May 2012 Study Session


Black and white half suit

Black and white half suit circa 1550-1600

composed of a morion formed from 2 pieces, breast with prominent central point, sliding gussets and fauld of 2 lames, munions formed of one large plate front and back with integral shoulders and elbow gauntlets. Breast, main gorget plates, terminal shoulder plates and gauntlet cuffs decorated with arched raised "white" bands instead of the more usual bands parallel to the edge. Gorget neck lames lacking. Leathers decayed and lost from the munions. Upper-most plate of the right shoulder missing. Breastplate painted on the inside with inventory/arsenal number 3946. Composed, but the breast, gorget, munions and gauntlets are well-matched. The helmet is somewhat later - c. 1600.

Measurements: Breastplate 13 3/4 in. from center of neck roll to waist, 18 in. from center of neck roll to center of roll at the base of the lower fauld lame, 14 /4 in wide under the arms, 12 1/8 in wide at the waist, 17 in. wide at the sides of the fauld, 10 7/8 in wide at the top with the gussets set to the narrowest part of the slot.

Weights: right gauntlet 1 pound 6.4 ox (635 g), left gauntlet 1 pound 8.8 oz (695 g), Morion 2 pounds 4 oz (1025 g), Breastplate 6 pounds 3 oz (2805 g), Munions 4 pounds 9.2 oz (2075 g). [inv. num. A-156]

Three-quarter Suit

Three-quarter Suit circa 1590

Composed. Consisting of a matching breast and backplate, Burgonet, munions and long tassets. All of the pieces with recessed polished bands and raised rough from the hammer surfaces. Edges with inward-turned roped rolls. [inv. num. A-194]


Breastplate late 15th c.

Built in the characteristic 15th c. style of 2 plates where the upper plate covers much of the chest and is overlapped by a lower plate that rises up in the center. The upper plate has simple, tapered, outward-turned rolls at the neck and arms. The roll at the neck is just slightly curved. There are two rivets for attachment of buckles at the shoulders, both of these are replaced, one has been moved somewhat to account for the loss of the end of the shoulder extension. There is another rivet right at the edge of the loss that matches the location of the rivet on the other shoulder. The lower plate has a flair at the bottom for the suspension of a fauld. There are 2 holes for the rivets to secure the fauld lames, a rivet remains in one hole. The 2 plates are presently secured by 4 rivets, the largest, central one of these would have originally been a bolt, the others are later additions. The lower plate rises to a wide peak at the center and it cut with 2 small cusps at the side. The edges of the central point are beveled over most of the edge. The bevel terminates before the cusps. This breastplate is of relatively heavy construction. The metal thickness by visual inspection in the center appears to be app. 3 mm tapering to app. 1 mm at the sides. These are estimates as it is hard to actually measure the thickness in its current configuration. A few actual measurements with a deep micrometer indicates that after the losses to rust the central upper breastplate varies between .115 and .150 in. in the center. The edge under the arm thins noticably - the very edge is generally .040-.050 with one thin spot down to .030. Within 2 in. from the edge it thickens to .090 and then on up to the central thickness. The lower plate is more even in thickness and noticably thinner - generally app. .050 in. It is basically a really large waste lame. There is some loss to one shoulder and at the center of the lower flair. Very similar in form to the breastplate illustrated as item 5.8 (page 89) in The Medieval Armour from Rhodes by Karcheski and Richardson. This item is in the collection of the Chateau de Grandson Switzerland. This breastplate is described as German or Italian end of the 15th/early 16th century. They also identify it as of the type called Fussknectbrust - for use by armoured infantry. This one may be intended for mounted or higher-end use since the metal thickness varies from the center to the sides. Generally these simple 2 piece breastplates are attibuted to late 15th c.

Measurements: (all taken straight on the inside) - width at the narrowest spot between the armholes - 9 1/2 in., width at the bottom of the armholes 14 3/8 in., width at the waist 12 1/4 in., height from waist to the top of the center of the neck 13 7/8 in., overall height 15 1/4 in.

Weight 6 pounds 10.6 ounces (3,025 g). [inv. num. A-193]

Italian or Flemish Breastplate

Italian or Flemish Breastplate circa 1500

Formed of a single piece with a medial crease, flared bottom edge and large triangular rolls at the arms and neck. The roll at the arm with engraved/filed decoration in the form of lines. There are a set of holes on the right side for the attachment of the pins for a lance rest. This is a fine example of a rare type of breastplate made at the turn of the 16th century. Examples like it may be found in the Waffensammlung Vienna, Metropolitan Museum NY, etc. For a very similar example see Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art #1977-167-132 formerly in the Dean collection.

Size measurements: Width of neck hole - 8 1/2 in. Height of arm hole - 9 in. Arm hole to waist- 4 1/2 in. Center from top of roll to waist - 12 3/4 in. Waist flare - 3/4 in.

