A rare Danish Espingol

We kick off christmas by selling a very rare and interesting Danish Espingol – the forerunner of the machine gun, produced in 1833 at the Crownburg Gun Factory.


The c. 132 m. long heavy tube is designed for loose barrels each filled with either 32 or 16 bullets placed one after the other with gunpowder in between. The bullets had a hole in them where the fire could go from one to the next until the barrel were empty firing a shot every other second. The were ignited from the muzzle and were the secret weapon of the Danes from their introduction around 1822 until they were sold as scrap metal in 1876.

This tube is of the kind called a "division" espingol and were placed on a light carriage, which could be drawn by a single man. Originally they were meant as a close fire support weapon for infantry and when used in this capacity they met with some success.

Originally they were the charge of the Danish Rocket Corps and were kept as a great secret, but this was abolished in 1842 and the espingols went to the artillery which considered them as a strange type of artillery to be used in batteries.

During the first Sleswig war 1848-1850 they were used occasionally as close support weapons with success. Development of the espingols of different types continued until 1864 but after the war of this year with Prussia and Austria they were moth balled. It is extremely rare to find an espingol in any condition and even though this is missing its carriage, tube and back sight it is an interesting piece of 19th century arms development.

See Jesper Godvin Hansen, "Espingolerne", The Danish Arms & Armour Society Year book 1987, page 35-62 with an english summary.

Preview and auction

The preview takes place at Sundkrogsgade 30 in Copenhagen Thursday 24 November, Friday 25 November and Saturday 26 November. View the opening hours

The auction ends on Sunday 27 November from 1 pm.

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For further information, please contact:

Jesper Godvin Hansen: +45 8818 1222 · j.godvin@bruun-rasmussen.dk

David Utzon-Frank: +45 8818 1221 · d.utzon-frank@bruun-rasmussen.dk