• Viewbrite Safety Products
  • Viewbrite Safety Products
  • Viewbrite Safety Products

History Of The Hard Hat

A hard hat is a type of safety helmet that is worn to protect the head from injury when the wearer is in a hazardous environment, such as a construction site. There is anecdotal evidence that the first non-military hard hat was designed in 1912 by the German writer, Franz Kafka (1883-1924) when he worked for the Bavarian Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute. The first patented safety helmet was steamed canvas and glue and was painted black.


Safety Helmets Emerge 

The first ever construction site on which workers were required to wear safety helmets was the Hoover Dam project in 1931. The second was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California when construction commenced two years later. Now they are required to be worn on all building sites by visitors as well as workers.

Early Safety Helmets 

Early safety helmets were constructed of leather. These were designed by ED Bullard around 1898, prior to his development of the canvas helmet. In the late 1930s, aluminum was the standard, except for electrical work. In the 1940s, fiberglass was the fashion. By the 1950s, thermoplastics were used because they could easily and cheaply be molded using heat. Today, most safety helmets are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or engineering resins such as polyetherimide (PEI).


Most safety helmets contain a suspension system to distribute the weight of the helmet over the surface of the wearer’s head and to cushion it from impact. Some also have a system of ridges molded into the top for added strength. The newer cap-style helmets have a ‘rain gutter’ that channels water towards the peak of the cap rather than letting it flow down the neck of the wearer.


There are so many different styles and colors that they are practically a fashion accessory. The smooth dome slotted cap is designed for comfort and protection from small falling objects. Its dielectric properties make it suitable for electrical work.


The V-guard design, named for the v-shaped ridges on the upper surface, are extremely popular. They come with a choice of different types of suspension. There are a variety of colors. The V-guard is also available in women’s and children’s sizes. There are many other styles. They may have a peak, like a baseball cap, or they may have a rim that goes completely around the circumference of the head to protect the wearer from falling objects,snow and sunlight. There is a model that glows in the dark for nighttime use. There is even a style that is shaped like a cowboy hat, for wranglers who take head protection seriously but do not want to lose their distinctive style.



Safety helmets may be fitted with safety visors for use when welding or to protect the worker’s eyes from sunlight. Face shields may also be added to protect the user’s face from impact. Earmuffs may also be attached for use where it is very noisy. They may also be fitted with communication devices such as radios, pagers or even cameras.

The civilian hard hat has been around for nearly 100 years. They provide effective protection for construction workers, fire fighters and electricians. This safety gear comes in a variety of colors and styles.


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