The metal varies in thickness. Within an inch it can vary about .01 inch. All measurements in inches. Thickness measurements:Sides - .028-.052 - mostly in the .030-.040 range. Upper area between arm and neck (right side) - .035-.050.Mostly around .040. Same thing (left side) - .059 - .075 (thicker than the other side). At the lance rest holes - .040 - .052. At the top crease area - .070 - .080 (mostly .080). At the center near crease - .080 - .11. Center near the waist - mostly .040 - .050. Height of upper roll at the center - .66. Max height of right arm roll - .84. Max height of left arm roll - .71. [inv. num. A-66]

Breast and Back plates

Breast and Back plates circa 1500-10

Breastplate formed of one piece. Globular form. Simple outward turns at the neck and arms. The rolls are tapered with a rounded profile on the outside, with a subtle crease in the front forming a very crude triangular roll. Short spray of flutes at the center composed of 5 full flutes with two step (one sided) flutes - one on each side. The flutes are accented by engraved lines. Pierced for laces at the center of the neck and with two marks. Waist flaired to carry a fauld of 3 lames. The fauld lames secured to the flair by rivets and to each other by sliding rivets at the side. The bottom fauld lame has a narrow outward turn at the center which is slightly boxed. The breastplate is cut out at the sides of the waist. The sides and ends of the fauld lames extend significantly past the waist. This is typical of armours around 1500. Two buckles at the shoulders. Both appear to be old, but they are probably both associated. One is too nice for this simple armour and the mounting plate is decorated so that it appears to have been originally designed to be used on the surface of a piece of armour. Backplate formed of three plates with raised borders at the neck and waist and with one full flute and two one sided flutes at the center. These flutes are not accented with engraved lines. The back has a very full, rounded shape. The breast and back are secured by straps at the shoulders and would have been secured at the waist by a strap and buckle secured to the back plate. Leathers depend from the bottom plate of the fauld to secure tassets. All leather straps replaced. Given the way munition armours appear to fit, it is reasonable to assume that these breast and back really do form a cuirass. Nice example of a simple munition breast and back from the very beginning of the 16th century. A very similar cuirass in the Kienbusch Collection, Philadelphia (cat. no. 123, pl. LVII), which is described as having come from the Bayerisches Armeemuseum, Munich. A number of similar cuirasses are said to have been worn by the town guard of Munich in about 1500.

Measurements: width between the arms 11 1/4 in., top center of the neck roll to the waist 13 1/4 in., width a the arm holes 14 5/8 in., width at the waist 10 1/8 in.(given the cut into the edge of the waist, it is wider than this at the real waist), fauld lames 1 3/4 - 1 7/8 in. tall at the center, backplate 13 in. wide across the top, 13 3/4 in. wide under the arms, 1 3/4 in wide at the waist, 12 1/2 in. tall at the center.

Thickness: variable - a few sample measurements indicate app. .090 in under the flutes in the center, .070 about half way around on the left hand side and .050 at the side under the left arm. Fauld mostly .030-.040, if there is a pattern they are thicker in the center. Backplate generally .040-.050, most thicker spots near the waist and upper corners. Some spots up to .070 in. thick.

Weight: breastplate and fauld 5 pounds 15 ounces (2690 g), backplate 3 pounds 5.2 ounces (1505 g). [inv. num. A-212]

Maximilian Breastplate

Maximilian Breastplate circa 1505-15

Of shallow globose form with three sprays of flutes radiating from the waist. There are seven flutes in the center spray and 5 in each of the side sprays. The outermost flute on each of the side sprays is really a step - a single sided flute. Neck with an angular inward turn. Arms with sliding gussets with similar angular inward turns. Wide waist lame. Fauld missing. Flutes accented by parallel engraved lines and semi-circular engraved ends. Waist lame with horizontal engraved lines and shallow engraved lines continuing the flutes from the breastplate and suggesting the flutes on the missing fauld. Waist lame cut out at the sides. Each gusset has a buckle at the top to secure the breastplate to the backplate. One of the buckles is likely original the other appears to be a well matched copy. The surface shows signs of rust, cleaning and delaminations. A very similar breastplate forms part of a half-harness in the Fitzwilliam Collection #M.1.3-1936 (cuirass catalogued as M.1.3.C-1936) identified as German, 1510.

Measurements: width at the chest under the arms at the corner of the gussets 13 3/4 in. width at the waist 9 in. (given the cut into the edge of the waist, it is wider than this at the real waist) width at the bottom of the main plate corner to corner 10.4 in. width of the main plate at the top 8.6 in. width at the top including the gussets 9.8 in.

