Maille was the earliest form of metal armour and was probably invented before the 5th century by the ancient Celts. The name mail comes from the French word "maille" which is derived from the Latin "macula" meaning "mesh of a net". The armour itself involved the linking of iron or steel rings, the ends of which were either pressed together, welded or riveted. Sometimes the rings were stamped out of a sheet of iron and these were then used in alternate rows with riveted links. The most common form of Maille is the "four-in-one" pattern in which each link has four others linked through it. A few shirts have been found that appear to have been made of quilted fabric or leather to which were sewn rings and scales, and these shirts are not considered "true" mail.

Each piece of mail was fashioned specifically for whichever part of the body it was intended to protect. For the head there were the coif, aventail, mail fringe and a "bishop's mantle"; for the torso, the shirt, hauberk, skirt and breeches; for the upper limbs, mail sleeves and mittens; for the lower limbs, chausses and sabatons.

Until the 14th century, mail was the primary armour for the average soldier. The main use of Maille was to stop the wearer from being cut by the opponents blade. Mail did nothing to stop the damage from the force of the blow however, and was usually worn over a thick, padded undergarment. From the 1320's, shirts of mail, known as hauberks or byrnies, were often provided with flared sleeves covering to the middle of the forearms, and were long enough to reach past the wearer's knees. Some of the larger hauberks often had sleeves that were extended to form mittens for the hands. This was also the period when a shorter type of hauberk, the haubergeon, began to be used more regularly, its lower edge stopping to just above the knees. Some haubergeons had a flap-like extension at the center of the rear edge of the base which could be pulled up between the legs and laced in front to form a breke of mail to protect the genitals.

As there were developments in the armouring world, mail began to have a subordinate role in relation to plate armour, first being used as a linking elements for the various plates and then, in the 15th century, it was used to protect the more vulnerable parts of the body such as the elbow, neck, and knees joints. Mail shirts retained defensive importance during the 16th century with light horse and infantry armours, especially in conjunction with small pauldrons or spaulders and elbow length gauntlets which left part of the arms bare. In these cases, sleeves of mail were attached to the arming doublet worn under the armour. After this time, the use of mail slowly diminished as better plate armour was developed for the arms and legs, although it was still in use as late as the 17th century in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The craft of making mail is quite separate and distinct from that of the process of manufacturing plate armour. Because so much mail was produced, we can assume the method of manufacture must have been fast, allowing for division of the labour within the workshop. The most skilled task, the final linking of the rings, would have been done by the master craftsman, who would have been kept supplied with rings and rivets. The early stages in the production of mail, (the simple, labour intensive tasks) were left to apprentices and assistants.

There were two possible methods of producing the rings for the mail. Closed rings were made by punching them from a sheet of metal with a double punch, or by simply punching a hole in a piece of metal and trimming the outside edge. Open rings were usually made from iron wire. There has been (and still is) much controversy as to whether or not the ancient armourer knew the art of wire-drawing. This process of making wire involves the drawing of a forged metal rod through successively smaller and smaller holes until the rod was the right size for making rings. A similar method was to cut the wires from a thin metal sheet and then file, scrape and hammer them into the right size. It is more likely that a combination of both of these methods was used in which a strip of metal was cut from a sheet about 3 mm thick and then this was drawn through smaller and smaller holes, until the proper diameter of wire was reached. This length of wire was then wrapped around a rod the diameter of the required ring, using a device called a mandrill, to form a long coil. The coil was then cut up one side from end to end, producing a number of metal rings.

In all the methods described so far the metal was worked cold, but as soon as it became hard through working, it had to be annealed (heated until it was softened). This was done by bringing the rings to a red heat in the forge and then leaving them to cool. For overlapping the rings, they would be driven through a tapering hole in a steel block with a punch. After this overlapping, the rings would then be annealed once more. The next stage was the flattening of the ends, done by hammering. These flattened, overlapped ends were then punched or bored to make a hole for the rivet. Rivets were always made of iron, even if the rings were of brass. Rivets were made of wire with one end being hammered flat and the other cut to a point with wire cutters.

The last stage, the linking, was now done by the master craftsman. The most common pattern, as mentioned earlier, was the four-in-one pattern, in which each ring has four others linked through it. The rivets were burred over by the master using a hammer. When the mailmaker used closed rings he arranged them in alternated rows with open rings. The closing of the rings was sometime done by hammer welding.

