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Clint Schaaf




Location: Sunny PA
Joined: 20 Jun 2018

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu 28 Jun, 2018 6:19 am    Post subject: Question on Brass Mail         Reply with quote

Good morning, forum, I have a few questions for you.

I was pricing out mail when I stumbled upon brass mail and can find no information on authenticity. I know brass trim was used. Were historical hauberks sometimes made entirely out of brass? Does anyone here know where I can find more information on the history of brass mail? Are there any advantages to brass other than blinding the enemy with pizzazz?

Thanks for your time.
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Matthew Amt




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

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Thu 28 Jun, 2018 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Copper alloy mail was used by the Romans, now and then. Sometimes just trim or decoration, but I'm pretty sure there are at least a couple finds substantial enough to conclude that the whole shirt was bronze or brass. It's all made the same way they made iron mail, alternating rows of solid punched rings and riveted rings.

A couple chunks of so-called "lorica plumata" are very fine copper alloy mail (c. 3mm rings) faced with tiny brass scales, silvered or left plain in decorative patterns. Amazing stuff, like liquid metal.

I don't know about *medieval* brass mail, though, sorry!

Matthew
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Thu 28 Jun, 2018 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom Richardson's thesis shows one brass (latten) hauberk remaining in inventory for decades.

xxvj loricas unde iij de alta clavatura iij pro torniamento debiles, j de maille iasrant’, j de latone et
xviij communes



26 hauberks: 3 of high nailing (all riveted?); 3 for the tournament, worn out; 1 of mail jazerant; 1 of latten; and 18 common

clxxiij loricas quarum lxxvj cum coleris de nova factura, iiijxx viij absque coleris de
vetera factura, iiij de alta clavatura, iij pro torniamento debilas, j de maille jasserant
et j de latone


173 hauberks, of which 76 with collars of new workmanship, 88 without collars of old workmanship, 4 of high nailing, 3 for the tournament, worn out, 1 of mail jazerant, and 1 of latten

Perhaps made for the King to give more bling, or as a showpiece for the latten mailmaker's guild?

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jun, 2018 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The King of France appears to have had a similar appetite for gilding.


 Attachment: 207.34 KB
BNF Français 2813, fo.212v [ Download ]

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jun, 2018 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Wallace Collection's mail sleeves, A10-11 are also brass with tinning.
Quote:
However, this pair of mail sleeves were probably intended only for parade or ceremonial use and not for war. Unusually, all of the links making up these pieces, in alternating rows of solid and riveted construction, are made of soft copper alloy rather than ferrous metal. While bare yellow copper alloy was used to decorate the borders, in the main body of each piece the links were once tinned so that they glittered like polished silver. Such mail would have been the perfect complement to a highly-decorated parade armour, which made a powerful visual impact but which offered little in the way of real protection.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Clint Schaaf




Location: Sunny PA
Joined: 20 Jun 2018

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri 29 Jun, 2018 4:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Mart. That information is perfect. I am looking to put together a mid 15th century suit of armor, trying to replicate a man-at-arms. It would appear that brass is not for common infantry.

Matthew, I had forgotten about Roman armor (as I usually do). Plumata looks amazing. I can only imagine how intimidating it would be watching a golden century marching towards you and your unarmored Celtic friends.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jun, 2018 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remembered reading about brass maille being a thing in the Philippines.

Here is a GOOGLE search using " Brass Chainmail Philippines " and the results, I haven't had a look at the individual search results.

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&am...p;oe=UTF-8

By the way in the search I used the common term " Chainmail " as it would avoid getting results about mail postal services ... Wink Laughing Out Loud

Hope that this helps about brass mail where it was actually used as armour, but not likely to have been in common usage in Medieval Europe.

Brass would have some advantages in a very hot and humid climate avoiding problems with rust, but I assume that to be equally protective the rings would have to be made of thicker wire and this would make functional brass maille heavier than iron or steel ringed maille ?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jun, 2018 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, in my opinion, the rings would have needed to be thicker--or a tighter weave--than traditional Euro mail. The weight issue is also something to ponder. Is steel/iron heavier than brass? I don't know....my scientific mind left me long ago. Worried ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Matthew Amt




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

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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jun, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suspect the Romans would not have worried so much about bronze or brass mail being significantly inferior to iron. Bronze was probably better, in fact, and they cheerfully used brass for helmets, scale armor, greaves, etc., well into the 4th century AD. Plain low-carbon iron just wasn't that much stronger, if at all.

The question for brass or medieval latten is what alloy are we talking about? What percentage of zinc, and do we know enough about the strength of these alloys and variations to assume they were detectably inferior to iron mail?

Clearly iron was the metal of choice, but it wasn't necessarily because it made the STRONGEST mail for its weight. There are always other factors.

Matthew
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A.R. Williams tested two latten edging rings and found they were both alpha brass, One was 79% Cu, 21% Zn, and the other 70.2% Cu, 28.8% Zn, with both containing other trace metals.Cartridge Brass, C260, is usually 70% Cu, 30% Zn, and can easily be hardened to a strength comparable with wrought iron mail from the Roman and Medieval period, as Matthew notes. Brass is slightly heavier per volume than iron or steel, but not so much so as to add more than a kilogram or a couple of pounds to the weight of a hauberk. All in all, brass is an extravagant, golden-colored substitute, which is ideal for flaunting one's position and wealth.
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 5:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent, thanks! I didn't expect the zinc content to be so high, that's fascinating. And while I knew that a high-tin bronze can be a lot harder than iron, I don't recall any similar studies about brass, so that's interesting, too!

Matthew
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M. Livermore





Joined: 20 Aug 2008

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sat 30 Jun, 2018 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Regarding brass maille in the Philippines, I think the images I have seen show large diameter, butted rings connecting smaller plates. I remember being surprised by that. Ah, yes. Here's a link to the article here:

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=309...moro+brass

I find these armors very interesting.
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Clint Schaaf




Location: Sunny PA
Joined: 20 Jun 2018

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2018 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not surprised that some latten alloys can be comparable to iron. It's a tempting choice for me. I plan to wear a haubergeon for training blossfechten and harnischfechten, as well as wearing when I run. It will get sweaty and brass could be a better option than mild steel.
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T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2018 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clint Schaaf wrote:
I'm not surprised that some latten alloys can be comparable to iron. It's a tempting choice for me. I plan to wear a haubergeon for training blossfechten and harnischfechten, as well as wearing when I run. It will get sweaty and brass could be a better option than mild steel.


I don't know which group you're planning to train with, but in general a good HEMA jacket is much more appropriate for studying blossfechten sources. And it'll be far cheaper than a brass hauberk is likely to be.

Instructor and scholar, Cambridge HEMA
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Clint Schaaf




Location: Sunny PA
Joined: 20 Jun 2018

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2018 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew, I do have a sport competition kit for HEMA. I've already accepted that HEMA is a direct attack on my future retirement. Wink

The haubergeon is for nothing less than the joy of training in armor, but in going the armor route I want my kit to be both accurate and maximally functional. I figure an Italian style man-at-arms kit, with mail instead of pauldrons protecting the upper arms and shoulders, would allow me to transition between blossfechten and harnischfechten without changing too much gear.
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