Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Roman mail - iron tubing Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next 
Author Message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Roman mail - iron tubing         Reply with quote

I've just been given a reference to an article demonstrating that the solid links in Roman mail, from at least the 3rd century onwards, was made by cutting them off tubes with a lathe.

B. A. Greiner, "Zur Herstellungsweise römischer Kettenhemden (Lorica Hamata)", in: G. Seitz (Hg.), im Dienste Roms, Festschrift für H.U. Nuber, Remshalden 2006, S. 199-204.

Apparently this method is even faster than punching out links from plate. I didn't even know the Romans had iron tubing.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Mon 09 Jul, 2012 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, that's bizarre! I didn't know they made iron tube, either, at least not with a seam strong enough to make mail rings.

But to make tube, you have to start with sheet, right? Then laboriously roll or wrap it and THEN weld the seam. And we're not talking 2" diameter pipe, here, this would have to be in the 6mm range. Geez... You need to get the metal (c. 1mm thick) to a welding heat without burning it up, then onto a rod-like mandrel that is 4 or 5 mm in diameter, and hammer or at least squeeze the seam shut. Without getting it stuck on your mandrel. I guess you don't need a very *long* tube, but still... But if it's going onto a lathe it needs to be darn regular, and do you end up wasting the end because of how it is secured in the chuck? Is there a dowel or rod through it? What do you cut with?

Wouldn't a ring sliced from a tube with a forge-welded seam look a lot like a ring made from square wire (possibly sliced from sheet) with a forge-welded joint?

I know, I know, I need to read the article! My skeptic alarm seems to be going off, though. Really love to see more details about this! Thanks, though, it's fascinating!

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Henrik J. Fridh




Location: Gothenburg, Sweden.
Joined: 29 Jun 2012

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, very interesting stuff, thank you. Wasn't it in the 3rd century onwards the romans started using heavier maille? With the armour now having sleeves and reaching down to the knees or below the waist atleast?
View user's profile Send private message
Nathan Gilleland





Joined: 25 Apr 2008

Posts: 199

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's an intriguing idea for the modern hobbyist at least. I wonder how hard it would be to find steel tubing of an appropriate size and how hard it would be to cut rings from it? From a historical context, without reading the article, I too am a little skeptical, but I can see how it would result in more efficient material usage and less stock waste... Confused

I might have to look into getting some tubing and grabbing my tube cutter! Wink

Seek Honor before Wealth,
Truth before Honor,
God Before all
View user's profile Send private message
Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
But to make tube, you have to start with sheet, right? Then laboriously roll or wrap it and THEN weld the seam.


There are other ways to make tube.
For instance this seamless proceedure (don't worry, the article is in English Wink):
http://geschichte.salzgitter-ag.de/en/FAQ/Man...tahlrohre/

Or spiraling, as with cardboard tubes:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ARQofFDbPhQ/TnDvJGm7itI/AAAAAAAAAtM/doixQAHYG1k/iPhone%252520681.jpg

But for mail, seamless seems the way to go. Less chance of faulty welds...

Anyway, I have no idea how the Romans did it. Nor do I have any idea that the Romans had lathes...

Interesting stuff for sure!
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, yeah, lathes were known for centuries before then. Helmets and other metal vessels were often spun on lathes, not to mention the usual wooden furniture parts.

I don't want to say that the Romans did *not* have the technology to do stuff "invented" in later centuries (e.g., they may have had mills for rolling sheet iron), but these seamless tube methods look like kind of a stretch to me, no pun intended.

Lead water pipes were made at least sometimes by wrapping a long strip and just soldering the two edges together, inside-to-inside, so the cross-section is more teardrop than round. Clearly that's on the "crude" end of the technology, and not suitable for mail rings! I don't doubt they could do better. BUT...

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Finds of iron tubes start to turn up in glassworking sites across the Empire from the third century whereas previously the blowpipes would have been ceramic. These were airtight along their length and smoothwalled internally and externally.

Spread of applications for new technology?

Presumably the article Dan cites contains an ESM analysis of sample ring structure to back up the claim?

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't read German and don't trust onlne translatiors. I was hoping that a German speaker here with access to the article could translate the relevant passages for us.
View user's profile Send private message
Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
Joined: 01 Jul 2006

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that one could make single piece tubing fairly easily back then by first hot piercing a larger forged cylindrical bar, then drawing it down to a homogeneous diameter through successive die plates between annealings. On the last draw, you would end up with a very consistent, work-hardened product too....
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
There are other ways to make tube.
For instance this seamless proceedure (don't worry, the article is in English Wink):
http://geschichte.salzgitter-ag.de/en/FAQ/Man...tahlrohre/

Sim and Kaminsky have demonstrated that Romans used rollers when making segmentata.
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 415

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jul, 2012 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am busy with thesis reading, but I will order the article and have a look. I give this proposition a fairly low level of credence (perhaps its just a speculation by the authors?), but that will probably change once I read their argument.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 12:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chistian over on RAT summarised the article as follows:

Quote:
Investigation of tool marks has shown:
Step1: bar is forged
Step2: bar turned evenly round on lathe => rod
Step3: Hole is drilled into rod on lathe => tube
Step4: rings are taken of tube with chisel on lathe
Process leaves a small flash along one side of the ring, along the inner circumference.
View user's profile Send private message
Leo Todeschini
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, UK
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,548

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no reference for the following so apologise in advance.

