Gunsmiths of Western Europe of the XVI century

In the XVI century. Western European masters of armor have reached the pinnacle of skill. It was at this time that the most famous and richly decorated plate armor was created.

The workshops were scattered throughout many of the trade and economic centers of Western Europe: the largest of them were Milan, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Solingen, Toledo, and others. Usually they were located where the conditions for production were most favorable. These conditions were: timber for coal, water for driving hammers and polishing wheels, and, of course, proximity to suppliers of iron and steel. Also very important were the trade arteries - water and land routes for the transport of raw materials and finished products. And, of course, it was impossible to do without customers, and customers, preferably permanent. Considerable income brought orders of the court and chivalry. However, government orders for mass production weapons and armor for the troops were much more important for the economic development of the workshops.

The workshops that existed at that time supplied military equipment, weapons and armor for entire armies, especially during the numerous wars of the era. Differences in the manufacture of armor and weapons for the nobility and for the soldiers were fundamentally small (except for engraving and decoration), but still combining both processes (piece work and mass production) "under the same roof" was not easy.

It should be noted that the armor of famous masters could cost very large money, sometimes whole fortunes. As an example, we can cite one entry from the expenditure book of the Spanish court for 1550: "Colman, the Augsburg armored man - 2000 ducats at the expense of 3000 for the made armor" [Etat de dpenses de la maison de don Philippe d'Autruche (1549-1551) // Gazettedes Beaux & Arts. 1869. Vol. 1. P. 86-87]. Ducat in 3,5th century Spain - a gold coin weighing approximately 3000 g, i.e. 10 ducats in terms of weight is just over 200 kg of fine gold. And, for example, good armor for the tournament of the Augsburg master of the XVI century. Anton Peffenhauser cost no less than 300-6 thalers, while ordinary mass armor for an ordinary soldier cost no more than 10-29,23 thalers. Thaler (or Reichstaler) in the Holy Roman Empire of the 1566th century. - a silver coin weighing 300 g (since 8,8), i.e. XNUMX thalers in terms of weight is approximately XNUMX kg of silver.

Becoming a master was not easy at all. In each of the cities listed above, there were a number of large, unspecialized workshops owned by well-known families engaged in the production of weapons. There was constant competition between them, while the manufacturers of weapons and armor were obliged to strictly comply with the requirements of the charter of the city guilds of gunsmiths. The guild carried out not only regular checks of product quality before the sale, but also continued control over how students and apprentices were trained. The guild guild appointed a special commission (several of the best masters from different families) to monitor product quality. She stamped the city on those parts of the armor that were tested. Therefore, most of the armor and weapons of the time are 2 brand - the city and the master.

Gunsmiths of Western Europe of the XVI century

Mark of the master Valentin Siebenburger (him. Valentin Siebenburger, 1510-1564) in the form of a helmet with the letters "V" and "S" and the stamp of the city of Nuremberg (right) on the chest part of the cuirass of armor made for Brandenburg Elector Joachim I Nestor or Iohahima I Nestor or Iohahim Iohahim I Hector

Above: stamp of the master Kunz (Conrad) Lochner (him. Kunz (Konrad) Lochner, 1510-1567) in the form of a figure of a lion standing on its hind legs. Below: Mark of the Master Lochner (left) and Mark of Nuremberg

Sometimes masters inserted their initials into the ornament when decorating armor (as a rule, in a prominent place).

The initials "S" and "R" by master Stephan Rohrmoser (Stefan Rormoser,? -1565) from Innsbruck on the back side of the helmet from armor made for the Duke of Styria Frans von Tyuffenbach

The guild was an influential structure, and the masters obeyed the established rules. But not all and not always. There were masters who did not want to take them into account. For example, the Nuremberg master Anton Poffengauser, known for his graceful and highly artistic armor, did not have time to complete a large state order by the deadline. And then he began, through intermediaries, to buy ready-made armor from other masters and to kill on them the stigma. It was not a crime, but contrary to the statute of the guild. This became known. But the master had so much weight in society that the guild couldn’t punish him with all the desire.

