August 1, 2008, Newsletter Issue #127: The History Of The Hard Hat

Tip of the Week

The Bullard Company is credited with being the first to develop hard hats for industrial use. The company was founded in 1898, with carbide lamps and equipment for mine being their main manufacturing products.

The design for a hard hat to protect the head of miners was started in 1915. At this time, miners wore a regular soft cap that did not offer a head protection. By 1919, the hard hat designed was completed and it was known as the “Hard-Boiled Hat.” The patent was granted for the “Hard-Boiled Hat” made of canvas, which was steamed, and then covered, in black paint. A suspension system was added to it before the first hard hat was sold to industries.

In the year 1938, the Bullard Company went on to release the first aluminum hat. It was next replaced by fiberglass hats of the 1940s, eventually leading to the thermoplastic hat of the 1950s – 1960s.

In 1982 the Bullard Company changed the hard hat suspension system to a ratchet suspension, found to work better in construction and manufacturing.

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