These items were chosen to illustrate the topics of the demonstrations at The Forging, 2019. The fourth official annual gathering of the United League of Armourers in Boonville NC Sept 27-30 2019. Specifically these items illustrate:

These items were used in Ugo Serrano's presentation and interactive class on chasing, Robert MacPherson's class on the cuirass, Patrick Thaden's roll demonstrations and my general discussion and the more in depth investiation of pieces where attendees were taught to transfer the form of pieces.


Tasset terminal plate

Tasset terminal plate circa 1505

German. Rectangular form with widely spaced radiating flutes. Flutes with parallel incised lines on each side except for the outer-most flute which is formed as a step and only has one incised line. Upper edge bevelled, lower edge with recessed border and simple ridge simulating a roll. Holes indicate this plate was originally attached ot the other plates by a sliding rivet at the outer edge and an interior leather at the center and inner edge.

4 1/4in. tall.

Thickness varies between .060in, and .035in. Generally between .050 and .045, thinning toward the bottom and inner end. Weight 7.4 oz (205g) [inv. num. A-129]

Bottom plates from a pair of German Tassets

Bottom plates from a pair of German Tassets circa 1520-30

of bright steel embossed and engraved in imitation of the slashed civilian clothing of the period. Each curved to the shape of the thigh, the lower edge (cracked) boldy roped and bordered by a recessed border defined by 2 ridges. The upper edge cusped in the center. Domed brass rivets replaced. Height 5 inches (12.8 cm).

Provenance F.H. Cripps-Day.

Exhibited Wilmer House Museum, Farnham, 3-29 April 1962, No. 8. [inv. num. A-29]

Pair of tasset lower plates

Pair of tasset lower plates circa 1580

Narrow rolled decoration with fine roping. Short sections of sunk border with additional recessed flute. Embossed decoration. Black ground with polished raised decoration of stylized leaves, vines and zoomorphic heads.

Measurements: weights 11.2 ounces (315g) and 10.8 ounces (305g). Thickness between .040 and .070 in., mostly .040-.055 in. [inv. num. A-30]

Tasset end plate

Tasset end plate circa 1580

Single plate. Inward turned roll around the bottom edge extending up the sides. 2 keyhole slots at the top for attachment to the upper tasset plates. Embossed and recessed decoration with etching. Recessed border around the edge with etching. Central band of etching. Purportedly from the Madrid Real Armeria after the Spanish Civil War (according to the seller), also attributed possibly to the Lisbon armoury. The decoration on each side is a firesteel and stone creating fire. This symbol is associated with the Order of the Golden Fleece. A slightly different form of the same image appears on the elbow wings of an armour for Philipp II of Spain that was made in 1544 by Desiderius Helmshmid (A 547 in the KHM). [inv. num. A-150]


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 circumference. 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 early 17th c.

Italian. Rough from the hammer. Vambrace with very slight tulip shape on the outer plate, inner plate secured by an inset hinge at the back and a pin engaging a hole in the outer plate at the front. Deep, broad cop with slight pointw at the center of the top and bottom. One lame below and above securing the cop to the vambrace. Upper formed of two large plates and two further smaller plates. The bottom two forming a turning collar. The top two secured to each other and the remainder by sliding rivets at the back and with leathers at the front and center. Leathers secured by pairs of rivets in each plate (leathers lost). interior edges of vambraces, cop and lames with pairs of chisel assembly marks. Engraved lines generally trippled parallel to the edges. Edges with inward turned plain rolls except at the elbow of the upper vambrace plate where the roll is turned outward.

Measurements: weight: 4 pounds 9.6 ounces (2.090 kilo).

Provenance: Ex. JW Higgins Armoury (inv. no. 927). Dr Bashford Dean, Riverdale, New York, purchased from his estate 28 September 1929. [inv. num. A-238]

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]

