The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Combined priming-flask and wheel-lock spanner
  • Combined priming-flask and wheel-lock spanner
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • 1st half of 17th century
  • Steel
  • Length: 19.7 cm
    Weight: 0.215 kg
  • A1308
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Combined priming flask and charging spanner, made entirely of steel. The curved tapering body of the flask, with faceted surface, forms the lever for the key. Moulded baluster-shaped nozzle; sliding cut-off with external feather-spring, the projecting thumb-piece shaped as a scallop shell. At the opposite end is an octagonal, double-ended key-cylinder with barrels of different dimensions. The cylinder rotates and is held in position by a spring-catch worked by a lever with a scallop-shaped tip. There is a belt-hook and suspension swivel.

    Probably German, first half of the 17th century.

    Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World, 1965, fig. 829 'early 17th century'.

    A comparable flask is in the Odescalchi Collection, Rome (inv. no. 84; Carpegna, Firearms, 1975, no. 141, pl. XXII, with a list of comparable material). This type of charging spanner is illustrated by J. C (ruso), Militaire instructions for the cavallrie, Cambridge 1632, fig. 1. In a marginal note on p.41 he describes this type of flask as 'a late invented fashion'. The portrait of a man by William Dobson, traditionally called Sir Charles Lucas, in the Tate Gallery, shows one in use (exhibited, William Dobson 1611-46, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1983, no. 31).