Thickness at the sides .030-.042 with at least one spot on the left side down to .020, top edge app. .050 (varying between .040 and .065, but mostly .050-.055, at the top of the central flute spray .075-.095, the thickest spot in the center generally .090-.120, mostly .095-.10. The thickness is current after some significant loss and cleaning to the outside (some of the engraved lines are nearly erased), it would have been measurably but not significantly thicker. [inv. num. A-170]

Lower-German Breastplate

Lower-German Breastplate circa 1550-1560

Heavy hammered polished iron breast plate with strong projection in the medial ridge and triple extruded curved V-lines under a centrally subdivided roped flange. The left side etched (faded) with a crucifix and kneeling knight. Inset gussets with high roped turnovers. Riveted waist lame. The arm holes are bordered by a narrow recessed band. The bottom edge heavily beveled with a decorative notch at the center. The inside with distinct tool marks, the iron slightly raised in places, the double holes for the lance rest filled in the distant past. Rivets replaced.

Height 12 1/2 in. (32 cm). 11 1/2 in. wide at the waist, 15 1/2 in. wide under the arm holes. 11 1/2 in. wide at the top with the gussets fully extended.

Thickness on a line from the center point to the central point of the left arm roll .156 in. up to .210 app. 1 1/2 in. from the center to .170 at the corner. Along a line 1 in. up from the bottom edge from the center to the outside .160 in. at the center thinning down to .10 at the rivet securing the waist lame down to .075 near the edge. Upper half more consistent ranging somewhat randomly between .170 to .210 with a few spots reaching .230. Up at the top corner of the arm hole thining down to .120 in. Waist lame in the upper facet .132 in. near the center tapering to .055 in. at the edge "Flair" less even and generally thinner varying between .110 .045, mostly between .070 and .090 in. Overall pattern .20 thick near the center, tapering to .070 at the sides and .150 at the top. [inv. num. A-61]

German  Breastplate

German Breastplate circa 1550-60

Breastplate. Black and white. Sliding gussets at the arm holes and 2 fauld lames. Drawn out to a blunted point somewhat below center. Rolls at the neck and arm holes tapering from the center and roped. Background rough from the hammer and painted black. Bands raised and polished. Central band tapering toward the waist on both the breast and fauld lames. One raised band on each side. Top of breastplate with wide scalloped raised area. Lower fauld lame with central arch cut out and rolled and roped edge. All parts originally part of the same piece. Buckles at the shoulder end of the arm gussets. Painted number 3946 in large numbers on the inside of the breast. A nice, basic, munition black and white breastplate from the mid 16th century. [inv. num. A-107]

German Black and White Cuirass

German Black and White Cuirass circa 1580-90

Comprising a heavy peascod breastplate with roped flanges at the neck and sliding gussets, the lower edge flanged for a skirt of 2 plates, the bottom one arched, turned and roped at the center, and matching three part backplate with separate riveted culet, the edges turned and roped, the surfaces throughout divided by bright bands and borders into blackened panels, rough from the hammer, and struck near the neck on both breast and back with the Nuremburg mark and a maker"s mark of a pair of shears in an inverted shield (possibly that of Martin Schneider). The waist belt is a modern replacement. The shoulder straps are also replacements, though one is lacking. 5 of the 6 straps for the suspension of tassets remain and they are secured by 8 lobed roset washers. The fauld lames are slightly deformed. The right gusset, breastplate and both fauld lames are marked with a chiseled "X" assembly marks - the left gusset is different - possibly due to its having been for the left (it fits and matches the right in every respect). Breast mostly .090 inch thick tapering at the sides to app. .070. [inv. num. A-19]


Breastplate circa 1600

Black. Heavy shot proof. with good full-form pinched peascod. Full inward turn at the neck. Simple flares at the arms and flared at the waist. There are signs of delamination on the inside. This breastplate seems to be formed of 2 layers of iron/steel. See ""Duplex armour: an urecognized mode of construction"" by de Reuck et. al. in Arms and Armour: Journal of the Royal Armouries Vol. 2 Number 1, 2005. Formerly in the Granscay collection (sold as part of lot 101, Sotheby"s European Works of Art, Arms and Armour, Furniture and Tapestries New York - Jan 13 and 15, 1992 - the second item in the lot).

Height 14 in. from the base to center of the neck hole. Width 11 in. at the waist and 13 in. under the arm holes.

Thickest part is at the base near the waist just outside the center on each side where it reaches .240 in. There are very few hammer marks in these thick areas. Generally thins to .170 in. near the edge and .110 - .140 in. at the upper corners and around the arm holes. Mostly .200 to .220 in. in the upper center. Peascod thins at the center (likely from forming the very aggresive crease) to app. .170 in. [inv. num. A-17]

German/Austrian (possibly Gratz) Breastplate

German/Austrian (possibly Gratz) Breastplate circa 1590

Including 2 buckles at shoulders. Rolled edges at arm holes and neck, full flare at waist - used without any fauld lames. Simple peascod shape. This breastplate is relatively light and most likely sword proof and not shot proof. This item is very similar to large numbers of breastplates in the Arsenal in Graz. Its original blackened finish has been removed by cleaning with acid. Originally it would have been used with a pair of tassets suspended directly from the wide flare at the waist of the breastplate - taking the place of the fauld. The holes for the tasset straps are evident. Each tasset would have been suspended by 3 straps and buckles - the ones nearest the edge and center of the breastplate were attached by 2 rivets, the central one with a single rivet. Weight 3.5 lbs.

