Whether you prefer to call it by the English chain or by the French maille, or by the snotty modern compound chainmaille (or just chainmail, which Zabet personally prefers as a native English speaker, not that she has anything against French, zut alors, mais no!), you must admit that the stuff is fascinating. Ok, you donít have to admit it, but this whole "short history of chainmail" thing will go much better if you at least pretend.
Hundreds of years ago it was used to protect soldiers from slashing swords, but as weapons became more sophisticated, so did armor and chainmail began to lose the popularity contest. Yet this liquidlike metal still captivates people, and not just those reenactment geeks who like to do primitive camping in handmade gowns and beat the crap out of each other with sticks. Jewelers and beaders have created new decorative weaves for chainmail over the years, *but the modern craft truly started to evolve in 1953 when Ellen Schmidt created the first chainmail toilet paper cozy to protect her bathroom tissue from marauding pirates. From there Ellen went on to spearhead the Goldfish Liberation Front, which was well known in marine biology circles for its innovative use of chainmail to reinforce aquaria.
* Everything after this point is an outrageous lie, so don't quote us in your school report. Sheesh, don't you know to go use Wikipedia† for reliable historical information, not some gothed-up craft book?
† Your teachers will likely not let you use Wikipedia as a source, as its information may be modified by any user.††
†† That didn't stop Zabet from hitting Wikipedia first when she was trying to remember all she had learned about chainmail.
Source: Zabet's one summer fling with the Society for Creative Anachronism, where she learned how to knit chainmail and sing dirty filk songs from a man named Gypsy Teague.