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Date:1819 - 1850 (c.)

Description:A spring-powered gun from Lausanne, it is well made but of flimsy construction. The presence of a clamping screw on the right side-front and a notch opposite would seem to indicate that a detachable barrel is missing. The two projections on either side are cocking handles to pull back the spring-loaded plunger.

There is a hole on the top-flat of the action which from its shape and position is likely to be a loading port for a projectile. The wooden stock, probably of walnut with mother of pearl inlays, is well shaped and polished.

As the spring does not appear to be very strong, the ammunition was probably not lead ball but ball-bearings or papier-mache pellets. The gun may be an upmarket version of the captive pistols seen in amuseumnt arcades for shooting ball-bearings at miniature falling-plate targets. This was a popular pastime in the 19th century as a drawing-room amusement for family and guests.

An engraved oval on the top-flat includes the name Siber. The place name below appears to be Lausanne, 1819-1850.


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Donor ref: LEAMG : M4017.1993 (73/25951)

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