rough inner and outer surfaces, but roughly .050-.060 inch thick overall. [inv. num. A-15]

Shot proof Breastplate

Shot proof Breastplate circa 1600

Simple one piece breastplate with central crease which droops to form a peascod at the waist. Arm and neck holes with simple outward-turned, lightly roped rolls. Flaired at the waist. Pierced with holes for shoulder straps at the shoulders and with pairs of holes for three straps on each side to secure tassets. Rough from the hammer finish. Proofed with a musket in the chest. Marked with an unidentified mark resembling "8Z". Minor delaminations on the outside and some major delamination in the inside near the center of the neck.


Weight: 16 pounds 9.2 ounces. (7,520 g).

Thickness at the center of the bottom half up to 0.340 in. but generally closer to 0.290-0.320, in the top it reaches 0.350 inches near the center, tapering down to 0.250 in. at the shoulder, and down to 0.130 in. at the sides. [inv. num. A-209]


Burgonet circa 1510

Shallow skull with a low roped ridge forming a simple crest. The bowl extends slightly to cover the forhead and farther to cover the neck. Deep fall with wide rounded brim. The outer edge of the brim with a shallow inward turn. The helmet only really covers the head because the fall extends 1 1/2 in below the front edge of the bowl. This allows a shallow bowl to cover the head reasonably. The neck is covered by a single rounded tail lame with a simple raised border on the outside edge. One hinge for the lost cheek pieces remains. Painted overall with a black finish over what appears to be a smooth surface. There is a hole in the top of the skull at the back of the crest the back of crest and the skull around it have been flattened. In its orignal form the top would have been rounded like the front. The brim of the fall is bent at the center. There is also what appears to be a mark in the center of the brim. This appears to be a D on its back. This has been found on pieces made in Nuremberg for Vienna like no. 256 from Das Wiener Burgerliche Zeughaus - 1977. This is a simple example of a very early 16th century style of burgonet. The hole and lost checkplates are later damage, but the form shows the lack of symmetry that is common to many pieces of armour.

Measurements: fromt to back of the bowl 7 5/8 in., side to side 6 7/8 in. Fall 2 1/4 in. tall (tapering to 2 on the left side) and brim 1 5/8 in overall (tapering to 1 3/8 on the left) tail lame 1 5/8 on the left and 1 3/8 in. on the right where it sits off the skull - the overall length from the skull is 1 5/8 on both sides.

Thickness: brim mostly .042-.048 in. Skull mostly app. 050 in. but there are some spots thinning to .030 and up to .070 in. Tail .058-.062 in. [inv. num. A-182]

South German  Burgonet

South German Burgonet circa 1540

One piece skull formed with four triangular panels rising to a near pyramidal point, fitted with fixed peak and neck guard each with recessed border and finely roped edge. With a pair of simple cheek plates. A burgonet of similar form and struck with the mark of the Vienna City arsenal is preserved in the Fitzwilliam Museum Campridge (inv. number HEN.M.80-1933). [inv. num. A-115]


Burgonet circa 1580-90

Burgonet. 2 piece skull with smooth surface. Extremely high, rear-swept comb. Pointed brim and tail integral to the bowl, each with rolled, roped and recessed borders. Small, original cheek plates with rolled, roped and recessed borders. The form of the bowl is remeniscent of morions at the time with aggressively pointed brow and neck. Shows signs of pitting and later cleaning. Rivets and decorative washers replaced. [inv. num. A-105]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet 16th century

This burgonet has a finish that was "rough from the hammer" - the helmet was shaped and plannished with a hammer to its final shape, but it was never ground to eliminate the hammer marks. There are signs that it was then left "black" - the oxidation from heating the helmet during its construction was not removed - and then probably painted. It has been cleaned recently such that much of the oxidation and any original paint have been removed. The lining is attached to two strips of leather which are riveted to the bowl of the helmet above the face and at the neck (these lines of rivets can be seen in the picture). This would originally have been the type of helmet that was kept in an arsenal and issued to soldiers. Unlike the highest quality custom burgonets, the cheek plates were not originally lined. One of the cheek plates is associated. Complete with tail lame, cheek plates and lining. Linings remaining in armour are very rare. [inv. num. A-3]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet 16th century

This is a good example of the type of helmet that would have been warn by the light cavalry units in all of the armies of western Europe during the second half of the 16th century. Originally (as now) with a polished surface. One piece skull. Nuremberg stamp. Good form overall. Lining rivets securing leather strips to skull. Rivets and leathers replaced. Helmet overall cleaned. [inv. num. A-4]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet 16th cent (late)

