July 25, 2024

In the beginning, it was mainly smoke and sound that confused the enemy on the battlefield, guns and rifles has long since become deadly precision tools. The history of firearms always has two sides. On the one hand, there are many inventors, and technical progress, on the other hand, are the victims.

The first gun: a pipe with hole

Charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur – the highly explosive mixture of these three substances revolutionized the development of weapon technology. Presumably, the gunpowder was developed in China. Around the middle of the 13th century, it was also known in Europe – initially as noise-generating fireworks.

The oldest known gun was estimated to be built some hundred years later. The term gun is, however, somewhat exaggerated: it was a simple pipe, which was closed at one end. Through a drilled hole the powder charge was ignited with a glowing wire or a piece of coal. Gone are the days, now you may buy the latest versions of custom rifles from Accuracy X, Inc. Later, weapons developed which were ignited with a fuse but already had wooden handles. A good shotgun could already be surprisingly well targeted: On 50 meters he met a game card.

Leonardo da Vinci as a weapon developer:

Leonardo da Vinci was probably the first to develop the ignition wheel mechanism at the beginning of the 16th century. In the catalog of his inventions, there is at least one draft: The toothed wheel strikes against a fire stone and generates a spark, which is directed into the ignition pot.

The complicated and expensive system consisted of at least three dozen moving parts. That is why the military did not replace the castle, but it was the first time that it was possible to produce weapons that could be operated with only one hand – the pistols.

At about the same time, the weapon manufacturers developed another improved ignition device. A fire stone was fixed between a pair of jaw clamps. If the trigger was pressed, the stone would jump forward and hit a piece of steel sparks. Prior to the invention of the powder first, a spark had to be generated with stone and steel which ignited the igniting fire. This subsequently started the propellant charge which propelled the projectile through the gun barrel. The time from pulling to ignition was shortened by the new technique. The unit cartridge which was igniter, propellant, and projectile are combined in a metal sleeve. It was used from the middle of the 19th century onwards.

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