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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2016 11:03 am    Post subject: Different types of helmet lining         Reply with quote

Hi Guys,
I'm used to helmets with a 'cradle' type of canvas or leather lining like this:

http://www.therionarms.com/reenact/therionarms_c1277f.jpg

Under that I usually wear a cotton coif or an arming cap because after a bit of carefully testing I figured the 'cradle' lining alone is not enough (especially if a blow comes directly from the side) even though I have seen people go into a fight without wearing an arming cap under the 'cradle' lining. However, with a cradle + arming cap and a 2mm helmet shell I'm pretty sure I'd shrug off being batted over the head full force with a two-by-four. For something invented over a thousand years ago the 'cradle' lining is amazingly effective.

Recently I started looking at some of the awesome helmets for sale on Wulflund.com:

https://www.wulflund.com/armour/helmets/viking-and-norman-helmets/norman-helmet-with-decorated-nasal-patina.html

These things have no 'cradle' type lining. They are just a 2mm steel shell that is worn on top of a padded cap like this:

https://www.wulflund.com/img/goods/en/medium/textile-arming-cap_2.jpg

This system is pretty common in Eastern Europe but I have no experience with it. So my question is does anybody have a helmet like this and how good is this form of padding when you get a good and proper bang on the head? How does it compare to the 'cradle' + cap solution?
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2016 3:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Be wary of using what people are selling as primary source material. There are certainly surviving examples of linings from the 15th cent, not aware of anything earlier so its best guesswork, supposition and, in a few cases, fantasy.

But a padded cap certainly works but comparing the huge range of types of cap, helmet and type of blow (how hard, from what angle, on which bit of how constructed a helmet? is tricky. They you have your own personal physiognomy, pain threshold etc to contend with.

And don't forget that some of these will have mail under as well so that will affect the result.

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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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2016 4:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
Be wary of using what people are selling as primary source material. There are certainly surviving examples of linings from the 15th cent, not aware of anything earlier so its best guesswork, supposition and, in a few cases, fantasy.


That is a good point I hadn't thought of this. Most of what I do is 8th-12th century stuff. I always thought those 'cradle' type linings were intriduced during the 11th or 12th century because that's what the Osprey books said. However there must have been some form of shock absorbtion beng used with helmets before the 'cradle' lining came along. I always figured that would have been some form of padded cap. I suppose one could have a similar marathon argument about that as people are having about whether the Vikings et. al. used padded under-armor of some sort, or just wore mail on top od a simpl linen tunic. One thing is for sure, I'd not want to be wear a helmet without some form of shock absorber.

Mark Griffin wrote:
But a padded cap certainly works but comparing the huge range of types of cap, helmet and type of blow (how hard, from what angle, on which bit of how constructed a helmet? is tricky. They you have your own personal physiognomy, pain threshold etc to contend with.

And don't forget that some of these will have mail under as well so that will affect the result.


What worries me is that there would only be a centimeter or two of padding between the scull and the dome of the helmet. Somehow that seems a bit flimsy but I suppose if the helmet is thick enough that it won' dent very much the force of the blow would be distributed over one entire half of the padded arming cap which would then soke up the most of the force.
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2016 6:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
because that's what the Osprey books said.


Eeek. Does depend on which one you are looking at and where the colour plates are concerned, that's an artists impression of what the author tells them from whatever his interpretation is. Don't be swayed by their evocative nature, even the artists who know what they are doing will admit to grey areas.

I always tell people armour of any sort, but esp the helmet, is like a construction workers hard hat. It needs to be able to protect against bumps and knocks and someone accidentally dropping a half brick or personal tool on you. But to make it so protective that if a wall or scaffold collapses or an rsj lands on your nut it will be so heavy as to make wearing a liability where your work is concerned.

And one other minor point, I have a lovely copy of the Thames helmet done by a great Russian armourer with plenty of room for padding and mail. But its so large I look like an idiot....

