These obscure and unusual arms began to see a rise in use during the medieval period and continued in used in Europe until at least the late 18th century. At their most basic level these "man-catchers" were a device that could be attached to a pole, giving them further reach, that was used to ensnare someone. This example no longer includes the pole, but its purpose remains clear. The two longer forked ends are spring loaded, allowing for the weapon to be thrust at someone's neck, which would slide securely into the collar that is ringed with seven inward facing spikes riveted in place. Spiked "man-catchers" such as this examples were often intended for use against armoured opponents, as the spikes could do significant damage to anyone lacking armour. These were often used during the medieval period to capture enemy nobles and pull them off their horses to later be ransomed, as they were much more valuable alive than dead. Another common use was for the control or recapture of unruly or escaped prisoners, though examples used for such would more commonly have a spike-less collar. Similar polearms were used all over the world, some even into the present day for prisoner and riot control. The overall length is approximately 28 3/4 inches with the diameter of the collar being approximately 7 1/4 inches. It is made entirely of iron with two spring loaded trap doors at the thrusting end.
Fine, showing traces of an old black finish with the balance mostly an attractive antique brown patina overall. One of the springs is broken in half but still in place and functioning. A very unusual conversation piece!
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