This surname of HYRE is the Americanized form of the name HIRAM. It is a Hebrew name meaning 'brother of the exalted one'. It was the name of a king of Tyre, who was an ally of King David and his son Solomon, and who sent building materials for the Temple at Jerusalem. It was originally one of the biblical names which became popular in the 17th century, and was taken over by early settlers to America. The name has a certain popularity in the 19th century. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. A notable member of the name was Philippe de la HIRE (1640-1718) French engineer, born in Paris. A mathematician as well as a keen experimenter, he was employed for some years on geodisic work. In 1682 he joined the College Royal, where he taught mathematics, and five years later he became professor at the Royal Academy of Architecture. His most notable work is the 'Traite de Mechanique' (1695). In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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