These items were chosen for the June 2014 Study Session. We studied a small assortment of my early pieces with the addition of the copper alloy 14th c. gadlings in the Robert Mazza collection. Then we discussed a small assortment of gorgets, arms and an interesting collection of mitten gauntlets. There was also an intensive study of several pieces of mail.



Breastplate circa 1490

German. Composed. Upper plate with outward turned triangular rolls at the neck and arms. Plackart formed of one main plate and two smaller plates. Plackart associated. Plackart lames somewhat reworked to fit upper. Some modern internal patches in original plates. One end of the upper breastplate extended to match other side. Modern fauld of four lames. Upper plate fitted with a folding lance rest secured by two bolts from he inside. Lance rest described as modern in sale description. After removal and investigation the details of construction and wear indicate that there is a possibility that the lance rest is actually of the period, though associated. It compares very closely to those which survive on the Vienna gothic armours of the same period. There are also similarities to the lance rest on slightly later Mantova B-8. The bolts are also similar to one of those on the Mantova armour. Two modern buckles at the shoulders. Ex. JW Higgins armoury inv. no. 802. From Dr Bashford Dean, Riverdale, New York, purchased from his estate, 28th September 1929. Exhibited Rockefeller Center, New York, 1 - 30 June 1965 and Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 April - 16 September 1963 [inv. num. A-237]


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]


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]

Breastplate with fauld

Breastplate with fauld circa 1520

Italian or Flemish. Full rounded profile rising to a central crest over the top three quarters of the breastplate. Large inward turned roped rolls at the neck and arms. Roping with simple double lines. Arm holes formed of gussets. Slightly flaired fauld of 5 narrow plates. Bottom plate flaired at the center at the crotch with a rolled, roped and recessed border. Rivets remain on the bottom plate for straps to secure the tassets. Interior holes, rivets and one leather at the center of each side. One buckle remains at the top of the left gusset. The inside of the breastplate and right gusset are marked with four round punch marks. The other gusset and fauld lames may be marked with a single diagonal chisel mark. Interior with old blackened finish. Exterior with old patina. Interior painted with MM. One gusset slightly bent. There is a patch on the upper right corner of the middle fauld lame. It is riveted inside and hammered flush to the outside.

Measurements: 19 1/2 in. tall overall, breastplate 14 in. tall, 12 in. wide at the waist, 13 3/8 in. wide under the arms, 12 in. wide at the top. Fauld 16 in. wide at the bottom, one end of one lame deformed, likely 15 1/2 in. wide originally. Fauld lames vary in width. The top one is app. 1 1/2 in. tall, the second through fourth are app. 1 1/4 in. tall and the terminal lame varies between 1 3/4 and 2 in. Thickness: Breastplate .055 at the edge under the arm, generally .090-.110 over most of the body of the breastplate then thinning to .075 in near the crease. Fauld lames generally around .060, but extremely variable - there is a small area of the 4th lame near the center that is .10 in. thick. [inv. num. A-225]


Gorget circa 1530

North Italian. Composed. Main plates of wide, squared form for use with a shorter breastplate with a straight upper edge. The neck lames secured to the main plates in an atypical manner - with sliding rivets. The top plates with plain, angular inward turn. The top plates are associated. Overall old blued finish with traces of gilding. [inv. num. A-226]

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. This is very similar to the gorget on Wallace A45 catalogued as A45.02.

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]


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 1580

Left arm formed of a tubular upper cannon fitted with a turner of 3 lames. The upper and lower are secured by rivets which slide on long slots in the lower plate. The top edge of the turner is bordered by a narrow outward-turned roped roll . Where the plates overlap the roll is stepped to that it fits cleanly when fully extended. The two turner plates are overlapped, riveted and stepped so that the seam is flush on the outside. The cop of bracelet form which joins at the back with a single lame above and below. The vambrace formed of an inner and outer plate secured by one inset hinge on the inside (secured by 3 rivets on each side) and two pins on the outside. The main edges with roped inward turns. These have a typical Brunswick form with a crease along the outside. Most main rivets with dapped brass caps, many of them with rosette washers. There is a small clip on the inside of the turner which would secure the pauldron strap. Ex. Royal House of Hanover. [inv. num. A-171]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1580

