Pike 15th/16th century
Pike. Six similar from the same collection. Recently obtained directly from the Luzern Zeughaus (arsenal), these pikes have been in storage and periodic use there since the late 15th/early 16th Century. Shows hand forging and lamination, with square/diamond section point, round ferrule, and side straps xx inches long. It is mounted on a hand-hewn tapering round-section arsenal shaft of ash, which is old and original to the period of use. It was common for the arsenals to periodically replace polearm shafts as they showed signs of damage or rot, so it is virtually impossible to determine the age of a polearm shaft. This is certainly not a museum or collector replacement. Markings were also added at various times. Most of the shafts are marked on their lower end with a stamped 'LUZERN' mark of varying forms. All show storage and handling marks and some have scattered worming, but all are fully sound and serviceable. Some shafts stamped 'CL' on ends (likely an abbreviation for 'Canton Luzern') and some have painted inventory numbers. Pikes of this exact style and description are pictured and described in Katalog der Waffen-Sammlung im Zeughause zu Solothurn, by Dr. Rudolph Wegeli, published 1905. Some even bear the same star or boot-shaped maker's marks, as well as a horseshoe mark with two points above. Pikes of this type are also described in 'Katalog der Historischen Sammlungen im Rathause in Luzern', a published inventory of weapons in the Luzern Zeughaus. It is extremely rare to find a group of historical weapons of this age from their original source with no alterations. While pikes were common in the 16th and 17th Centuries, very few now survive in their full length.Overall lengths of the full set from the arsenal vary between 14' 1" to 15' 4", most being just over 15 feet. Metal is forged iron and length varies between 20" and 35", with side straps set in hand cut dados in the shaft. Straps fastened with iron head nails from the period of the shafts, but some are later replacements. With star maker's mark. Maker's marks appear on a very small number of polearms (app. 10% in this group). LZ-09, 15 feet 1 in., 4 1/2 in. blade, 6 in. head, 17 3/4 in. straps. Star mark stamped into the blade."
Measurements taken from one example of 6. First measurements in inches, centimeters in parentheses. Length of this one is 15 feet. Others vary between 14 feet 9 1/2 in. and 15 feet 2 1/2 in. Using the 15 foot one and measuring from the end of the point, the neck is 4 1/2, whole head 6 and straps end 28 1/2 in from the point. Circumfrences - base of head 2 15/16(7.5) then at each 12 in. increments from the point 3 1/8(8), 3 3/8(8.5), 3 5/8(9.3), 3 13/16(9.7), 3 15/16(10), then the same until I get out to 9 feet where it is 4 1/8(10.4), 4 1/4(10.8), 4 3/16(10.7), 4 1/8(10.4), 4 1/16(10.3), 3 15/16(9.9), 3 5/8(9.4). All measurements peformed using a sewing tape with metal end so they are likely just slightly large, but consistently so. Additional measurements taken on some other pikes at the 4 foot from the back spot (roughtly the wide spot). They measured 4 5/16(11), 4 1/4 (10.7), 4 9/16(11.5) and 3 15/16(10).
Measuring on a different one (tag number LZ-10 which is 14 feet 11 inches long with a 7 inch head and 22 inch langets and one of the less shaped shafts) the center of balance is 88 inches from the point and 91 inches from the back. The weight of this pike is 5 pounds 2.2 ounces (2325g).
If you have any questions, please send them to Wade Allen
This site last updated Wed Nov 23 15:32:17 EST 2022