I'm interested in the chainmail worn in the 14th and 15th century. As far as I know, almost all chainmail found in Europe has been riveted and woven 4 in 1. But I hear that there were chainmails made of rings of both flattened wire and round wire. Which was more popular? Also, I heard about some findings were the mail was made of rows of riveted and whole (die cut) rings. Does anyone know where were those found and where to get some pictures, dating and descriptions of them?

  • 2
    Shoul we add "armor" tag? There seem to be enough questions on topic to merit that.
    – DVK
    Feb 15 '13 at 14:17
  • I wanted to, but not enough rep :(
    – K.L.
    Feb 15 '13 at 14:35
  • 1
    Done. Good question. Feb 15 '13 at 14:56
  • @K.L. you can edit the wiki for the tag and get some more reputation... Feb 15 '13 at 14:57
  • 3
    @K.L. drop those ideas on meta? Feb 15 '13 at 16:22

Chainmaille development and construction was surprisingly consistent from the 1st century CE onwards.

You are correct in your assumption that almost all extant maille finds are riveted, but there are examples that show butted maille where the wire is simply closed together.

In terms of construction, there are 4 types: riveted, welded, stamped, or butted. In many cases, there is a combination of 2.

For example, an early middle ages example, the Gjermundbu Maille is half welded and half riveted. The welded rings are flat (from the process of hammer welding) and the riveted are rounded (except at their pin-point).

Stamped rings, would of course be flat by their nature having been cut from foil rather than drawn from wire, as would welded (although some do retain some roundness away from the join). Maille accoutrements and shirts of butted maille are almost entirely rounded links.

Many of the examples in the Wallace Collection contains Welded/Riveted Combos, and this probably account for a high percentage of extant maille finds for the 14th/15th Century Period. Interestingly, many are a steel/copper alloy, perhaps for economic reasons.


Extant Maille Armour Finds

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