Our history is filled with disputes that have led to many wars. From the ancient use of metal as a weapon, man has later on discovered that aside from killing and wounding the enemies, metal can also be used to save lives. Throughout man’s recorded history, man has created various types of body armor from various materials. They are primarily created to protect against injury while in combat or to protect against dangerous situations.
During the Middle Ages, evidences have shown that soldiers and knights have then used metal body armors. Due to the advent of firearms during the year 1500, these body armors have become ineffective as a protective barrier against the harm caused by the enemy. During those times, the only effective protection against firearms was stone walls, rocks, trees, ditches and other natural barriers.
When many knights and nobles have purchased their new breast plates, they demanded the kind that is bullet-proof. In this light, armor makers tend to sell armors with dent on it as a proof that the armor has been tested to effectively protect against early bullets. Francesco Maria della Rovere is the man behind the very first bulletproof vest. In 1538, he was commissioned by Filippo Negroli to create more of his prototype vests. In 1561, a man names Maximilian II, who happens to be an emperor, was recorded to have tested this body armor against actual gun fire.
The idea behind the creation of bulletproof vests or clothing is believed to have originated from the soft body armor of the medieval Japanese warriors. This soft armor was made from silk. In 1880s, Dr. George Goodfellow of Arizona investigated the weaknesses of the soft vests, which he then compared to the gambesons’ 18-30 layers of fabric which is used to protect against arrow penetration during the medieval times. With that, the oldest tested bullet-resistant clothing or vest was made from silk. Thanks to Goodfellow’s research, Rev. Casimir Zeglen of Chicago, IL has developed a silk bullet proof vest that is capable of stopping slow rounds of bullets released from black powder guns. It was then very expensive, with each vest amounting to US $800 in 1914. The value is comparable to today’s worth of US$15,000. This version of bulletproof vests has been successfully recognized all over the world for its ability to save lives. As many years have passed, the design and materials used for bulletproof jackets continuously improved to keep up with the advancing technologies on weapons and bullets. With the promising study conducted on spider silk and nano based armor in 2005, we can expect lighter and more effective bulletproof vests, jackets and clothing in the future.
Today, modern forms of body armor are called bulletproof or bullet-resistant clothing. Modern protective vests have been created to minimize the injury from projectiles from handguns, shotguns and rifles. With that, it is commonly worn by police forces, military and private security and civilians. The legality of the issuance of body armors such as bulletproof vests is dictated the jurisdiction of the state law and other government law-enforcement agencies. With the recent rise of urban conflicts, protective bulletproof clothing has offered a wearable and affordable kind of confidence and security.
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