Trowel (Period)

Trowel (Period)

A trowel is a small handheld tool used by masons (and later by gardeners), for spreading, scooping, or smoothing.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, 1545 [Bromley & Child 201].  The trowel has its handle to base by Society default, with the blade flat-on to the viewer.  For related charges, see hoe, spade.

Alix Concordia von Altstein bears:  Per pale purpure and vert, a pale rayonny argent between two trowels Or.

Thomas MacPherson bears:  Argent billety gules, three trowels sable.

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Tools are implements to help in building or making.  The term can be applied very broadly, but is usually understood to refer to the hand tools employed in industry or artisanry.

For woodworking tools, see:  adze, awl, axe, chisel, drawknife, float, gimlet, hammer, knife, plane, saw.  See also nail, square.

For metalworking tools, see:  anvil, graver, hammer, punch, tongs.

For tools involving cloth, clothing, or thread, see:  broach, drop-spindle, hempbreak, knife, loom, shearsspinning wheel.  See also comb (wool), needle, quill of yarnshuttle, spool of thread.

For gardening or agricultural tools, see:  adze, axe, fork, harrow, hoe, plough, pruning hook, rake, scythe, sicklespade, trowel.

For tools related to food and drink preparation, see:  brewer’s scoopforkfrying pan, knife, mash rakepotspoon, strainer.  See also cleaver, oven, sieve.

For building or stoneworking tools, see:  axe, chisel, hammer, knife, level, pick, saw, trowel.  See also ladder.

For other entries, see:  brush, grozing iron, press, shave.

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Smith's tongs (Period)

Smith’s tongs (Period)

Tongs are a tool for handling hot objects, having two long arms pivoted or hinged together.  They are sometimes explicitly blazoned as “smith’s tongs”; in mundane heraldry, they are also called “pincers”.  One Society example blazons them as “a pair of pliers”, but the charge is drawn the same.

Tongs are found in the canting arms (German Zange, “tongs”) of Tsenger or Zenger, c.1360 [Gelre 34].  They have their handles to base by default.

Gene the Black bears:  Bendy of eight Or and sable, a pair of tongs gules.

Gerbert Faber de Rouen bears:  Argent, in saltire a smith’s hammer and a pair of tongs, in base a square anvil sable.

John Trevor of Chinon bears:  Per chevron vert and argent, two pincers argent and a sea lion sable.

Janusch Vladescu bears:  Per bend sinister argent and gules, a pair of pliers bendwise sinister sable and an annulet argent.

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Strainer (Accepted)

Strainer (Accepted)

A strainer is a cooking tool used to separate broth from solid matter such as vegetables or morsels of meat.  Though a period artifact, we have no examples of its use in period armory; the long-handled form shown in the illustration is taken from the Luttrell Psalter, c.1340.  The strainer has its handle to base by Society default.  See also spoon.

Huon Damebrigge bears as a badge: In saltire a flesh hook and a strainer sable.

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Square, carpenter’s

Carpenter's square, point to dexter chief (Period)

Carpenter’s square, point to dexter chief (Period)

A carpenter’s square, or squire, is an L-shaped instrument, used for truing right angles; the edges are often marked as rulers, though this is artistic license.  It is found in the arms of Atlow, c.1520 [DBA2 401].  A similar charge, the “engineer’s square”, is found in the canting arms (German Winkel) of Wynckler or Winckler, c.1450 [Ingeram 25; also Siebmacher 161].

The square doesn’t seem to have a default orientation; it must be specifically blazoned; but period examples always display the square with one arm vertical and the other horizontal.  The illustration shows a carpenter’s square, point to dexter chief.

Thomas Quilliam bears:  Azure, a carpenter’s square, point to chief argent.

Maimuna al-Bukhariyya bears as a badge:  Argent, a carpenter’s square palewise, corner to dexter chief gules.

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Spinning wheel

Spinning wheel (Accepted)

Spinning wheel (Accepted)

A spinning wheel is a tool for making thread; it is sometimes termed a “wool wheel”.  It has a large wheel turning a single spindle, on which the thread is spun; period wheels were turned by hand, not by a foot treadle.  Though a period artifact, the spinning wheel has not been found in period armory. The illustration is taken from the Luttrell Psalter, c.1340; it is the earliest known depiction of the artifact.

The spinning wheel has its spindle to sinister by Society default.  See also distaff, drop-spindle.

Eloise of Roed bears:  Argent, a wool wheel, alighting on the head a crow proper.

Edwinna of Hawk’s Bluff bears:  Azure, three spinning wheels with spindles to dexter argent.