Pupils had to learn how to make armor from start to finish. Education took, for example, in Augsburg or Nuremberg, four years, and then they worked as much again, but as hired apprentices, and only then became skilled craftsmen. Examined them annually and issued with a license to manufacture a certain part of the armor. The training was long and expensive, so most students finished their training, learning to do only two or three parts, which led to a narrow specialization. The number of students and apprentices of a particular master was limited. For example, in Nuremberg, shop foremen were allowed to have only two apprentices, and from 1507 their number was allowed to increase to four and one student.

As a result of workshop restrictions, workshops that were very small and specialized had to cooperate with each other. However, it was often not a temporary partnership, but rather a permanent one. Marriages among families engaged in armaments and the dynastic inheritance of workshops were commonplace. The experience of working together led to the cohesion of workshops and the defense of common shop interests. In addition, the specialization of labor also contributed to mass production, so the armor was made relatively quickly - it took no more than 2,5-3 months to make good full armor without decorations. For the manufacture of expensive engraved could take half a year.

Engraving, as a rule, was done by other craftsmen who specialized in this, who themselves developed the design or worked according to the customer-approved master. But this type of decoration was quite rare and very expensive. Much more widespread technique in the XVI century. was acid etching. As a rule, this work was also performed not by a master armor.

Pompeo della Chiesa (Milan)

In the last quarter of the XVI century. Northern Italy has become one of the producers of exquisite decorated armor, distinguished by highly artistic engraving, made in the style of rich Italian fabrics (Italian. I motivi a tessuto). Such armor, made using the technique of blackening and gilding, was covered with patterns that resembled the best textile designs. Palm branches, military fittings, trophies with elements of weapons were skillfully combined with engraved ornaments, images of allegorical figures and mythological characters of antiquity, emblems and mottos.

One of the largest European masters of protective weapons was the outstanding Milan gunsmith Pompeo della Chiesa or Chieze (Italian: Pompeo della Cesa). His customers included influential representatives of the nobility: Spanish King Philip II of Habsburg, Duke of Parma and Piacenza Alexandro Fernese, Mantuan Duke of Vincenzo I Gonzaga, Grand Duke of Tuscan, Francesco I Medici, Prince Bishop of Salzburg Wolf Dietrich von Reitena, and I’m using a place on the screen; a lot others. The armor made by him can never be confused with the work of other masters.

It is not known where and when he was born, there is no exact data on the years of his activity. The first documentary mention of the master Pompeo della Chiesa dates back to 1571 and is contained in a preserved letter from one of his customers - Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy. According to some reports, since 1593, Pompeo, already an elderly man, did not work on orders himself, but still controlled the work of his workshop, in which his students worked [Fliegel St. Arms & Armor: The Cleveland Museum of Art. Harry N Abrams, 1999. P. 94.].

The gunsmith’s workshop was not located in the city itself, but in the residence of the Dukes of Milan - the Sforza Castle (Italian: Castello Sforzesco), which undoubtedly spoke of the high status of the master. The castle has survived to the present day and is considered the prototype of some architectural forms of the Moscow Kremlin.

Main tower of Sforza Castle in Milan

The master signed his monogrammed POMPEO, POMPE or POMP. As a rule, this monogram fit into a cartouche with some image or coat of arms on one of the central parts of the armor (for example, cuirass). On some late armor, instead of a monogram, there is a stamp of Maestro dal Castello Sforzesco (in the form of a three-tower castle), i.e. masters from Sforza Castle, where else, at least from the beginning of the XIV century. there was an armory.

Pompeo della Chiesa Armor. Around 1590

Marked Maestro dal Castello Sforzesco

Dragon witch

Other semi-armor from the same period

Currently, there are about three dozen armor made by Pompeo della Chiesa, preserved in whole or in part. Weaponsmen B. Thomas and O. Gamkber identified and described twenty-four armor pieces by Pompeo [Thomas B., Camber O. L'arte milanese dell'armatura // Storia di Milano. Milano, 1958.T. XI. P. 697-841]. Plus 6 more in various collections, including one partially preserved in Russia (Militaryhistorical Museum of Artillery, Engineering and Signal Corps in St. Petersburg).

