Chain mail is both a contemporary material and one that dates from far back in history.
The oldest remains are attributed to the Celts and date to the third century BC. Since then the manufacturing methods have remained the same: small iron rings are interlaced to make a “coat”, clothing which protects against sharp-edged weapons. The expression “coat of mail” first appeared in 1526.
Falling out of use with evolutions in warfare, chain mail resurfaced in the early 20th century with the increased importance of safety at work, with the appearance of items such as gloves or aprons, for opening oysters or in slaughterhouses, or in bulletproof vests or clothing for divers at risk of shark bites.
Today, chain mail is produced on very complex machines, with great precision. Rings are now welded and smaller. The range of materials is wider to meet specific needs. The most widely used material is stainless steel*, then brass, bronze, aluminium, and titanium.
Assembling the chain mail must be done by hand and requires great dexterity.
The finest chain mail is made of 135,000 rings per square metre.