A Horseman’s Hammer or Reiterhammer, c. 1530-50

3881 3
3881 1
3881 2

Item ref: 3881

  • Germany
  • Steel, wood
  • 55.5 x 14 cm


Private collection, Europe

This present hammer ideally illustrates the developmental transition of the horseman’s war hammer in the Germanic lands, from the mid-15th century gothic types, to the steel-hafted hammers formed with slender and elongated heads, predominant from circa 1570 onwards.

The hammer face is now flat and reduced in size, although no less robust. The rear fluke or beak has now elongated, although it has not yet achieved the more slender proportions of its successive type. This example retains its original wooden haft which, typically for the period, is reinforced over its entire length by steel straps running the length of its four sides; these straps narrow at the grip section to reveal the chamfered edges of the wooden core and are very simply turned over to cap the base. A comparable haft with full-length reinforces is found on a horseman’s axe of the same period, preserved in the historic armoury of the Counts von Trapp, Schloss Churburg (CH S288).