Hempbreak (Period)

Hempbreak (Period)

A hempbreak, or hemp-bray, is a tool for crushing hemp or flax stalks, thus loosening the fibers for removal.  It consists of a flat, legged base, with a hinged blade or toothed lid atop it.  The hempbreak is a period charge:  the form with the blade is found in the arms of von Habel, 1605 [Siebmacher 138], while the form with the toothed lid is the canting badge of Bray, early 16th C. [Siddons 37; also Walden 199].

The hempbreak is found in period armorial art both open and closed, with the hinge both to dexter and sinister; its exact orientation is thus not blazoned, and is not worth difference.  The illustration shows the English (toothed) form of the charge.  See also table.

Jahn Van Breeman bears:  Vert, a hempbreak argent.

Ormr Grimolfsson bears:  Per bend sinister sable and azure, a hempbreak Or.

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