Body Armor during the Modern and Industrial Era
The Modern and Industrial Era were where body armor first was developed. Created out of the necessity to protect people, mainly kings in the beginning, from new projectile based weapons. Starting in Europe, the earliest accounts dates back to 1538 in Italy where a “gun-fire” resistant vest was made for the Holy Roman Emperor during the two year war that raged between the Romans, King Francis I of France and King Charles V of Spain . Around the same time in England Sir Henry Lee developed a plated armor, as Queen Elizabeths I’s champion, that allegedly could stop gun fire; yet it’s actual testing wasn’t fully documented. Nearly a hundred years later, during England’s Civil War in 1645, special equipment was fitted to one of the English Parliaments cavalry which consisted of a three metal plate layered cuirass armor that protected the torso and back. It relied on the outer plate as a shock absorber and the inner plates protected any fragment from penetrating the vest.
Two hundred years after the first attempts at bulletproof vests and society faces new problems. No longer are most people being slaughtered by war between kings but now some european countries face violence internally in the form of crimes and assassinations. In Dublin, the problem got so overwhelming it drove the country to have the first manufactures and sellers of bulletproof vests in history. Now, body armor would be available to anyone for the first time in an effort to reduce violence and disgraceful murders. Other forms of ballistic armor came during the 1860’s, when a defensive Korea ordered the development of a cotton based bulletproof vest after being threatened by a potential invasion from the United States. After invading a fort, based on an uncalled-for attack on U.S. ships seeking diplomacy, American troops retrieved various specimens of the vests and took them back for further research. The development of bulletproof armor wasn’t limited to only governments, the famous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang developed a plated armor made out of plough blades used in farming equipment. In their efforts to fight the government, Kelly’s gang would be fully protected with home made chest plates, helmets, shin and arm guards. These makeshift platings could be struck multiple times and deflected any firepower they were threatened with but, the exposure of the legs and hands made this armor eventually useless. Other outlaws, like the american Jim Miller, were known for wearing plated vests under-neath their coats which proved to be highly efficient in deflecting pistol and shotgun rounds.
Ultimately, bulletproof vests have been around for many years and their development has seen a steady rise in technological advancements. Body armor, even in its most primitive of forms, has proven itself time and again as a game changer when it comes to safeguarding and protecting people from gunfire; nowadays thankfully companies like Rhino Body Armor can offer vests that can protect you against anything ranging from large caliber handguns to high powered rifles.
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