Inside Logistics

The hard hat turns 100

Hard Boiled Hat invented in 1919

January 11, 2019

The original Hard Boiled hat.

CYNTHIANA, KY – Bullard, inventor of the hard hat, is celebrating the safety invention’s 100th year. The company invented the Hard Boiled Hat in 1919 and today supplies head protection products to workers worldwide.

A 121-year, fifth-generation, family-owned company, Bullard manufacturers safety products for workers in the industrial health and safety and emergency responder markets. The company’s products have protected safety workers worldwide for more than 100 years and include thermal imagers, fire and rescue helmets, head and face protection and respiratory equipment.

“We are proud of the role Bullard has played in revolutionizing the safety industry,” said CEO, Wells Bullard.

A contemporary hard hat.

“Our vision to advance human safety to enable long, healthy, productive lives through innovative solutions is our commitment to every customer who chooses a Bullard product. A huge thank you to our most valued customers, employees, distributors, and suppliers for supporting us throughout the years and in the future.”

The ‘Hard Boiled Hat’, patented in 1919, was so called because of the steam used in the manufacturing process,” said Edward D. “Jed” Bullard, chairman of the board and former president and CEO.

“The original ‘Hard Boiled hat’ was manufactured out of steamed canvas, glue, a leather brim, and black paint. My grandfather built a suspension device into what became the worlds’ first, commercially available, industrial head-protection device.”

The first designated “Hard Hat Area” in the U.S. was set up at the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge construction site. “The project’s chief engineer, Joseph B. Strauss, shared a vision with my grandfather that the workplace could be a safer environment for the worker. One problem the bridge project faced was falling rivets, which could cause serious injury,” said Bullard. “My grandfather transformed the mining helmet into a durable industrial hard hat.”

Today’s hard hats are made from polyethylene plastic-making them lightweight, durable, easy to mold and non-conductive to electricity. They now sport suspension for better protection and also have vented options as well as accessories, including face shields, ear/neck protectors, hearing protectors and attachments for lamps.

The Bullard company is planning activities throughout the year to celebrate its centennial anniversary of the invention of the hard hat. On Saturday, January 12, 2019, the company will attempt to break a Guinness World Record during halftime of the University of Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt basketball game. Bullard is supplying 10,000 hard hats to fans attending the UK/Vanderbilt game to break the record for the largest gathering of people wearing safety helmets at an event. A Guinness World Record representative will be at the game to verify the record-breaking event.

The company is growing and recently added the Bullard Center in Lexington, Kentucky, where research and development, new product development, marketing, and global shared resources collaborate to develop the next generation of Bullard products and services. Bullard also has offices in Singapore and Germany.