Thursday, June 23, 2011

The miquelet and flintlock

The miquelet lock was named after Catalan militia leader Miquelot de Prats. Popular in the Mediterranean area from the 16th to 19th centuries, it was a distinctive flint-on-steel ignition mechanism. The design is attributed to an anonymous Italian gunsmith working for a Madrid gunmaker, Pedro Marquart, in the mid-1570s. This prototype was refined by Madrid gunsmiths into the Spanish patilla style now commonly known as the miquelet. A distinctive Italian miquelet lock was also developed.

With its combined battery and pan cover, the miquelet was the final innovative link that would be both the precursor and companion to the flintlock.

The flintlock was a refinement in which the steel and pan cover were made in one piece. When the trigger was pressed, the cock scraped the flint down the length of the steel, simultaneously uncovering the pan and exposing the prime charge to a stream of sparks. It was a simple and effective mechanism that would remain in use for over two centuries.
A military flintlock from the late 18th century. Though it bears the maker's name and would have been handmade, it was no elaborately engraved work of art but rather a utilitarian weapon suitable for the new mass armies of the Napoleonic Wars.

No comments:

Post a Comment