History of the hard hat

In 2019 we have celebrated a century of using the hard hats for workers in different fields. From working in mines to working at wuthering heights, head protection has become over the years a mandatory accessory for sustaining the safety standards in the workplace. Together with the safety boots, the hard hat has completely changed the way we do industrial work. The hard hat is also the safety equipment that is the most straight forward to recognize. You’ll find the hard hat in all environments that come with the risk of head injury nowadays.

Since their early days and until the modern time, the hard hat has evolved significantly. The materials used for them, the design, and also their versatility has been considerably improved. The safety in the workplace has started to become a priority only around the first decades of the 20th century. In those times, the workers would wear hats that were dipped in tar and left in the sun to dry and harden. A legend says that it all started from the workers in the harbours. They came up with these hard hats to protect from the things the seagulls throw down.

The first hard hats for the mining industry were produced in 1898 by Edward Dickinson Bullard, and they were made out of leather. His son came with the idea was to revolutionize safety equipment by following the model of the military hat used in the First World War. As the metal was too heavy to wear, in 1919, Bullard invented the hard hat made out of a fabric formed in the press with steam and glue. The initial hard hat was easy to produce, resistant, and relatively comfortable to wear. Ten years after they have been introduced to the market, the Bullard hard hats have become mandatory for construction workers.

In the 30s, the hard hats were made out of aluminium, and then in the 40s, the material used was fibreglass. It was only later on that producers started to use resistant plastic materials for the hard hat design.

Nowadays, the hard had is a mandatory part of the safety equipment, and the number of work accidents is continually decreasing. The hard hat has saved many lives in its hundred years history. Its versatility and easy use have guaranteed an irreplaceable status for safety in the workplace for numerous industries.