The best bit of your mail armour and helmet is your shield and your ability to not be where your opponents blow is.

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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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
Quote:
because that's what the Osprey books said.


Eeek. Does depend on which one you are looking at and where the colour plates are concerned, that's an artists impression of what the author tells them from whatever his interpretation is. Don't be swayed by their evocative nature, even the artists who know what they are doing will admit to grey areas.


Yeah those books look nice but they are very different in quality.

Mark Griffin wrote:

I always tell people armour of any sort, but esp the helmet, is like a construction workers hard hat. It needs to be able to protect against bumps and knocks and someone accidentally dropping a half brick or personal tool on you. But to make it so protective that if a wall or scaffold collapses or an rsj lands on your nut it will be so heavy as to make wearing a liability where your work is concerned.


Funny you should mention that. I actually had somebody drop a 10 litre sealed metal bucket on my head from the top of a radio mast many years ago, the construction helmet saved me so I have been an evangelical advocate of hemet use ever since.

Mark Griffin wrote:

And one other minor point, I have a lovely copy of the Thames helmet done by a great Russian armourer with plenty of room for padding and mail. But its so large I look like an idiot....

The best bit of your mail armour and helmet is your shield and your ability to not be where your opponents blow is.

[/quote]

Shit still happens, but I suppose those helmets Wulflund sells are good enough for reenactment. However, you got me wondering about how these things would have performed in actual combat. The consensus seems to be that the Romans used this kind of padding in their helmets and I think that this remained the norm into the middle ages. If a helmet like that gets dented with that little padding between your scull and the helmet shell you'd suffer a scull fracture at worst or a concussion at best. If the helmet was penetrated you'd be in trouble. The advantage of the 'cradle' lining is that you have an air gap between your scull and the helmet shell if the helmet is dented. If I was a Viking/Norman/Frank/Saxon and 'cradle' lined helmets had been available during the Viking age I sure wold have preferred that kind of helmet to just a metal shell on top of an arming cap.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Tue 02 Feb, 2016 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
Quote:
because that's what the Osprey books said.


Eeek. Does depend on which one you are looking at and where the colour plates are concerned, that's an artists impression of what the author tells them from whatever his interpretation is. Don't be swayed by their evocative nature, even the artists who know what they are doing will admit to grey areas.


Yeah those books look nice but they are very different in quality.

Mark Griffin wrote:

I always tell people armour of any sort, but esp the helmet, is like a construction workers hard hat. It needs to be able to protect against bumps and knocks and someone accidentally dropping a half brick or personal tool on you. But to make it so protective that if a wall or scaffold collapses or an rsj lands on your nut it will be so heavy as to make wearing a liability where your work is concerned.


Funny you should mention that. I actually had somebody drop a 10 litre sealed metal bucket on my head from the top of a radio mast many years ago, the construction helmet saved me so I have been an evangelical advocate of hemet use ever since.

Mark Griffin wrote:

And one other minor point, I have a lovely copy of the Thames helmet done by a great Russian armourer with plenty of room for padding and mail. But its so large I look like an idiot....

The best bit of your mail armour and helmet is your shield and your ability to not be where your opponents blow is.


That is fine in theory but accidents still happen. I suppose those helmets Wulflund sells are plenty good enough for reenactment. However, you got me wondering about how these things would have performed in actual combat. The consensus seems to be that the Romans used this kind of padding in their helmets and I think that this remained the norm into the Middle Ages. If a helmet of this type gets dented with that little padding between your scull and the helmet shell you'd suffer a scull fracture at worst or a concussion at best. If the helmet was penetrated you'd be in trouble. The advantage of the 'cradle' lining is that you have an air gap between your scull and the helmet shell if the helmet is dented. If I was a Viking/Norman/Frank/Saxon and 'cradle' lined helmets had been available during the Viking age I sure wold have preferred that kind of helmet to just a metal shell on top of an arming cap.
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