Page 8 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - June 2019
P. 8

Year 100 for Head Safety and

                     Protective Gear Company

                                                 by Peter Hildebrandt

         San Francisco’s world-famous construction icon has provided an orange vermillion
         (known officially as “International Orange”) frame for the city and its enveloping
         fog for the past 82 years, this April 2019.  Perhaps less known and there  at
         the opening and throughout construction  was the PPE  (personal protective
         equipment) company that started a trend. The E.D. Bullard Company (“Bullard”)
         was an important part of making the bridge worksite a hard hat-designated area.
         Bullard remains onsite to this day, supplying hard hats and respiratory protection
         to present bridge workers and supplying the world with all sorts of critical PPE.

              he E.D.  Bullard Company  was
              founded by Edward Dickinson
         TBullard in 1898 in San Francisco,
         CA, where the firm sold carbide lamps
         and mining equipment to gold and cop-
         per miners.  The  miners  used to wear
         a soft derby, similar to a baseball cap,
         according to Edward D. “Jed” Bullard,
         the  company’s  Owner/Chairman  and
         the great-grandson of the founder.
           After the founder’s son,  Edward W.
         Bullard (1899-1963),  returned  from
         World War I, he used his experiences
         with “Doughboy” army helmets in the
         design of protective headgear for min-
         ers  and then  the  entire  construction
         industry. E.W. Bullard’s original 1919
         Hard Boiled® Hat was manufactured
         out of canvas, glue, leather, and paint
         and included a suspension  device. It
         was  considered  the  first  “hard  hat,”
         which revolutionized construction and
         mine worker safety.
           “The company is 121 years old – but it
         was 100 years back that my great-grand-
         father invented the hard hat  in 1919,”
         explains Wells Bullard, CEO of the Bul-
         lard Company. “His hat, crafted from
         steamed canvas, with a leather  brim,   America’s first designated “Hard Hat Area” was the construction of San Francisco’s Golden
                                            Gate Bridge, where workers wore Bullard Hard Hats.
         and with shellac and black paint, was a
         fairly radical safety strategy at the time.   also referred  to as hard-boiling. This   therefore  lightweight materials must
           “The process of steaming the hat was   procedure made the hat very rigid but   be used.  Balanced parts and ease of
                                            at the same time rather flexible.”  use  come into  play in  hat design  too.
                                              That model lasted until  the 1940s   The ratchet knob on the back of the hat
                                            when they started to make the hats out   allows users to adjust their hats so it
                                            of aluminum. The 1950s saw the craft-  stays securely on their heads. Different
                                            ing of hats from plastic. “We do use   plastics are used for that feature.
                                            leather in some of our products, but   Hard hats and face protection are
                                            have gotten away from canvas, obvi-  now big items manufactured by Bul-
                                            ously,” adds Bullard. “And now we use   lard; breathing protection using  res-
                                            plastic for the shell,  very lightweight   pirators is part of their lineup. Their
                                            but also needing to stay  on workers’   thermal imaging technology is life-sav-
                                            heads because they’re often in very   ing for firefighters struggling through
                                            hazardous environments as well.”                    continued on page 10
         Edward W. Bullard invents the Hard Boiled®   Keeping the hat on the head only   All photos courtesy  of The E.D. Bullard Company
         Hat to protect miners from falling objects.  occurs  if the hat is very comfortable,   unless otherwise noted.
         8      Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   June 2019
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