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For a few pounds more, a knight could commission an armourer directly. Across Northern Europe, the guild system restricted the number of master armourers, journeymen and apprentices in any workshop; however, Milan remained free of restrictions and came to be one of the major providers of armour for the entire continent. In 1427, Milan was able to supply 4,000 armours for cavalry and 2,000 for footmen within a few days. The Missaglia family were perhaps the most widely known armourers in the city, even becoming involved in the mining and smelting aspect of the business.

If an English lord of sufficient means set his heart on having his harness made directly by a Milanese master, he would have make the arduous journey there in person, or, more likely, order by mail, so to speak. Arming doublets and hose were by necessity tailored to be very snug. The wealthy knight could dispatch a servant long with a set of clothing and possibly even wax copies of limbs to ensure the armour fitted perfectly. Upon completion, the armour was packed into straw-filled barrels and shipped to the new owner.

[Source: “Some Aspects of the Metallurgy and Production of European Armor” by Craig Johnson on citing Pfaffenbiehler, Mathias, Medieval Craftsmen, Armourers, 1992, Toronto.]

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