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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: Mechanical Breastplate?         Reply with quote

I've been browsing through a couple of Museum Collections recently and just found this.. thing and can't really figure out what it does.

The Lance-rest is obvious, but the rest looks strange to me. It is a very nice, intricate complex piece but what do all these hinges and wheels actually do? It looks like a complicated contraption used for jousting - looks too complex to be much use on a battlefield?


Found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

I'm curious if anyone could tell me more about this piece, I find it intriguing - though that might just be the Meccano Part of my brain attracted by nice tinker-toys.
Are there any more, similar pieces around?

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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe it is one of those spring-loaded breastplates that where supposed to throw bits of cover around when hit by a lance at a target area in one of the specific tournament variations in 16th century. I am sure, someone more knowledgable about that time period will step in soon.
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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 3:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, I found out as much shortly after posting here after a bit more research and now I'm wondering how that is supposed to work. Those wheels look they might be part of a pulley system and beyond that I'm stumped.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In all my years in the study of Euro-arms and armour, I have NEVER seen such a contraption. This has my undivided attention. Please......more posts!..........McM
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you can get a hold of him, Andre Renier, jousting with the Knights of Iron, is probably the person I know with the most detailed research on and knowledge of this piece. The KoI actually built a functioning, life sized, steel replica of it, and demonstrated its use at the Lysts on the Lake joust tournament last year. I got to see it up close and in action. Neat piece.

. . . Sorry, forgot to add. What all the wheels and mechanical bits do - they are a tensioned release system for another plate that attaches to the front of the breastplate. When the (front) plate is struck properly with a lance, the mechanical bits go into action, causing the (front) plate to fly off the mounted knight. Think action figure with "Real exploding armour action!" On the replica, the breastplate would fly about twenty feet in the air, while the rider continued riding on, safely below.
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 6:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan,

I am very anxious to learn more about Andre Renier's reconstruction!

I have been wondering how this mechanism worked for about thirty years. No mater how much I stared at the picture of this one, (or the other similar but different one in Vienna,) I can not figure out what the missing parts should look like or how the mechanisms worked.

Please post more.

Mac

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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OK, so I googled Andre Renier and mechanical breastplate and came up with this....
http://museumsecrets.tv/dossier.php?o=129 if you click on "exploding breastplate" you get a 2 min video that shows him putting it on, but I have not yet found the follow up.

Mac

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Last edited by Robert MacPherson on Sat 11 May, 2013 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Phil D.




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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Robert,
It's on the same page.Just click the "16th Century Jousting" tab above the "Exploding Breastplate" tab on the upper left corner of the viewer...It pops off at the end.

http://museumsecrets.tv/dossier.php?o=129.

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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Phil. I guess I should have kept clicking on things till I ran out to things to click.

Mac

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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, frankly I am a bit disappointed. The mechanism that Andre built does not look like either of the surviving Mechanisches Bruststucke in Vienna.

Yes, he built a sort of exploding breastplate, but it seems more like "reinvention" than "reverse engineering". It is an fine accomplishment, but not so rigorously authentic as the video would have us believe.

I am sure that Andre knows that he has not truly reconstructed these enigmatic objects, but rather used their existence to justify building a breast that produces a related spectacle. I hope that he will continue to turn his attention to this type of joust, and build something closer to the originals next time.

Mac

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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This piece is depicted in Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight by David Edge, on page 168. The caption reads:

"A breastplate for the Mechanisches Rennen devised by Maximilian I. The visible mechanism was originally covered by a segmented metal plate which burst apart when hit by the lance."

The text body says little in addition:

"...the 'Mechanisches Rennen', in which the breastplate incorporated a spring-loaded mechanism designed to hurl fragments of the shield (in this case metal, constructed in segments for this specific purpose) high into the air on being struck with an opponent's lance. These oddities were rarely, if ever, used outside Germany, however."


Last edited by Eric Meulemans on Sat 11 May, 2013 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In this article, http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&...ieSq9VXGpQ Stuart Pyhrr says that there three extant examples; the two in Vienna, and one in Paris.