Cuisse with poleyn

Cuisse with poleyn circa 1580

Comprising a one-piece cuisse with poleyn of 4 plates. The cop of deeply rounded form with a small wing. The edge of the cop rises to a point at the center, the outer edge of the lames are cut to form a point in the center and points over the rivets. The top edge of the cuisse, wing and bottom plate with inward-turned rolled roped edges. The rolls are fairly even, the one on the top of the cuisse does taper a little bit. The rolls on the edge of the cop wing are full rolls on the flat portion of the wing but they flatten out and finally disappear in the indented area. The cuisse is shaped to the thigh, creased at the center and has an additional raised and roped line parallel to the top edge. The leg has a band of etched decoration in the form of a set of trophies of armour flanked by roped bands along the center line. The band between the top roll and roped line is etched with a foliate design. The edges of the cop and lame are filed with a simple roped decoration and have notches at the center crease. There are single filed notches on the inner ends of the cop, lame, lower plate and cuisse. The image of the leg with the knee bent illustrates the extent of motion allowed by the armour (almost, it does move a little more under pressure). Strap mounting rivets remain near the top of the cuisse and on the cop. The lower lame has a central slot to be secured to the greave.

Height 14 1/4 in. tall.

Generally varies between .030 and .050 inch thick, mostly .035-.040 in. with some places where it is as thin as .020 in. on the lower plate. [inv. num. A-169]

Cuisse for the left leg

Cuisse for the left leg circa 1510

Spanish (possibly Flemish or Italian). Formed of a short cuisse plate, a long demi-greave, a central cop and two lames above and below the cop. All formed with a central crease. The cuisse plate slightly boxed and the outside and dished to conform to the thigh. The upper edge of the cuisse bordered by a recessed band and hollow roll. The cop with a raised central ridge and another bridging the transition from the cop to the wing. The wing with a recessed border. The demi-greave cut away on the inside of the bottom and bordered by a recessed band and roll similar to the top of the cuisse. The outside cut off straight. A single buckle remains on the outside of the demi-greave. There are rivets for securing straps and buckles on the cuisse and knee cop. Sold from the Parsons collection as late 15th c. but the character of the piece - forms of the rolls and boxing much more closely approximates 1510 - similar in many ways to the cuisses on Henry VIII"s Silvered and Engraved armour. It appears that this was likely originally rough from the hammer and would likely have been blackened. This is very similar in form to the knees illustrated in Albert F Calvert - Spanish Arms and Armour - plates 17(b) and 99. They are described as late 15th c. Other similar items can be seen in Mann - Notes on the Armour Worn in Spain - Archaeologia LXXXIII for 1933 p. 300 fig. 7 and item #183 in the Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection of Armor and Arms 1963 - again identified as late 15th century Spanish. There are also two similar pairs in the Harding Collection in Chicago. One of these has been adapted to appear to have a more 15th c. style. One pair and one left very similar pairs are illustrated in armamento Medieval No Espaco Portugues items 21 and 22. These come from Lisboa Museu Militar Inv. MML numbers 21/37 and 21/69. 21/69 is nearly identical to this item..

Provenance: Dr. Peter Parsons Collection (2011), Brian Powers (1980)

Measurements - 15 in. overall height - others on the image. Thickness - cuisse .060-.070 in. cop .050-.060 in. demi-greave .040-.050 in. [inv. num. A-200]


Pauldron late 16th century

Main plate with embossed sworls on front and back. Recessed borders. Large main plate with 2 upper plates. And 4 lower plates.

Measurements: length of top of main plate 20 5/8 inches - 10 1/8 behind the crease, 10 1/2 in front.

Weight: 2 pounds 0.8 ounces (930 g). [inv. num. A-132]

Italian Pauldron

Italian Pauldron late 16th cent

Large main plate overlapping those above and below. 2 plates above, 4 below. Main edges with inward-turned rolls and recessed borders. For use with a floating elbow or with elbow gauntlets. Brass-capped rivets. Leathers and some rivets replaced. Top plate cracked at the center with a modern riveted patch.

Thickness varies between .022 and .058 in., mostly .035-.040 in. There seems to be very little pattern to the thickness variation. There has certainly been some loss due to oxidation.

Measurements: height at the crease measured over the outside 12 1/2 in. length of the top of the main plate 17 3/4 in. (9 behind the crease, 8 3/4 in front).

Weight: 1 pound 13.6 ounces (840 g). [inv. num. A-35]

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. I have added two images of another separate pin in the collection. This one has lost its toggle, but retains its spring.

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."

For similar see WAM 2014.783 - formerly in the John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection and Claude Blair - European Armour - page 207 item 150 - illustrates item II. 1 from the Royal Armouries. [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. This is very similar to the gorget on Wallace A45 catalogued as A45.02 and WAM 2014.1175.2 formerly in the John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection..

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

10 3/4 in wide at the back, 8 3/4 in wide at the front. 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 half 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). Top of collar 6 in. wide and 6 3/16 in front to back. 11 1/4 in. wide at the widest part of the back. Thickess of the main plate generally .030-.040, the collar plate .020-.030. Weight 1 pound 9.6 ounces (725g). [inv. num. A-114c]


Gauntlet circa 1620-30

English, Almost certainly Greenwich. Cuff of flared form with a small point at the center and with a central crease. The cuff is formed of a large, shaped outer plate and a small inner plate. The inner plate is fitted with a wrist plate that extends over the base of the thumb. The end of the cuff borndered by a plain inward roll, a recessed border and two parallel engraved lines. The forward edge of the inner thumb plate with a plain inward turn and a pair of engraved lines. The back of the hand and base of the thumb covered by five metecarpal plates and a plate shaped over the knuckles. The fingers and thumb covered by pointed scales with a longer scale covering the finger tip. The edges of all of large plates bordered by pairs of engraved lines. The finger plates bordered by single engraved lines. Lining and articulation rivets capped with brass. Remains of lining leathers at the outer edge of the cuff, along the edge of the wrist/thumb plate and under the articulation rivets opposite the thumb. The back of the hand is elegantly shaped. The points at the center of the metacarpal plates and the centers of the knuckles identify this as a 17th century piece. The central crease in the cuff and metacarpal plates is curved to allow it to follow the center of the natural bend of the hand away from the thumb.


Weight: 1 pound 6.8 ounces (650g). [inv. num. A-227]

Mitten Gauntlet

Mitten Gauntlet late 16th century

Of russet steel. Hand formed of 5 overlapping plates articulated to allow the wrist to bend down and up. Fingers covered by mitten plates formed of 5 separate plates, the final one with a narrow, inwardly turned, roped roll. Hand joined to the fingers by a roped knuckle plate. Cuff of slightly tapered tubular form made from an inner and outer plate. There is a small roll on the inside of the elbow. This was most likely intended to be used without a vambrace as a simple elbow gauntlet. The end of the cuff has a line of rivets to secure a leather strip, the terminal finger plate has a line of rivets to secure the glove and there are remains of a palm strap secured to the main hand plate. Half of the hinge for the thumb remains. The articulations on this gauntlet are very well executed. The rivets appear to be original. From the George F. Harding Collection, previously ex collection Henry Griffith Keasby. 14 5/8 in long. Thickness - cuff .030-.042 back of hand .040-.050 fingers .025-.040 primarily around .032. Close inspection of the finger lames shows the center of the lames are 1.1-1.3 in. wide, the thumb side at the bend are just under an inch and the other side app. .93 in. Rivet tabs are app. .2 in. Weight 1 pound 4.8 ounces (585 g) [inv. num. A-122]

German Gauntlet (part)

German Gauntlet (part) circa 1490-1500

Finger, knuckle and 1 1/2 metacarpal plates of a German Gothic mitten gauntlet. The finger lames are fluted so simulate fingers, the knuckle plate with rounded and creased knuckles. The first metacarpal plate is fluted with v-shaped puckers to accommodate the flutes in the knuckle and finger lames. There is half of the hinge used to attach the thumb plate, and half of the second metacarpal plate remaining. Each of the articulations is formed with sliding rivets with slots app. 1/4 in. long. 2 rivets have been lost, the parts held together by bolts. Formerly in the collection of Leonard Heinrich - armourer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Thickness: Generally around .030 in. The back of hand plate is pretty consistently .028-.032. The knuckle plate varies more, generally .025-.030, the finger plates vary even more - .020-030. The hinge is folded over. The overall thickness of the two layers is .060 at the bend, the actual metal is likely a little thinner. The pin is .090 in diameter, the hinge is .450 wide at the pin. The partial plate is 3/4 in. wide at the center, .7 in. at near the bulge at the end, .85 at the bulge for the rivet. The second finger plate is just over 1 in. wide. The first plate is app. 1 1/16 in. wide. The main hand plate is 2 in wide at the first knuckle tapering to 1 11/16ths at the fourth knuckle.

Weight: 4.6 ounces (130 grams)

There are often questions about how the flutes can work through the range of movement, esp. where the knuckles interact with the metacarpal. The last two images posted show the interaction between the metacarpal and knuckle plates when the hand is straight and when the sliding rivets are fully compressed and fully extended. These show that they really don"t work all that well when fully compressed and straight. They do look and work pretty well when somewhat bent and extended. This is just sort of the nature of movement when one plate has tapering flutes. [inv. num. A-47]

German Gothic Gauntlet

German Gothic Gauntlet circa 1480-90

Single gauntlet for the right hand. Nicely formed "Gothic" gauntlet typical of the late 15th century in Germany. Fluted, engraved and pierced overall. Formed of a large metacarpal plate joined to a wrist lame by another, smaller lame. The cuff is also attached to the wrist lame. The cuff is pointed with a small outward turn. The knuckle, metacarpal, wrist and cuff plates are attached with sliding rivets allowing the wrist to flex in all directions. The knuckle plate is formed into a rounded crease over each knuckle. The base of the thumb is covered by a large plate secured to the metacarpal plate with a hinge. The thumb and fingers are covered by two plates bridged by a pointed knuckle plate that overlaps the other two plates. The finger plates are secured to a plate inside the knuckle plate. This plate is secured to the sides of the knuckle plate. Rivets replaced. Finger and thumb plates are probably also modern, but well made.

Thickness: cuff generally 0.028 in (varying, .025-.032), wrist plate and next hand plate app. .030, main hand plate .030-.055 - mostly .040-.050, knuckle plate can"t reasonably me measured due to the inner plate and finger plates.

Weight: 13.2 ounces (375 g). [inv. num. A-213]

Two couters

Two couters circa 1490

A pair of elbows - one is authentic, the other a well made copy. Each of shell form, pointed at the outside of the elbow and with a flare at the inside of the bend of the elbow. The outer surface covered by three stepped flutes on each side and a central squared raised ridge. Each of these is accentuated by an engraved line at the base of the step. The outer edge is decorated by a series of five cusps. The back and inside of the wing are plain. The cops have modern straps and have four holes at the center to secure the cop to the arm. Four holes are usually indicative of laces, but these holes appear to be smaller than would be normal for this. The form, decorative elements and four holes indicate a late 15th century date for the elbow.

Measurements: Elbow thickness varies significantly reflecting the rough interior surface - a few thick areas app. .060, thin areas app. .030. Varies significantly even in spots close to each other often between .040 and 050 in one area of the center. It appears this elbow was shaped roughly and ground to its smooth surface, not hammered to the exact shape.

Weights: elbow: 7.4 ounces (210g). [inv. num. A-214]

Elbow (couter)

Elbow (couter) circa 1500

Floating form designed for use with a central peg securing it to a strap connecting the upper and lower vambrace. Clam shell form with one flute above and below the center and raised border over most of the outer edge. Ex. col. Dr. John Waldman.

Measurements: weight 7.8 ounces (225g) thickness mostly .035-.045 with smaller areas as thin as .028 and as thick as .062 inch. The thinnest spot is near the point. [inv. num. A-148]

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]

Elbow cop

Elbow cop circa 1550-70

For the right elbow. Very finely formed with crisp detail and what is likely the remains of old blued finish over a partially ground rough from the hammer finish. This finish appears to be an original finish with very minimal wear. Outer edge and central band with extremely fine roping. Ex. Col. Stephen Granscay. Includes two old tags on the inside. One of brass stamped with S V G on one side and 79 on the other side. The other of stiff brownish read cardboard L.64.I4.28.

Exhibited Allentown (#79). Identified as German, 1550 in the Allentown catalogue. It is very similar in form, roping and central decoration to the elbows on 2 armours in Les Armures Des Rois de France au Musee de L"Armee pages 73 and 77. They are identified as 1560 to mid 1570s (this one is much less decorated)

Measurements: The thickness varies - genrally thicker in the cop area and thinner in the wing. The cop mostly .045-055. Wing mostly .025-.035. Weight 10 ounces (285g). [inv. num. A-221]

German Black and White Elbow

German Black and White Elbow mid 16th cent.

