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Author Topic: What is this, an early Gatling gun?  (Read 8752 times)
WillRockwell
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« on: March 04, 2011, 09:22:57 am »

I saw this incredible mechanism yesterday in the Armory section of the Doge's Palace museum in Venice Italy. It has no explanation whatever, and the museum guide claims it was made by daVinci, which I doubt. A little research reveals a picture identified as a "17th century French attempt at a machine gun". Can the brilliant minds of BG come up with a better explanation?

   
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Dr Insidious T BoneHammer
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 04:31:25 pm »

I haven't seen one of those in years... That sir, is a Stringa formaggio macchina.  The guide was right, some what, in that it was daVinci had a hand in DESIGNING that.  Initially he constructed it to make the holes in Swiss cheese, however, one fateful day... instead of reaching for some ammo.. he grabbed a hand full of mozzarella and before he knew it he had a gun full of cheese.  He was not one to waste time, we know that because he was too busy designing cool stuff,  trying to clean it out would take too long, so he raised the barrel and let go with a mighty blast.  The rest is history.  ....... Stringa formaggio macchina  ....Ten pieces at a time... and Ford thought HE had invented the assembly line... Ha I say   ...HA!
 Your welcome.
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Dr Insidious T BoneHammer
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2011, 04:52:41 pm »

Oh... this is for those doubters


It's the result of an earlier invention he worked on....... you may have heard of.... The wheel?
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gogglerman
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2011, 05:16:43 pm »

Mitrailleu?   http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrailleu
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Engineer
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011, 05:23:00 pm »

Alternatively, it looks like a form of swivel gun to mount on the rails of a Venetian warship and fire on ememy crews prior to boarding.

I'm assuming the barrels rotate, in which case, whereas it would take about half a minute to reload a single-barrelled musket, all you have to do with this one is crank the next barrel into position and reset the lock.

If the barrels don't rotate you have a much more deadly (longer range, mopre shors and larger bore) weapon than the Nock volley gun of Sharpe fame.
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Gunner Gregson
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2011, 05:42:25 pm »

that is the definition of pure awesome.
it appears to indeed rotate, but i cant quite make out firing, loading and the such.
the grip is an amazing piece, well as a full piece its amazing.
the handle on the top confused me at first, it looked to be attached but on a closer look it has a bracket going down the side, more than likely attached too the base.
most gatling guns its the barrels that rotate, but on this the entire gun rotates with the exception of the grip, i am intrigued and if anyone else has info please do post.

GG
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suriehl
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2011, 05:43:59 pm »

I'm thinking volley gun as well since I don't really see any cranking or turning mechanism.  I bet it delivered one devil of a kick.
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Engineer
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2011, 06:46:09 pm »

the "handle on top" is actually the lock mechanism for igniting the gunpowder charges in the barrels.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 07:26:17 pm »

It's a bit hard to tell from the picture, but if that is the firing mechanism on top, and if the barrels can rotate relative to the stock, which looks plausible, then I am going to go with some sort of volley gun as well. Something like the old pepperbox pistols, writ unfeasably large. If the firing mechanism actually advances the barrels, then this is nearly a Venetian predecessor to Mr. Colt's Peacemaker. Not anything even remotely like a machine gun, since that really needs some mechanism for loading and discharging each round, and that didn't really take off until the brass cartridge with a built-in primer.
I am inclined to doubt the attribution to da Vinci, however. At least partly because the popular approach to any un-obvious and unattributed gizmo from the Renaissance is to slap a "Possibly after da Vinci" tag on it, especially since Dan Brown.
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The Kernel
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2011, 08:18:11 pm »

It does look very similar to a volley Gun I have seen in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (sadly no link to the exhibit)
I agree with the above posters, the barrels appear fixed, especially as the lowermost barrel on the pictures appears to protude through the mounting; so a Gattling type rotating barrel assembly is unlikly.
A sequential shot type weapon would be possible rather than a volley gun of course, but nothing was better at clearing the deck of a ship prior to boarding yet maximising the crew available for the boarding party and leaving their firearms ready for use than a volley gun.
My understanding is that the first repeating firearm was the "Puckle Gun" but who knows?

The cheese theory may have much going for it!
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Gunner Gregson
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2011, 01:16:58 am »

the "handle on top" is actually the lock mechanism for igniting the gunpowder charges in the barrels.

now that would make sense, i have been playing too much battlefield, damn those modern guns with carrying handles.

with people talking about the volley gun im gonna go with that, it certainly appears to have all the same characteristics.

GG
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Arvis
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2011, 06:44:38 am »

I agree with the above posters, the barrels appear fixed, especially as the lowermost barrel on the pictures appears to protude through the mounting; so a Gattling type rotating barrel assembly is unlikly.

 I disagree. First, look closer at the "protruding barrel" It's not protruding at all. The barrel assembly dose rotate. And each musket fires one at a time from the top by means of the lock mechinism at the top. Glare in the glass keeps us from discerning what sort of lock we are looking at but my money would be on a matchlock. Reloading would be done as you would any other musket with the exception of taking a hell of a lot longer.
 Ship mounted? Possibly. Also handy on any fixed fortification such as a wall or similar battlements. Keep them near the gatehouse to dicourage salesmen or anyone else you wish to give second thoughts to crossing your welcome matt.
 I believe it's size and obvious wieght would have prevented it of being much use in the open field. Chances are it was less accurate than any other musket of the day and probably served better as a noismaker. In a fire fight the side who makes the most noise is usualy the winner.(not always but usualy) The more guns you have fireing the better. I'm pretty sure they figgured that out back then too.

 Arvis
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WillRockwell
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2011, 08:04:36 am »

I am very impressed with the level of analysis being generated for this device. The fact that only one was made indicates it was either impractical or didn't work. I am surprised there isn't more hard information about its origin.
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Captain Lyerly
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2011, 02:35:11 pm »

Looking closely at the third picture (taken from the muzzles) there seems to be a stub of slow-match still fixed in the lock, so the matchlock theory is confirmed, it seems - proper for the era.

It is obvious that the whole mechanism, apart from the lock, does turn.  It looks like one would pull the hook underneath, hand-rotate the next barrel into place, fire that barrel, rinse and repeat.  Unfortunately, the curator has allowed the gun to be displayed with the lock turned toward the wall!

It would make sense, if the piece was originally Venetian, that it would be a rail-mounted swivel gun - Venice owned the Mediterranean for a long while.  It wouldn't be a "machine gun" as we know it, the matchlock was too slow and uncertain for that.  But a repeat-firing swivel gun would make a lot of sense on a Venetian galley.


Cheers!

Chas.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 02:44:22 pm by Captain Lyerly » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2011, 12:53:55 am »

If you look closely at the second picture, you can clearly see individual slidong pan covers on the outside surface of the barrels. The top piece looks like a crude matchlock to me. So, it's a very early pepperbox musket, giving one man ten shots in about 12 seconds. It's far too bulky for field use, but would be a nasty thing to meet on a narrow bridge or in a gateway. A skilled man could probably reload it in five minutes or so, and the cleaning hurts to think about.
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2021, 09:37:01 pm »

Finally found an answer at https://forum.game-labs.net/topic/25755-an-18th-century-machine-gun/.
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