Saturday, January 19, 2008


On a table at the Gun Show there was a three-barreled hand cannon. I was just glancing at its $1200 price tag when someone else asked the vendor about it. He described it as a hand canon from the 15th Century, or at least, invented in the 15th Century. He didn't know anything more than that so I stepped in to give a history lesson.

Indeed, the arquebus was developed in the 15th Century but this device was certainly not that old. I had never seen a three-barreled arquebus and while re relayed that it may have been a movie prop I commented that I had never seen an arquebus portreyed in any film, and certainly never one as poorly constructed and historically inacurate as this one. It had nipples on each barrel, like what one would find on a cap-and-ball blackpowder gun developed during the Civil War. The three barrels were welded together. I'm not overly familiar with the history of welding but I guessed that it couldn't have been much older than 100 years. The wood of the stock looked old but I've seen wood from 40s and 50s that looked like that so it could easily have been a mid 20th Century project and given the quality of the construction it was probably a prototype, amateur, knocked together in the basement piece of crap. There was no mechanism to set off the gun so I envisioned the gunner holding the stock under his arm and trying to smack the caps with a hand-held hammer.

Interesting, but probably not worth $1200.

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