While assembling the rings, the mailmaker must have used a pattern resembling a modern knitting pattern. Sadly, none of these patterns have survived, but it is known that garments of mail were shaped by adding or leaving out rings in each row. Occasionally, for a stronger shirt, two rings were used in the place of one in ordinary mail; or sometime the garment was rolled up in charcoal and case-hardened. Some rings bear the maker's marks, an example being a mail shirt in the Tower of London, into which is woven three brass rings. The first ring is marked with the amourer's name (bertolt parte), and the second the name of his town (isrenloen), the third is plain.

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What is Armour?
Who at some point in their lives hasn't dreamed of being a great hero? One of the greatest heroic images in history is that of the Knight in Shining Armour. Most people don't realize that this image is just one step in the world's long history of warfare.
From my personal perspective warfare is a fascinating tactical and technological evolution. The technological evolution of warfare can be broken down into two equal, basic forces, ways to kill people (Arms) and ways to keep people from being killed (Armour.)
Arms include everything from clubs, to swords, to modern firearms.
Armour literally means "a protective covering." Today this can refer to such things as Kevlar body armour, a hockey helmet, or even the heavy steel plates that blanket most modern assault vehicles. Historical body armour is separated into three classifications; "Lamellar", "Plate" and "Mail."
This website is about the classification known as "mail". Mail is defined by historians as an armour that is made from chain or chain links, woven together to form "metal fabric". I've discussed Lamellar and Plate a little further down.
Mail is also known as "Chainmail", "Chain Mail", "Maille" and "Chainmaille". These colloquialisms represent an ongoing debate over the origin of the word "Mail". I prefer to stick with the historians that find "chainmail" a redundant term, since "mail" already defines a material made from chain. Despite this, you will find that I've used of the term "chainmail" throughout most of this website, this is my attempt to avoid confusion with the modern worlds of electronic and postal mail.
Mail armour can be further broken down into three "pattern families", which I describe as "European", "Persian" and "Japanese".
European describes a family that covers almost all the mail made in Europe from the second century B.C.E. to modern day using the same fundamental pattern as a basis.
I personally have no verification for the use of the Persian family's historical use.
The Japanese family is possibly the oldest of all Mail patterns, as the same fundamentals would appear to have been used by the Etruscans over 3000 years ago.
It is impossible to describe the workings of any of these patterns with mere words. Basically each family focuses on a certain style of interlocking its links. In European mail this creates to effect of having alternating rows that stretch in one direction. In Persian mail this creates thick, complexly interwoven patterns and in Japanese mail this creates simple, grid-like patterns.
Too truly understand the evolution of armour, you also need to understand the evolution of arms and warfare. That sort of research could take a lifetime, in order to save time and space what I've written below is just a basic guide to the different types of historical armour. It is by no means complete, the study of armour is always evolving and barring great archaeological discoveries some armour types such as "Banded Mail" may remain mysteries that are lost in time.
As I mentioned earlier, historical body armour is usually divided into three classification; Lamellar, Mail and Plate. However, there will always be armour types that go beyond simple classification.

Hardened leather, hides and fur are the most likely candidates for being the oldest form of armour known to man. It is not hard to imagine primitive man taking note of how the thick hides of certain animals protected them.
It didn't take long for plain leather armour to evolve into Lamellar. Lamellar armour consists of any armour where a protective material has been sewn to a base material, like leather or cloth. Lamellar armour includes such types as Brigandine, Scale, Splint and Ring.

An evolution of Lamellar armour gave birth to Mail Armour. This type of Lamellar consisted of large, heavy rings sewn edge-to-edge onto a leather shirt. The makers and users of Ring Lamellar soon realized that they could create a superior form of armour by linking their rings together, instead of sewing them to a base. Armour with linked rings became known as Mail or Mail*.

Plate armour has also had a very long history. Its first incarnations are seen as large bronze chest plates worn by several cultures in the Ancient World. Later evolutions in plate armour include Roman Lorica Segmentata. Plate armour in it's most complicated evolution consisted of covering the body with dozens of articulated metal plates. This "Full or Articulated Plate" is the armour that gave rise to the term "Knight in Shining Armour". It is interesting to note that the high mechanical evolution of Articulated Plate armour came to an end with the invention of firearms. Firearms spurred Articulated Plate to evolve full circle into the familiar territory of heavy metal breast plates.
Plate armour is still seen today in the form of the padding used for many "high-impact" sports.

