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Aaron Schneiker

Location: Davis Junction, IL
Joined: 23 Nov 2005
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Tue 20 Mar, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: 13th Century Mail Garment         Reply with quote

I have a question pertaining to the construction of a 13th century mail garment. My experience with historic mail is limited to a few pieces from the 15th or 16th centuries. In these garments the ring size, thickness, and rivet area geometry varies depending on its location. For example the rings of the collar are of smaller ID with thicker rings and the rivet area is rather flat and wide to produce a stiff collar. Pretty much any critical area was reinforced by smaller thicker rings of some variety. Would it be correct to assume that garments of the 13th century would be created in the same fashion? I donít know haw many complete or mostly complete mail garments have been found and studied from this time period, but any info on their construction is appreciated.
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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional

Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Mon 26 Mar, 2007 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron, I can't offer much on 13th century construction as my expirience is also with 15th and 16th century maille. The two European garments ( actually one is a Turkish shirt but with them constantly invading and occupying European territory wheather it was Turkish made or made in a region they occupied is anyones guess). The first garment i've had hands on time with belongs to a fellow who got in touch with me years ago through a newspaper article. He had a maille shirt which had come out of the recesses of the attic of a manor house in Ireland which his uncle had bought. It came to light during some roofing work being done while he was visiting along with a sword. The ID of the rings was roughly speaking the same through out. The thickness of the wire however did not. The rings were of the thickes wire at the throat, shoulders and chest and the rings got progressively thinner the farther down the torso and sleeves it went becomming about half as thick at the ends of the sleeves as at the neck and chest, it was of course riveted closure throughout.

The second garment, which I once owned was a Turkish coat of maille and plate armour, some what the worse for wear but exhibiting the same "graduation" of wire thickness out twords the bottom of the sleeves and the torso. I have seen European examples in museums that are of realtively uniform wire through out as well as owning persian examples made the same way. I read somewhere ( escapes me where at the moment) that the idea behind using thinner wire twords the extremities was that they were more mobil and therefore harder to hit that the throat and chest so weight could be saved by graduating out to thinner wire. Take it for what its worth but I have seen the practice of "graduating" the wire in a shirt personally, so it does seem to have been done, whatever the reason.
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