Sam Colt – The Yorkshire Connection

In today’s blog, Peter Smithurst, Emeritus Curator at the Royal Armouries explains the link between Colt revolvers and Yorkshire. We are so used to thinking of “Colt” revolvers as being quintessentially American that it may come as a surprise to some that there was a strong Yorkshire input. Colt favoured steel produced by Thomas Firth and Sons of Sheffield and in using it, he was adding an element of invisible quality beyond that of many of his contemporaries, once again exhibitingRead more

Arms and Armour in Popular Culture

Here at the Royal Armouries we have for some years collected objects associated with popular culture, including props for the movies and theatre. In 2008, the Armouries held an exhibition called Arms and Armour from the Movies; The Wonderful World of Weta. A new project called Collecting Cultures: Arms and Armour in Popular Culture has been supported by a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project seeks to look at arms and armour through the lens of popularRead more

Collecting Cultures: Armour in Popular Culture

Much of the public perception of arms and armour is coloured by popular culture, yet many museums have been slow to appreciate and preserve the wonderful things made for films, games and other media. In the second installment of our Collecting Cultures blog posts, we turn to examples of the armour in our collection best known for its use on the silver screen. Necromonger Lord Marshal’s Armour Armour wise, we have been successful in acquiring a hero armour from theRead more

Some of the Most Elaborately Decorated Objects in the Royal Armouries Collection

This summer, the Royal Armouries will be playing host to a number of exciting activities part-inspired by our latest book release titled ‘Dangerous Arts’. Embellished with stunning images of the objects which once adorned the great palaces, tournament fields and parade grounds of the world, the book combines themes of art, conflict, death and beauty to highlight pieces in our collection chosen specifically for their fine craftsmanship and careful design. To help tell the stories behind some of the armouriesRead more

What is the Difference Between a Penknife and a Pocket Knife?

In today’s blog, Peter Smithurst, Curator Emeritus of Historical Firearms at the Royal Armouries explains the difference between a penknife and a pocket knife. I was asked recently about terminology in cutlery, especially pen and pocket knives. Firstly, when is a penknife a pocket knife? Traditionally a penknife was used of course for cutting a quill pen. Its blade was fairly small and had a razor-edge. To enable it to hold an edge, the blade was also very hard whichRead more

How was artillery developed in World War One?

By Adrian Parry, University of Portsmouth. The British army fired 273,000 shells in the first 36 months of the Second Boer War. Yet in the four years of World War One, it fired over 170 million shells. This amounted to over five million tons of ordnance. In September 1915, British guns fired 535,000 artillery rounds in four days at the Battle of Loos; 1,732,873 rounds in June 1916 in the eight days prior to the attack on the Somme; 3,258,000 roundsRead more