Personally I do not believe that there was any one armour that was truly superior to another. Every type of armour has it's place in history, with it's matching arms and styles of warfare.
One disadvantage of Mail, that I would like to note, is it's weight. Well made armour of any sort should be shaped to the wearer's body, and distribute weight as evenly as possible. While this can be done with high-quality mail, it's still far from the near perfection of some articulated plate armour. This, combined with the fact that some tight mail patterns tend to trap a lot of body heat making wearing Mail for extended periods quite tiring.
The highly developed weight distribution that became possible with the era of Articulated Plate was simply amazing. A warrior clad in a suit of properly made Articulated Plate would have been able to do cartwheels in his armour. Each plate balanced perfectly to a part of his body. This effectively dispels the myth of knights in armour falling off their horses and not being able to stand up. Such stories must have developed from certain examples of Tournament Plate Armour. Tournament Plate was specially designed to take the incredible impacts of jousting, so that it was very, very heavy. Such armour would have never been worn outside of a tournament environment. Again, it is important to compare the armour to the opposing arms and warfare techniques of when it was used.

Deeper into the history of Mail
The history of Mail is a lot longer and more complicated than most people suspect. Samples of Mail go back as far as the Etruscans, that means that Mail has been around for over 3 millennia ! It would seem that Etruscan is constructed in a pattern that is more closely related to Japanese and some Italian patterns than the common European 1 into 4 pattern. The Etruscan Mail also appears to have some small metal plates on it's surface, which would make it more of a hybrid Mail-Lamellar armour.
Because the Etruscan Mail pattern is more akin to Japanese patterns and because historical examples of Mail don't make an appearance for another 2000 years, one can assume that Etruscan Mail isn't the base for European Mail. Most scholars, in fact, believe that European mail developed from a Ring Lamellar type of armour as I mentioned earlier.
This brings us up to somewhere around the 2nd Century B.C.E. when the Roman Legions start to invade Gaul. The Romans found that the Gauls wore the first known examples of European Pattern Mail shirts and soon adopted it as a common armour for their secondary troops. Roman mail shirts were referred to as Lorica Hamata.
The Roman Lorica Hamata are interesting in that half of the links that made up the shirt were solid rings, punched from metal sheets. This technique continued in some later European Mail examples, but most European mail is made fully from drawn-wire links. Another example of Mail with punched links is called "Theta" or "Bar Link" which comes from Persia and Indian. It is called "Theta" or "Bar Link" because the punched links have a bar across their center which makes them resemble the Greek letter "Theta".
From the 2nd Century of the Common Era, through the fall of the Roman Empire and into the so called Dark Ages, Mail seems to have been a common armour all over Europe. Including down into what we now call the Middle East, north into the Viking Cultures and even in the far east where the Japanese developed their own styles of mail. The sole culture that didn't develop its own Mail Armour is China, although they did wear imported Mail from the Middle East.
The design of Mail armour can be amazingly wide and varied; I've seen samples where the rings are over 1" across and others that contain hundreds of thousands of rings barely 1/8" across. In some samples of superior European Mail, the maker will have links with an amazing variance in the same shirt. Thick heavy links over the vital organs in the chest, lighter, thinner links for the arms and areas that needed less protection.
Almost all authentic European mail from the Roman time forward has links that are either welded or riveted shut. (For now this website only covers mail with butted links, I hope to include details of creating riveted and welded links in the future.) This was because the drawn wire used for the links was very weak due to the high slag content of early smelting techniques. For the mail to have protective value that justified it's construction time, the links had to be as hard to open as possible. Mail loses protective value as soon as a single link has been opened far enough to slip apart from neighboring links. This is where Mail that included solid punched links had an advantage.
As mail evolved in some cultures it became common to use the flexible mail to link together larger and larger protective metal plates. This was especially common in Persian examples of Plate and Mail Armours. Persia also claims to have some unique mail patterns all their own, but I've never seen first hand evidence of historical examples of these patterns and use the name "Persian" simply for lack of a better name. Hopefully I will eventually be able to include more historical evidence for persian patterns in the near future, along with information on how to work with plate and mail patterns.
In Europe, as plate armour began to develop it became common to start using mail to protect areas that needed to flex more than the ridged metal would allow. Mail became common in elbow joints, knees and so on. This plate and mail "Transition Armour" , along with Persian Plate and Mail are some of the Armours that cross classification, as I mentioned before. It wasn't long before full plate armour became more popular and with the invention of fully articulated joints, mail started to loose its popularity. It still held a place in history though, used as decoration and armour up until The First World War.
Today mail is still being used by a few industries. Butchers commonly wear fine mail gloves to protect their hands, and shark divers wear entire suits of fine mail. This fine mail is made from incredibly strong, welded links and is woven on large machines.
Our current world also has other decorative and practical uses for Mail. Mostly in the worlds of historical recreation groups, Live-Action Role-Playing groups, as well the fashion and costuming industries. Modern Mail artists also have access to all kinds of tools and materials (Stainless Steel, Titanium, Niobium, Aluminum etc…) that historical armour makers didn't.
There's one culture's mail armour that I've just touched upon so far: Japanese mail. It is highly variable in pattern, superior to European mail in many ways and also inferior to European Mail in some ways
The common Japanese patterns were lighter and more open than European, but they were made of superior quality tempered wire that wasn't riveted. Some links in Japanese mail were double or even triple wrapped for strength. Like the best European Mail Makers, the Japanese also paid attention to which parts of the body the armour was supposed to be protecting. Mail over one's chest would be thick and strong, but on an elbow where flexibility was more important, it would be lighter.
Of course, it's not really fair to compare Europe to Japan, as the fighting styles of each evolved on completely different tangents. European armour needed to be heavier to deal with the bigger, crushing weapons common in their battles, even if heat exhaustion from the thicker, less breathable armour was common. Japanese combat techniques used lighter, faster weapons and thusly mobility was more of a concern.
The Japanese were also fond of using mail as decoration or in combination with plates much like the Persians. The Japanese word for Chain is Kusari and each of their patterns had its own proper name. The common 4 into 2 square Japanese Pattern that I specialize in is called Hitoye-Gusari. A similar 6 into 2 hexagonal Japanese Pattern is Called Hana-Gusari.

