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Alex Krochman




Location: SoCal, USA
Joined: 17 Mar 2014

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2014 12:42 am    Post subject: Armor Ergonomics studies         Reply with quote

Greetings forum members, I am an engineering student studying ergonomics currently. Our class has a main research paper that I have been approved for on the ergonomics of ancient armors as my topic. I am looking to find any research studies done or professional opinions/observations about various suits of armor from various cultures before the advent of gunpowder. Areas of specific focus would be japanese/asian armors, greek and roman, as well as european medieval armors. If you have any insights or can direct me to any specifics it would greatly help me with my research paper.
Bouncing ball of bearded bedlam.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2014 6:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Forgive me for sounding a little haughty but do you mean research on pretty much all armour from across the world from ancient times to roughly the 15th century? That's a heck of a lot of papers....

professional opinions/observations on what aspects? We are all happy to help but that's a huge area of research.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Raman A




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Aug 2011

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2014 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How long is this paper? You don't seem to have done even precursory research yet and your scope needs to be dramatically tightened unless it's a gigantic project, otherwise your work will have no room for real substance. Adequately covering the change over time in ergonomics of just western European armor 1300-1650 would be difficult even in a 10,000 word project.

I'm not sure why you specified before the invention of gunpowder, that really limits your project since after the widespread use of gunpowder armorsmiths began to make some really interesting design decisions. European militaries began to really push the limit of what a soldier was willing to wear. It seems like you're more interested in the ancient rather than medieval period though, if that's the case just focus on that period and don't spread yourself thin.

You need to do your own research first and come back here with some specific questions or stumbling blocks. Your University should have subscriptions to various journals and should be able to interlibrary loan and books they don't have. If you can find it, Arms & Armor of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and Miles Paddock is a good primer on the history of western armor. myArmoury forum member Dan Howard's Bronze Age Military Equipment is a short but focused look at bronze age equipment. Check out the myArmoury book list http://www.myArmoury.com/books/ourlist.php for more sources, although many of them can be hard to find or expensive. After you lay the groundwork you need to get into the primary sources, most of which are available online these days.

I think this is an interesting project. The main factors you probably want to take into consideration while doing your research are weight, mobility, and comfort. For helmets vision and hearing impairment become important.
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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Posts: 416

PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My two cents to a fellow engineering student would be to seek out either a world class armorer, or someone with an armor made by a world class armorer and do a study of that reproduction armor. If someone like Tobias Capwell (a curator at the wallace collection who owns http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=7687) was willing to talk about the mobility constraints of his custom armor, as a mix of personal experience and empirical measurements (weights, amount and type of articulation, mounting points, etc.) you could present a valuable research paper on the subject.

Or get in contact with Robert R. MacPherson, one of the best armorers alive, and ask him about your topic for a range of armors in some specific period or about a single armor he has built based on an original.
http://www.lightlink.com/armory/armory.html

The other option would be to find a local museum with a complete, vetted armor and beg them to let you examine and measure it, then do a study on that specific armors weight, degree of mobility, etc.

The topic "German armors from 1450-1500" could fill a multi volume reference set, so I share the assertion that your topic is WAY too broad to write an effective paper. But analyzing one period armor from a modern engineers standpoint would make for a highly effective research paper.


the first time i saw this armor, all that ran through my head was "damn... this is how a suit of armor is supposed to fit"
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posts: 605

PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with the others that the field of inquiry needs to be tightened if you don't want the project to get too scattered or end up really shallow. If I were you, and assuming that you're not intending to write several volumes on this topic in the immediate future, I'd pick just one suit of really awesome (and heavily documented) armor and focus on that alone.

The heavily documented part is so you don't have to cite "some dudes on teh interwebs" with regard to any information gleaned from this thread. Even though this forum hosts some really brilliant people who know their stuff, you should trace things back to published sources for the purposes of your bibliography. Wink

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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Posts: 416

PostPosted: Mon 17 Mar, 2014 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
The heavily documented part is so you don't have to cite "some dudes on teh interwebs" with regard to any information gleaned from this thread. Even though this forum hosts some really brilliant people who know their stuff, you should trace things back to published sources for the purposes of your bibliography. Wink


I'll second this. Us forumites could share our personal experiences with our reproduction armor all day, but from an academic standpoint "joe blow, who has 10 years of SCA and HEMA experience and a $700 suit of armor, says his armor can stop 308 rifle rounds yet he can still do backflips in it" doesn't hold much weight.

Which is Why I suggest being able to write "According to a personal interview with Tobias Capwell, curator of the wallace collection, _________________________________________" or "according to ____________, a well respected modern day armorer, ____________________" or "according to _______, the curator of the _______ museum of art, and personal examination of the ___________ harness, ______________________." instead of "according to Tom King, a renaissance festival volunteer and HEMA practitioner, ________".
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Alex Krochman




Location: SoCal, USA
Joined: 17 Mar 2014

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 18 Mar, 2014 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry I was not very clear on the scope of the project when I first posted. I am looking primarily to see if there are any other known studies for armor ergonomics such as the one that the University of Leeds conducted recently by placing reenactors in 15th century replica suits and running them on a treadmill while hooked up to breathing and pulse monitoring equipment. If there turn out not to be then I will most likely be following Tom King's suggestion. I dd not want to limit the initial search for data to any one culture or time period because from the initial searches I have done there have not been very many of them done.
Bouncing ball of bearded bedlam.
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Raman A




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Aug 2011

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed 19 Mar, 2014 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fair enough. Keep in mind that the Leeds study was deeply flawed, but flawed studies are excellent for discussion in a paper. Unfortunately similar tests are pretty much nonexistant in an academic setting. Like Tom King said, there are plenty of people who will tell you they can run a 10k in their armor but it's not exactly a published study that you can make use of.
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Mar, 2014 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raman A wrote:
Fair enough. Keep in mind that the Leeds study was deeply flawed, but flawed studies are excellent for discussion in a paper. Unfortunately similar tests are pretty much nonexistant in an academic setting. Like Tom King said, there are plenty of people who will tell you they can run a 10k in their armor but it's not exactly a published study that you can make use of.


From an engineers (and a currently amateur historians, my second major choice) standpoint, the leeds study raises my hackles more than most. People in armor who are both A. not conditioned to wear armor for long periods and B. wearing ill fitting garnitures does not make for a realistic academic test (even if some of the individuals tested were frequent volunteers from the museum). Just like many of the "tests" done of X modern steel armor vs X poorly built weapon that, short of a video clip for a history channel special, offer no relevant data. From unsourceable personal experience, I know that my old ill fitting motley harness allowed me to walk around for hours, yet still fight for decent periods of time with little issue; yet that study from Leeds made it look like 20 minutes of walking would make an in shape man drop dead when wearing armor.
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Steven Janus




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 12 Mar 2008

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Sat 22 Mar, 2014 12:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well Tom, considering myself and may others from our group walked in full armor, myself wearing my helm, from our encampment to the joust field, fought in a semi choreographed melee, and walked back know that you can walk quite a bit in armor especially if you are conditioned to do so. Though we are poor re-enactors with cobbled together suits, with some exception. I will say that return walk was BRUTAL LOL! None of this can apply to the paper of the topic originator of course.
Newbie Sword collector
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sat 22 Mar, 2014 7:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I saw this video on youtube the other day, it's pretty interesting, although some view point may be different.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjKbi7YUNaI
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