Elbow cop. Floating (originally held to the arm with a strap and buckle around the elbow and a pin suspending it from the upper arm). Decorated with raised foliage against a rough background (likely originally blackened). Raised areas with simple etched decoration. Recessed border with high quality etched decoration of foliage with "dot" background. This elbow was claimed by the previous owner (optimistically) to have been formerly in the collection of Stephen Granscay. Since he also claimed it was in the Allentown exhibit, maybe he was thinking of the elbow later added to my collection as A-221 which better matches the description and includes appropriate collection tags. Traced back to lot 504 from the Sothebys European Works of Art sale held in New York November 25, 1986. [inv. num. A-96]


Breastplate circa 1500-1510

Italian/Flemish. One piece breastplate with central crease. Angular outward-turned rolls at the neck and arms. Flaired bottom edge for a fauld.

Measurements: 13 in. tall, 13 1/2 in wide below the arm holes, 11 3/8 in. wide at the waist. Thickness: center mostly .120-.140 with thick spots up to .150, side tapers down to .080, shoulders taper to .050, but only right at the edge more of the shoulder area is no thinner than .080. Rolls up to app. 1/2 in. tall at the center. Weight 5 pounds 11.6 ounces (2.595 kilo). [inv. num. A-239]

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 (measured with a gauge from the back of the material)- .66. Max height of right arm roll - .84. Max height of left arm roll - .71. Measuring from the front of the breastplate the rolls height and width at the widest spot are: right 3/4x13/16 inch, left 11/16x3/4 inch, neck 11/16x23/32. To generalize, the armourer was aiming for a roll about 3/4" high and about the same in depth (19mm). [inv. num. A-66]

Breast and back plates

Breast and back plates circa 1560

breast-plate with medial ridge drawn-out to a central point and with a separate waist lame forming a flange at the base, the upper edge prominently turned and roped above an inverted double ogee-shaped border, movable armhole gussets with edges roped en suite, single riveted skirt and back-plate with two small side plates, waist lame and culet all en suite with the breast-plate. Almost certainly from the same series and well matched in style. Both the breast and back of relatively heavy construction for munition pieces. The back may be from a somewhat shorter cuirass. The rolls on the breastplate and gussets are nicely tapered and elegantly roped. Roping changes direction at the center where the center is accented with a central bump with roping. Bottom of the fauld and culet lames with inward turned roped rolls. Ends of the rolls on the backplate under the arms and on the culet terminate allowing for easy overlap under the breastplate. Originally rough from the hammer and blackened. Breast marked with 5 round punch marks near the neck and 4 chisel marks on the inside of the neck roll. Lightly cleaned. Most rivets replaced. Some do appear to be original. There are four rivets that secure the breast to the waist lame which have remnants of pewter rosette washers, patches and some laminations secured with original rivets. Re-leathered. Buckles replaced. There are some internal patches. Two apparently modern patches in the fauld lame. Two in the backplate appear to be working life. One at one end of the culet is modern.

Measurements: Breast varies in front between .17 and .21 in tapering down to .12 at the sides. Fauld lame varies somewhat randomly between .030 and .060, mostly .045-.055. Main plate of the back varies .05 in. to .10, mostly .06-.08 except at the sides. Culet lame .04-.06 thinning to .03 at the sides. Atypically there seems to be some attempt to thin the backplate on the sides. This continues into the small additional side plates that are .04-.05 thick. The thickest part of the main plate is in the lower left. Breast weighs 8 pounds 11.2 ounces (3.950 kg) back weighs 4 pounds 10.8 ounces (2.125 kg). [inv. num. A-291]


Breastplate circa 1550-60

Innsbruck. Officer quality black and white with embossed vine and leaf decoration. Moveable gussets at the arms. Large, tapered, roped rolls at the arms and neck all coming to a point at the center. Original buckles at the top of the gussets, one damaged. Rolled borders of the arms augmented with a narrow embossed line at the center of the gusset. The neck accented by a raised polished section with a parallel raised liine and a small secondary chevron at the center. Roping aparently filed - the rolls with an overall even (not embossed for the ropping) surface. Breastplate with a central crease and deep rounded point at the center. De-laminations on the inside in the lower section of the point and some small ones on the surface. One old patch near the center of the flair and one later patch at the left fauld rivet hole. Black refreshed, white areas lightly cleaned. Gusset rivets replaced. Note from Ian Eaves states:

This is actually a nice piece: an officers quality black and white armour made in Innsbruck about 1550-60.

The main maker of such armours was Michel Witz the Younger (see for example an armour preserved in the arsenal at Graz). Particularly close in style is an armour by Sebastian Katzmair of Innsbruck in Schloss Churburg (no 118 in the Trapp , Mann catalogue of 1929 as I recall).

