Breastplate for service on foot
Maintenance of metal armor was particularly problematic in tropical America. Surfaces were sometimes treated to offer a degree of rust-resistance, using techniques such as painting, and fire-blueing as seen here.
18.a & b are a cuirass of associated halves. This is rounded, of one piece, without provision for a lance-rest, and narrows only sightly at the sides to the downcurved waist. It projects forward in a rounded 'peascod' that hangs below the waistline, with a low medial ridge extending full-length from below the neck opening. This is deeply curved, and is finished with a strong angular outward plain turn. The arm openings are also deep, and similarly turned, without gussets. The breastplate is beaten well up over the front of the shoulders, and terminated in squared ends that were once fitted with leather straps. The bottom of the breastplate is beaten out in a narrow, downturned flange which is deeply curved to a blunt point at the fork. The flange is itself pierced at the ends and asymmetrically to either side of the medial line, for a lost fauld. The overall blued (now russet) finish of both back and breastplates is apparently original.
There is a good possibility that these pieces are from a common source in Ireland from which Fenton obtained a number of objects between the wars. See comments for HAM #13.
Karcheski, Walter J. Jr., "Arms and Armor of the Conquistador, 1492-1600" (Gainesville: Florida Museum of Natural History, 1990), Cat. #7b, ill.
Milbrath, Susan and Jerald T. Milanich, "First Encounters: An Exhibit Guide" (Gainesville: Florida Museum of Natural History, 1990), pg. 31, ill.