Of "Black and White" form with recessed bands on each side of the skull. High, roped comb. Neck plate and brim formed of separate plates, each with rolled, recessed and roped borders. Cheek plates with flared bottom (conforming to the neck plate), raised circle in the center and a raised edge at the face openning. Signs of delamination as is common with authentic pieces. Includes original patch at the tail flare and 2 rivets to stabilize laminations at the forhead. Extremely fine roping on the rolls. Right cheek plate replaced. Remains of original finish. Overall oxidized surface. Small holes in the comb. [inv. num. A-52]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet 16th century

One piece polished skull. Nuremberg guild mark. This helmet retains its original plume holder. Provenance: Bischoff Collection, Vienna. [inv. num. A-5]

Italian Close Helmet

Italian Close Helmet circa 1580

One-piece skull, visor, upper and lower bevor and 3 neck lames front and back. The skull rising to a tall roped comb (small holes near the top of the comb and one small brazed repair) swepted slightly back, bordered by incised lines, with circular holes over the each ear in the form of a circle of 8 holes with a central hole. With a shaped plume-holder incised with chevrons at the base by one rivet on each side. Pointed visor with horizontal vision sight divided centrally, pointed lifting-peg fitting into the upper bevor. The upper bevor fits the visor exactly, the upper edge curved in at the back of the eyeslot. Pierced with circular breaths in the form of a circle of 8 holes with a central hole (matching the holes in the skull, but forming a larger circle). on the right and pivoted at the same points as the chin-piece. Chin-piece and upper bevor secured by hooks which engage in to flattened pegs pierced with a hole. Face hole of the chin-piece bordered by a roped inward-turned roll. Face edge of the skull plain with single engraved line. Lining rivets around the face hole flush on the outside. Three neck-plates at front and rear (lower two rear plates replaced), the bottom ones each with turned and roped border and an additional roped ridge parallel to the border. Similar to the helmet on B-13 from Mantova.

Weight: 6 pounds 11.2 ounces (3,045 g). [inv. num. A-114a]

German Gorget

German Gorget circa 1550

Formed of 3 plates front and back with additional plates covering the points of the shoulders. Main front plate with central crease. Main rear plate formed to the shape of the neck and shoulders. Neck tof two lames front and back. Upper plates with srong inward-turned roped rolls. Neck lames creased at the center front following the crease in the main plate. Neck lames attached by 3 leathers front and back, each secured by 2 rivets in each plate. Upper plate secured by an integral hinge at the left and a pin at the right. Main plates secured by a pin at the left and a pin engaging in a keyhole slot at the right. Attached shoulder protection of two plates each. One a small articulating plate, the other shaped to cover the point of the shoulder. Edge rolled and roped. Secured with sliding rivets at the back and leathers at the center and front edge. The leather on the right can be detached from the main plate to allow the gorget to be opened. Two hinged mounts for the suspension of the pauldrons, each carrying a vertical pin with a spring-loaded catch. One associated. Older leathers. A pair of holes at the base of the center of the rear main plate.

Top of neck slightly out of round. App 6 1/2 inches across on the inside (app. 1/4"" longer front to back than side to side). The main plates are 10 1/4 inches wide at the front, 11 1/2 inches wide at the join between the front and back plates and 13 1/4 inches wide at the back. Overall thickness varies between 0.03 in. and 0.050 in. It is generally around 0.040 in. thick. [inv. num. A-25]


Gorget circa 1560

South German, probably Augsburg. Of bright steel composed of 4 plates front and back. The top one with inwardly-turned and roped roll, the bottom one drawn down to a blunt point in the front. Hinged on the left side with an integral hinge in the top collar plate and a rivet n the main plates. Secured by a rivet on the rear plate engaging a keyhole in the front plate and two pins engaging holes in the upper plate on the right. Two pins are relatively rare. This may be to keep the upper plates aligned perfectly if the collar is meant to engage a roll on the bottom of the helmet. The upper one is secured to the rear plate and engages a hole in the front plate, the lower one is secured to the front plate and engages a hole in the rear plate. The top corners of the second rear plate are notched to allow the gorget to open, the plates to fit nicely and still allow for an overlap. With brass-capped rivets throughout. The rivets that secure the straps for the pauldrons are modern. The other rivets may be original, which would make the leathers original. Possibly some form of mark on the main front plate. Very nice form with tapering neck plates. The gorget includes two straps for securing the pauldrons which appear to be later replacements. Details of the contruction including the difference in thickness between the front and back plates, the double pins, beveled edges, inset hinge, brass capped rivet heads and finished edges of the inner plates indicate this likely formed part of a high quality armour.

Ex. Coll. Peter Parsons (2011), Robin Wigington (1977), Part of a South German armour sold by Sotheby , Co. London 12 Feb. 1974, lot 172.

