Gunflints were an important part of an early type of gun known as a flintlock. Such guns were in use between the 17th and 19th centuries. The gunflint would be placed into a part of the gun known as the cock. This was because it resembled the shape of a bird’s beak. The cock was spring-mounted. When the trigger was pulled it would swing forward and the flint would hit a piece of steel called the frizzen. This produced sparks, which ignited a charge of gunpowder and fired the gun.
Gunflints were made by knapping, or striking, flakes off a core. The flakes were then trimmed into their distinctive square shape. This is like the way many Prehistoric flint tools were made. A gunflint would soon become blunt and stop producing sparks. It could only be used for a limited number of shots. There was also the danger of it breaking within the gun. Because of this, a continuous supply of gunflints was necessary. At the peak of the industry, millions of them were made and transported all over the world.
In this video, Collections Assistant Archaeology, Catherine Knight takes a closer look at some of the gunflints in the Museum’s collection.
Curator’s Choice – A Venetian Soldino in Lincolnshire
A closer look at Venetian soldino in the Museums collection.
Curator’s Choice – Atkinson’s Illustrations
A closer look at the drawings of Alfred Atkinson for the Brigg Court of Sewers.
Curator’s Choice – Bill’s Letters to Home
A closer look at a series of letters sent by William ‘Bill’ Smith to his fiancé Evelyn Goodacre.
Curator’s Choice – Boy’s Dresses
A closer look at the clothes worn by Rowland Winn, 1st Baron St Oswald as a small boy.
Curator’s Choice – Fowler’s Mosaics
A closer look at William Fowler of Winterton’s engravings of mosaics.
Curator’s Choice – Magnificent Moths
A closer look at the Museum’s moth collection.
Curator’s Choice – Of Mourning and Bonnets
A closer look at a selection of Victorian mourning bonnets.
Curator’s Choice – Reverend Parkinson’s Waistcoat
A closer look at the Reverend Parkinson’s waistcoat.
Curator’s Choice – Riley’s Crisp Factory
A closer look at Scunthorpe’s Riley’s Crisp Factory.
Curator’s Choice – Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiosum
A closer look at William Stukeley’s book, the Itinerarium Curiosum.
Curator’s Choice – The Thresher
A closer look at the threshing machine.
Curator’s Choice – The Unassuming Plough Pebble
A closer look at Medieval plough pebbles.
Curator’s Choice – The Wroot Axe
A closer look at the Neolithic Wroot Axe.