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Armor was the state-of-the-art technology of its day.
Armorers were among the highest paid craftsmen of the Middle Ages, and the best might even rub shoulders with kings and emperors. Producing armor could take a matter of weeks for a plain footsoldier's harness, or many months for a nobleman's highly decorated suit.
Armor making was one of the most advanced technologies of its day. Water power drove the hammers that beat iron bars into flat plates; it also powered the grinding and polishing wheels that finished the piece. In between came countless hammer-strokes from a master armorer who turned the flat plates into the complex shapes that perfectly combined protection, mobility, and style.
In this gallery, you will see the technology behind the knight in shining armor—the tools, techniques, and trademarks of the medieval armorer. You will also find out what happened when armor had lost its use: would it be upgraded to meet new challenges on the battlefield, or recycled to furnish someone's home?