Right arm formed of a tubular upper cannon fitted with a turner of 2 lames. The upper and lower are secured by a raised, roped ridge in the upper that is engaged by a flair in the lower plate. The cop of bracelet form joined at the inside - the center of the flair - with a single lame above and below. The vambrace formed of an inner and outer plate secured by one inset hinge on the inside and two pins on the outside. The main edges with roped inward turns. Many of the rivets - primarily those on the visible side - are capped with dapped brass caps. The four outer (visible) articulation rivets have brass rosette washers. The arm has a typical Brunswick form with a crease along the outside. There is a small clip on the inside of the turner which would secure the pauldron strap. Ex. Royal House of Hanover. [inv. num. A-172]


Spaulder circa 1580

Formed of 7 upward-lapping plates. The top two plates are attached by a sliding rivet at the back, central leather and a rivet at the front. The remaining plates are attached with sliding rivets at the back and leather strips at the center and front. All leathers originally secured to the plates with 2 rivets on each plate. Full rolled and roped edges at the top, front and bottom. Raised edge at the rear. Very nice form, swelling up to fit the shoulder. Central crease.

Overall height 14 1/4 with the rear sliding rivets collapsed and 15 1/2 inches when extended (slots vary in length, generally 1/2-5/8 inch long and 2 are not presently sliding due to tight rivets and later internal paint), width 7 1/2 inches at the widest point on the outside of the rolls and 5 1/8 inches at the elbow - measured from the outside of the roll to the outside of the roll diagonally (the lower rear corner is curved in at the back so that the edges are 4 5/8 inches apart). The rolls are very small - app. 1/8 in wide.

Weight 1 pound 11.2 ounces (770 g). [inv. num. A-117]

Gauntlet finger

Gauntlet finger circa 1350-1420

English. Three finger plates from a fourteenth century English gauntlet, most likely an hourglass gauntlet. Comprising the first, knuckle and second plates. Main plates decorated with raised ridges at the center bordered by pairs of engraved lines. First plate with slightly domed areas at both ends bordered with a lightly engraved line. Third plate with a slightly domed area at the front that is bent down slightly. Knuckle of domed form with a raised ridge the edges with an engraved line parallel to the edge with plain file decoration like simple roping. Each plate with two rivets to secure them to the foundation. Arranged down the length of the main plates and on the sides of the knuckle plates. Made of iron. Old, mostly stable oxidized finish on the exterior. Found at Queenhithe, London. Publications: Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester Martin Biddle (Fig 349) Medieval Artifacts Nigel Mills. (Fig 245b)

Measurements: First plate 1 3/32 in.long, 1 1/8 in wide at the back end, 1 in wide at the front (measured at the very end before the corners are beveled back). Knuckle 1 3/32 in wide, 31/32 long at the side, 15/16 at the center. Third plate 1 3/4 in long, 1 in wide at the back and 7/8 in wide at the line demarking the shaped area at the end where it starts tapering more. All width measurements performed flat under the curved plates. Thickness: generally .040-.050 with some thick spots up to .060 in.

Weight: [inv. num. A-236]

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 accomadate 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) [inv. num. A-47]

German Gauntlets

German Gauntlets 2nd half 16th century

Pair of gauntlets of steel painted black, each with pointed flared boxed cuff made in two-pieces with bright turned and roped borders along the outside followed by a double flute with central cusp on the inside, and each struck with a Nuremberg mark and indistinct maker"s mark, "H" in a shield, roped boss over the ulna, five metacarpal plates above three finger-plates below, each of the latter with bright embossed and roped knuckle-plate and all articulated on rivets, the lower plates each with border en suite with the cuff, one with keyhole piercing engaging with a locking-stud on the inner wrist-plate, separate hinged thumb-defences of four plates each, and each incised with roman numeral assembly marks on the inside from "I" on the cuff to "XII" on the terminal plate. 36 cm. and 38 cm. long. [inv. num. A-99]

Pair of finger gauntlets.