Helmschmidt (Augsburg)

The largest centers for the production of protective weapons in the Middle Ages and in earlier Modern times were the South German cities of Augsburg and Nuremberg. Among the Augsburg gunsmiths, a special place is occupied by the Kolman family (German: Colman), which received the nickname Helmschmidt (German Helmschmidt; literally “blacksmith smiths”).

The mark of the master Helmschmidt (tournament helmet with a star). On the left is the stamp of the city of Augsburg (pine cone pine)

The family business was founded by Georg Kolman (d. 1495 / 1496). He was succeeded by his son Lorenz Kolman (1450 / 1451-1516), he worked for Emperor Frederick III, and 1491 was appointed court armor of Emperor Maximilian I. , which in different combinations formed armor with various functions: for war or tournament, for horse fight or foot combat. In 1480, Lorenz participated in the development of the famous elegant style, which later received the name “maximilian” from experts [Idem. Helmschmied Lorenz // Neue Deutsche Biographie. Bd. 1490. S. 8].

Full Gothic armor of Emperor Maximilian I. Master Lorenz Colman from Augsburg. Around 1491 Art History Museum, Vienna

His son, Koloman Kolman (1470 / 1471-1532), along with the rest of the family, took the surname Helmschmidt. Despite the fact that Maximilian's grandson, Emperor Charles V, repeatedly invited Koloman to work in Spain, numerous orders that he was bombarded in his homeland prevented the gunsmith from leaving Augsburg. In 1525, Koloman seemed to thrive because he bought a house from the widow of the engraver, Thomas Burgmire. The geography of its clientele stretched to Italy. In 1511, he wrote a letter to Marquis Francesca Mantuan in which he shared his thoughts on creating horse armor that would cover the horse’s head, body, and legs.

Master Koloman Helmschmidt and his wife Agnes Bray. 1500-1505

Products bearing the stamp of Koloman Kolman or attributed to him on the basis of documentary evidence can be seen in the museums of Vienna, Madrid, Dresden and the Wallace Collection.

The largest number of surviving armor of these gunsmiths are made by Desiderius Helmschmidt (1513-1578). In 1532, he inherited the workshops in Augsburg, which his father shared with the Burgmire family. At first, Desiderius worked with the gunsmith Lutzenberger, who married Desiderius' stepmother in 1545. In 1550, he became a member of the city council of Augsburg, and in 1556, as court gunsmith of Charles V. Subsequently, he served in the same post with Emperor Maximilian II .

The full armor of the master Desiderius Helmschmitd from Augsburg. Weight 21 kg. Around 1552

One of the most famous armor of his work is in the Real Armería Museum in Madrid - this is a magnificent parade armor made of Damascus steel, made for Philip II, which is signed and dated by 1550 (the same armor for which 3000 ducats paid for Desiderius from the Spanish treasury) .

Philip II Damascus armor. Master Desiderius Helmshmitd from Augsburg. 1550 City Real Armería, Madrid

Anton Peffenhauser (Augsburg)

Another Augsburg master Anton Peffengauser (him. Anton Peffenhauser, 1525-1603) was one of the best masters of the late Renaissance. He worked for more than 50 years (from 1545 to 1603). Compared with his other contemporaries, the most of his armor has reached us [Reitzenstein FA von. Anton Peffenhauser, Last of the Great Armorers // Arms and Armor Annual. Vol. 1. Digest Books, Inc., Northfield, Illinois. 1973. P. 72-77.].

Anton Peffenhauser worked in the city of Augsburg - the old German center for the production of armor, weapons, jewelry and luxury items. With 1582, Mr. Anton Peffengauser began working in the Saxon court. For the electors of Augustus, Christian I and Christian II, he completed the 32 armor, of which eighteen were preserved in the Dresden meeting. In addition, the master was ordered by the Portuguese king Sebastian I, the Spanish king Philip II, the Bavarian duke Wilhelm V, the duke of Saxe-Altenburg, Frederick William I, and others.