Mail as an effective armour
The first thing to remember about all armour is that it is 50% physically defensive and 50% mentally defensive. Part of any fight is throwing your opponent off guard. If he doesn't understand the strengths or weaknesses of what he's facing then you've got the advantage. Armour, especially armour that hides the face was very effective on this level.
For superstitious people, fighting an opponent wrapped in a flexible steel shirt would have been highly intimidating, especially when the wrong kind of blow just slid right off their armour.
Almost all Mail would have been worn over a padded shirt, which would have also helped it to redistribute weapon impact.
As far as mail's physical strength goes you have to consider many factors, including size and quality of the links. You also have to consider the common kinds of blows one would be facing in a medieval battle. Basically there are three kinds of blows to be considered: piercing, crushing and slashing.
Mail is strong against piercing blows only to a certain point, if a spear or arrow is travelling with enough velocity it will go right through most mail. The development of devastating piercing weapons like crossbows and longbows is what led to the evolution of plate and mail armour types. Which could be shaped to deflect the force of piercing blows. Even plate armour was eventually rendered next to useless with the incredible piercing damage that can be inflicted by firearms.
Mail protects against crushing blows by redistributing the focus of the blow. For light and medium crushing blows it would be fairly effective. But again, if the blow was heavy enough, say from a spiked flail or heavy battle-axe, it doesn't matter if the mail itself isn't broken, the bones underneath will be.
Slashing blows are where Mail really shines. It would take an extraordinarily heavy blow from a very sharp sword to cut mail with a slashing attack. Moreover since the impact of the slash would be redistributed, being hit in this manner whilst wearing mail would have little or no effect.
Mail is also effective overall because it protects against having one's skin broken. In an age before antibiotics this was very important.
*** Please note: Due to recent archaelogical evidence, revised theories, and linguistic hypotheses, this article is NOT RELEVANT. Please use it only as a backdrop for further research, keeping in mind much of it MAY NOT BE TRUE.***
Mail has been around for many, many years. The word Mail is derived from the french word 'maille' which is essentially 'knitting' (but a certain type of it) and the Latin word 'macula' which means 'mesh' so you can see how these two words are integrated into Mail. It made its first well known appearance with the Romans. But the truth is, the Romans cannot be credited with the invention of Mail because they most likely dicovered it in the British iles. The true creators of this wonderful armor were the Celtic tribes, who are more commonly known as 'barbarians' which really means 'stranger' or basically 'person from another land' (the barbarian we think of today- the uncivilized, brute and bully figure was only brought on recently by Conan movies and such). We know that the Celts invented maille because we have found pieces -however rusted- in graves and at battle sites.
Today, when most of us think of Mail, we think of chivalric knights and the crusades. Well, Mail started a millenium or so before that and went through a lot on its way there. The Romans used and adapted it to their armor and gave them furthur protection from those nasty barbarians. And contrary to what you may have heard, Mail was NOT the downfall of the Roman empire ( little joke) but I'll tell you what I think it was (a little Roman history in here too, lucky you!). If you know anything about the Roman legions and their tactics, you will know that they fought in close combat after throwing their javelins