The breastplate decoration is very similar in form to the breastplate on CH S118 in Churburg (illlustrated page 329 of the new 1996 catalogue and plate LX (b) in the 1929 Mann and Trapp catalogue)

Weight: 6 pounds 9 ounces (2975g). Height 13 1/2 in from center of neck roll to center of waist flair, 15 1/2 in. from top to bottom of center point of the flair, 11 3/8 in. wide at the waist, 13 1/2 in. under the arms. Slot in the gussets app. 3/4 in. long. [inv. num. A-241]

Italian Breastplate and Backplate

Italian Breastplate and Backplate circa 1580

Breast-plate of deep peascod form with medial ridge and two embossed volutes at the top, armhole gussets, single plate skirt, and later fixed lance-rest (removed). Tall inward-turned, finely roped rolls at the neck and armholes. The armholes on the main plate have a line incised parallel to the edge. Fauld lame with incised line parallel to the upper edge and inward-turned roped roll central arch. Steel buckles at the shoulders. Back-plate shaped to the back, embossed with rounded ribs in the form of a "V" towards the top and parallel to the arm holes. With incised vertical line at the center. Inward-turned, roped rolls at the neck, arms and on the edge of the narrow waist flare. Breast of heavier form, consistent with those made for cavalry use. Breast and back associated. Similar to those on B-13 from Mantova.

Breastplate - height 15 from base to center to neck hole. Width 10 in. at the waist and 13 1/2 in. under the arms. Neck roll 1/4 in. wide and 3/8 in. tall at the center. Backplate - height 14 3/4 in. width under the arms 14 3/4, 10 1/4 in. at the waist. 11 1/4 in at the upper edge.

Breastplate - thickness at the outer edge .035 at the upper corner under the arm to .080 near the waist. At the holes for mounting the lance rest .075-.110, primarily in the .080-.095 range. Center .110-.130 in. Upper area thins to .055 in. at the upper corner, but generally .070-.085 in. Peascod thins to .055 at some spots, but generally .065-.080 near the center. Overall, the center is app. .125 in. thick, tapers out to .070-.080 in. at the sides before thinning to app. .060 in. very near the edge and top. Backplate - varies between .022 in. and .060 in. Most of the area is .030 in. to .040 in. Thickness is much more variable. It does not seem to be intentionally thickened in any specific area. [inv. num. A-114b]


Breastplate circa 1590

Breastplate. Shot-proof breast made for use without fauld or tassets. Good, full peascod form. Heavy weight. Simple outward rolls a the neck and arms with some signs of roping. The material is thick enough that a simple narrow outward fold has been shaped to look like the more usual roll. Scalloped waist flare. Pairs of incised lines. A nice heavy, shot proof breastplate. Jonathan Tavares, curator of arms and armour at the Art Institute of Chicago indicated that this appears to be one of a set of pieces most likely of Flemish manufacture that were used in England as lower end pieces following the ideas from the very high end Greenwich Armoury. Weight 15.5 lbs.

Height 15 1/2 in. from base to center of neck hole. 12 in. wide at the waist, 14 3/8 in. wide under the arm holes.

Thickness. Near the center, app. 1 in. from the crease the thickest point of the breastplate is .285 in. Generally the center is .220 - .260 in. Thins to .185 at the top of the shoulder extensions. Thins at the peascod to .165-.195 in. Central band forming the crease thins aggresively to .160-.195 in. Tapers to .104-.138 at the side under the arm holes.

Weight: 14 pounds 7.6 ounces (6,656 g). [inv. num. A-79]


Breastplate circa 1610

Deep peascod form. Plain inward turned rolls at the neck, arms and at the base of the flair. Point relatively flat but drawn out to a narrow point. Holes for rivets along the edge of the flair. Rough from the hammer finish. Fitted with two pegs for shoulder straps and a paur of winged turning pins. Suggesting that it has been refitted for use in more than one configuration.

