Let’s face it, from the very beginning that the cavemen sharpened stones and turned them into spears and arrows between 4,000 and 3,300 BC, we’ve come so far. When the Industrial Revolution from the mid-18th century entered, weapon designs and engineering were no longer just sticks and stones but rather more on advanced, sometimes-too-complicated, never-before-seen guns, swords, explosives— really, your imagination is the limit. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? We’d say both. With that, here are some badass-looking but not too useful weapons designed, some even dating back even before the revolution.

Ax Pistols

Ax-Pistol of Grand Duke Ferdinand I de’ Medici. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Is it an ax? Is it a pistol? It’s both!

The oldest record of the design was in the middle of the 16th century, combining wheel-lock pistol and conventional ax. The idea was popular among the wealthy noblemen who could afford elaborate mechanical curiosities. This German-manufactured ax-pistol was made of all steel with a hollow shaft of the ax serving as the pistol barrel, while the lock was placed to the outer side. Its shaft had a touchhole bore to it where the trigger was fitted. Its grip terminates a hollow pommel, formed by combining two hinged halves that more likely served as storage for pyrites, wadding, bullets, and the likes. The S-shaped ax blade was fitted in the forward end of the shaft. As The Met wrote:

The ax-pistol is first recorded in the Medici archives in 1589, when it was in Ferdinand’s private armory (armeria secreta) in his residence at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. There it was clearly described, including the grip, which is now plain, as having been covered in black velvet with fringe of black silk and gold. The entire weapon was stored in a case of black leather furnished with black velvet cords and tassels of black silk and gold.