Pair of finger gauntlets. late 16th-early 17th century

Of blackened steel, each comprising a flared, boxed cuff with low medial ridge, and slender turned and roped border with a line of domed brass-headed rivets, roped boss over the ulna, seven overlapping metacarpal plates, a knuckle plate embossed over each knuckle, and an additional plate to which the fingers are secured all articulated with on domed brass-headed rivets, overlapping finger plates riveted to leathers, separate hinged thumb guards and leather wrist straps with iron buckles. the final metacarpal plate is wider than the rest and is formed to the knuckle plate. Most of the rivets in the cuff, metacarpal and thumb are original. Remains of lining leathers. One of the wrist straps original. Some finger lames original (most often these are all modern replacements). The cuffs are formed of an inner and outer plate, riveted together. The inner plate is boxed to go over the vambrace but fit close the wrist. There are assembly marks in the metacarpal plates. The plate to which the finger leathers are secured has pairs holes at the inner edge for attachment of the finger leathers (these are not currently used, instead they are attached by single rivets at the center of the plate). From the collection of John Wilmot. [inv. num. A-121]

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 tubuilar 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 [inv. num. A-122]


Gauntlet circa 1620-30

English, Almost certainly Greenwich. Cuff of flaired 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]


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.

Weight: 3 pounds 5.2 ounces (1510g). [inv. num. A-105]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet 16th century

One piece polished skull. Nuremberg guild mark. Right cheek plate stamped with Solothurn arsenal inventory numbers x 126. This helmet retains its original plume holder. Provenance: Bischoff Collection, Vienna. [inv. num. A-5]


Burgonet early 17th cent.

German, probably Nuremberg. Rounded skull with tall comb formed of two pieces. The pieces are joined by a flat fold at the top of the comb and flat overlaps in the front and back. Separate brim riveted inside the skull. Separate tail lame attached to the outside of a flair at the back of the skull. Borders of the tail and brim with simple inward turns, the one on the tail rolled around wire. Cheekplates with flaired bottom edge following the line of the neck lame. Bottom and front edges with simple inward turns. Cheekplates secured to the skull with internal hinges. [inv. num. A-234]

German Morion

German Morion 16th cent (late)

Black and white. 2 piece bowl with a high comb. Brim with prominent upturned points at the front and back. Each side embossed with a large (simplified) fleur-de-Lys.

Weight: 2 pounds 7.4 ounces (1120g). [inv. num. A-51]


Morion circa 1580-90

German, Nuremberg. Rounded skull with tall, tapering comb. Comb with widely spaced fine roped decoration. Flaired brim rising to a point at the front and back. Skull "droops" deeply at the center covering more of the head than normal. Brim with an inward very finely and widely spaced roped roll turned over wire and a recessed border. Twelve holes around the skull above the brim for lining rivets (missing). Two later wiring holes at the base of the brim. Marked with the Nuremberg guild control mark at the rear point of the brim. Shows significant signs of layering and flaws from slag inclusions in the original metal. These show on the inside and outside surface as well as at the edge of the roll.

Provenance John Woodman Higgins Armory Inv. No. 2639 from William Randolph Hearst, sold Gimbel Brothers, New York, 31st October 1941.

Exhibited Charleston Art Gallery of Sunrise, Charleston, West Virginia, January-1 May 1975.

Measurements: 11 in. (28 cm) tall. [inv. num. A-222]


Morion circa 1580-90

Morion. Formed in one piece with a high roped comb, the base of the skull encircled by lining rivets on brass washers, down-turned brim acutely drawn-up to sharp points, and fluted border with roped edge turned over wire. The comb with small lamination hole. Light pitting.

Weight: 2 pounds 14 ounces (1310g). [inv. num. A-106]

Mail shirt

Mail shirt circa Investigating

The form of the rings is similar to 15th c. and earlier European items. The rings are roughly round with a swell at the rivet overlap that is rounded at the back and rises to a low point at the front. The form of the shirt is atypically long for this period. Small rings (averaging 6 rings in the body of the shirt yeilds an outside diameter of 7.5 mm and 1.07 mm wire) of round cross section. Overlaps heavily swelled and rivets set flush to ring surface. The torn rings show clearly that the rivets were wedge shaped. 44 inches long. Neck opening includes a small slit in the front where there is overlapped mail. This overlaps right over left. The body is pieced using larger rings. The placement of these is marked using string. Expansion rings are marked with V shaped ties. There were probably originally more expansion rings on the right side, where there are currently losses. Some of the larger rings are probably also missing as their line overlaps losses. There are also what appear to be a number of repair rings. These are formed of round wire where the ends of the wire overlap and one is bumped over the other as a simple catch. Erik D. Schmid has commented that the main fabric rings appear to be unremarkable - like late 14th c. or early 15th c. with a suggestion that they are Milanese in origin. This is somewhat later than the form would suggest, but still European and medieval.