and would fight in tight ranks with their shields (covered entire body, ankles to top of head) and their gladius, a short stabbing sword. With these tactics and strict discipline, no one could match their strength. They continued to defeat enemies but they began to hire mercenaries from other areas and their discipline began to slack. They hired too many mercenaries and did not have the mental or physical means to maintain such strict ranks. This fault led to their destruction and in my opinion, the fall of the Roman empire. Anyway, back to Mail. After the Romans colapsed, the western world fell into a dark age. Not much is known about this time but when the land came out of this period, you then see the return of mail.
The Orient began to use mail in their wars but their mail was the complete opposite of the Europen style. When you look at European mail, you see the uniformity of it and if you've ever handled it, it rolls and is smooth to the touch. Europe's mail was used to deflect weapons by rolling them off the soldier. In the Orient, their mail was not flat nor smooth, but had edges and pieces that you could easily catch your sword in. That was the plan, the enemy would catch their weapon in your Mail and you would have several seconds to strike him without having to worry, that is if you were not crushed, mangled, hacked or mutilated by his blow. The Oriental mail looks good but seems inpractical to me for they have made blades there that you cannot even touch to this day without special gloves, so how would Mail hold up to that? You figure it out.
Now in Europe, Mail was very expensive and only the rich could afford it. Funny though, that the rich could only afford it because they took all the money away from the peasantry! Those who could afford to buy a horse and Mail were sent on the ever glorious quest of the Crusades. For those of you who do not know what they are about, the Crusades (there were 5 major campaigns, and many smaller ones) were quests to capture and hold the Holy Land (The Catholic church deemed it worthy to take these citites), and again for those who don't know what the Holy Land is, it is the place where Jesus Christ was born, and if you don't know who that is.....well, whatever. Anyway, the knights (who were simply mounted men) rode off to the Holy Land and fought against the 'heathens'. They managed to hold the city of Jerusalem for several crusades, but if you know your present day history, could not hold it.
Later in history, Mail was used in tournaments but was gradually replaced by plate armour which was lighter and offered more protection. Mail was still used however for celebrations and feasts, so there are some nice suits out there. Mail was simply fancy wear in the Rennaissance, used in plays, under shorts, or was not used at all. And that brings us to present day knitters, yes knitters, but metal knitters, not yarn! These fine craftsmen have a labour of love (well, at least I do) and work to bring Mail from the Celtic moors, the Roman empire, the Orient, the Crusades, and finally, to your own breakfast table as part of a balanced diet. I hope this text I wrote helps you with your understanding of mail and it seems that my 'A brief history of mail' has turned into a rather lengthy one. P>
August 15, 1997
Please feel free to email me at
Mail History & Miscellany
Ok. Let's get one thing straight, right off. It's mail. The word 'chainmail' is a misnomer. The derivation of the word is from the French 'maille' and the Latin 'macula' meaning mesh. It's cognate to the current word, "malliot" as in swimsuits that look a little like mail. Mail is flexible and composed of many individual bits, whether it be the lorica segmentata or the lorica hamata of the Romans; the term 'plate mail' is absurd, and 'chainmail' almost as bad.. So I only used the term up there on the top of the page so that people who know it by that word can find this page.

