Bascinet klapvisor from Nurnberg c.1370
1370 - Bascinet, German, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany
The earliest versions of the bascinet, at the beginning of the 14th century, had no visors, and were worn underneath larger "great helms." After the initial clash of lances, the great helm was often discarded during fierce hand-to-hand combat, as it impeded breathing and vision. Thus, having a smaller helmet underneath was a real advantage.
The bascinet, both with and without a visor (visors were often removable for better visibility and ventilation), was the most common helmet worn in Europe during the latter portions of the 14th and early 15th century, including during the Hundred Years' War. Contemporary illustrations show nearly every knight and man-at-arms wearing one of a few variants of the basic hounskull helmet. The basic design was intended to direct blows from weapons downward and away from the skull and face of the wearer.
Over the course of the late 1300s to early 1400s, the bascinet evolved from a shorter form with a shorter point (or no point at all) to its more pointed form—some so severe as to have a vertical back. In Germany a more bulbous version also appeared in the beginning of the 15th century. During the first half of the 15th century, more plates were added to protect the throat better, producing a form called the "great bascinet". Both the portion covering the skull and the hinged visor over the face became less angular and more rounded, until by the mid- to late 1400s, the great bascinet had evolved into the armet.
Two styles of attaching the visor existed. The "klappvisor" was a single hinge at the front of the forehead that was commonly seen in Germany. The side-pivot mount used two pivots on the side of the helmet, which connected to the visor with hinges to compensate for the lack of parallelism in the pivots. The side-pivot system was commonly seen in Italian armours. It is documented that some seasoned knights often wore their bascinets without visors for better visibility and breathing during hand-to-hand combat, and to avoid heat exhaustion.
- hot rolled steel, 2 mm (14 ga)
- the visor is made of 2mm (14 ga)
- satin polish
- painting inside
- steel rivets and buckles
- high quality leather chin straps