Helmet: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A woman wearing a cycling helmet

A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries, a variation of the hat. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from sword blows and arrows. In the 2000s, soldiers still wear helmets, now often made from Kevlar rather than metal, to protect the head from bullets and shell fragments.

In civilian life, helmets are used for recreational activities and sports (e.g., jockeys in horse racing, American football, ice hockey, cricket, and rock climbing); dangerous work activities (e.g., construction, mining, riot police); and transportation (e.g., Motorcycle helmets and bicycle helmets). Since the 1990s, most helmets are made from resin or plastic, which may be reinforced with fibers such as aramids.


Military origins

A "Brodie helmet" used by British Commonwealth officers in both World Wars and US forces in predominantely the First.

Helmets were among the newest forms of combat protection, and are known to have been worn by Romans, throughout the Middle Ages, and up to the end of the 1600s by many combatants. At that time, they were purely military equipment, protecting the head from cutting blows with swords, flying arrows, and low-velocity musketry. Some helmets, in order to protect the neck as well, have a sort of extension made of leather strips called pteruges, particularly common in the Middle East.

They were initially constructed from leather, and then bronze and iron during the Bronze and Iron Ages, but soon came to be made entirely from forged steel in many societies after about 950A.D. Military use of helmets declined after 1670, and rifled firearms ended their use by foot soldiers after 1700. By the 18th century, cavalry units often wore steel body cuirasses, and frequently metal skull protectors under their hats, called "secrets".

The Napoleonic era saw ornate cavalry helmets reintroduced for cuirassiers and dragoons in some armies; they continued to be used by French forces during World War I as late as 1915, when they were replaced by the new French Adrian helmet. It was soon followed by the adoption of similar steel helmets by the other warring nations.

The Prussian spiked helmet, or Pickelhaube, offered almost no protection from the increased use of heavy artillery during World War I, and in 1916 was replaced by the German steel helmet, or Stahlhelm, and afterwards it was worn merely for tradition.World War I and its increased use of heavy artillery had renewed the need for steel helmets, which were quickly introduced by all the combatant nations for their foot soldiers. In the 20th century, such helmets offered protection for the head from shrapnel and spent, or glancing, bullets.

Today's militaries often use high-quality helmets made of ballistic materials such as Kevlar, which have excellent bullet and fragmentation stopping power. Some helmets also have good non-ballistic protective qualities, to protect the wearer from non-ballistic injuries, such as concussive shock waves from explosions, motor vehicle accidents, or falls. Military helmets can be worn with radio earmuffs, and other equipment such as night vision goggles, can be added. Military helmets are often worn with a removable cotton-polyester helmet cover, which allows the user to change the pattern of the camouflage (e.g., from dark green forest camouflage to tan-coloured desert camouflage).


A protective helmet worn during rock climbing

Despite various designs and requirements, all helmets attempt to protect the user's head through a mechanical energy-absorption process. Therefore, their structure and protective capacity are altered in high-energy impacts. Beside their energy-absorption capability, their volume and weight are also important issues, since higher volume and weight increase the injury risk for the user's head and neck. Anatomical helmets adapted to the inner head structure were invented by neurosurgeons at the end of the 20th century.

Helmets used for different purposes have different designs. For example, a bicycle helmet would chiefly need to protect against blunt impact forces from the wearer's head striking the road or a car hood. A helmet designed for rock climbing, however, would need to protect against objects (e.g. small rocks and climbing equipment) such as an ice axe falling from above. Practical concerns also dictate helmet design: a bicycling helmet would preferably be aerodynamic in shape and probably well ventilated, while a rock climbing helmet would be lightweight and with a minimum of bulk so that it would not interfere with climbing.

Some helmets have other protective elements attached to them, such as a face visors or goggles or a face cage, and ear plugs and other forms of protective headgear, and a communications system. American football, hockey, and lacrosse helmets usually have an integrated face protector (face cage) made from metal.