Thickness varies on the front main plate between 0.070 in. and 0.095 in. It is generally in the 0.080 in. range. The main rear plate is thinner - 0.040 in. to 0.055 in, mostly .040-050.

Weight: 2 pounds 8 ounces (1,130 g) [inv. num. A-201]

Italian Gorget

Italian Gorget circa 1580

Gorget of two main plates with single neck-lames at the front and rear. The outer edges of the main plates are bordered by a half roll and recessed border, the laf roll roped. The neck edge of the main plates with matching roped half-rolls. The neck plates with roped full rolls. The neck plates are secured by an internal hinge at the left and a pin in the rear plate engaging a hole in the front plate on the right. The main plates are secured by a turning hook on the right which engages in a keyhole slot. Very similar to that on Corselet II.47 in the Royal Armouries (illustrated on plate LIX in European Armour in the Tower of London). [inv. num. A-114c]

Gorget with munions and tassets

Gorget with munions and tassets circa 1600

Comprising a gorget of 3 plates front and back with integral shoulder protection of 6 plates (munions) and a pair of long tassets. Each with recessed polished bands in the main and raised bands on the secondary edges. All parts cleaned and releathered. Munions and tassets retain the buckles which appear to be replacements. The rolls on the bottom plate taper from the center. The inner edges of the top 3 plates are rolled and have recessed borders. The edges of these plates curve around the area where the cod piece might be. The tassets are assembled using sliding rivets along the outer edge and leathers at the center and inside. [inv. num. A-168]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail 16th century

Piece of Mail labeled as German. Small brass borders. Wedge rivets. [inv. num. M-4]

European Mail collar

European Mail collar 16th century

Mail Collar. Formed of very small rings (app. 1/8 inch i.d.) of round cross section. Taper formed by the addition of a triangular gusset in the middle. 6 1/2 inches tall. Body of rivetted rings. Wedge rivets. Border of 3 rows of brass rings - 2 of solid punched rings and one riveted. Formerly in the collection of Leonard Heinrich - armourer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. [inv. num. M-5]

piece of mail

piece of mail 16th century

Piece of mail. 16th century, likely German. Alternating rows of riveted and solid rings. Flattish form with swelling at the rivet. Watershed form on both sides of the rivet overlap. Rivet heads pronounced on the outside and flush on the inside. Rivets seem to be wedge shaped. Some losses. 10 1/2 in tall, 35 in. wide with the mail stretched wide. Rings vary in size, in general the riveted rings are larger than the solid ones, all somewhat larger than 1/4 in. inside diameter. Solid rings vary in cross section - some very thin, some more washer-like. Some of the solid rings seem to have some flats on the outer edge as if they were punched from sheet and sometimes a ring overalapped the edge of a previous ring. Includes at least one spot near a current hole that includes 2 rings that appear to be working life repairs. They are in a solid row and show distinct round rivets.

Sample ring measurements - punched rings thickness - .050, .060, .082, .044, .055, .080, .060. Riveted rings thickness - .040, .055, .056, .045, .064. Outside diameter of riveted rings .415, .412, oval-ish one .400x.435. Inside diameter is hard to measure, but a few sample punched rings are .260 and a few sample riveted rings are .280. [inv. num. M-9]

Mail shirt

Mail shirt 16th

Mail Shirt hip length with short sleeves and collar. Open at the center of the neck. Rings of flattened form, entirely riveted. Wedge rivets. Collar of slightly heavier rings somewhat more crudely made. The rivet heads on the collar on the opposite side. This indicates the collar was added, almost certainly during the working life of the shirt. [inv. num. M-14]

Mail Sleeve

Mail Sleeve 16th century

Formed of small rings with app. 7/32 inch inside diameter measured with a ruler. Wire thickness measured with a dial gauge app. .030 in. OD of rings app. .270 varying noticably as many of the rings are slightly oval. For these rings the ID would be app. .210 inch or 5.4 mm. This is consistent with the rough measurement. The sleeve includes an area covering the shoulder and armpit, full sleeve with bend at the elbow and tapering to the form of the arm. Rings of rounded section with flattened area for the rivet. All rings riveted. Wedge rivets with the back set flush and front forming a a shallow point. Rings of consistent size. No signs of decorative rings at the edge of the gusset. There are a very few remaining rings that are likely brass at the cuff. Small losses, but relatively sound. [inv. num. M-15]

Mail Sleeve

Mail Sleeve 16th century

Formed of small rings with an inside diameter slightly over 5/32 inch. round section wire was used to make these rings. The rings in the body section are thicker than the rings at the end of the sleeves. In the body the wire is app. .038 in in diameter, the end of the sleeve is .029. The outside diameter of the rings is app. .240 in. With area covering the shoulder and armpit, full sleeve with bend at the elbow and tapering to the form of the arm. Iron rings of round cross section all riveted. The flattened area at the rivet is slightly bevelled on both sides forming a cross section that is roughly a diamond shape. Wedge rivets flush on the inside and forming a shallow point on the outside. Very small rings. Decorative border of copper alloy (brass) rings at the edge of the gusset and at the wrist. Border of alternating solid and riveted rings of 4 rows of solid and 3 rows of riveted rings. Small and medium losses, but overall form remains. [inv. num. M-16]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail circa ????

