Gruber and Alaric Gothic Cuirass
Original: Circa 1480
In the 15th century a full suit of plate armour was not only an incredibly effective defense against most arms, it was also a sign of status and rank. Armourers often designed the suits to follow the fashion of the time, but while fashion played a major part in the aesthetics of the suit, the designs followed a purpose as well. Pieces such as the breast plate were often not one single piece, but rather several pieces put together for shock absorbency and articulation. Decorative fluting was often raised out of the plate, not only for looks, but for increased strength without adding weight.
In addition to the function of the aesthetics, many suits in the late 15th century were also heat-treated. This provided a light weight harness of thin metal that could withstand heavy amounts of punishment.
I commissioned this cuirass from Gruber and Aleric, professional armourers located in Illinois. They are no longer in business, but they primarily worked with heat-treated 1050 spring steel, which comprises this cuirass. It is loosely based on a harness made for Archduke Maximilian (later Emperor Maximilian I). It is both a breast and back plate, and the combined pieces are very light weight. It is mostly made of only 22 gauge steel, yet it can take quite a beating without any signs of deforming.
Weight: 9.3 pounds
Height of breastplate: 20"
Height of backplate: 23"
Maker: Gruber and Alaric of Illinois.