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To expose or protect the powder, the lid had to be moved manually.The flintlock mechanism was designed to push back the lid and spark a flint at the same time.Before the matchlock, guns were fired by holding a burning wick to a "touch hole" in the barrel igniting the powder inside.A shooter uses one hand for firing, and a prop to steady the gun.The next major advance, the wheel lock, generates a spark mechanically.With no wick to keep lit, the wheel lock is easier to use, and more reliable than the matchlock. Matchlocks, at half the cost, remain in common use. 1540) multi-shot, wheel-lock pistol, made for Emperor Charles V.In this weapon, two locks are combined in one mechanism, to give each barrel separate ignition.1540 - Rifling appears in firearms.1607 - Settlers arrive in Jamestown, Virginia.1630 - The first true flintlock. Some time in the late 1500s, a lid was added to the flash pan design.

1364 - First recorded use of a firearm.1380 - Hand guns are known across Europe.1400s - The matchlock gun appears.

Both hands remain on the gun, vastly improving aim. The matchlock shown here was made around 1640, and is typical of the muskets used by militia in Colonial America.

1498 - Rifling principle is discovered.1509 - Invention of wheel lock (rose lock).

The flintlock ignition system reigned for two centuries, with virtually no alteration.

The first device, or "lock," for mechanically firing a gun is the matchlock.

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Powder is held in a "flash pan," and ignited by a wick, or match, in a movable clamp.

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