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Spade; Shovel

Spade (Period); shovel (Period)

Spade (Period); shovel (Period)

A spade is a digging tool, with a broad pointed blade attached to a long handle.  The blade is frequently drawn with an iron edge reinforcement.  The spade is a period charge, found in the allusive arms (German graben, “to dig”) of von Grabmer or Graben, c.1450 [Ingeram 14; also Siebmacher 44].

If the blade is square instead of pointed, the tool may be termed a “shovel” [Franklyn 309], but such artistic distinction carries no heraldic difference.

The spade and shovel are palewise by default.  Society usage places them with their blades to base by default; this seems to follow English usage [Parker 543], though contrary to German usage.  For related charges, see hoe, trowel.

Aurelia Ruhlander bears: Sable, two spades inverted in saltire Or.

John Gardener of Barley Marsh bears: Per chevron vert and bendy Or and sable, in chief two shovels Or.

Johannes Stürmære bears: Per bend gules and sable, a shovel bendwise sinister argent.

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Sickle (Period)

Sickle (Period)

A sickle is a crescent-shaped blade with a short handle, used for cutting grasses and weeds; it is also known as a “reaping hook”.  It’s a period charge, found as early as c.1340, in the arms of Zürnler [Zurich 323].  The blade is to chief, embowed to sinister, by default.  For related charges, see pruning hook, scythe.  See also knife.

Ian the Strange bears:  Sable, a sickle argent.

Rorik Gunnulfsson bears:  Sable, a sickle fesswise, blade to chief, within a bordure all Or.

Meyer von Koch bears:  Sable, on a heart throughout Or, in pale a reaping hook sable and a pellet.

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Shuttle, weaver’s

Weaver's shuttle (Period)

Weaver’s shuttle (Period)

Two forms of stick shuttle (Accepted)

Two forms of stick shuttle (Accepted)

A weaver’s shuttle is a cloth-maker’s tool, containing a spool of the woof thread, which it carries back and forth between the warp threads strung in the loom.  The default heraldic form can be more fully described as a “boat shuttle”; it was also blazoned in period armory as a “navette”.  The shuttle is a period heraldic charge, found in arms granted in 1490 to the Worshipful Company of Weavers [Bromley & Child 263].  The shuttle is fesswise by default.

There is also a “stick shuttle”, a more primitive implement unique to Society heraldry; it is shown in two slightly different forms.  (The first form was at one time misblazoned in the Society as a “weaver’s slea“, but that error has been corrected.)

For related charges, see drop-spindle, quill of yarn.

Marielle de Rivage du Corbeau bears:  Azure, in fess two weavers’ shuttles palewise argent.

Unn Sigurdsdotter bears:  Per chevron argent and vert, a weaver’s shuttle argent.

Catherine of Gordonhall bears:  Purpure, a stick shuttle and a needle in saltire argent, both threaded with the same thread, in base a rose Or, barbed and seeded vert, all within a bordure invected Or.

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Shears; Scissors

Pair of shears (Period)

Pair of shears (Period)

Pair of scissors (Period)

Pair of scissors (Period)

Shears (more fully a “pair of shears”) is a cutting instrument with a pair of opposing blades joined by a spring.  Medievally, they came in several sizes, from large shears the height of a man (used to shear the wool from sheepskin) to small hand-held shears used by seamstresses in sewing; the latter are also called “snips”.  The blades might have either pointed or rectangular ends; rectangular ends are perhaps more common in mundane heraldry (as in the arms of Gennip or Gennep, c.1370, [Gelre 88v]), but the triangular blades are also found (Langen, 1605 [Siebmacher 181]).  The latter are more popular in the Society.

Shears have their blades to base, slightly open, by Society default.

Related to shears is the “scissors” or “pair of scissors”:  the opposing blades pivot on a bolt, and have handles on the other end to open and close them.  Scissors are likewise a period charge, found in the arms of Jungingen, c.1340 [Zurich 196], and the Guild of Tailors of Basel, 1415 [Volborth 184]; the handles should not be drawn in the modern ergonomic design.  Society heraldry distinguishes between the shears and the scissors, though little heraldic difference is granted.  The scissors’ default orientation is with points opened to chief, but that fact is frequently blazoned explicitly.

Blanking shears (Accepted)

Blanking shears (Accepted)

In Society armory, we find “blanking shears”, which despite the name, are actually like scissors in design:  they’re made for cutting metal blanks, as for coins.  As with scissors, their default orientation is with the blades to chief; the illustration is taken from a woodcut by Hans Burgkmair the Elder, c.1500.

Agnes Cresewyke bears:  Gules, three pairs of shears Or.

Carlos Blanco el Barbero bears:  Per chevron azure and gules, a pair of scissors argent.

Ian Cnulle bears as a badge:  Argent, a pair of open blanking shears, handles interlaced with a hammer fesswise reversed, all between three roundels sable.

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