided with.

Sixteenth and seventeenth soldiers used such a tool to load their harquebuses. That’s why they couldn’t help carrying it with them on battlefields.

Wheel lock mechanism was equipped with a flint, replacing the fuse, to fire the gunpowder the weapon had been loaded with. Soldiers had first to rotate the wheel clockwise by 270 degrees approximately. To put then some primino powder, less powerful and more sensitive than the black one, into the cup. They had to cover it with its plate before the weapon was ready to fire.

Greatly preserved, it could be used to load wheel lock harquebuses and guns both.

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