History of PPE: Headgear

Established in 1898, the Bullard Manufacturing Company was the first to start manufacturing headgear for miners. But the hard hat back then was not like what we are used to today.


It started out as something similar to a baseball cap – made out of steamed canvas, glue, black paint and had a shellac brim. Before Bullard started manufacturing these caps protective headgear for the industrial industry did not exist.


The hats continued to be sold past World War 1 when it was called the “hard-boiled hat” due to the fact that steam was used in the manufacturing process. This hat was patented in 1919.


The first aluminum hard hat was first created by Bullard in 1938. It was very durable and light in weight. The problem with these hard hats was that it was an excellent conductor of electricity.



In the 1940’s a heat-resistant fiberglass hard hat was created, whereas thermoplastics replaced the more expensive hard hat in the 1950’ and 1960’s. The hats were injected with thermoplastics so as to create a molded hard hat.


In 1982 the modern hard hat was created to improve on the prior versions and have adequate suspension. More recently Bullard created the 3000R which was made from polyethylene plastic. It had many good features such as being lightweight, non-conductive to electricity (which was a major feature), moldable and also durable.


The 3000R was followed by the C30 – which is the standard yellow hard hat that can be seen at construction zones today. The latest hard hats have vents because the original hard hats was deemed to be too uncomfortable and hot.


For firefighters they made helmets from thick leather back in the day, but just like the standard safety hat it has greatly evolved

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