With that said, let's get on to mail itself. It was used by Romans, who probably encountered it while fighting Celts in France and England; there are rusty masses found in Celtic graves from roughly 400 BC which seem to be mail. It was probably invented in the northern France/England area at this time. On the other end, Richard ffoulks has mentioned Pakistani tribesmen who were using it as fighting armor circa 1910. This gives it an active lifetime of roughly 2000 years, in the European theatre. It was also developed in the Asian domains, often as a way of connecting small plates into a flexible shirt.

Mail's primary attributes are: it is highly flexible, it is ablative, and it is easy to repair after damage. The flexibility makes it not only easy to make, but convenient for fitting multiple people. (Plate armor was usually individually fitted.) While mail may not look ablative, and people will say that it doesn't do anything to stop impact damage, they are wrong. It is not as effective as a plate of metal, but because of its mass, its flexibility, and occasionally its deformation, it soaks up a lot of energy. Repair of mail is simple; it's no different from manufacture. Holes are rapidly patched, and no welding is strictly necessary. It's also slinky as hell and almost impossible to stop touching.

Mail's primary disadvantages are: it is heavy for its protectiveness, all the weight is concentrated on a very few points of the wearer, it has a VERY high surface area and rusts quickly, and it is not as protective against crushing blows as plate armor. The tendency towards rusting means that we've a scant few pieces from antiquity to study, and virtually nothing from before 1400 AD, although much of the extant mail was obviously made from older materials which were cut up and remade.

The most common version is called 4/1 or four-in-one; each circular link intersects with four others, to form long sheets of metal rings. There is a warp and woof to this; it stretches differently in different directions. This is known as anisotropic behavior. It is usually made of steel; in antiquity it was sometimes of bronze. These metals are hard enough to stand up to not only direct impact but also the wear of rings against each other.

The wire for mail is traditionally mild steel, which tends to bend under impact, absorbing energy, rather than shattering, as hardened steels do. There is no consensus on when wire-drawing through hardened drawplates was developed; extensive evidence shows that it was considered new technology in the 1300's, but many pieces of wire in jewelry from far before that show the distinctive lines of drawn metal, rather than hammered wire that was occasionally used in very old mail.

Rings were made by wrapping the wire around a mandrel, then cutting them one by one, either by a cold chisel or by a sawing process. Current practice is to make butted mail, which means the ends of an individual ring are pushed into close proximity to each other. The ring stays closed from springiness. Mail used in serious fighting was traditionally riveted, welded, or punched. Riveted mail had the ends of rings overlap; they were hammered flat, a hole was punched through, and a triangular rivet was forced through the hole and hammered down on the point end. Welded mail was simply forge-welded into one piece. Punched mail was somewhat more rare; half the rings in a run were punched out of plate steel or tube, and they were connected with either riveted or welded mail. Often, repair rings were carried to battlefields for rapid repairs; these were visually identical to current keyrings. Ring size varied from roughly 16 mm in diameter, with 14 gauge wire, for horse armor, all the way to rings less than 3 mm in diameter, using 24-ga wire.

Shirts of mail (called hauberks or haubergons) usually weigh between 7 and 25 kilograms, depending on the size and extent of the coverage desired. Many contemporary accounts in Mallory or Marie de France specifically mention the use of very light-weight shirts being worn in several layers. Beneath these were worn heavy quilted shirts, quite thick, as padding. The number of rings is directly dependent on their size; my work generally has about 10,000 rings linked, for a typical shirt, while a haubergon in a museum in Vienna contains 200,000 rings (and you cannot stick a pin through it.)

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Mailis an ancient technique of linking of rings to form woven sheets of metal. The history of this technique creation is hazy, and theories range from Sumerian to Japanese, to Celtic origins. Mailas jewelry is a far more modern invention which find its roots in traditional armor.
The name comes from the Latin word,"macula", meaning "mesh of net". The name comes via the French description and sheets of chain can simply be referred to as maille.
Japanese chain armor linked rings into hexagonal grids. Small round rings were connected with vertical oval rings and were regularly lacquered to prevent rust. The meshes were then stitched into cloth or leather.
The Celts of the 5th century were likely the first to create what we now know as maille. More flexibility and durability was gained by linking the rings directly to one another, and rows alternated between soldered rings and riveted rings. The arrival of the Romans spread this form of armor and the most common form of this still survives as European 4 in 1 maille.
The nature of war changed with the invention of gun powder and made Maile effectively obsolete by the 15th century. However, Mailis still used as protection in niche professions. Chain gloves and arm guards are still widely used by butchers and divers as teeth and sharp implements cannot pass through the dense rings.
Mailas jewelry has far more recent roots, although chain embellishments started appearing as purse handles and bags. Families of weaves such as Persian maille were named more their style rather than their origin, and after the popularization of mechanical chain makers in the late 1800s, chain jewelry found a widespread audience.
Gold and silver has had something of a Renaissance in recent years with many design houses turning to this classic technique as a way of adding textural interest to metal designs. The techniques and weaves of this jewelry are inspired by the traditional armors, but most are invented as new ways to creatively link rings



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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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