Sunday, May 24, 2015

Before the Gun, There Was the Gonne


What we all have in common here on the Collector's Forum is a passion for firearms. We share in the history, development, implementation and geopolitical consequences.

But before the first gun was shouldered some time in the 15th century, gunpowder had been throwing fire and projectiles for at least 200 years. And an infantry soldier could use a gonne. I won't get into the debate of whether gunpowder was first formulated in China or Europe. Instead, I'd like to show you what I found at a yardsale today.

It appears to be an eight-shot hand gonne (handgonne, hand cannon), which could be utilized by an individual or in tandem. It's well aged piece of cast iron, and missing its handle. The pole could be braced against the ground or another solid object, or held underarm to absorb recoil. This one could be equipped with eight loads of powder, rocks, ceramic, lead or iron shot. It has nine fuse holes, and could be ignited with flame, coals or slow burning match.

Not very accurate, and not meant for long range. But it had to be quite an attention getter when it was first used in battle.

My best google-fu identifies mine as Chinese, and from the late 15th to early 17th century. I may be way off! And anyone with any better information, please be free to add to this early hand cannon topic.

Pics, and thanks for looking.



  1. Seems our friend over at "gunboards " Isn't very bright. He seems not to know that a 500+ year old weapon like that is a "cultural treasure" under international treaty and UN mandate and as such MUST be confiscated by the FBI/BATFEIEIO / State Department and whatever "other" federals have "jurisdiction" this week. ---Ray

  2. Oh yes ! That is the primary reason the high end collectors have become such fanatics about "paperwork" If you don't have paper work going back to Marko Polo they(the feds) can and will declare your "piece" to be a "stolen" cultural treasure. As a wealthy (and elder) collector told me. "Son the way the law is now, if you have a piece made outside the USA and you don't have paper on it going back to the birth of Christ ; DON'T TELL ANYBODY! If the federals find out they'll take your whole damn collection" . This has actually happened to dozens of art and gun collectors over the last decade so its not paranoia. ---Ray