I decided to try to make up some Roman Armour polish to torment the British Army when they came to the Fort on Wednesday.  I thought to myself “What these brave men would really enjoy is getting some armour nice and shiney without the benefit of modern polish.”  Unfortunately they had to leave early and were unable to try the polish.

As I was tidying up Megan discovered the mixture and asked what the disgusting thing was.  I explained that it was the polish that the Romans used and how they used it.

I have always been skeptical about the idea that the Romans wandered around in nice shiney armour.  First the metal technology was not as good as ours, shiney metal is not better metal and thirdly I was unsure how effective ancient techniques would be.

So I decided to have a go with the helmet below and was flabbergasted by the result.  I made my polish from Lard and sand and prepared the metal with vinegar.  Vinegar has the effect of breaking up rust.  Then I plastered the area with lard to eat into any remaining rust areas.  After this I rubbed a small amount of the polish onto the area and then using a cloth removed the lard.  I saw an immediate improvement in the state of the metal and after ten minutes was able to see my reflection.  After I had polished the neck guard I noticed a silky texture to the metal which implies that there is a thin layer of grease on the metal which hopefully will protect it in the future from moisture.

Sorry about the quality of these pictures.  Note the image of the face guard.  The centre is where it has been polished and the sides remain untreated.  You can see how effective the treatment has been.  On other pictures you can see the before and after in particular the neck guard which was clearly corroded but now reflects the flash a bit too well.  The small pot you can see contains the polish.