The Glove 600 - 146 B.C. to Present Day
During Greek times the first Glove was discovered. An excerpt in
Homer´s Odyssey gives details of peasants clothing including the
first hand covering. They were "Pieces of hide tied or laced round the
forearm, wrist and hand, leaving the fingers free with a hole for the
thumb." Then during Roman times came the Latin "Manica."
This had fingers attached.
In other countries across Europe there are several names for the glove: -
This can only mean that the glove was in general use.
- Low Latin = Wantus
- Celtic = Golof (to cover)
- Scandinavian = Vottr and Glofar
- Anglo-Saxon = Glof
- Swedish = Wante
- French = Gant
- Spanish = Visigothic/Guando
- English = Glove/Gauntlet
The Franks used the word "Wantus" for the glove and they were worn by the
wealthy. They were made of fine skins with the fur on the inside and
ornamented outside with gold and set with jewels. They resembled our modern
day Mittens (a bag with a separate piece for the thumb).
By the time of William I, William II and Henry I they were still the bag
shaped gloves called the "Moufle." It was only in the C.12th that separate
fingers were introduced. Henry II wears this early version on his tomb
effigy in Fontevraud. The poor still wore the "Bag" glove. Most early
fingered gloves were loose at the wrist so the glove could be put on
easily. They were made of various materials, animal skins, cotton, silk,
velvet and knitted materials were favoured. Sometimes the edge of the cuff
was decorated in gold work and pearls with an ornamental plaque on the back
of the hand. Rings were also worn on the outside of the glove.
In the C.13th the cuff became deeper sometimes over 4 inches deep. It lost
its circular cut and became more pointed. Most were heavily embroidered and
an example can be seen in a painting in Westminster Abbey of Edward I.
During the C.14th and C.15th gloves were in common use by all, including
the clergy, but had many differences. These were sometimes a longer and
wider cuff (a gauntlet), an ornamental drop on the cuff (a fancy button or
tassel) and buttoning from the wrist to the cuff. There was also zigzag
stitching on the seams as well as slashing on the fingers of leather gloves
to show costly rings worn underneath. The longer cuff was also cut and
slashed as a form of decoration as was back of the hand. A thicker form of
leather glove was used for hunting and hawking.
Middle and lower classes had quality gloves according to their station.
Labourers and masons had simpler serviceable forms of gloves.
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