The wheellock rifle was invented in the 1500s. These were incredibly popular guns in England during the 1600s so there are many that have survived until modern times.
However, it is not common to have a wheellock for which both maker and owner throughout history is known. The Cody Firearms Museum has a wheellock that was made in the late 1600s and is signed by the gunsmith R. Rowland.
As well as knowing the maker of this rifle, the museum can trace the ownership to about 40 years after it was made. The rifle was owned by a court painter until he died. It then went to a well-known collector who displayed it in a private museum in England. And then it came to the United States and passed through the hands of many famous collectors until the 1900s when it was put into the Winchester Arms Collection.
Museum Minute is a series co-produced with Wyoming Public Media (WPM). A new minute can be heard every Thursday morning at 6:49 a.m. on WPM.