Matchlock snap

The preserved lock plate of a snapping matchlock.

The snapping matchlock was a type of matchlock ignition system used in Europe from 1475 to 1640, and in Japan from 1543 to 1880. The serpentine was a curved piece with a clamp that held the slow match which was lowered into the flash pan to ignite the charge (powder). The difference between the regular matchlock and the snapping matchlock is that the serpentine in the snapping matchlock was spring-loaded tightly, much more tightly than that of the regular version, this is where the term "snapping" comes in, since when the serpentine is released, it is very fast, and the resulting shock to the slow match hitting the flash pan, often would put out the flames on it.

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