(About) Mastercrafted Gauntlets from the Genesis of Plate Armor
These medieval plate gauntlets, forged by the artisan crafters at Darksword Armory, have an unmistakable air of authenticity. Each item created by Darksword is hand-made, using heritage techniques that haven’t changed for centuries. Their items are the closest most of us can get to historical medieval armor, outside of staggeringly expensive bespoke armor made in a living museum. For LARPers, re-enactors and HEMA practitioners alike, their HEMA Gauntlets are a valuable addition to the historical armors we have on the market today.
Our HEMA Gauntlets are made in mild steel – this is the exact same material which would have been made on a small scale in blast furnaces in medieval Europe and used to create plate armor by armorsmiths in the late-Middle Ages. The hand-made rivets are all rounded, meaning no snagging on clothing or other armor. They are designed to be ergonomic and secure: the round flared ‘cuff’ fully encircles the wrist to secure the gauntlets, and it is equipped with leather three finger straps and one leather thumb strap to make its fit snug and unmoving. The knuckle lames are fully-articulated, and it also include an articulated thumb for extra protection. Our HEMA Gauntlets ship with a pair of stout cloth mittens that can be worn under the gauntlets to eliminate direct contact with the metal – but these are optional; the gauntlets can be worn over any other gloves or hand-covering. These secure, robust gauntlets are fully battle-ready, meaning they are resilient enough to be used in full-contact battle situations with minimal damage.
As functional objects, they are a must-have for HEMA practitioners: they are an authentic experience of the compromises in dexterity faced by wearers of plate armor in the late-medieval period, as well as first-rate protection for your hands. Although they have been designed with full-contact fencing in mind, they are an extremely faithful reproduction of genuine pieces of medieval armor. For re-enactors and roleplayers, they provide fantastic authenticity to an impression or outfit from the early days of plate armor. They are fully compatible with any of our other armor for sale: the finish of our HEMA Gauntlets is a satin matte rather than a high polish, so bear that in mind when selecting items to match.
(Curiosity) Deadly Mitten
Experiments in plate armor began to emerge in the 13th-century as chainmail showed itself to be increasingly unable to give protection to the heavy, powerful weapons of the high-medieval period. The first examples of plate armor for the hands date to around the 1250s CE. To begin with, ‘gauntlets’ were simple armored balls to protect the fists, often attached to the vambrace – they offered little in the way of dexterity, preventing anything but the grip of simple weaponry. By the early 1300s, armor-smiths had begun to experiment with articulation, and this is when we see examples of what is called the ‘mitten’ type. It consisted of a simple curved plate with several articulated lames, strapped to a glove or cloth mitten, to give at least some degree of manual dexterity and complex action in the plated hand. Later, individually-fingered articulated gauntlets appear, but the ‘mitten’ type remained popular. Eventually, the Almain sliding rivet permitted even greater degrees of flexibility – such as the sumptuous gold-inlaid ‘mitten’ gauntlets made for the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Our HEMA Gauntlets are based on numerous surviving examples of the ‘mitten’ type, as well as artistic depictions in medieval art.
- Material: Mild steel
- Weight: 2.3 kg
Sizing: One size
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