Today we take a look at a 15th century pole hammer we make based on an example in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (here is a link to the original).
This pole arm would have been a high prestige weapon for judicial combat, the tourney, or even war. It features a formidable and iconic beak that emerges from the mouth of a zoomorphic element (a thing that looks like an animal), a hollow ground topspin, and a triple tipped hammer at the rear. The entire piece is approximately 56.5" long and weighs about four to four and a half pounds. You can see similar, if less ornate, hammers below from the late 15th century fight book of Hans Talhoffer. This is just one of many examples of these weapons in art and collections around the world. In the illustration below the combatants are engaging in a formal combat within a ring. The hammers in this illustration are equipped with butt-end hooks, a fairly uncommon addition to the standard hammer that would have either a plain wooden butt, or a smaller iron plate or spike. We are happy to produce these additions as a custom order.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985