Armour circa 1250

Reproduction armour patterned after David from folio 28 recto of the Maciejowski Bible. Shirt of flat rivetted mail with long sleeves, knee-length skirt with slits front and back and integral hood with ventail allowing a small face opening and to be fitted to the neck. Arms with extra rings forming a bent elbow and with tapered forarms. Helm of 5 pieces with cross applied to the center crease and eye-slots. Together with a padded coif, padded gorget, shirt, belts with custom buckles and mounts and a wooden sword. All clothing items of linen, hand-quilted. Armour made by Wade Allen. Clothing items by Tracy Justus. Constructed 2006. [inv. num. R-26]


Armour circa 1340

Patterned after images from the Romance of Alexander (Ms. Bodley 264) and related brasses from 1330-1350. Composed of a bascinet closely patterned after the tall rounded bascinets with small face holes, short sides and central crease in the Romance of Alexander with an aventail formed of two trapezoids (rear one slightly larger to account for the breadth of the back) with extensions at the face. Trapezoids with forty five degree taper (one extra ring per row) on each side. Aventail secured to a leather band which is secured to the helmet by brass vervelles. Lining of linen with loose tow stuffing secured to the helmet by stitches to small lining holes along the edge. Linen gambeson lined with cotton. Full haubergeon with two thirds length sleeves. Fitted with expansion from the waist up to the chest, in the skirt and tapered upper arms. Fitting in the chest adding 4 rings every other row. Fitting in the skirt of two added rings every other row in the back and the front formed with 45 degree additions on each side of the center which forms the point at the centre of the front. Haubergeon split in the front to the waist and with a short collar. Over the haubergeon the arms are covered by simple upper vambrace covering the outer third of the upper arm, a floating elbow with attached rondel and full lower vambraces of two plates joined by an inset hinge on the outside and strap and buckle on the inside. Body of the haubergeon covered by a coat of plates similar to Wisby #1. Cover of two layers of linen over 1 layer of canvas. Coat of plates includes shoulder plates. Legs covered by mail chauses on the lower legs, gamboised cuisses over the thighs and knees, simple knee cops and frontal greaves (schynbalds). Chausses covering the lower leg and foot with an attached leather sole. Cuisses of linen padding in differential thicknesses with raw, cleaned linen fibre. Surcoat of linen with appliqued coat of arms in wool. Shield of formed plywood covered with linen on the front and leather back. Face gessoed and painted. Shield with two enarmes and guige strap.

External plates of 1050 spring steel. Knees and elbows raised. Bascinet formed of two pieces with central weld. Coat-of-plates plates of stainless steel attached to fabric with #14 brass escutcheon pins spaced at one half inch intervals on main body plates and three quarter inch spacing on upper and side plates. Rivets follow the outer edge of the plates in the upper plates and on side plates. Knees attached by Y straps on both sides with laces securing them to the cuisses. Elbows with central strap of a Y strap at the back and straight strap at the front and suspended from the upper vambrace plate by a leather strap. Vambrace plates laced to the mail shirt - the upper plate laced by internal leather tabs over the mail and the lower vambrace cannon laced inside the short sleeves. Most buckles forged of steel. Coat-of-plates buckles cast of nickel silver. Additional cloth coif of linen. Gambeson and cuises machine stitched, surcoat and coif with main seams machine stitched but all edge finishing,binding, and applique hand stitched. Mail 9mm flat ring with round rivets zinc coated, formed of scraps from 1250 hauberk and loose rings. Mostly assembled from rings allowing for tailoring as part of the constuction process. Geoffrey was 4 foot 8 inches tall and weighed 65 pounds at the time this was made. Total weight of the armour and clothing - 29 pounds.

Armour by Wade Allen, all fabric garments by Tracy Justus. Constructed 2009 [inv. num. R-31]

Reproduction Armour

Reproduction Armour circa 1400.

Reproduction armour. Torso armour of plates covered in leather and attached by brass rivets. Made by Wade Allen, Aaron Toman and Charles Davis working as Valerius Armouries. [inv. num. R-14]

reproduction armour

reproduction armour circa 1470

Armour of basic Italian form. Breastplate of "export" style. All parts hand made including the hinges, buckles and rosette-stamped washers. [inv. num. R-15]

Geoffrey in three-quarter suit

Geoffrey in three-quarter suit circa 1510

Breast, back, tassets and floating arms for a Landsknecht costume for 4 1/2 year old. Breastplate with sliding gussets and waist lame. Large inward rolls at the neck and arms. Floating elbows on simple splint arms. Three piece backplate. Armour of 18g. and 21g. 1050 spring steel. Armour by Wade Allen, Costume by Tracy Justus [inv. num. R-20]


Armour circa 1540

Reproduction of a black and white half armour. Composed of breast, back, and gorget with munions over a doublet and slops.

