Throughout history, armor has taken on many forms. Starting simple, each new armor development has played off the one that has come before it and strengthened it in many ways. For deeper insight, here is a brief snapshot of armor through the ages.
One of the first protective wear types was leather armor early on in history. This was accomplished by drying out animal skins until they were stiffened enough to put on. At first, the skins were worn as they were, but over time, people found ways of strengthening them by saturating these pieces in lacquer or wax. Leather armor served its purpose during its time and gave rise to greater types of armor to come.
Celtic Lamellar Leather Armour:
During the time of serfs, peasants, and slaves, another type of armor came into play…cloth armor. Keeping it real, this gear was weak and did little in the way of protection. However, when you’re lower class, have little money to afford the real deal, and are required to fight your master’s battles, you have to be resourceful. Basically, what this meant was simply padding clothes to create armor. To the credit of these people, they did weave cloth, which was not the common practice of the time.
Moving forward to metal armor, one of the first types was scale armor, emerging in ancient times. Such an improvement over both leather and cloth armor, it offered more protection and durability. Scale armor got its name because it was made by coating leather or cloth backing with numerous pieces of small scale metal. It was a simple innovation, but beneficial as well!
Building on scale armor was lamellar armor, most popular with Roman armies. This is arguably the most notable armor type and it was indeed an advancement, doing away with a restrictive cloth or leather backing. In scale armor, the scales were attached to the backing by a few holes at the top of the scales while lamellar armor scales were also attached to all the adjacent scales, increasing its strength.
Next in development was plate armor, a staple of all armor. Upon arrival, plate armor was quite heavy and worn mostly by soldiers in chariots. As the years went by, plate armor weight decreased a bit. This was probably a relief for fighters, who were already bogged down by weapons and other equipment. When it comes to knights in shining armor, plate armor is the typical depiction.
Without the invention of plate armor, chain mail would not have come along. Though not particularly a revolutionary conception, it was a departure from scale and lamellar armor. Comprised of many, many rings riveted together chain mail provided easy movability and endurance to withstand blunt and slashing weapons. Its impact has also lasted, as it is still around today in different occupations.
Chainmail Armor Shirt:
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Other armor, worthy of mention, was brigandine armor. This served to bridge the period between chainmail and medieval armor. It was made up of metal plates in an outer shell of cloth or leather. In modern development, there is keylar armor, which is used for bulletproof vests. It is made of very strong material and a single vest can consist of up to 30-40 layers of fabric. And the most current advancement has been ceramic armor, used mainly in aircraft.
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