The History of Cowboy-Style Hard Hats
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats were a creation of tool salesman, Bret Atkins in 1996, who got tired of getting his expensive stetson-styled hats dirty while on the job. Atkins essentially worked out of his garage to create the trendy cowboy-style hard hat and invested a small fortune seeking and obtaining OSHA approval.
Through a very lucky break, the cowboy-style hard hat was discovered by Katie Couric of NBC’s Today show and the rest, as they say is history. The cowboy-style hard hat (also sometime referred to as Western Hard Hat and Outlaw Hard Hat) has been a worldwide success. To read more about this amazing story, click here.
The Benefits of Wearing Cowboy-Style Hard Hat Protection
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats Are Stylish
If you are foreman, you know that for many of your crew, as soon as you leave, the hard hats come off – the ole’ “when the cat’s away, the mice will play” syndrome. This is a disasterous situation for that worker if there’s and accident (and for you too – increased insurance premiums!) – OccuNomix Vulcan reports that of the 100,000 occupational head injuries per year, 84% of those were not wearing adequate head protection. You can’t argue with the numbers, folks, a hard hat is essential for your crew. That’s why these Cowboy-Style Hard Hats are so ingenious – they give the workers a sense of style while on the job. They are shaped like stetsons and wear like iron.
Also, some of the manufacturers allow their cowboy-style hard hat line to be custom stamped on the front with an image of choice – like a compnay logo. This helps helmets to not disappear quite as rapidly, if you know what I mean.
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats are Comfortable
Across the board, no matter which manufacturer you choose to go with, the cowboy-style hard hats are comfortable to wear. They all sport a 4 or 6-point, adjustable suspension that cradles the wearer’s head. All have a replaceable terry cloth sweatband which helps to keep you dry.
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats Have Wide Brims
Compared to the traditional half-egg shaped hard hat, the cowboy-style hard hat has a wide, stetson like brim which offers the wearer additional rain and uv protection. Less sun in the eyes can mean less glare and potentially hazardous mistakes because of that glare.
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats are Made in the USA
With the exception of the Procureit Australia line, the other lines are made in the United States of America.
The Features of a Cowboy-Style Hard Hat
Cowboy-Style Hard Hat Construction
- Durable high-density, polyethelene plastic
- 4 or 6-point suspension systems
- chin straps – either come standard with some lines, like the Smith and Wesson West Hard Hats, or as an add-on accessory for the others.
- Adjustable to fit a wide-range of head sizes – from 6.5 to 8 for most models.
- Size – about 14 inches from side-tip to side-tip. 15 inces from front-tip to back-tip.
Suspension Systems Summary
Ratchet suspension- A type of suspension with a quick ratchet adjusting knob. This loosens or tightens the hard hat “on the go” with a simple turn of the knob. The pin lock suspension must be removed to be adjusted.
Four point suspension/six point suspension- This is the actual number of clips that mounts the cradle suspension to the shell of the hard hat.
(Vulcan) Squeeze-Lock Suspension has an ultra-soft, yet very strong and comfortable, six-point woven nylon crown strap system that acts as a shock absorber with six load-bearing points that spread impact over a larger area. Includes a smooth, non-irritating, no-hassle squeeze-lock sizing adjustment in 1/8″ increments.
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats Should NOT Be Used For…
Cowboy-Style Hard Hats should not be used for horse back riding. The wide-brim is the problem – if a rider takes a fall, their heads can be jolted to one side or the other and the result can be severe neck injuries.
American Allsafe CO.
purchased by Jackson Safety circa 2005
Jackson Safety, Inc
Klein Tools, Inc.
450 Bond St.
OccuNomix International, LLC
(“Vulcan” Hard Hat Line)
Procureit Australia Pty, LTD
ABN: 80 106 789 342
Smith and Wesson Western Hard Hats
A brand manufactured by Jackson Safety
About American Allsafe
AMERICAN ALLSAFE, a manufacturer and distributor of eye, face and head protection
Purchased by Jackson Safety circa 2005. No longer in production. See Jackson Safety post.
American Allsafe Cowboy-Style Hard Hat Line
There are few of these American Allsafe Cowboy-Style Hard Hats out there, but they are difficult to find. You may find a few listed on Amazon, Craigslist or even eBay. Here are some of the characteristics that I found off of an Amazon.com listing…
Product Description (from the manufacturer)
This unique hardhat features a distinctive lightweight design that’s more comfortable and better-looking than the ‘egghead’-shaped safety hats. The ratchet suspension adjusts from size 6-1/2 to 8. Can be used in place of the traditional safety hat as it meets OSHA requirements. Color: black.