  • Detail #1: Although this image is somewhat out of focus, it shows the top edge of an overlap having been torn loose. In better focus, and also of interest are the lines in the wire caused by the draw plate.
  • Detail #2: A better focused shot showing the torn overlap and missing rivet.
  • Detail #3: An inside view of another torn overlap and missing rivet from another ring. Of note is the remaining hole in the other half of the ring, a sort of elongated pentagon with flat base and shallow sides, which reveals the shape of the drift used to make the hole.
  • Detail #4: The inside view of another missing rivet and torn overlap.
  • Detail #5: This shows the same ring as Detail #6 beside a millimeter scale. The end of the ring appears to have been cut with a shearing type tool.
  • Detail #6: Here is the same inside view of the hole from the missing rivet sans scale.
  • Detail #7: A peculiar example of a mis-aligned rivet. The rivet was inserted from the inside at an angle, but was driven out the side of the overlap between the two halves rather than through the outside hole. The rectangular base and long point which was not distorted make it positive that wedge riveting is used.

Weight 16 pounds 3.6 ounces. [inv. num. M-2]

Analysis by Mart Shearer

Mail Voider

Mail Voider 16th century

For the right arm. Rings of somewhat flattened form. Rings averaging app. 7 mm outside diameter. pent roof formed overlap on both sides. Wedge rivets. Tapered with expansion under the arm to accomadate the shoulder. Wider across the back. labeled as German. The pent roof shape of the overlap is associated with German manufacture. Small brass borders of alternating solid and riveted rings eleven rows wide (6 solid, 5 riveted.). The solid rings flat, the riveted rings of round section. . Wedge rivets. App. 9 in. wide at the cuff, 9 in. long at the edges, 10 in. long at the center and 15 in. wide at the base. Detailed images show: first and second show a broken ring where the rivet has held, though the top of the overlap has partially torn free, third shows striations (possibly from punching) on the solid latten rings of the edging, fourth shows draw marks on the riveted latten rings and burring on the punched rings, fifth shows the back of the brass wedge rivets and more striations on the punched rings, sixth shows the shape of a rivet hole in the latten rings - a trapezoid similar to a sharp-cornered USB connector. Detailed images and analysis by Mart Shearer. [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. The body is formed of slightly heavier rings than the bottom border, the ends of the sleeves are even lighter. There is one row of solid rings around the bottom. The shirt is tailored in the back in two lines. These lines start over the shoulder blades and drop rings down to the waist and then down to the top of the shoulder. There are also some expansion rings in the lower center of the back. This provides a lot of extra material over the shoulder blades which would allow for good forward movement. The front is not tailored in the same way. The images with flags indicate the locations of the expansion rings. They point in the direction of expansion. The main rings have an oval form. It appears that the main rings in the main body are app. 5/16 x 1/4 in. ID. The smaller, thinner ones along the sleeve edge are app. 1/4 in. ID and more round. [inv. num. M-14]

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. Butted rings have been added to stabilize the fabric. The total surface area is 507 sq. inches, given the density of the mail this means that there are app. 24,350 rings. It weighs app. 4 lb. 9.5 oz. (2175 g).or the upper arm running in a line from near the corner of the cross-grain joint of the armpit to a place just shy of the elbow. It also has two lines of row reductions in the forearm. This sleeve is somewhat shorter than the other one and more dense. Analysis, repairs and marking by Robert MacPherson. Detailed images: the first shows the exterior view of the riveted rings, the second shows the interior of the riveted rings, the third shows a sprung ring wih the rivet intact. Detailed images and analysis by Mart Shearer. [inv. num. M-16]