Cutting Edge Fantasy | Damascus Steel & Valyrian Steel

Following the season finale of HBO’s epic ‘Game of Thrones’, Stefan Maeder, Director of Collections here at the Royal Armouries gives us a fascinating insight into the legendary traits of Valyrian steel and it’s real life parallel – Damascus Steel.  Damascus Steel, A Myth? All attempts at “myth-busting” are doomed to fail when it comes to fantasy or fiction. On the other hand it is important to be aware of the degree to which even nowadays myths shape our perception ofRead more

Cutting Edge Fantasy | Swords in A Game of Thrones

As HBO’s epic retelling of George R.R. Martins ‘Game of Thrones’ draws to a close, Stefan Maeder, Director of Collections here at the Royal Armouries gives us a fascinating insight into the swords of the series.  Swords and Symbolism  Having become obsolete as a weapon of war, the sword even today maintains its significance as a potent symbol. In the bible it epitomises the word of God, as well as being a synonym for justice, punishment, and violence in general.Read more

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

The Royal Armouries Present at MAMO

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

The Line of Kings: 1785-1869

Having existed in one form or another for over 400 years, the Line of Kings is one of the world’s oldest exhibitions. Having been re-arranged countless times over the centuries at the whims of monarchs and curators, the latest display allows visitors to enjoy some of our most spectacular items. In this series of blog posts, we’ll bring you the story of how the Line of Kings has transformed from 1547 right through to the present day. The figure ofRead 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