The breastplate has a central crease which is drawn out to a rounded point somewhat below the center. The upper edge is rolled inward. The roll tapers from the center. The arm holes have sliding gussets. The gussets have large, hollow, inward-turned rolls. The breastplate was raised from the flat. A weld at the bottom would have been a lot easier, but I didn"t do it that way. The gussets are made from straight strips and flaired to create the roll and to fit into the breastplate. The breastplate has a simple fauld of 2 lames. The lower lame has a small rolled arch at the center. The back plate is fomed of one piece with a separate waist lame forming a degenerate culet. The back is shaped agressively to the shoulder blades almost forming a point over each. The gorget is formed of 2 neck plates front and back, a large main plate front and back and shoulders of 7 lames. The neck lames are secured by 3 leather strips front and back. The shoulder plates are secured by sliding rivets at the back and interior leathers at the center and front. The smaller rolls on the top plate of the gorget, backplate and at the center of the lower fauld lame are turned over wire. The rolls on the bottom edge of the munions are just turned without wire. All of the rolls go "in" (as appropriate for 16th c. armour). The plates are rough from the hammer with a painted black finish with raised bands of polished steel. Worn with morion A-152.

Thicknesses: breastplate .062, fauld .050, backplate .050, main gorget plates .050, munions .035.

The clothing consists of a shirt, doublet and slops. Socks and shoes are modern. The shirt is based on one in the Victoria and Albert museum in London from 1540-65. It is featured in Janet Arnold"s Patterns of Fashion 4. It is assembled in the same way as the original, by finishing the individual pieces and then butting them together and (machine) embroidering over the two pieces to hold them together. The main pieces are held together by the embroidery. This copy omits the frill at neck and wrists. The doublet is fulled wool lined throughout with linen. The white on the sleeves is a layer of silk between the linen sleeve lining and the slashed wool outer sleeve. All three layers are stitched together and treated as one. The wrist openings are bound with a narrow facing. The buttons are based on some found in the Mary Rose. They are formed by covering some 7mm beads with wool which are attached by stitching through the center which gives that little dimple in the center of the button. The diagonal slashing on the sleeves frays very little. The slops are fulled wool lined with linen. The white is a layer of silk between the lining and the wool strips (panes). A rotary cutter is an excellent tool for cutting panes. They were worked flat, mounting the silk onto the linen lining and then laying the panes over that. Then they were assembled into pants. The leg opening is finished with a narrow facing and the waist has a wide waistband. The fly opening is modified in deference to the wearer by adding an invisible zipper (instead of points) and reducing the codpiece to a nearly flat flap (instead of something aggressively masculine).

Geoffrey is riding Bruce(Callaway"s North Wind) his 12 year old Saddlebred.

Armour by Wade Allen, Clothing by Tracy Justus. [inv. num. R-34]

Waistcoat Cuirass.

Waistcoat Cuirass. circa 1570

Italian. Formed to mimic the peascod style of civilian clothing popular at the time with a waist that droops at the center of the waist. Arms and neck bordered by inward-turned roped rolls. Waist flaired and cut to form picadills. Formed of five main pieces. The main front and back plates solidly at the side and shoulder. These units are then secured to the central back plate by two hinges and an alignment pin on each side. The front is decorated with a line of pointed buttons and secured by a hook through a hole in a peg at the base, a turning hook in the center and a pin in the gorget plates. The neck is extended to form an integral gorget. The gorget, like the cuirass, is formed of 3 separate pieces. One that extends the central back plate, the others that cover the sides and join at the front. The Italianate details include the form of the peascod (more rounded) the overlap at the center (many German ones just overlap to the center), the buttons down the center, and the relatively straight form of the gorget plates. All of the turns have wire inside.

The waistcoat cuirass was based on several surviving Italian waistcoat cuirasses. These included examples in the Wallace collection, Chicago Art Institute, etc. Primary design was taken from one that survives in the Odescalchi collection in Rome in the Museo di Palazzo Venezia #1251. It is illustrated in figures 167 and 168 in Armi e Armature Lombarde.

Tracy was allowed to design the clothing to suit Italian styles of the appropriate period. The outfit was inspired by a 1560 portrait by Giovanni Moroni, "The Man in Pink". It is made of silk and linen. Additional sources include a couple of outfits described by Janet Arnold in Patterns of Fashion 3 to pattern it: the 1562 grave clothes of Don Garzia de Medici and the 1618 suit of Sir Richard Cotton. There are a couple of deviations from period practice for the comfort of the wearer - the doublet and breeches do not lace together and there"s a zipper behind the codpiece. The overall look is good. Geoffrey is tall and slim so he has the right physique to pull off this kind of thing. Embroidered silk-covered bead buttons.

Formed from 14g for the breast plates, 16g for the back plates and 20g for the neck plates. Full-wrap hinges formed of 20g. All of 1050.