Small piece of Mail. Each ring stamped with parallel lines. Wedge rivets of brass. [inv. num. M-7]


Arm circa 1430

Extremely rare example of a 15th c. piece of armour. Arm for the left arm. Perhaps from the fortress at Chalcis (Negroponte). Formed of a tubular upper cannon that wraps two thirds of the way around the arm connected to a bluntly-pointed cop with an abbreviated wing by one lame. The cop is then connected to a tulip-shaped vambrace formed of two pieces hinged on the outside by hinges and secured by a strap and buckle on the inside. The cop is connected to the vambrace by two lames. The second lame is attached to the vambrace by means of 3 lateral slots allowing the arm to rotate. The lower edge of the vambrace is bordered by a line of small rivets. The lower cannon is marked by an indistinct maker"s mark involving a split cross. The upper edge of the upper plate with a narrow, outward-turned roll and a line of rivets securing a (later) leather used to lace the armour to the arming doublet. The inner plate of the vambrace, one lame, lisiere d"arret, one half of one hinge, and all of the rivets replaced. The character of these restorations is similar to the restorations on the Rhodes pieces in the Royal Armouries. Given Claude Blair"s association with the Royal Armouries and the presence of the letters HRR on the inside of the inner vambrace plate it is likely that this piece was restored there (HRR almost certainly represents H. Russell Robinson). From the personal collection of Claude Blair. For similar examples see Stephen V. Granscay, The Bashford Dean Collection of Arms and Armour...., 1933, nos. 76-81, pl. V. The most detailed record of the pieces discovered at Chalcis see C. J Ffoulkes, An Italian Armour from Chalcis in the Ethnological Museum at Athens, Archaeologia, LXII (1911) pp. 381-390.

Measurements 39 cm long. The arm is 15 in. long overall when straight, upper cannon 5 1/2 in. tall at the center of the cop, 4 5/16 in. wide at the top, 4 3/16 in. wide at the bottom. The upper cannon is 8 1/8 in. around the circumfrence. The roll at the top of the upper cannon is 1/8 in. tall and 3/16 in. deep. Lower cannon 7 1/4 in. long at the center of the cop, 3 7/8 in. wide at the elbow, 2 5/8 in. wide at the wrist. The cop 3 1/4 in. tall at the center, 2 in. tall at the wing, 1 1/2 in. tall at the back. The slots in the vambrace for rotation are 5/8 in. wide. The hinges are 3/4 in. wide, the upper one is 1 3/8 in. long. The inside measurements of the buckle are 3/4 in. on the wide side of the trapezoid, 5/8 in. on the short side and 5/16 in. tall. The thickness varies significantly. The upper cannon is .040-.090 in., mostly .050-.070 in. The thickest part in the center. The cop is .050-060 on the back and .070-.080 on the front. The outer plate of the lower cannon is generally .070-.080 in the upper center and .050-.060 near the wrist. The upper lame is app. .030 in. and the lower one .040 in.

Weight 2 pounds 7.2 ounces (1,110 g). [inv. num. A-186]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1560-65

For the left arm. Consisting of an upper cannon 4 plates, two small ones at the top, and the two large plates forming a turning collar with slots on the inner plate and rivets. Small cop with embossed quatrefoil at the point and small wing with rolled edges. Lower canon of 2 plates. Cop secured to the vambrace by one lame above and below. The inside of the elbow covered by thirteen small plates. Brunswick, from the house of Hanover.

The details of the inside elbow lames illustrate how it was constructed. Originally the plates would not be exposed in the way they are in the images since it would have been secured to the upper and lower cannons of the vambrace. Since these leathers are for the most part lost or broken, I have exposed the plates. The central plate is formed like a narrow football. This plate is the inner-most plate. There are 6 curved plates on each side. They are articulated near their ends. The central two are riveted through the same point and the central plate, the rest are each secured to the one before. The total assembly was originally then secured to the upper and lower cannons of the vambrace by three leather straps each. These straps remain on the lower cannon of the vambrace and the rivets that used to secure them to the elbow plates can be seen on the loose plate. One of these still secures the lames to the upper cannon, the other 2 have been lost. The rivets that secured these straps to the upper and lower cannons can be seen in the external pictures of the arm.

