matchlock
/mach"lok'/, n.
1. an old form of gunlock in which the priming was ignited by a slow match.
2. a hand gun, usually a musket, with such a lock.
[1630-40; MATCH1 + LOCK1]

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Device for igniting gunpowder, invented in the 15th century.

The first mechanical ignition system, it represented a major advance in small-arms manufacture. It consisted of an S-shaped arm, called a serpentine, that held a match, and a trigger device that lowered the serpentine so the lighted match would fire the priming powder in the pan at the side of the barrel. The flash in the pan penetrated a small port in the breech and lit the main charge. Though slow and somewhat clumsy, the matchlock was useful because it protected all the working elements inside the lock and freed the user's hand. Early matchlock guns included the musket.

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▪ firearm ignition device
      in firearms, a device for igniting gunpowder developed in the 15th century, a major advance in the manufacture of small arms. The matchlock was the first mechanical firing device. It consisted of an S-shaped arm, called a serpentine, that held a match, and a trigger device that lowered the serpentine so that the lighted match would fire the priming powder in the pan attached to the side of the barrel. The flash in the pan penetrated a small port in the breech of the gun and ignited the main charge.

      In the matchlock all the working elements were protected inside the lock. The device also freed the hand of the user or his aide. Early matchlock guns had a number of names including harquebus, hacquebut, hagbutt, hachbuss, caliver, and musket. Slow and somewhat clumsy, the matchlock was difficult to use in wind or rain, and its glow presented a hazard at night or in ambush. Matchlock guns, however, remained primary military firearms in Europe even after other ignition systems were invented.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Matchlock — Match lock , n. An old form of gunlock containing a match for firing the priming; hence, a musket fired by means of a match. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • matchlock — 1690s, from MATCH (Cf. match) (n.1), in reference to the firing mechanism, + LOCK (Cf. lock) (n.1) in the firearm sense (1540s); probably so called for its resemblance to a door latching device …   Etymology dictionary

  • matchlock — [mach′läk΄] n. 1. an old type of gunlock in which the charge of powder was ignited by a slow burning MATCH1 (sense 1) 2. a musket with such a gunlock …   English World dictionary

  • Matchlock — Early German musket with serpentine lock The matchlock was the first mechanism, or lock invented to facilitate the firing of a hand held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon s flash pan and made it… …   Wikipedia

  • matchlock — noun Date: circa 1637 1. a musket equipped with a matchlock 2. a slow burning match lowered over a hole in the breech of a musket to ignite the charge …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • matchlock — noun /ˈmatʃlɒk,ˈmætʃlɑk/ a) Early type of firearm, using a smoldering piece of cord to fire the powder in the firing pan. I crept silently up the hill road, but the fuse of my matchlock was wetted with the rain, and I could not slay Daoud Shah… …   Wiktionary

  • Matchlock — Platine à mèche Pour les articles homonymes, voir Platine (homonymie). Armes à platine à mèche de la dynastie Ming La platine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • matchlock — mætʃlÉ‘k / lÑ„k n. gunlock, mechanism which fires ammunition on a handgun or rifle …   English contemporary dictionary

  • matchlock — noun an old fashioned type of gun with a lock in which a piece of wick was used for igniting the powder …   English new terms dictionary

  • matchlock — match•lock [[t]ˈmætʃˌlɒk[/t]] n. 1) mil a gunlock that ignites the charge by a slow match 2) mil a gun, usu. a musket, with such a lock • Etymology: 1630–40 …   From formal English to slang

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