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teacher: Rye Alumni

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 At the Higgins Armory in Worcester Massachusetts, visitors can see a wide array of armor. If  a person wants to learn about every type of armor in a short amount of time, they can focus on the three major types that were used in the Middle Ages. These three types of armor are combat, tournament and decorative armor. Each one serves a different purpose.




    The first type of armor is combat. Combat armor was used in wars and battlefields. It consists of over 200 pieces of armor with lots of moving joints so that the person inside can move with partial mobility. It weighs about 45 to 80 pounds which makes it the second to lightest armor next to the decorative armor. Ventilation was very important because when you were walking in a hot climate or fighting for a long period of time, you needed to be cool.  Combat armor was immune to many weapons like spears and swords. Certain spears, called lances, were big and sharp enough to puncture combat armor. Other types of weapons that could kill a knight were crossbows and muskets.




    The next major type of armor was tournament armor. This armor was used for jousting and fighting games. The flexibility in this suit was very poor because the armor had to be rigid when being hit with a lance. Tournament armor was the heaviest type of armor out of all the three weighing in at 80 to 100 pounds. Despite the bad flexibility, it was the thickest  most defensive type out of the three. The chest plating and shoulder armor was extra thick to deflect the blows of a lance. The visibility of the visor was very poor because in order to protect the face from splinters and strikes from lances, it needed to be free of big gaps and holes.


    The last type of armor was decorative. Decorative armor acts as a status symbol for people. It was for showing off and showing people how rich you were. This armor was very expensive and wealthy people would get them custom made. Etching, embossing, engraving, blueing and gilding were some of the methods used on this armor to decorate it. Weighing in at 20 to 70 pounds, it was the lightest type of armor out of the three. It did not have to be made out of strong and heavy materials. It provided almost no physical protection and was more focused on decorative designs. Despite this armor's poor protective features, it's visibility and flexibility were excellent.

    As you go through each type of armor, it's use is different from the other. Ever since medieval times, armor has evolved from armor plated knights and horses to what we use for protection today. Today, we use armor made out off light weight materials and strong fabrics that can stop bullets. We also use armor for different purposes. We are putting armor on tanks and vehicles to protect people and valuable items. Even the strength of armor has changed. This is happening because as we invent stronger weapons, people have to find stronger materials to stop them. As long as people can think of new ways to make weapons stronger, armor will continually evolve to keep things safe.
Article posted April 18, 2010 at 05:10 PM • comment • Reads 67 • Return to Blog List
 
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