In terms of style, the Poffengauser armor ranges from richly decorated to very simple. His stamp is one of the most famous relief armor, according to legend, belonged to the Portuguese king Sebastian I (1554-1578) who died in the battle of El-Ksar-El-Kebir in Morocco. Currently, the armor is kept in the Royal Armory in Madrid.

The stamp of the master Pefengauser is the so-called triskelion (Greek: three-legged). This sign in the form of three running legs (in Pöffinghauser’s legs are bound in greaves and sabatons), emerging from a single point, was an ancient symbol of infinity.

The full armor of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar Johann Wilhelm. Master Anton Pefenhauser. Augsburg. Weight 27,7 kg. 1565

Half-armor of the Elector of Saxony Christian I. Master Anton Pefenhauser. Augsburg. Weight 21 kg. 1591

One of the twelve tournament half-armor, which was ordered as a gift to the Saxon Elector Christian I, his wife Sofia of Brandenburg from the Hohenzollern family. The armor is made of oxidized steel, decorated with metal etching and coated with gold. Etched pattern consists of large floral patterns, curled from the central trunk, with etched lines and with a gilded pattern of leaves inside.

Now his armor is in the collections of the State Hermitage Museum, in the museums of Vienna, Dresden, Madrid, New York, the Armory, the Tower of London, the German National Museum in Nuremberg, in the arms collection of the Coburg Castle and in the Detroit Institute of the Arts collection.

Source: S.V. Yefimov. Cold beauty. The armor of the great European gunsmiths of the XVI century in the collection of the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, engineering troops and communications troops.
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  1. +2
    10 October 2015 07: 04
    beautiful, expensive-And the point? wink
    1. +4
      10 October 2015 07: 25
      beautiful, expensive-And the point?

      .....expensive laughing
    2. +3
      10 October 2015 08: 31
      Well, so this - Ponte my dearlaughing
      1. +2
        10 October 2015 09: 01
        It's like an iPhone.
      2. +5
        10 October 2015 15: 44
        Quote: PenZioner
        Well, so this - Ponte my dear

        My grandmother, the kingdom of heaven to her, said: "The most precious thing a person has is show-off and nonsense. They cost the most."
    3. +13
      10 October 2015 10: 02
      The point is to form. Moreover, these specimens for the higher aristocracy. It is enough to see the royal or princely armor of that time with us. There is more gold than steel.
      "Regular" shock cavalry used armor without any fentifluxes. And this armor saved their lives.
    4. +1
      10 October 2015 11: 42
      it’s all as if it had only come from a blacksmith, not beaten, not scratched. Did this armor have any practical use? It seems that everything was created not for war, but for the parade and the creation of historical myths ...
      1. 0
        10 October 2015 13: 48
        I support - not a single dent from a missed blow, not a scratch from the arrowhead - the conclusion? ceremonial metal suit.

        By the way, who will tell you how the crest was made at the helmet?
        If hot-forged, the thickness of the metal should be less than the rest of the helmet. And the thickness of the helmet is the same everywhere.
        If cast entirely in clay, then how did steel melt? And what created the pressure - so that the molten steel is evenly distributed over the walls of the mold?
        1. +1
          10 October 2015 23: 36
          forged - very long and tedious. hence the price!
        2. 0
          10 October 2015 23: 36
          forged - very long and tedious. hence the price!
    5. +4
      10 October 2015 15: 10
      Well, for example, during the battle of Pavia from an arquebus, the armor of the French gendarme broke through only at point blank range, and preferably in the groin. Therefore, the warrior chained in such armor was quite a tank of that time. It’s another matter that the military armor wasn’t decorated like that and had no value as a work of art - so they went for remelting or rotted somewhere in the ground over the past half-year.
      1. +2
        10 October 2015 16: 04
        Another thing is that combat armor was not decorated so well and had no value as a work of art.

