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Jonas Liebel

Axe identification (Help needed)

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Hello folks,

I just came back from a trip to Dresden, Germany, and while I was visiting the exiting "Rüstkammer" , a museum displaying arms and armour from the 15th to 17th century, i stumbled upon these two axes here. Well, they are a combination of gun and axe, but i am in love with the axe head shape... There was no further information there exept that it was made around mid 17th century in dresden , does anyone know how this style of axe is called? I would like to to some research about it, and a quick few google searches did not help me out.

Cheers!

PHOTO_20170604_142300.jpg

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Ok not sure what it is called but, basically what you are picturing is an  ax on a matchlock, or a flintlock, 

 

 A matchlock is one of the earliest firearms, it used a rope that when lit, it provided a source of ignition for the powder and charge within the weapon. Below is a picture of an early match lock!

Image result for matchlock

Although since I can't see the rest of the weapon, it could be a flint lock. The hammer looks like what is used on a flint lock! Check out this info below on flintlock!

It superseded the matchlock and wheel lock and was itself outmoded by the percussion lock in the first half of the 19th century. The best-developed form, the true flintlock, was invented in France in the early 17th century, probably by Marin le Bourgeoys.

A flintlock would have a frizzen, and I don't see a frizzen!

Image result for frizzen definition
The frizzen, historically called the steel, is an "L" shaped piece of steel hinged at the rear used in flintlock firearms. It is positioned over the flash pan so as to enclose a small priming charge of black powder next to the flash hole that is drilled through the barrel into where the main charge is loaded.

The ax is probably meant for close quarters battle as it was a one shot weapon, till you   re-powdered and re-charged the weapon.

so with that in mind I Googled, ax on matchlock, and here is the images that popped up.

https://www.google.com/search

Looking down thru the images I see this: (This one is a flintlock) it has a flint locked in by the thumb screw at top and when the trigger is depressed it strikes the frizzen creating a spark that ignites the powder.

Image result for ax on matchlock click on the pic and you will get the option to go to the page and here is that page! http://firearmshistory.blogspot.com/2010/12/combined-firearms-axes.html

Now having said all that I have never seen accounts of one the looked identical to the one in the pic you posted. That is a rather strange ax in its shape and I have never saw one like it! 

Edited by C Craft

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Jonas, I even went back and did another Google search, 

https://www.google.com/search?noj=1&q=ax+flintlock%2Fmatchlock+developed+mid+17th+century+in+dresden+germany+&oq=ax+flintlock%2Fmatchlock+developed+mid+17th+century+in+dresden+germany+&gs_l=serp.3..35i39k1.9433.21589.0.23500.4.4.0.0.0.0.163.563.0j4.4.0....0...1.1.64.serp..0.3.418.-PB6JCytSYc

The only thing I managed to pull up was the same link I gave you earlier! 

http://firearmshistory.blogspot.com/2010/12/combined-firearms-axes.html

That particular ax never comes up in any searches. Most were variations of a broad ax! Sorry I struck out on that one pictured. It is unique in the design!

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This reminds me more of a Swiss halberd than an axe blade, it is certainly unique though!

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That sort of combination weapon lasted in various forms from the invention of firearms to the introduction of the caplock revolver and metallic cartridges (google Elgin cutlass pistol for the last one), but they were never very popular since they don't do either job as well as a dedicated single-platform weapon.  Those you picture look typically German (of course! ;)).  I don't know if there is a definitive name for that axehead shape, but there probably is.  Just look at the wide range of specialized woodworking axe shapes from around the world, some of which are specific to a single inhabited valley and are distinctly different from the same tool made just over the hill.

I know that did not help in any way, sorry.  Just rambling on.

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Well what ever it was it is pretty awesome to see our forefathers trying to be efficient and creative. Goes to show why humans are at the top of the food chain. :) Thanks for sharing this cool info guys. 

 

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7 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Oh, and those are wheel locks.

I stand corrected, thanks Alan.  I knew I had seen those locks before!

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Thank you guys for your input, and thank you C Craft especially for your research! 

Even though i have not yet been able to find a name for this specific axe head type, your informations are extremely interesting and I am again happy to have found this amazing forum.

Cheers guys!

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Their is a mark on both of the axes. They are different but, if a person can identify those marks you may be able to find out more info.

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Now as for the axe part itself, when I saw the picture up there it was familiar to my eye and sure enough it turns out Dictum is selling its version - without the gun part - based on a find out in the district of Lüneburg so they call it the Dumstorfer Bearded Hand Hatchet, (available in left and right hand versions none-the-less). Of course it strikes a bit of a funny chord when you see it mounted on a rifle like that. Well I'll be going out to Lüneburg - axes in hand- for some work in July so it'd be something to watch for.

Edited by Ernest Dubois
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This design of axe seems to be a traditional german type.

Dictum tools, based in germany still sells an axe with the same head shape.

https://www.dictum.com/en/tools-for-carpenters-and-cabinetmakers-badf/dictum-bearded-hand-hatchet-with-straight-handle-708459?ftr=_19__98.02_1_48_12__

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The suggestion was made it is derived from the earlier Francisca axe. I made up a little photo shopped illustration... and it is not implausible as we can see. Either way, a remarkable axe form if it has a continuous use from the 15th through to 19th century.

Aexte Goettingen.JPG

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Thanks,Ernest and Pieter-Pauld,that all actually illustrates a very important point,as does such a telling quote from Simon below.

The further some of the traditional working axes are removed back into our past,the likelier is their (mis-)attribution as ......(you know what....:)

 

On 6/5/2017 at 10:34 AM, Simon W said:

This reminds me more of a Swiss halberd than an axe blade,

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An abstraction of the object leaves it once again subject to fishy speculation. A big flaw in relying to heavily on typologies only for drawing conclusions on use and intention.

There is a significant difference between the Dumstorfer and the earlier ones illustrated. The sketches show, (luckily and most helpfully the top view is included), an axe that while it could hardly be called symmetric does have a bit in line with the center line of the eye and the Dumstorfer is asymmetric all the way with the bit lining up with left or right side respectively of the eye casting it unquestioningly as a carpentry axe. If you ask me the axe heads which got unfortunately mounted on rifles in the top photo are likewise side-axes. It's just a guess.

Edited by Ernest Dubois
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This one at the Rijksmuseum displayed from a shipwreck off Nova Zembla is dated, stating that by the 16 century the type was common and widespread. They call it in Dutch, "kantvlechtbijl" translated means side woven axe, so, I don't get it. Said to be used in woodworking.

https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/zoeken/objecten?p=14&ps=12&f.hnrCode.section.sort=17de+Eeuw&f.hnrCode.hall.sort=2.9%3a+Nederland+overzee&ondisplay=True&st=Objects&ii=3#/NG-NM-7784,159

Edited by Ernest Dubois

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