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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2005 7:51 am    Post subject: Duplex Armour!         Reply with quote

Arms & Armour, the Journal of the Royal Armouries continues to deliver outstanding content. Among other fascinating articles in the current issue is a piece on a newly-identified category of late plate armour, called Duplex or, in some cases, Triplex. The article describes the attempts of 16th and 17th c. armourers to create plate armour--breastplates in particular--that would be hard enough to defeat edged weapons, but soft enough to be shot-proof. They devised some clever and complex manufacturing processes, and these are described in detail in the article. If you're a student of the period, an armourer or just fascinated by armour technology, you should get this issue. Better yet, shell out the $32 USD to subscribe to the journal and support the work of the Royal Armouries. Follow the first link below to learn more about the journal. Follow the second link to go directly to the publisher's subscription page.

http://www.royalarmouries.org/extsite/view.jsp?sectionId=1166

http://www.maney.co.uk/search?fwaction=show&fwid=464

As previously, the current issue has something for most interests--armour, firearms, arms manufacturing technology and even a new reconstruction of an ancient Greek sling dart.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2005 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've heard about this.... The trouble was (or so I have heard) that if it would stop a bullet, it would not stop an arrow, and vice versa.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2005 11:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nifty, thanks Sean! I know that there were numerous attempts to do this in various ways, resulting, in the words of Francios de la Noue, in men "Covering themselves in stithes [anvils]". John Cruso's famous illustration of a cuirassier also shows the bullet-proof placket fitted over the breastplate, and he suggests that a curiassier's armour should be pistol-proof in all of the major sections, including the cuisses. Sir Roger Williams noted that not 10 out of 100 Horse were armed in musket-proof armours, though many had pistol-proof armour.

Something that those far more able to discuss metalurgy than I could perhaps address is that in the late-15th/early-16th Century armour was hardened steel, whereas the later "proof" armour was of much softer wrought iron, designed to absorb rather than simply deflect the bullets. Anyway, Sean, perhaps you could illustrate some of the discussions in the article of Arms & Armour, and illuminate us?

Cheers,

Gordon

Sorry about the small size of the Cruso illustration, all I could dig up on the spur of the moment...



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LancerCruso02T.jpg


"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2005 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I figured this topic would be of special interest to you, Gordon.

Not having the piece in front of me, and in any case not wanting to give up the details and cut into the journal's sales Big Grin, I can make only a general summary of my quick read. The transition from hardened steel armour to iron figures prominently, of course. Basically, the challenge to the armourers of the period was to create an oxymoron--hardened shot-proof armour that didn't weigh more than non-proof armour. The authors produce x-rays of breastplates to show different means of doing this. One of the things that surprised me most was the description of differential tempering of a breastplate by the application of clay to the back of the piece! Fascinating stuff. Maybe the authors will see this thread and be willing to discuss the topic here.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Fri 10 Jun, 2005 1:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2005 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Sean. I guess I'll have to break down and get a subscription!

I have understood that there were various methods of case or surface hardening done on armour, but again, my ignorance of metalurgy and chemistry confounds me here, unfortunately! Gads, and my Dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps and get a PhD in Chemistry... would have come in handy, LOL!

Cheers,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Ryan A. C.





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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2005 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, this is the first I've heard of such a thing. Thanks a lot, man!


pax
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Richard Carling




Location: Cambridge, CB1, uk
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Dec, 2016 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can cement the surface of steel armour by heating to cherry red then blowing carbon dioxide over the surface. The heat breaks the CO2 up leaving a deposit of carbon in the surface layer that hardens it.
Only obeying orders is a defeat in of itself.
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

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PostPosted: Thu 22 Dec, 2016 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anyone southern England-based who hasn't had a good look at a duplx breastplate before might want to get down to the Wallace Collection. They've got a genuine 17th century duplex breastplate on temporary open display so you can handle and try it on.
Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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