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Justin Pasternak

Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
Joined: 17 Sep 2006

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue 10 Oct, 2006 9:38 pm    Post subject: brass knuckles/knuckle duster         Reply with quote

Did the knuckle duster originate from guantlets with sharp spikes or knobs attached to them?
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Richard Fay

Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Oct, 2006 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Gadlings, to use the term applied to knobs or spikes on medieval gauntlets, could certainly serve as "knuckle-dusters", but I don't think there is a direct evolution from the medieval gauntlet to the "knuckle-duster". Gauntlets are first and foremost protection for the hand; "knuckle-dusters" function more as weapons.
By the way, gadlings could take many forms other than knobs or spikes; the Black Prince's gauntlets that hung with his other funerary achievements in Canterbury Cathedral bore gadlings in the shape of little lions. Only one gadling now survives. The joint plates bear hexagonal spikes.
George Cameron Stone indicated in his "Glossary of Arms and Armour" (the actual title is something like 19 words long) that the knuckle duster was a survival of the Roman cestus, heavy thongs, often weighted with lead or iron, wound around the hands and arms of Roman boxers. He goes on to say that the knuckle duster was never a legitimate weapon in Europe or America, but they were used for fair fights in other parts of the world.
One interesting aside, in India they developed the pata; a sword-gauntlet. Stone believed that it developed from the Indian punch-dagger, the katar.
I hope this all helped!
Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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