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Chainmail

Chain mail has been one of the most commonly used armor types since the Middle Ages. Today, chain mail is popular and in demand in LARP, reenactment, and show combat. Zeughaus offers a large selection of different chain mail and other components for a complete set of chain armor.

Hardly any other piece of equipment is as symbolic of the knight in the Middle Ages as chain mail. Known to historians as ring armor, its roots can be traced back to at least the fourth century BC.

Chain mail, in turn, is only one element of a complete suit of chain armor in the Middle Ages. Its name already reveals how it’s constructed: medieval chain mail armor was composed of several tens of thousands of ideally riveted steel rings. The production of a simple piece of chain mail easily took several months from iron extraction to its completion. Accordingly, only a select few could afford such a luxury.

In addition to chain mail shirts, a complete suit of chain armor consists of at least a chain mail hood and chain mail leggings. Also constructed with steel rings: chain collars, chain skirts, and chain mittens complete the equipment of the knight in several combinations.

The main purpose of chain armor was to protect its wearer from cuts. Stabbing weapons or arrows were repelled by it only to a limited extent. However, hefty chain mail could hardly mitigate the force of a blow. Therefore, it was common to combine chain mail with a gambeson. Worn under the chain mail, the padded textile armor could at least cushion hits somewhat.

YOU WILL FIND YOUR CHAIN MAIL WITH ZEUGHAUS

Whether you want to equip yourself for your character in LARP or follow in the footsteps of a medieval fighter as a reenactor or show fighter, chain mail is an indispensable part of your equipment.

Zeughaus offers a comprehensive selection of chain armor pieces based on historical models. These include:

- Short chain mail / Haubergeons

- Long chain mail / Hauberks

- Chain arms / Voiders

- Chain hoods / Coiffes

- Chain leggings / Chausses

Besides the cut, our chain mail also differs in the details of their manufacture. Here, too, the replicas resemble their historical models.

THE RING MAKES THE SHIRT

Based on their shape, we distinguish between chain mail made of flat rings and those made of round rings. Both variants follow historical models from different eras. In the Middle Ages, the use of round metal wire for the production of rings was widespread, but examples of flat forged rings can be found as early as Roman times.

Chain mail made of flat rings impresses with a particularly grand appearance, which additionally strengthens the impact of effective armor.

Both flat rings and round rings can be riveted or unriveted into chain mail. The riveting of each of the approximately 30,000 hand-knotted rings, at their flattened ends, was the most laborious step in the Middle Ages. However, it gave the shirt a much higher protective effect and durability. Even today, riveted chain mail is the more luxurious and correspondingly more expensive option. Therefore, beginners prefer the cheaper unriveted version. While the protective effect of chainmail isn’t needed in LARP, reenactments, or show combat, riveted chainmail is an investment in the future, long-term.

Unriveted chain mail is composed of open rings. Therefore, there is a risk that individual rings bend up under pressure or, depending on the material, break more easily.

However, if you also value authenticity and want to be able to count on the resilience of your armor in all situations, you should opt for the riveted variant.

THE BATTLE OF MATERIALS

During the Middle Ages, there were hardly any alternative materials for producing chain mail armor. While extracting iron from ore in simple blast furnaces was a familiar craft, it was no less costly. The process of transforming a piece of iron obtained in a furnace into malleable steel by further methods, and then working a wire more than a kilometer long by hand, from which thousands of rings had to be formed afterward, is an effort that’s hardly imaginable by today’s standards.

It was only necessary to protect steel chain mail against rust when it was stored for long periods. Chain mail that was worn regularly did not allow serious rust to develop due to constant movement. When chain mail was protected and maintained, it was usually done by oiling.

Today's knight has a wider choice of materials with different properties thanks to modern material extraction and processing.

With Zeughaus you will find:

- Chain mail made of steel

- Stainless steel chain mail

- Chain mail made of aluminum

- Chain mail made of titanium

Since you probably won't wear a steel chain mail every day, this simple design needs some care to keep it looking good. Superficial rust should be removed early on, and you can treat the shirt with suitable care products to protect it from rust.

If you want to forego this effort, you can find various alternatives to inexpensive, simple, untreated steel with Zeughaus.

Burnishing is the process of creating a fine protective layer of rust on the surface of the steel rings. This is done by various techniques, such as immersion in acids or alkalis, or by repeatedly burning linseed oil on the surface. The surface thus modified has limited protection against rust formation. One characteristic of this process is the black coloration of the metal.

Galvanizing, a common process in automotive engineering is even more reliable against rust. In this process, a thin layer of zinc is applied in a special procedure, which seals the steel and protects it against corrosion.

Our stainless steel chain armor is protected against rust from the outset.

Our chain mail made of titanium proves to be of particularly high quality. The material is harder than steel. Although titanium in itself is heavier than aluminum, thanks to its hardness, it is possible to make the rings thinner with the same or even greater stability than aluminum allows, which is why titanium chain mail weighs less overall. Historical chain mail weighed 15 kilos or more, depending on fit and finish. It must be remembered that this was only one component of a complete suit of armor. Titanium chain mail, on the other hand, weighs less than half of a comparable model made of plain steel. Especially if you wear your armor at intensive events, show events, or maybe even while filming, your back will appreciate the difference. Of course, titanium as a material for armor is not historically accurate, having only been discovered in the late 18th century and becoming commercially viable in the 20th century. However, for the extra investment that the valuable material requires, you get armor that a real knight could only dream of.

No matter what kind of chain mail armor you choose and what your budget is, you will find the right equipment with Zeughaus. Whether as authentic as possible with the weight and effort that real knights had to contend with or as a symbiosis of time-honored characteristics and modern materials, a chain mail shirt from Zeughaus is a knightly companion.