Armour by Wade Allen, clothing by Tracy Justus. Produced for Geoffrey Allen when he was 12. [inv. num. R-35]

Barbute and Chapel de Fer

Barbute and Chapel de Fer 15th century

2 helmets. The left one is a mid 15th c. barbute. The right one is a chapel-de-fer patterned after one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. [inv. num. R-8]

reproduction armour

reproduction armour circa c. 1500

Armet a Rondel. Bowl raised from one piece, full reinforce covering the front of the skull. Visor raised, with covered hinges. Armour by Wade Allen [inv. num. R-10]

Bellows Face Close Helmet

Bellows Face Close Helmet Early 16th century

Close helmet with bellows visor. Armour by Wade Allen and Aaron Toman working as Valerius Armouries. [inv. num. R-9]

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]

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]

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. 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. [inv. num. A-47]

German black and white mitten gauntlets

German black and white mitten gauntlets circa 1530-50

Short, almost straight cuffs formed of 2 plates rivited together. Cuff with rolled, roped and recessed border. Black surface rough from the hammer. White areas raised and ground smooth. Back of the hand formed of 5 plates. Knuckle plate fromed with a raised and roped ridge. Fingers covered by 5 articulated plates. Raised bands are normally associated with Augsburg. These gauntlets are relatively crudely formed, most likely for an arsenal armour. Small thumb lames replaced.

Weights: left 1 pound 2.6 ounces (525 g), right 1 pound 3.4 ounces (550 g). [inv. num. A-26]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1540-60

Formed of an upper and lower vambrace articulated by means of one lame below and one lame above to the bracelet cop. The upper vambrace includes a turning collar which was originally directly attached by a sliding rivet at the back and two leathers to the pauldron. Rolled and roped borders at the wrist and on the edge of the wing. Simple outward rolls at the inner edge of the upper and lower vambraces (at the elbow). Elbow of very pointed form with full bracelet wing. Horizontal raised and roped ridge on the outside from the point of the elbow to the center of the wing. Iron rivets with brass caps articulating the plates and attaching the hinge for the lower vambrace.

Turning collar 4 3/4" in diameter. Lower vambrace 9 3/8" long at the longest point.

Upper cannon .030-.050" thick, lower cannon more even .030-.040" thick. [inv. num. A-27]


Arm circa 1560

Full vambrace of two plates, rounded cop, semi-tubular upper vambrace, cop articulated to the vambrace by two lames above and below.

Dr. Peter Parsons Collection (2011)

Weight: 14.6 ounces (415 g). [inv. num. A-202]

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]

Floating elbow

Floating elbow circa 1560

Italian. Of nearly bracelet form. There is a narrow gap of app 1/2 inch between the rear edge of the cop and the wing. The cop is asymetric, being flatter at the back and rising to a peak at the center from slightly behind the point of the elbow through the wing. The wing is slightly larger on one side than the other indicating that this is a right elbow. The outer edges are rolled and roped for their entire length. The roll is bordered by a recessed border on the front portion of the wing. There is a central raised roped band running along most of the raised portion of the cop. There are 2 holes on the front and one at the back for attachment of the cop to the vambrace plates. There is an old collection number in white paint ("178") on the back of the wing. Some delaminations on the inside.

Height of cop app. 3 1/2 inches, and the wing app. 5 inches. Length app. 7 1/2 inches from the point of the elbow to the opposite edge of the wing.

Weight 9.6 ounces (275 g). [inv. num. A-24]


Knee circa 1620

from a 3/4 armour comprising the knee cop, large lower lame designed for use without a greave, 2 upper lames and a third detachable lame that originally formed the lower lame of the tasset. Embossed with a flower at the center of the knee and a raised, roped ridge from the flower to the center of the wing. Main outer edges with inward-turned rolled and roped borders. Wing with a recessed border. Rivets appear to be working life rivets. Knee plates secured to the tasset plate by a keyhole engaging a rivet on the outside and a keyhole with a turning hook on the inside. Main surface rough from the hammer. Flower polished. Thickness varies between app. .035 in. and .050 .in - mostly app. .040 in. Thre is one sliding rivet securing the wing side of the second lame to the first lame above the knee. There are pairs of rivets for securing a leather strip in th ecenter of the first 2 lames above the knee. Both of these features mimic the normal assembly of a long tasset. Thre would have been a strap around the back of the leg on the lowest plate of the long tasset (the top remaining lame) and at the back of the knee which would have been secured by a rivet in the center of the cop on the inside and on the articulation rivet for the lower lame on the outside. [inv. num. A-155]

German Greave plate (front)

German Greave plate (front) late 16th cent

Originally part of a complete cased greave. Designed to be worn with a full legharness and mail sabatons. Greave has good shape and terminates at the ankle where it has a rolled edge and a series of small holes for the attachment of the mail sabaton. The turning hook used to secure it to the lower plate of the poleyn remains. There is a brass collection tag with the number c. 27, and a paper one with the number c. 57. This was originally a very nice piece - it has a wide etched bands of decoration at the center and narrow bands at each edge. There are remnants of gilt in the etching. This style of greave built for use with a mail sabaton was often used in Italy. The style of etching is associated with Augsburg Germany. The etched decoration is app. 1/2" wide at the sides. The central band tapers from app. 2 1/8" to 1 1/2".

Height 12 in. at the center crease, 4 1/2" wide at the calf, 3" wide at the ankle.

Varies between .018" and .036" thick. It is generally thicker near the ankle and thinner at the calf. [inv. num. A-38]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail 16th century

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

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]