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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Seven Palm Musket Reply to topic
 
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Stephen Renico




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Location: Detroit
Posts: 51
PostPosted: Sun 06 Dec, 2009 12:51 pm    Post subject: Seven Palm Musket         Reply with quote

I'm rereading The Religion, by Tim Willocks, about a German adventurer named Matthias Tannhauser at the Siege of Malta.

Twice the author mentions Turkish muskets:

p.221
Quote:
In skirting the splayed and tangled slain who'd made their final stand by the tent, Tannhauser spotted a nine-palm musket on the ground. Its match still smouldered. It's stock was pinned beneath its owner's corpse. The blue-black hue of the damascened barrel, which seemed to glow from deep within its substance, and the arabesques of silver wire with which the ebony woodwork was inlaid, announced the hand of a master gunsmith.


p.298
Quote:
Tannhauser had elected to avoid the rigors of the line by employing his marksmanship. Along with his wheel-lock rifle, he picked up a Turkish seven-palm musket from the stockpile of captured weapons...


Is a "palm" some kind measure of barrel length, with one "palm" being a semi-standard (4 to 5 inches) unit of measurement like the cubit (one forearm)? Or does it have some other meaning?

Google produces fairly little results.

Thanks in advance.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.
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Romulus Stoica




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Location: Hunedoara, Transylvania, Romania
Posts: 123
PostPosted: Sun 06 Dec, 2009 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well... I don't know about the turks but in medieval & renaissance romanian countries we have an unit of measure called palm Happy ... and we were neighbors with the Otoman Empire and sometimes we were vasals of them, sometimes we were enemies.
The old romanian palm has about 24,6 cm in Walachia or 27,8 cm in Moldavia or approximative 1 foot.
1 palm = 10 fingers.
So a nine-palm musket would have been 2,2 m long and a seven palm musket would have been 1,7 m long. I don't think those are normal musket dimension ...
The facts are:
- There is a historical measuring unit called palm
- The dimensions calculated in palms are not realistic

Maybe the author is mistaking the measuring unit "palm" with the measuring unit "width of a palm". The second one equals half of a palm so 1 palm = 2 width of a palm. In this case a nine-palm musket would have ~ 1,2 m and a seven-palm musket would have ~ 0,97m. Those dimensions seems to be more appropriate ...
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Joel Minturn




PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, you have big palms in Romania Happy

So doing a little looking around. Horses are measured in hands which is standardized at 4 inches. The palm as a unit of measure is slightly smaller ( considered to be the width of 4 fingers) and is about 3 inches.

So if they are using that as the base than a seven palm gun is between 21 to 28 inches (.53 to .71 meter) depending if he meant just the fingers or he really was talking about the hand length (and considering different hand sizes)

A 9 palm musket would then be 27-36 inches (.68 - .91 meter)

Which makes me wonder if he was just talking about the lenght of the barrel then.

unfortunately I couldn't find any German Anthropomorphic units (German equivalent to Palm, Hand etc.) So not sure if would have used the same ideas or if it would entirely different. Like the old Romanian palm for example
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Romulus Stoica




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Location: Hunedoara, Transylvania, Romania
Posts: 123
PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@ Joel Minturn:

If you are considering the walachian palm (smaller one) :

1 palm = 10 fingers = 24,6 cm ... so 1 finger is 2,46 cm, roughly a little smaller than 1 inch.

The palms that you are talking about ( you haven't mentioned in which country this palm is used ) has 4 fingers and it's about 3 inches so it's pretty close to 4 walachian fingers that is a bit less than 4 inches. So, it seems that a palm is not so different from country to country. The walachian palm is roughly equal to both palms with all 10 fingers standing thumb by thumb and also I have mentioned that there is another measure, "width of a palm" or "palm width", equal to 5 fingers. It seems that the "palm" you are talking about is similar to walachian "palm width" if you include the fifth finger Happy ...

So It seems that we can consider a medieval "generic" palm having roughly 4 to 5 inches...
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Joel Minturn




PostPosted: Mon 07 Dec, 2009 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Romulus-
Sure makes sense that a generic palm could be considered 3-5 inches. Depending on if the unit Palm was different from the unit Hand.


I was basing my information on the English system, were the palm unit is slightly smaller than the hand unit. but close enough that before standardization a large palm could be about a small hand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_%28length%29 has a nice picture describing the differences.
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Stephen Renico




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Location: Detroit
Posts: 51
PostPosted: Tue 08 Dec, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the answers, gentlemen.
"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." -Thucydides.
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