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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: The economy of Mail         Reply with quote

It seems to be suggested that Mail became more affordable as time went on. I was wondering why this was. It still has to be made by hand so labor isn't cheaper. What were the reasons?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Earlier 9th-10th century mail often has significant variation in wire diameter (0.6 to 1.2 mm diameter wire within the same link as an extreme) within a single link, and formed link diameters can vary quite a bit within a single artifact fragment. (I would assume much of everything was hand done, or not done on a mass production scale where the wire would be likely affordable for other uses as well.) Later period mail tends to be more uniform. Wire drawing mills began to proliferate during 14th century. I would expect that some form of stamping die was probably developed to help prepare the links more quickly as well.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wire draw mill? I've never heard of them, where could I get some info on them.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2009 9:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://books.google.com/books?id=PDLPX7J8kW8C...#PPA134,M1

I'm not sure if that will come through. Try searching on "wire drawing." Wire drawing was known in ancient times, but application to iron and steel was more recent (13th century and onwards.) Known mass production locations of materials suitable for mail are generally 14th century and later.

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Gabriele A. Pini




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2009 1:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is also the lowering fo the price of iron (for the more commerce in alll europe) and the bettering of the capacities to make steel (in the same period started the production of big plates of armour). I think this is the result of the general improvement of the life and work that occurred during the passage high-low Middle Ages and then to the Renaissance.

I don't know if there is an improvement in the tools used to make mail. I know for personal experience that a better tool can significantly lower the time need to make a section of mail, but also that there wasn't for tools the same innovation that was for weapons. Perhaps steel tools? If someone has information
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Re: The economy of Mail         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
It seems to be suggested that Mail became more affordable as time went on. I was wondering why this was. It still has to be made by hand so labor isn't cheaper. What were the reasons?


You need to specify the time period. Mail might have gotten cheaper during the Roman period but it likely increased during the migration period. Medieval mail might have gotten cheaper as the cost of iron decreased over the centuries but after the Black Death the price of mail increased to the point that it cost more than most types of plate armour.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Medieval to renaissance. So it got more expensive during black death? OK, well thats due to labor, but why'd it get cheaper in the first place? Labor again?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Everything made of iron decreased in price during the time in question. Wouldn't the most likely explaination be that iron itself cost less? Iron probably became cheaper because of improved mining techniques, better mass production, larger furnaces, water powered mills, improved transportation, etc.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jan, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

More need for the infrastructure yields more infrastructure. More infrastructure yields easier processing at the same load.

Also, with fewer burials with maille, maybe a great number of "older" maille shirts were still in circulation?

M.

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