Measurements: 13 3/4 in. wide below the arm holes, 11 3/8 in. wide at the waist, overall 18 1/4 in. tall. 6 1/2 in. tall from waist to under the arm. Fauld flair 1 3/4 in. long. Thickness .17 in. at the neck, generally .12-.15 in. at the center and tapering to .-08-.09 in. at the sides. The central 11 inches (5.5 on each side) is .1 or greater, varying between .1 and .125 along at line 5 inches from the sides. The thick area near the neck is relatively small, small parts of it are .185. Neck roll .316 tall at the center tapering .2 at the end. [inv. num. A-302]


Backplate circa 1510-20

German. 5 sprays of flutes, 5 flutes in the center spray, 3 each in the other sprays. Flutes radiate from the bottom. Arm holes bordered with a simple raised ridge. 2 holes at the center top. Likely trimmed slightly at the top. Heavily worn, much of the engraved lines on each flute worn away. Formed of a main plate with 2 small extension plates. Waist lame with 3 dependent culet lames. Culet with 3 sprays of flutes. Internal riveted patches in culet lames.

Height - main plate 12 3/4 in. tall. 14 3/4 in. wide under the arms, 10 1/2 in. wide at the waist (center of the waist lame).

Thickness .030 in. to .064 in. On average around .050. There are no signs of intentionally thin or thick areas. [inv. num. A-126]


Backplate circa 1640

One piece with integral collar. Flair at the waist. Rolls at the neck, arms and waist. Remains of stamps near the neck - IW and one less clear which appears to be an a surmounted with something (some version of the London Armourer"s company mark). IW is recorded as registered to John Wright between 1637-1647 and also seems to have been used by Joseph Whorewood between 1648 and 1678. [inv. num. A-136]


Morion early 17th c.

German. Two piece skull with high comb. Bowl decorated with large fleur de lys. Upturned brim swept up to points front and rear. Fleur and comb bright against a blackened rough from the hammer surface. Edges formed with notched inward turns. Lining rivets which have lost copper alloy decorative washers, some show signs of the missing washers" shape in the paint. [inv. num. A-287]


Morion circa 1600

One piece german morion. High crest. Typical brim pointed at the front and back. Edge rolled and roped. Holes for lining and plume holder. There is a hole in the crest and there are 2 patches - one small one in the crest and one larger one on the bottom of the bowl. Both are old and possibly working life patches. [inv. num. A-67]


Morion circa 1580

One piece skull. High comb. Brim with points rising at the front and back. Edge of brim with an inward turned rolled and roped border. Series of small holes at the base of the skull for attachment of the lining strip. [inv. num. A-1-a]


Burgonet circa 1600

Augsburg. One piece skull with high angled comb and integral peak. Single neck lame and a pair of cheek plates. Rough from the hammer. Point of the peak with two marks, one the Augsburg pinecone, the other indistinct. The edge of the peak formed with a simple inward turned roll coming to a blunt point at the center and with a central crease. Neck plate with plain inward turn at the outer edge coming to a blunt point and with a pair of holes near the point for suspension in an arsenal. Cheek plates with a simple bump at the face, inward turned roll at the bottom and pierced with five holes over the ear. Retains lining rivets at the neck and forhead which still secure remains of the leathers. Signs of delamination esp. in the roll on the peak, some corrosion above the right cheek plate and the left hinge cracked. Nice shape with original parts.

Weight: 3 pounds 6.8 ounces (1550 g).

Measurements: skull app. .045 varying mostly .035-.053, Cheek plates mostly .045 (generally thicker near the bottom above the flair and the flair thinning as it gets toward the roll), neck lame generally thicker at the top and thinning toward the roll, mostly .05 down to .03. [inv. num. A-285]


Burgonet circa 1600

Augsburg. One piece skull with high angled comb and integral peak. Single neck lame and a pair of cheek plates. Rough from the hammer. Point of the peak with two marks, one the Augsburg pinecone, the other indistinct. The edge of the peak formed with a simple inward turned roll coming to a blunt point at the center and with a central crease. Neck plate with plain inward turn at the outer edge coming to a blunt point and with a pair of holes near the point for suspension in an arsenal. Cheek plates with a simple bump at the face, inward turned roll at the bottom and pierced with five holes over the ear. Retains lining rivets at the neck and forhead. Signs of delamination esp. in the rolls on the peak and neck lame and at the edge above the cheek plates which also shows signs of folds and cracking which has been repaired during manufacture.

Weight: 3 pounds 7.8 ounces (1585g).

