The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1610 - c. 1620
    probably 19th century (ramrod)
  • Steel, silver, walnut wood, damascened, chiselled and engraved
  • Length: 34.3 cm, overall
    Length: 18.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.2 cm, bore
    Weight: 0.58 kg
  • A1178
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, with an octagonal barrel profusely encrusted with small silver rosettes, the ground hatched and originally inlaid in silver with fine floral scrolls. All the decoration is now worn.

    The lock, of French fashion, has an external wheel held in position by a small bearing-plate formed as a bearded human figure. The end of the extension for the winding key is chiselled as a human head, and other heads are chiselled on the pan, and on the bridge joining the pivot of the cock to the screw of its spring. Lock-plate engraved with fine foliage, and the wheel with foliage and birds. The lock-plate ends in a monster's head, and the pan-cover is chiselled with a lion's mask. The cock takes the form of a grotesque dog-like animal sitting on its haunches, its body forming the arm, its head the jaws. The mainspring is attached inside the stock in the French manner.

    Stock of walnut with fluted oviform butt, the ridges outlined with silver wire. Small, steel terminal button. A strip of silver covers the breech-strap and continues as far as the butt. Silver fore-end cap and single silver ramrod pipe, all with slight scroll engraving, and engraved strap joining the lock-screws. Steel trigger-guard. Wooden ramrod, probably modern.

    French (?), about 1610-20.

    The decoration of the lock is in the Italian style, and it is possible that the pistol was made by an Italian working in France.

    The barrel has probably been considerably shortened at the muzzle. There is no aperture under the stock for the end of the main-spring. This is a normal safety device on wheel-locks of French type so that it can be seen at a glance whether the lock is spanned. The strap joining the lock-screws on the left side also supports the end of the axle-tree.