Where do you come from, carrying these decorated shields and shirts of mail, these cheek-hinged helmets and javelins

a proud warrior, Beowulf by Anonymous

It is a mainstay of every fantasy novel, regularly seen in movies and series set in medieval Europe, and was one of the most important innovations in armor to be developed during the
Middle Ages. Chain Mail Day celebrates this incredible armor, and seeks to remind us that it still has relevance in today’s world!

History of Chainmail Day

The history of Chainmail Day is actually the history of chainmail itself. For those who are unaware of exactly what chainmail is, it’s a type of armor composed of interwoven links of metal, often worn over a layer of padded cloth or leather. The name chainmail is actually redundant, as mail is the French word for ‘chain’, rendering its name fully translated as ‘chainmail’ or ‘mail mail’ if you prefer. Chainmail has been found in almost every medieval culture, and was one of the mainstays of armies through the period, and was particularly loved by the Romans.

The benefits of chainmail came from its ability to protect the wearer while still allowing them the freedom of movement often restricted by heavier armors. While it wasn’t particularly good against piercing weapons like spears and arrows, it was exceptional against those with a blade. As weapons technology advanced, it would eventually be supplemented with metal plates, at which point it would become known as ‘Plate Mail’, a sort of hybrid between the classic heavy armor of yore and this flexible protection.

Chainmail is still worn today, albeit not commonly in any field of battle, except in those cases where knife-resistant armor is needed. It is, however, commonly used for those who spend a lot of time working with sharks. It also has found use in the animal control department due to its ability to protect against bites from the animals they work with. One less commonly known location that it is still in use is with high-voltage electrical workers, by wearing a chainmail suit that’s grounded they prevent the electricity from passing through them, instead of having it course through the armor safely to ground.

How to Celebrate Chainmail Day

One of the great ways to celebrate Chainmail Day is by putting together some chainmail of your own! By using a soldering iron, heavy gauge wire, and a pair of needle-nose pliers you can create the armor yourself! There are multiple patterns you can follow, with some of them being producing nicely decorative designs. If you’re a chainmail enthusiast, check out how chainmail is used today, and maybe spend some time working on it yourself!

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Quick Facts

Dates
Every September 22nd
Hashtag
#ChainmailDay