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Exploding Armour

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Why was this armour designed to explode?

And can we make it work it in the 21st Century?

The Kunsthistorisches Museum has one largest collections of ancient armor in the world.

Amid all the polished steel one breastplate stands out.   On the front, instead of a noble crest, there are mechanical levers and springs.

In our broadcast episode, curator Mattias Pfaffenbichler and historical technologist Andre Renier examine the mechanical armor to discover its function and purpose.

They both believe it was used in the medieval sport of jousting, and that a touch of a lance in just the right spot was all it took to make the armor explode.

But why would a jouster wear armor that explodes on impact?

In the broadcast episode, we recreate the breastplate and test it in a jousting duel, to discover the answer.


All will be revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum.