If you ever have the opportunity to venture out to the beloved land of cheese you may come across a quaint, but magnificent collection of firearms. In Alma, Wisconsin lies the Castlerock Museum that is host to hundreds of old firearms, armor, swords, knifes and anything you could imagine from battles and combat of old. In this segment of Photo-of-the-Day (POTD), we are going to take a look at a Saxon Double Wheellock pistol, but that is merely one of many rare and unique finds at this museum. These are just some of the highlights that you could come across:
- Greek Helmets
- Roman Swords and Daggers
- Viking Helmets and Swords
- Norman Nasal Helmet
- First Crusade Sword
- Feudal Chain Mail
- Maximilian Full Armor
- Milanese Parade Helmet
- Knightly Parade of Helmets
- Henry VIII Gun Shield
These pictures are a marvel to look at, but they might raise more questions than provide answers. An informational plaque was on hand near the Saxon Double Wheellock at the Castlerock Museum to provide a deeper explanation and this is what it read:
Saxon Double Wheellock
The Wheellock was an intricate design. A serrated wheel is wound like a watch. The cock holds a piece of pyrite. When the trigger is pulled the serrated wheel spins against the pyrite and the sparks ignite the gun. Wheellocks were reliable but too expensive for the average soldier. Only nobles, officers or special royal guards were equipped with them.
This wheellock pistol is unusual in that it has two barrels and a double lock. The stock is inlaid with white horn pellets, designs, mythical creatures and dated 1591.
Wheellock pistols with bulbous pommels were called Puffers. Larger pommels made it easier to draw the pistols quickly from saddle holsters.
The Saxon Royal Guard
Puffer pistols are commonly associated with the Royal Guard of Saxony. The Guards were equipped with single barrel puffer wheellocks with black stocks.
The Royal Museum at Dresden has a number of highly inlaid single barrel puffers attributed to high ranking officers of the Royal Guard. Double wheellocks are very rare. One can assume that this pistol was made for a very high ranking person.
Elector Christian I died unexpectedly on 25 September 1591. At the time, his wife, Sophie of Brandenberg, had special pistols and armor on order as Christmas gifts for the Royal Guard. It is very possible that this gun was made for him.
You can definitely file away this pistol as something you do not see everyday! Unless that is, you are visiting our cheesy friends from the North. Thank you to Wesley B. from St. Michael, MN for the tip on this incredibly cool firearm!