These items are under consideration for the October 2015 presentation at the Duke University Focus session for October 26, 2015.

Items were chosen to include examples of different pieces, styles, and decorative elements. These include:



Morion circa 1600

Black and White, formed of 2 pieces. Bowl with a wide raised stripe on each side. Tall, flat comb and narrow brim rising to a point front and back. Roped comb and brim. Retains all 10 lining rivets and 9 decorative brass washers. [inv. num. A-152]


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 ckeek 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]


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]

Lower-German Breastplate

Lower-German Breastplate circa 1550-1560

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

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

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


Breastplate circa 1550-80

German. Black and white with rough from the hammer surface with raised polished bands. The neck with a tapered inward turned roped roll. The arms fitted with gussets (Left gusset associated) with inward turned tapered rolls, the right roped en suite with the neck. Retains fauld of 3 plates. Cleaned bright over its entire surface. Reblackened with paint to simulate the original appearance. The left gusset associated. The interior of the breastplate marked with assembly marks which match those on the second fauld lame and appear to match the marks (less distinct) on the original gusset. Polished bands at the center, middle of each side and sides of the breastplate which continue on the fauld (except on the right side of the upper two fauld lames where it appears the original maker omitted the bands). The bands on the breastplate are very roughly formed on the outside, tooling appearing to be made by very small, narrow pien. The bands in the fauld more cleanly made, likely because raising bands on the thinner material is easier. [inv. num. A-260]

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]

Almain collar

Almain collar circa 1540

Three plates front and rear. Upper plates with inward turned, roped border at the neck (turn at least somewhat of jelly-roll form and fine very angular roping), secured by an integral hinge on the left and pin on the right (there are two holes on the right side, the top one secured to the rear plate and engaging the hole in the front plate). Main front and rear plates with triple raised lines curving up to a central point. Originally part of an almain collar, right side with a turning hook to secure the leather for the right shoulder. Cleaned and re-blacked. Together with (detached) shoulder defense for the left shoulder of 6 plates. The lower plate with an inward turned ropped roll, buckle and raised flutes ensuite with the main plates. All aparently originally finished bright. Collar cleaned, re-leathered and with modern blackened finish. Shoulder cleaned and preserved but not restored. Remains of old leather at the front and center. The center of the front of the gorget and the shoulder creased, edges beveled and notched at the center. Buckle mounted to the front of the lower shoulder plate with a decorated plate. There is a slot behind the buckle which was probably used to secure the end of the strap. The shoulder plates of typical form - the top plate basically flat, the next dished more than the others, the next 3 lightly dished. The bottom plate slightly dished in the back half. From the Armoury of the Princely House of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, removed from Schloss Langenburg. Painted on the inside of the front and back plates of the gorget with inventory number 444. [inv. num. A-247]

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]

Italian Gauntlets

Italian Gauntlets circa 1550-1580

A pair of fingered gauntlets. Pointed cuffs of one piece with a central crease and joined at the inside of the wrist by 2 flush rivets. The seam stepped so that the outside is flush. The cuff is flared evenly thoughout its length. The outer edge of the cuff is bordered by a roped inward roll and a recessed border. The border includes a raised central ridge. The roll, central ridge and recessed border with single engraved lines. The back of hand is formed of 4 narrow plates toward the wrist and one wider plate at the knuckle. Each of the plates has a central crease with a notch in the edge aligned with the crease and a pair of incised lines parallel to the visible edge. The ends of the metacarpal plates have a shallow semi-circular extension with a small notch cut at the end of the extension. The extension allows the rivets to be mostly aligned with the edge of the plates. The knuckles are covered by a single plate with a central raised and roped ridge and the outer edge is shaped to the fingers. Thumbs of one large plate with a raised central tear-drop and scales covering the thumb. The main thumb plate is attached to the larger metacarpal plate by a hinge with one rivet on each end. The metacarpal plates are slightly boxed. Small finger and thumb plates replaced. Fingers re-leathered. Rivets replaced. Cleaned over-all. Cuff at the wrist roughly three and one half inches in diameter. Outer edge of the cuff tear-drop shaped 6 inches by 5 one half inches. Cuff 5 inches long at the point and 2 inches long at the inside of the wrist. Metacarpal app. 4 inches across at the knuckle plate. [inv. num. A-46]

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 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 flare in the lower plate. The cop of bracelet form joined at the inside - the center of the flare - 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]

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]

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 if 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]

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 accommodate 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.

Detail images over the scale show the outside and inside of the rings. Microscope 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]

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]