Belgian Door Cannon, Door Trap or Alarm Cannon, cal. 380, no serial number
Barrel 1-3/16 inches (30mm), overall length 4 inches (101mm), height 2 inches (50mm)
This is a quite well-preserved Belgian door-cannon, or door trap pistol, made with cast iron. It has a simple system of catching the hammer in a completely cocked position (the hammer includes the firing pin and recoil plate). This done by using one extension of the revolving brass cross to brake the hammer; one extension holds the hammer back while the other extensions, with loops at each end, are attached to cords or strings which are then connected to the door with a system of small pulleys, when the door is open the cross rotates releasing the hammer to strike the cartridge.
There is no other system to hold back recoil other than the spring which activates the hammer apparatus and recoil shield; it would seem that with a center-fire cartridge like the .380 there would be almost certain blow-back from the explosion of the cartridge. In this sense the system looks more like a weaker Flobert mechanism than a center-fire system designed for a much more powerful shell like the .380 pistol cartridge.
A simple post inserted from the right or left side serves as a safety, it holds the hammer permanently back at about half-cock, or if inserted when the hammer is cocked all the way back it would keep the hammer from falling on the cartridge.
The marks are as follows - On the left of the barrel: CAL 380, 01?, star over E, post 1893 Liege proof, on the base of the apparatus: LE GENDARME BREVETE, on the hammer: star over E.
Pictures and technical details from Richard & Dave Young
Un autre brevet du même genre, de Pierre Rocour
La publicité de vente du canon "Le Gendarme" par Schroeder Fréres
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