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Al Muckart

Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Head Protection Article Worth Reading         Reply with quote

This has been mentioned in various threads, but a dedicated thread seems to be the best way to create a searchable permanent reference to this article on the forums. It is an article co-authored by, among others, David Edge.

It discusses the metallurgy, padding, apparent effectiveness and development of head protection and discusses both the metallurgy and design issues. I think of it every time the question of swords cutting through armour comes up.

It costs money to download the PDF but it is, in my opinion, worth it.

Neurosurgery: December 2000 - Volume 47 - Issue 6 - pp 1261-1286

Head Protection in England before the First World War

Blackburn, T. Philip D.; Edge, David A.; Williams, Alan R.; Adams, Christopher B. T.


MAN HAS SOUGHT to protect himself from physical injury resulting either from the vicissitudes of an arbitrary natural environment or from the calculated activity of his fellow creatures since at least the beginning of recorded time. The earliest substantial British evidence of this activity dates from shortly after the Roman invasion of 55 BC.

The head has always been seen by both assailant and defender as a region of particular vulnerability, where an incapacitating blow might most effectively be landed. We present an overview of the evolution and development of English military head protection through the ages, with particular reference to the advances made in metallurgical technology at Greenwich through the course of the 16th century.

Much of this represents original research by the authors (particularly ARW), published here for the first time. We include the first metallographic data on armor excavated from the Wisby grave-pits (1361), the first scientific analysis of the textile composition of medieval helmet linings from the Wallace Collection, and the first metallurgical study of the Windsor Castle suit, the personal armor of King Henry VIII, perhaps England's most famous monarch. We combine this with our own experimental data, also previously unpublished, relating to the attack energy available from ancient weaponry (whose technology determines the design of defenses, then as now) in an attempt to assess the effectiveness of helmets. Finally, we set this in the context of contemporary medical technology. The latter is found to be woefully inadequate when presented with serious head injuries. Nevertheless, mortality from battlefield injury has been reduced from ancient times to the present day, despite advances in weapons technology.

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Reinier van Noort

Joined: 13 Dec 2006

Posts: 165

PostPosted: Wed 18 Mar, 2009 1:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to add my $0.02. I have read this article and it is very interesting indeed!

(Working for a University has its benefits such as full access to the library :-) )

School voor Historische Schermkunsten
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