A fine and rare miniature wheel-lock pistol, possibly by Michel Mann, Nuremberg, late 16th century
Length overall: ca. 5,5 cm.
Dossier as PDF
Barrel: 3,4 cm.
I. H. Furmage, 1928.
II. William Randolph Hearst, New York. Bis 1939.
III. Private Collection USA.
Concerning the origin and use of miniature wheel-lock pistols there are several hypotheses under discussion. On the one hand it is supposed these objects were created
by gunmaker’s apprentices as trials of skill. According to another assumption miniature pistols served as awards for high ranking officers of cavalry units equipped
with firearms. This view is founded on a painting by Dirck Jacobsz, created back in 1557.1) It depicts members of the Amsterdam militia wearing small harquebuses as
badges on the upper arm.
However if you consider the great effort, the incredible skill and accuracy of craftsmanship which is necessary in order to create a fully functional wheel-lock pistol
en miniature, at least the first hypothesis seems less probable.more