Measurements. As one would expect, the thickness varies significantly. The bowl is mostly something around .055 in. (The front of the skull thicker, areas up to .078 and one area above the right cheek plate .090., thins toward the base of the brim to .035-.045, brim .029-.070 generally thinner in the middle, the lower back of the skull .020-.037, seemingly intentionally thinner), The tail plate .035-.055, the cheek plates mostly about .035 in. (varying between .028 and .044) The cheek plate does not get thinner as you approach the bottom of the flair, so the bottom of the cheek plate is not formed by a simple flair. [inv. num. A-276]


Burgonet circa 1600

South German Probably Augsburg. Two piece skull with high comb and separate inset peak and separate neck lame. A pair of cheek plates (the left probably associated and slightly worked to fit at the bottom). The hinge badly replaced on the re-worked cheek plate. The two piece construction is much nicer than many helmets. The two halves fit, are at the same level and the seam in the comb can be confused with an engraved line (which it was in the auction description where it was described as having a one piece bowl). Rough from the hammer. Edges with plain inward turns. Lining rivets at the face and neck lines. [inv. num. A-284]


Burgonet circa 1550-70

One piece skull boxed in four panels and rising to a point with an acorn finial. Integral brim, separate neck lame, two cheek plates (left associated, probably from the same original arsenal and from a similarly decorated, but slightly different helmet). Main edges with roped inward turns and recessed borders. The helmet decorated with four raised bands that continue onto the neck guard and peak. The edge of the peak, neck lame and cheek plates decorated with inward turned roped rolls. Formerly black and white. Cleaned. Black areas reblackened with paint to simulate original appearance. [inv. num. A-256]

Western European Cabasset

Western European Cabasset circa 1600

Rounded bowl formed in one piece rising to a slight point at the center of the top. Creased along the center and with a small stalk bent backwards at the point. Narrow brim slightly down turned. Brim with inward turn and narrow recess at the edge. Bottom of the helmet bowl with holes for lining rivets. 14 holes. Helmet 7 1/4 inches tall. Inside of bowl 7 inches wide and 8 1/4 inches long. Brim app. 1 inch wide at the sides and app. 1 1/4 inches wide at the front and back point. Acid cleaned. All lining rivets missing. Originally smooth finish. [inv. num. A-11]


Cabasset circa 1600

Almond shaped skull rising to a short stalk at the top, the base of the skull forming a narrow down-turned brim. Skull bordered by holes for lost lining rivets. Brim with narrow turned border.Blackened finish appears to be renewed.

Measurements: [inv. num. A-296]

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) swept 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]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail 16th century

Piece of Mail. Rings of round cross section except at the overlap. All rings rivetted. Wedge rivets.

Detailed analysis by Mart Shearer shows that this is either the remnant of, or perhaps a piece in progress of becoming an armpit defense, commonly called a voider. Ring level detail images use a millimeter scale. They show (in order a-h):

  • a and b show the outer side of the riveted joint. Tool marks at the edge of the round wire leave a noticeable edge where the flattened overlap begins.
  • c shows the back of the wedge rivet, with an apparent split in the rivet
  • d and e show fractures of the overlap next to the rivet. This is not a modern phenomenon. Considering the size of these rings, perhaps we should be amazed they were able to rivet them at all.
  • f shows a nick in the wire, likely from the tool used to cut the rings from the coil, though damage from some sort of edged weapon is possible.
  • g shows three of the wedge rivets. Although one is still firmly in place, the other two have some gaps where they were not successfully closed or have backed out of the drifted hole.
  • h shows a wedge rivet which has come out between the side of the overlap, rather than piercing the top.
Using a digital micrometer, and rounding to the tenth, five rings were measured parallel to the rivet join. The average exterior diameter was measured to be 5.1mm (0.20 in.), though the rings are slightly larger measuring over the riveted lap, as the expansion around the rivet sometimes goes to the outside of the ring, averaging 6.3 mm (0.24 in.). Average wire thickness opposite the riveted join from five rings measured 0.68 mm (0.027 in.) -- approximately 22 gauge for those using ferrous wire. Of interest to the modern re-enactor, the welded stainless mail available from AZON or Ring Mesh used for butcher"s safety gear, shark suits, or protection for modern fencing measures 5.3 mm (0.210 in.) with a thickness of 0.55 mm (0.0215 in.). Total weight of this voider from a digital kitchen scale was 231 grams (8 1/8 oz.), although the weight would be slightly more with the missing gore of mail. [inv. num. M-6]