Basically it's a roughed up wire that creates sparks when it's pulled, igniting priming compound that shoots a jet of flame into your powder charge.
April 21, 2011, 06:28 PM
Thanks guys for your speedy reply - so simple!- Of course they didn't have friction ignition in
previous wars-like Waterloo etc-only a glowing match on a stick
I couldn't figure it!
April 21, 2011, 11:46 PM
Just FWIW, the Navy used quills and a small persussion wafer because the friction primers used by the army (and which blew out of the vent) could cut the feet of the gun crew. (Sailors usually went barefoot in combat because it gave them better footing on a wet or bloody deck.) Naval guns were fired with a hammer which was pulled down by the lanyard and designed so it moved past the vent after striking, else the blast from the vent would blow it back hard and damage it. Those locks, like gun sights, are rare today. They were taken off when not in use to prevent damage from weather, and were usually lost when the ship was decommissioned after the war.
(There is a scene in (I think) Master and Commander where the gunnery officer is passing out the locks to the gun captains. Those were flintlocks, which had offset touch holes also so the blast wouldn't wreck the cocks.)
April 22, 2011, 04:49 PM
Thanks Jim for that additional info- mighty interesting!
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