I spent the week with Alan Wilkins and Tom Feely (respected Roman artillery people) a month ago and they were saying that there is now evidence that the Romans were importing rolled steel sheet and seamless tube from China.

I know no more than that.

Tod

www.todsworkshop.com
www.todcutler.com
www.instagram.com/todsworkshop
www.facebook.com/TodTodeschini
www.youtube.com/user/todsstuff1
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
Finds of iron tubes start to turn up in glassworking sites across the Empire from the third century whereas previously the blowpipes would have been ceramic. These were airtight along their length and smoothwalled internally and externally.


Aha, excellent! Just the kind of thing I was hoping for. Thanks!


Dan Howard wrote:
Chistian over on RAT summarised the article as follows:

Quote:
Quote:
Investigation of tool marks has shown:
Step1: bar is forged
Step2: bar turned evenly round on lathe => rod
Step3: Hole is drilled into rod on lathe => tube
Step4: rings are taken of tube with chisel on lathe
Process leaves a small flash along one side of the ring, along the inner circumference.


Hmm, my alarms are still going off. This would require a heck of a nice steel drill bit, and good accuracy. The wastage would be the same as punching from sheet, i.e., everything inside the ring, and a certain amount outside. It still doesn't sound any easier than punching rings from sheet, to me! NOT that I'm an expert at any of these processes, mind you, and not that I expect the ancients to do anything the easy way, by any means!


Leo Todeschini wrote:
I spent the week with Alan Wilkins and Tom Feely (respected Roman artillery people) a month ago and they were saying that there is now evidence that the Romans were importing rolled steel sheet and seamless tube from China.


Um, not even sure what to say, here. I think I'd want to see the cargo manifests or customs documents. Sorry, I really don't mean to sound derisive, but my eyes are bugging out, here!

Valete,

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 5:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no problem believing that the Romans had rolled plate and iron tubing but why on earth would they need to get them from the Chinese? The Romans had one of the most advanced metalworking industries on the planet. I think they might have misread Sim and Kaminky's new book.
View user's profile Send private message
Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This book is hard to get. It's only available in Frankfurt a. M. and in Leipzig in university libraries.
https://portal.dnb.de/opac.htm;jsessionid=DD8D587638028FED0BA228BA2E6EFE50.prod-worker4?method=showFullRecord&currentResultId=Woe%3D10922616X%26any&currentPosition=0
I can do the translation, but I need a text.
It isn't necessary that tubing means round tubes, you can also have triangular or other cross sections and even a seam that would make welding or soldering easier.
German: "Rohr" = English "tube" does include objects with triangular cross sections (linked example below) in the German meaning of the word, although we take it to normally mean round cross section and would emphasize a deviation from that perceived standard.
http://german.alibaba.com/product-gs/triangul...81450.html
From a German POV the defining characteristics are being hollow, inflexible, have some length in comparison to the cross section diameter and one piece to handle.
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, but if they're slicing up the tube to make mail rings, it's probably safe to assume the tube is more or less round in section!

Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And, if anything, you'd imagine that round(ish) tube was easier to make than any other section.
"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
View user's profile Send private message
Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, stupid me misunderstood something. I thought the rings of the mail were tubes.

The other stuff is fairly simple and well documented in the Middle Ages at least. Create an iron bar, pull it through a matrix to create wire, wrap and hammer it around the object of the shape of the mail rings (in most cases round) and chisel ring segments away as you go. The chiseling is done fastest by just going down one side of the wire wrapped object - the wire tube. There are several medieval illustrations of that process, but I seem unable to find them online.

There are two possibilities now, the ends can be riveted or forge welded together and while you're forge welding, you might want to make the ring more rectangular in cross section. For fast construction 50% riveted, 50% welded for stability. The rings with rectangular cross section might look superficially similar to specimen punched from plate and you need a thin section for a metallurgist to see the difference.
View user's profile Send private message
Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
Joined: 01 Jul 2006

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2012 12:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Chistian over on RAT summarised the article as follows:


Quote:
Investigation of tool marks has shown:
Step1: bar is forged
Step2: bar turned evenly round on lathe => rod
Step3: Hole is drilled into rod on lathe => tube
Step4: rings are taken of tube with chisel on lathe
Process leaves a small flash along one side of the ring, along the inner circumference.


That would be very interesting indeed, seeing as a somewhat hardened tool bit would have to be utilized for any decent amount of productivity. Do you think any examples still exist?

EDIT: The interesting part is that this would equal cut-off techniques as employed in fairly modern mass-production machining processes.

2nd EDIT: A high degree of accuracy wouldn't even be needed to produce decent production quality rings. It could even be done very sloppily, possibly helping to lend some dullness to the sharp edges inherently produced by highly precise methods...


Last edited by Torsten F.H. Wilke on Tue 10 Jul, 2012 1:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Roman mail - iron tubing
Page 1 of 4 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum