Who Invented Helmets? A Brief History!

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Thanks to helmets, we can now do about our daily chores and routines without fear of suffering from head injuries. That is especially true for those who work in the construction industry, food delivery service, or those who commute to work on a motorbike.

Because of how useful it is, there are times when we just had to ask: who invented helmets? And that’s what we’re here to share with you.

If you’re also curious to learn about the history of helmets and their development throughout the years, then keep on reading this article. We made it as comprehensive as possible to include all helmets – whether for riding bikes or overall head protection.

who invented helmet

A Brief Timeline

Before we dig deeper and name the persons behind today’s modern helmets, we want to share with you a brief history of helmets.

Evidence suggests that our ancestors have been wearing helmets since 1600 BCE. These prehistoric helmets used boar tusks to form a headgear. This design provides our ancestors with a solid helmet that protects them from their enemies or animal attacks.

As the years progressed, our ancestors became more adept with metalwork. This led them to forge helmets from metal pieces, which is a more sustainable way of making them. This type of helmet completed their armor, and this was commonly worn by ancient soldiers.

Despite wearing this headgear for centuries, the term “helmet” was not coined until in later years. Etymology experts agree that the word is derived from the Middle English word “helm”, which was used to describe the medieval protective headgear.

Since then, the word “helmet” became the general term used to describe any protective headgear. Whether it’s for riding a bike, engaging in extreme sports, welding, or engaging in combat, you can count on the appropriate helmet to save your life.

Who Invented Helmets?

Now that you know a brief history of helmets, we can now discuss who invented helmets. Since there are different types of helmets, then we’ll discuss this according to each type.

Motorcycle and Crash Helmets

Let’s start with motorcycle helmets. Otherwise, known as crash helmets, this protective headgear is specially designed to protect your head in case of a significant impact due to a traffic or road crash.

motorcycle-helmet

Records show that the first person to recognize the need for crash helmets is Dr. Eric Gardner. In 1914, Gardner noticed that there is an alarming rate of motorcycle accidents. He believed that having something to protect the rider’s head will greatly reduce the impact of the crash, and that could potentially save the rider’s life.

Thus, Gardner went on to commission a certain Mr. Moss to design the helmets. These helmets should have a sturdy outer shell that will absorb the impact for maximum protection.

Like all changes in history, this helmet was not welcome at first. Riders thought it was inconvenient to wear one, so they refused to wear the same. But eventually, it became compulsory in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race of 1914. According to a medical officer of the event, there were no concussion cases during the race because of these helmets.

Since then, riders have started to recognize how safe they are and began to embrace the use of helmets. And eventually, countries now have laws that require motorcycle users to wear helmets. This is all thanks to Dr. Eric Gardner.

Welding Helmets

welding-helmet

Aside from motorcycle helmets, welding helmets are also quite popular. Because of the unique process of welding, there is no doubt that professionals have to wear helmets to protect their eyes and skin from flashes and sparks.

If we were to be specific, we would have to say that it’s hard to name the person who specifically invented this helmet. After all, welding has been part of our history since the Bronze Age, and there is no record naming a specific individual as the inventor of ancient welding helmets. Nevertheless, they used protective eyewear to keep their eyes safe.

As for the modern helmets that we know today, these entered the market scene in 1937, thanks to Willson Products. However, there is not much information as to a specific person who came up with that full-face design.

Since then, more manufacturers have produced helmets and incorporated them with superior features and work modes that allow you to work efficiently while still keeping you safe.

Safety Industrial Helmets

The history of safety industrial helmets is also quite interesting.

Otherwise known as a hard hat, this special helmet is designed to keep workers safe from falling debris, electrical shock, and similar industrial hazards.

Edward W. Bullard is known for inventing the modern hard hat. In previous years, workers wore hats with dried tar to keep them safe. But when E.W. Bullard returned from the war, he drew inspiration from his war helmet to create what we know today as the hard hat.

Because of the process involved in its creation, it was initially called the hard-boiled hat. As the years progressed, it simply became the “hard hat” — and the rest is history.

FAQs

When was the first helmet made?

There is no record showing the exact period when the first-ever helmet was made. Nevertheless, the earliest evidence shows that our ancestors have been wearing helmets since 1600 BCE. These helmets were often used by ancient warriors to protect their heads in case they go to battle.

Why is it called a helmet?

Etymologists agree that the modern word for “helmet” is derived from the Middle English word, “helm”. In turn, this word came from a medieval word that translates to “protective headgear”.

Who made the first motorcycle helmet?

The idea for the first motorcycle helmet came from Dr. Eric Gardner. But as to the physical creation of the helmet, this is thanks to Mr. Moss who made Dr. Gardner’s idea come to life.

Wrap Up

Now that we know who invented helmets, we should be thankful for this wonderful discovery. Can you even imagine what life would be without them? What a chaotic world that would be.

With that said, we would like to stress the importance of wearing helmets. With the many options available, there’s a specific helmet for each activity. As long as you’re wearing the appropriate one, you can know you’re safe and protected. And that will give you true peace of mind.

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