Hinges are mechanical devices connecting two objects, allowing rotation.
A variety of hinge designs exist, with two basic types.
- Pivot Hinge: A pole is fixed into holes located in the floor and ceiling, with the door attached to the pole and thereby able to rotate. This is the oldest hinge style known.
- Butt Hinge: Two plates with a number of interlocking loops, through which a pin slides. This style is commonly found on modern doors, as well as in period.
Hinges are generally constructed out of steel. In the simplest form, two plates are given curled edges such as to form a loop, then cut to interlock, with a steel pin inserted through the entirety, lightly peened on both ends.
Alternately, a hinge can be made out of thick leather. The natural flexibility of the material allows satisfactory movement.
Hinges are one of the earliest known mechanical devices. Archaeology suggests that they were in use by 1600 BCE on wooden doors. Though few hinges of ancient origin exist today, sockets are clearly visible in stone walls, evident throughout the ancient world.
Armour and Hinges
Hinges play an important role in plate armour. They allow panels to rotate, allowing the full piece to fit upon the wearer. They are commonly found on vambraces and cuisses, as well as on helmets (allowing face plates or cheek pieces to flip up). In addition, shell articulation is technically employs pivot hinges as well.