Norman, European Arms and Armour Supplement, p. 43.
Two mechanical breastplates are preserved in the Waffensammlung,
Vienna, inv. nos. B21 and B25 (Thomas and Gamber,
Katalog der Leibriistkammer, pp. 172-173), while a third,
formerly in Vienna, is now in the Musee de l'Armee, inv. no. G.
528 (J.-P. Reverseau, Les Armes et la vie [Paris, 1982] p. 71, fig. 8).


Here's a link to a pic of the other mechanical breast in Vienna.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...._1495.jpg
Here is the one in Paris.
http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/227/d/...46ndo8.jpg



Mac

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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are photos I took of the examples at the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna.



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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IIRC, The Triumph of Maximillian depicts the mechanism in action, so you can at least get a sense of the size, shape and decoration of the exterior plates.
-Sean

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William P




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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2013 3:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

on a related note, Mike Loades mentions on 'weapons that made Britain' that some late era tourney shields used a similar mechanism for the same purpose.
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
IIRC, The Triumph of Maximillian depicts the mechanism in action, so you can at least get a sense of the size, shape and decoration of the exterior plates.


Sean,

The triumph depicts some sort of exploding mechanism, and it seems likely that it is similar to the surviving breasts.

The ablative parts appear to be a highly shaped shield. and a layer of "pie slice" pieces that overlay it. The shield is shaped similarly to a Renntartsche.



Here is a detail of the same guys. The second and fourth still have their "exploding parts" in place. The first, third, and fifth show the mechanism.



Mac

Robert MacPherson
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Last edited by Robert MacPherson on Sun 12 May, 2013 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2013 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a link to the German language Wiki page for mechanical breastplates. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brustst%C3%BCck_mit_Federmechanismus

The text seems to suggest that the two mechanical breasts in Vienna are for two different sorts of joust. Strangely, it does not seem to mention the one in Paris at all.

Mac

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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Sun 12 May, 2013 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I found a few wood cuts of the breast plates in action. These are from the "Triumph of Maximilian" that was hosted on the World Digital Library site.

http://www.wdl.org/en/item/8913/zoom/#group=1...9723354062

http://www.wdl.org/en/item/8913/zoom/#group=1...9723354062

http://www.wdl.org/en/item/8913/zoom/#group=1...9723354062

http://www.wdl.org/en/item/8913/zoom/#group=1...9723354062

It is similar to the ones Robert posted a bit earlier but colored. I believe the coloring happened later so wouldn't take it as gospel but it may not be completely inaccurate either, if one commentary on the book was to be believed.

And if the wood cuts are to be believed then these things just go flying off at random times during parades. (or more likely it was an artistic convention to show who lost at the tournament)
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Mon 13 May, 2013 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great links, Joel! Thanks.

Mac

Robert MacPherson
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Robert MacPherson
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PostPosted: Mon 13 May, 2013 7:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am beginning to wonder if the mechanism is actually supposed to cast the shield and its parts into the air, or whether its function is only as a release, and the force of the impact is supposed to carry the shield up.

If we presume that the mechanism is only there to retain the shield until impact, and that the force of the lance is supposed to do the work of lofting the fragments over the jouster's head, the various wheels and rollers begin to make more sense.

The pics all seem to show that the shields are composed of two layers. The first is the foundation; which remains intact. The second is the covering; which is composed of "pie slices" of steel(?) that are secured under a central boss. I presume that the pie slices are held in such a way that a strong impact will dislodge them. In this sense they are not unlike the ablative brow reenforcing plates on the sallets.

As I see it...
-- any impact to the shield will cause the mechanism to release the shield.
-- a strong impact will carry the shield up over the jouster's head.
-- the stronger the impact, the higher the shield will go.
-- the stronger the impact, the more cover pieces will be dislodged.

.....Thus, better impacts produce more spectacle.

As a corollary, I presume that the images which show the shields in pieces high above the heads of stationary jousters represent an illustrative conflation of time and space, and are not meant to be taken literally.

Mac

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