Hollywood Arms and Armour Made in Zarnesti, Romania

Hollywood weaponry and armour made in Romania
Nine O-Clock – 2006-08-24
by Anamaria Flora

A family in Zarnesti has been, for years, working on Medieval armoury and clothing, for moviemaking uses and not only.

The Feraru family has a unique workshop in Romania, where they make medieval weapons, armours, flags and clothing for princesses and queens, knights and noblemen, mainly sold in the German market, but also to Hollywood movie studios. The mother and one of the daughters of the Ferarus in Zarnesti are dressmakers. They embroider and sew ladies’ dresses, flags and tents of age-old times, Mediafax reports. The father works in the smithy, where he makes swords, shields and armours, exactly like the ones used by the knights of the 12-14th Centuries. The only son of the family is in charge with leather and paint work. The other daughter, Stefania, is the “wheel” which gets everything in motion, in charge with the administrative work and the errands. The Zarnesti workshop, which is fact is the younger sister of a German company named Historica, has approx. ten employees and operates in four production sections: dressmaking, smithy, carpentry and leather-painting.

“We can’t stand the kitsch, so all you see here are replicas of arms or dresses that actually existed once,” Stefania Feraru proudly says. The models are chosen after in-depth documentation: history books, travels to museums around the world. The armour produced here was used by film studios in Hollywood. “The hammers and battle axes were used by the orcs in ‘Lords of the Ring’ and some of the shields, armours and swords were used in ‘Braveheart’,” says Stefania.

The carpentry plant makes wood toys, frameworks for tents, but also furniture. Historica Manufacture Romania only has customers abroad. Except for medieval festivals in the country, such as the ones in Sighisoara, Sibiu, Rasnov or Suceava, when Romanians can also purchase medieval products from stands. The most loyal customer is Germany, but the Hollywood movie industry is also a major client. A special chapter is represented by medieval garments for princesses and queens, knights and noblemen. An element of class distinction was without doubt the garment colour. And everything has to match the pattern of medieval times. For instance, in 700-800 A.D., the prevalent colours were black, white, grey and beige, because the most frequently used fabrics where the linen and hemp.

Later on, in the early 12th Century, the bright colours came in use, which started to play a class distinction role. “Upper-class garment had specific features, and the coat of arms of the respective house had to be worn. In fact, a knight’s entire garment was in line with the coat of arms colours. It was a genuine colour identification code,” Stefania explains. Red, blue, green. These were the colours for noblemen. And also, the one-piece garments.