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Royal Armouries Museum

Franz Ferdinand and the era of assassination

Thursday afternoon lecture
1st November - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

As some of the world’s leading authorities in their fields, our curators and conservators will present an exciting range of talks on subjects as varied as the death of Richard III to the secrets behind the making of the infamous Iraqi Supergun.

1 November
Franz Ferdinand and the era of assassination
Lisa Traynor – Curator of Firearms

Charting the technological developments in the early 20th-century pistols and protection.

The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand – long considered the catalyst for the outbreak of the First World War – is often described as the ‘shot heard around the world’. Far less widely known is the fact that the Archduke may have owned, but on that fateful day did not wear, a silk bullet-proof vest created by Polish priest-turned-inventor Casimir Zeglen. Applying innovative new research, Lisa Traynor highlights the risks associated with power and status in the early 20th century, and charts the technological development of pistols used in the period’s assassination plots. Having tested replicas of Zeglen’s invention against a Browning Model 1910 pistol, the same model of pistol used by the Archduke’s assassin, Traynor poses the haunting question: if Franz Ferdinand had worn silk body armour on the day of his assassination, would it have saved his life?

Time: 3pm / Duration: 45 minutes / Free