What is it? Set 270

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Hmm, a harpoon trigger seems possible. The writing is chinese, rather than japanese, but its possible that the japanese whalers got their trigger mechanisms from the mainland.
FWIW, here's a picture of an old WW2 American deck cannon with a similar pistol grip...despite the differences, you can almost imagine the sailor's thumb holding down a safety mechanism on top of the grip similar to the one on the mystery item.
http://www.boat-links.com/Old-Navy/oldnavy-05B.html
--riverman
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humunculus wrote:

Uh, that's Kipling's "dainty Hotchkiss gun", which is 1800s. Long obsolete by the start of WWII.

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humunculus wrote:
>The writing is chinese, rather

What makes you say that?
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Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
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Because the written languages are different, and I live in Hong Kong. I could still be wrong, but I asked a friend who teaches Mandarin what the writing said, and he interpreted it for me and did not say 'by the way, its in Japanese, not Mandarin'.
--riverman
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Michael Koblic wrote:

Both countries use the same character in their writing.
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Not entirely so. 'Kanji' is the form of Japanese writing that uses Chinese characters, but the vast majority of writing in Japanese uses only a very few Kanji forms, mostly limited to proper nouns, and mixes in the other forms of japanese writing. The other Japanese characters are considerably simpler and use fewer strokes, and are quickly identifyable as Japanese.
Its not impossible that this item is Japanese, with just two Kanji characters describing its name, but I think that would be quite unusual. For example, here is a WW2 Japanese sniper rifle with some Japanese writing on it http://tinyurl.com/azn97h You can see that this is not in Kanji: they are not Chinese characters.
--riverman
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I'm going to reply to my own post here. I could be wrong about the writing; not because japanese writing uses the same characters as chinese (it doesn't), but its possible that limited writing on military items could be entirely in Kanji. The rifle, for example, says '97 style' in both Mandarin and Japanese.
However, for the most part, Japanese writing makes limited use of Kanji, so this item could very easily be Chinese instead. But its not absolute.
--riverman
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OK, I'm going to stop digging my own grave here and admit I am likely wrong about the writing entirely. I didn't realize that the sniper rifle is a well-known Japanese arm called 'Type 97', and was made in Nagoya Japan. The form (using Kanji characters, ending with the character for 'style' and identifying the firearm by using a stamp in this format) is certainly Japanese in nature. The unknown pistol-grip thingy has the same format....'something' style--B. I think its Japanese, and from the same era as the Type 97 sniper rifle.
Walking away now...
--riverman
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On Sun, 8 Feb 2009 01:28:26 -0800 (PST), humunculus

Some food for thought...
From what I could find mucking about, England/Britain supplied many of the early Warships for Japan (~1900). This would have been around the time of the Dreadnoughts.
"...At this time the British were trying hard to build up Japan as a counterbalance to Russian power in the Far East -- Britain's first overseas alliance was the Anglo-Japanese Pact of 1902. British shipyards continued building warships for the Japanese through WWI, and sharing techniques with Japanese shipyards as well. Meanwhile the Japanese were assiduously amassing the technical expertise and yard facilities to build for themselves. By 1904 Togo's fleet included 5 modern battleships and 8 armored cruisers, totaling about 60 vessels; two even more powerful pre-dreadnoughts were building in Britain, but were not completed in time for the war." From:
http://www.cityofart.net/bship/mikasa.htm
That may help explain the odd combination of numbering and Kanji characters on the pistol grip thingy.
This old book makes mention of "Firing Keys".
http://openlibrary.org/details/elementarynaval00ramsgoog/leaf54
From about half-way down page 79:
"...the firing key is in the shape of a pistol grip. The operation is simple; pressure on the trigger establishes the electrical connection by bringing a spring in contact with a contact nut. The two electric wires project out from the muzzle or forward part of the grip. This system contemplates having the pointer keep one hand on the elevating wheel to point and the other on the pistol grip during firing."
This web page (slow to load, several images from manuals make up the page):
http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/USNAVY/CHAPTER-VIII-FIRING-ATTACHMENTS.html
Has some discussion, schematics and diagrams concerning fire control mechanisms for large navy type guns.
I suspect it was a war souvenir and most likely others do too :)
Sure would like to hear/know the whole story behind it...
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Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Sun, 8 Feb 2009 01:21:56 -0800 (PST), the renowned humunculus

The two characters mean, respectively, "Peace" and "Left" individually, and in Mandarin are pronouced "an1 zuo3".
They are often used to phonetically (in Mandarin) translate "Enzo", if that might help. ("Anderson" is different).
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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wrote:

Unless your picture is a mirror image of mine, the second character isn't zuo3, its shi4, which means 'style' or 'type'. On zuo3, the vertical stroke is on the left, not the right.
I agree that the first character is an1.
-riverman
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humunculus wrote:

And now we know why Chinese and Japanese languages are so hard to learn to read and write.
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Seems simple enough to me. This is the Japanese equivalent of the 'Peacemaker' :>
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Patrick Hamlyn posting from Perth, Western Australia
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wrote:

No different than minding your p's and q's....just in a different language. :-)
--riverman
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Not so. There is a Japanese interpretation of both. The first character is "cheap" (onyomi=an, kunyomi=yasu[i]). It can be combined with many other kanji to form words that have nothing to do with "cheap". E.g. anzen (safety), anshin (peace of mind), fuan (unease). In fact I thought the character on the piece somewhat signified safety but I do not see the other kanji for "zen" which is almost invariably present in this context.
The second character *looks* like "left" but it is a mirror image of kanji for "left". Well, not quite, there is an additional stroke which I cannot see in the picture, but it is usually very tiny. This makes this a kanji for "model", "ceremony", "form" and in some context "style".
I have looked as hard as I could (those who use Japanese dictionaries will know that this is not a simple process :-) but could not find the two characters together in any context.
The kanji characters are in majority identical in their structure and meaning to the Chinese. Not always. In Japanese, however, the words can also be written independently in two alphabets using syllables: Hiragana for native words and katakana usually for foreign words (Hence "Makudonarudo" for McDonald's). The hiragana is used to modify kanji to express grammatical forms, particularly in case of verbs.
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Michael Koblic,
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Here is another photo that someone sent in to me, along with this description:
The item is in the collection of the Lititz Moravian Church's Archive and Museum in Lititz, PA. The item is sheet tin, light weight, and shows no signs of any wear or use, like for dipping or hanging. Each little, tin v-shape going down are like 'pockets'. It could date anywhere from 1750's, founding of the church, to the 1850's. We have many other tin items in the collection from this period since the Moravians were like a communal society set up to do missionary work with the Native American Indians in North America, and all the tools and much of the output of the various crafts folks in town remained with the church.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v80/harnett65/Album10/_7dcs008.jpg
Might be another one that doesn't really have a purpose, but maybe someone will have an idea on it.
Rob
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