Mail armour, mail shirts

Mail armour was worn by knights in the Early Middle Ages. It (was) is composed of miniature metal rings. Its production is (was) very labour intensive. You will find mail shirts, mail gauntlets, mail shoulders and also metal rings in our e-shop. You can make a mail shirt from metal rings alone.

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Significant arms industry didn’t exist in Europe (except Byzantium) after the downfall of the Western Roman Empire. Therefore the value of mail armour increased. Mail armour was widespread in Europe in the Early Middle Ages not too much. The European mail armour covered an increasingly larger surface of the body - in contrast to the Roman mail armour. Mail armour was an important part of the equipment of knight in the 12th and 13 century. Also mail mittens, great helmet and coif used besides mail shirt. Complete medieval mail armour protected the largest part of the body and was consisted of several tens of thousands of steel rings. The ends of the rings are riveted or soldered together. Therefore mail shirt lasted for a long time.

A gambeson was worn under mail armour as additional textile protection in High Middle Ages. This protective function was improved.

The production of mail armour was very laborious and costly. This was reflected in its price. The price of the mail shirt was comparable to a dozen cows. Therefore only the rich nobility (sometimes the clerics) could buy this shirt. Producers of mail armour were united in guilds. Germany is considered a center of European production of mail armour.

Advisory Service: Questions and Answers

Do you make custom-sized chain mail armor?

The production of chain mail armor requires a lot of human handiwork. We were affected by an important fact that also changed the rules in many other industries. The labor costs of European workers far exceed the labor costs in Asia, even if you take into account the transport costs from Asia! For this simple reason, in the EU there are no workshops that manufacture chain mail armor professionally - and we are working with professionals only! Hobby-producers, who occasionally work in their garages, do not fit into our business concept. We are very sorry; we cannot make for you any mail armor made-to-your measure. Some re-enactors found a solution for this situation: they buy our imported standard-sized mail shirts (sometimes oversize or several pieces), unravel them and make tailor-made mail shirts, legs and other armor parts by themselves.

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