This arm was nicely etched. Etching is in bands down the outside, and sides of the arm, around the borders, covering the wing, and on each of the plates inside the elbow. The style and details can be seen in the pictures of details after much of the paint and some rust was removed during restoration. The etching is a combination of foliate scroll work, roped bands, bands, fruit, granular backgrounds and playful faces. The small wing is etched in the center of the wing, in the border band, up onto the cop and the edge is decorated with a narrow rolled and roped border where the roping changes direction on each side and is accented by 3 vertical lines. [inv. num. A-195]

Couter (elbow cop)

Couter (elbow cop) circa 1500

Formed in a single piece wrapping two thirds of the way around the arm. With a raised ridge bordered by a parallel recessed border around outer edge of the wing and front of the cop, each accented by an engraved line. One rivet at the center to secure a leather connecting the cop to the vambrace and rivet and hole to secure a strap around the elbow. The cop formed with a blunt medial ridge forming a shallow point. This elbow is formed in a plain style that may be of either German or Italian origin. From the personal collection of Claude Blair.

Measurements 18.5 cm wide. 6 5/8 in. tall at the widest part of the wing, 5 in. tall at the back edge, and 6 in. from the point of the center of the wing to the back edge. Thickness .050-.080, generally in the .060-.075 range. [inv. num. A-185]

Pair of Elbow cops

Pair of Elbow cops circa 1500

German. A pair, both pitted, one with a large internal patch. Each of small, shell form with fluted border and engraved lines. Rising to a central fluted ridge, also accented by engraved lines. There is a hole in the center which would have engaged a pin in a leather strap that connected the cops to the vambrace. There are also two rivets at the back and one in the wing to secure a strap across the inside of the elbow. Ex. Col. Dr. Peter Parsons.

Measurements 5 1/4 in at the widest spot, 4 3/4 in. from the inside of the back to the inside of the inner point of the wing. The central hole is 7/16 in. in diameter. Thickness varies between .040 and .070. Generally thickest about 1/2 in from the center ridge flowing up to the point, thinning toward the central crease and toward the edge. Most of the area in the back, wing and outer edge is .040-.050. [inv. num. A-199]

Gauntlet for the left hand

Gauntlet for the left hand circa 1520-1540

One piece cuff flairing from the wrist. Outer edge with an inward-turned, roped roll with a parallel recessed band. Central crease in the cuff. The main plate extends to cover half of the back of the hand and over the base of the thumb. The remainder of the back of the hand covered by 2 plates. The back of hand creased at the corners and at the center of the base of the thumb. Fingers covered by four plates, joined to the back of hand by a knuckle rider. The front of the knuckle rider and the fingers with fluted creases over the fingers. The end of the final finger plate with a hollow inward partial turn. The base line between the fingers accented by engraved lines. The ends of the plates are decorated with a filed notch on the end opposite the thumb. The thumb area is cracked. The form of the cracks and stiffness indicate it may have been tempered. Some original rivets remain, some replaced. The rivets on the terminal plate, articulation rivets between the last 3 plates, two of the metacarpal lame rivets, two rivets for securing the glove to the cuff and one of the rivets securing the inside of the wrist appear original. There are some small remains of fabric under some of the rivet heads. These appear to have been used to secure the glove.

Similarly constructed gauntlets are found in Mantova B34 (dated 1500-1505) and B35 (dated 1500-1510) - with an earlier form on the end of the cuffs, associated with Henry VIII"s Tonlet armour (RA 11.7) dated to 1520 - but with an earlier form on the end of the cuff and Wallace A278 which is etched and has the final finger plate extended to form a locking gauntlet (dated 1570) and another plain but very similar gauntlet is illustrated on a suit dated to 1560 - #7 from L"Ameria Del Museo Civico Medievale De Bologna. The form of this gauntlet is closest to the RA example. The edge treatment on the cuff is later, but the form is similar - the later ones include a longer, more pointed cuff more typical of 1560-70.

Measurements: 10 1/4 in. long, 4 3/8 in. wide at the knuckle plate.

Thickness: Cuff generally .040-.050 in. The thickness rises at the wrist to .060 in. and very thin over the base of the thumb - .020 in. and in some places even thinner. Metacarpal, knuckle and finger plates .030-.040 in.

Weight: 15.4 ounces (435 g). [inv. num. A-207]

German Gauntlet

German Gauntlet circa 1580

Probably Brunswick. For the right hand. With flaired cuff drawn out to a rounded point. Seven plates over the back of hand and four plates over the fingers. The knuckle and finger plates embossed to simulate fingers. Decorated with incised lines. Iron rivets capped in brass. The back of hand plates extend to cover the base of the thumb. The metacarpal plates include a set of false rivets simulating the end of the plates on a gauntlet built with a separate thumb defense. These line up with the rivet that secures the last hand plate. The metacarpal and finger plates are joined by a knuckle plate embossed to simulate knuckles. Part of the cuff plate is missing along with the inner plate. The cuff and back of hand plates are decorated by recessed lines. Many rivets with brass caps. One lining rivet with a rosette washer remains. From the Royal House of Hanover.

Weight: 1 pound (455 g). [inv. num. A-197]