        The presented armor belongs to the front. You're right.
        Engels also noted on the example of fencing that the subject reaches its development, at the sunset of practical application - the art of fencing, reached perfection in the second half of the 19th century, when firearms completely replaced it.
        These armor are magnificent .. from the point of view of art.
    6. +2
      10 October 2015 23: 33
      Quote: datur
      beautiful, expensive-And the meaning

      But the point is that the Milanese armor could not cut through any damask steel! Until the firearm was improved - in fact, it was possible to kill a knight in Milanese armor only with something very, very heavy!
  2. +2
    10 October 2015 08: 35
    Informative, but superficial. It would be nice to read about the manufacturing technology, processing methods, devices. As the technologist would say, about the "man-hours" spent on the manufacture of the product ...
    1. +1
      10 October 2015 11: 04
      Quote: moskowit
      Informative, but superficial. It would be nice to read about manufacturing technology, processing methods, devices.

      Here you were presented with an aperitif, and the main "snacks" on the Internet are freely available and in unlimited quantities. hi
  3. 0
    10 October 2015 12: 23
    Very impressive. Good shots.
    And cho, right now, "greedy children" vyprygivaetsya all sorts of cars-virtual-helicopters-yachts.
    And then, "rich pinocchio" pieces of iron ordered themselves. No, but what else could you order at that time?
    And most importantly - there was such a stuffed woman in the hall and never once wore. They clearly fought in a simpler outfit.
    I, among other things, was interested in the question - but, suppose in a real battle, they broke the strap, bent the mount or, God forbid, the point of mobility of the armor parts.
    So I imagined it - a knight in rags of armor, with a wedged right hand and a flattened visor with a folded helmet.
    What to do next? Does the knight turn into an idol for further enemy exercises in cutting through steel plates?
    Are there any reenactors here? Who can say something?
    How to get rid of jammed parts?
    1. +2
      10 October 2015 15: 12
      Yes, it is turning. But a person in light armor or without it by this time has long been cooling somewhere on the field in a pool of his blood. The strap will not break itself, dents of course complicate the maneuver in armor, but again - it is better to have limited mobility of the arm and hematoma on it than a shoulder crushed by an arquebus bullet or a club hit.
      1. 0
        10 October 2015 17: 42
        Michael, thanks.
        The fact that the light armor will cool down I have no doubt. Perhaps a couple of the same, curly-dressed.
        But, as they say, for every professional there is a superprofit.
        Here is our hero, with a torn plate skirt, a right shoulder pad off, an inverted left hand and a visor knocked to one side, he looks around - who else should he cool?
        And then a freshman arrives, from the enemies, also very fildepersovy dressed up - but the whole. Or almost a whole, sat out, bastard.
        Or maybe not even dressed up, but simply highly mobile.
        Well, the fact that the knight will be very thoroughly cut-punctured, I think, is not worth talking about.
        Comparison of chain mail or types of Russian armor - a footman, ankle men, yushmans and forged cuirasses is obtained in favor of the Russians, due to the greater mobility and greater degree of composite armor. One plate from the bakhterts flew off - so there still under it. From the footman, from Yushman - the basis, the chain mail remains in place.
        And even torn chain mail - looks ugly, but does not constrain freedom of movement.
        But the tattered cuirass with shoulders is, in my opinion, a serious obstacle to the movement.
        How to put on and take off?
        The plate armor was worn with the help of a squire, try to tighten all these lanyard straps exactly as much as necessary.
        And take off the armor? Either cut these straps, or again give them back and forth. One - you’ll definitely be worn out.
        Put on chain mail, Yushman himself. Quite. With the help and it will be easier, but one without any problems will put on this steel shirt.
        Reset - well, how to remove a vest. Not just in a flash, but there won't be a strong delay.
        I talked about this above.
        1. 0
          11 October 2015 00: 42
          Well, Duc and the level of protection is completely different for Milan's armor and bastards / kaydan / chain mail. Those, in principle, were not protected from the firearm, because they were flexible armor. And so 300 years earlier, then the knights also had chain mail and plain cuirasses :). Yes, you need to dress there with help, and to undress too - but in battle this is not very important.
          1. +1
            11 October 2015 19: 15
            I would like to add that the "noble knight" was never alone. Svita is a must. The squire, or even more than one, I don't know about the pages, but in general the combat "unit" of the European knight was about 15 people. In the Russian army the boyar also had a small squad, called a "spear" and consisted of 8-10 people. So there was someone to cover up and pull out the rumpled one.
  4. 0
    10 October 2015 12: 37
    Thanks for the interesting article.
  5. +1
    10 October 2015 12: 47
    Quote: datur
    beautiful, expensive-And the point?

    And when Timati buys a bugatti veyron - does that make sense?
    A good show is more expensive than money.
  6. +1
    10 October 2015 13: 42
    Regarding the dynasties and guilds of gunsmiths - I watched the program “Armory Houses” on the Fishing and Hunt channel recently, showed an Austrian village, three family firms on one street, for more than 200 years they have been making hunting rifles. Firms are small in 5- 7 people, make on old machines, fine-tuning parts by hand, but guns ... mmmm are a sight for sore eyes. They make piece, according to the customer and the prices, respectively. In the Middle Ages they made armor, now guns. This is to the topic:
    Quote: datur
    beautiful, expensive-And the point? wink
  7. +2
    10 October 2015 14: 01
    One year's article, briefly and sensibly.
    By the way, in such high-quality armor a knight could run to jump and even dance (if that)
    And he was slightly vulnerable to bladed weapons.
    For those times is a thing
    Masterpiece. BUT extremely laborious
  8. +2
    10 October 2015 15: 35
    Beautiful armor. The modern average static European will not fit into these armor, some small ones they were.
  9. +2
    10 October 2015 20: 15
    Dear gothartus, with your permission, I will send a little sprit (strictly on the topic !!!!!!):

    Ours are tearing ALL !!!

    Russia No. 1 in this men's sport. Both individually and as a team!
  10. The comment was deleted.
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  13. +1
    10 October 2015 20: 25

    I ask everyone to forgive if something goes wrong ... hi

    fan of heavy infantry and close combat ....
  14. 0
    10 October 2015 20: 27
    In my opinion, this armor is just a parade attribute. The dukes and counts in feathers and standards traveled to them at the head of the palace guard.
    By the way, I really like exclusive weapons - for example, squealing with revolving drums, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich had such a miracle.
    1. 0
      10 October 2015 20: 35
      This armor in my only parade attribute

      Those. Do you think that in battle it was useless?
      1. 0
        10 October 2015 21: 26
        It seems that such armor was not used in battle.
        Breastplates, chain mail, shields - yes.
        I did not hear that they found such damaged armor with traces of the impact of battle axes.
        1. +2
          11 October 2015 12: 42
          Quote: Cap.Morgan
          I didn’t hear that they found such damaged armor with traces of the impact of battle axes

          I wonder if many archaeologists of the future will find battered Rolls Royces? wink
          The kotsan armor (including trophy) was given for repair - if a dent was made - they ruled, a cut shoulder pad, etc. replaced by a new, non-repairable necessarily went to reforging - quality steel on order higher than ordinary piece of iron (that is why the price of Augsburg armor is 30 times higher than "consumer goods" - and a golden notch, etc. added 20-30 percent to the price, no more)
        2. +1
          11 October 2015 12: 42
          Quote: Cap.Morgan
          I didn’t hear that they found such damaged armor with traces of the impact of battle axes

          I wonder if many archaeologists of the future will find battered Rolls Royces? wink
          The kotsan armor (including trophy) was given for repair - if a dent was made - they ruled, a cut shoulder pad, etc. replaced by a new, non-repairable necessarily went to reforging - quality steel on order higher than ordinary piece of iron (that is why the price of Augsburg armor is 30 times higher than "consumer goods" - and a golden notch, etc. added 20-30 percent to the price, no more)
  15. 0
    14 October 2015 09: 39
    The emperor’s boots are ugly! (Photo of the full Gothic armor of Emperor Maximilian I.) I wonder how they fit, like flippers?

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