  • Baseball batting helmets have an expanded protection over the ear, which protects the jaw from injury.
  • Motorcycle helmets often have flip-down face screens for rain and wind protection, and they may also have projecting visors to protect the eyes from glare.
  • Hard hats for construction workers are worn mainly to protect the wearer from falling objects such as tools.
  • Helmets for riot police often have flip-down clear visors and thick padding to protect the back of the neck.
  • Modern firefighter's helmets protect the face and back of the head against impact, fires and electricity, and they can include masks, communication systems, and other accessories.
  • Welding helmets protect the eyes and face and neck from flash burn, ultraviolet light, sparks and heat. They have a small window, called a lens shade, through which the welder looks at the weld; for arc welding this window must be much darker than in blowtorch goggles and sunglasses.

In rare cases, people with some medical conditions must wear a helmet to protect the brain, due to a gap in the braincase, e.g. because of cleidocranial dysostosis or in separated craniopagus twins.


Types of synthetic fiber used to make some helmets:

In former times availability and usefulness of helmets was limited by lack of suitable materials to make them of, except metal (which is heavy), and lack of any strong transparent material to make visors out of.

In Greece in ancient times helmets were sometimes strengthened by covering the surface with boars' tusks (= their canine teeth) laid flat.

In Britain in the 18th and 19th century gamekeepers, for head protection in fights against poachers, sometimes wore helmets (perhaps more describable as thick bump caps) made of straw bound together with cut bramble.[1]

Types of helmet


See Combat helmet for a list of helmets worn in (ancient and modern) battle combat

Motorcycle and Bicycle helmets

A motocross helmet showing the elongated sun visor and chin bar

Sporting activities

Cricket batsmen wearing helmets.

Helmets for work

Protective and emergency services

Other helmets



As the coat of arms was originally designed to distinguish combatants on the battlefield or in a tournament, even while covered in armour, it is not surprising that heraldic elements were often also used for the decoration of knightly helmets, while it was also possible to use different elements than on the shield, but equally standardized.

Furthermore, it became common to use a helmet (and/or some other headgear, e.g. a crown or coronet) as part of the coat of arms, above the shield, a practice maintained long after its use in reality was ended by military technology and the demise of jousting. In some systems, the rank of the bearer was reflected in the model of the emblematic helmet, e.g. the metal and the number of bars in the visor, as in France. Either way, the rank can be reflected by a coronet or wreath placed on the helmet (often instead of directly above the shield).

The heraldic convention in the United Kingdom is as follows:

  • Sovereign: a barred helm of gold, placed affronté
  • Peers generally: barred helms of silver decorated with gold, placed sideways and showing five bars
  • Baronet's or Knight's helmet:
  • Esquire's and Gentleman's helmet: closed helm or visored helm with visor down, Steel, placed sideways

See also


  1. ^ The Long Affray, by Harry Hopkins, publ. 1985 Secker & Warburg, London, ISBN 0-436-20102-X
  2. ^ http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=0-wuAAAAEBAJ&dq=4317239

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HELMET (from an obsolete diminutive of O. Fr. helme, mod. heaume; the English word is "helm," as in O. Eng., Dutch and Ger.; all are from the Teutonic base hal-, pre-Teut. kal-, to cover; cf. Lat. celare, to hide, Eng. "hell," &c.), a defensive covering for the head. The present article deals with the helmet during the middle ages down to the close of the period when body armour was worn. For the helmet worn by the Greeks and Romans see Arms And Armour.

The head-dress of the warriors of the dark ages and of the earlier feudal period was far from being the elaborate helmet which is associated in the imagination with the knight in armour and the tourney. It was a mere casque, a cap with or without additional safeguards for the ears, the nape of the neck and the nose (fig. I). By those warriors who possessed the means to equip themselves fully, the casque was worn over a hood of mail, as shown in fig. 2. In manuscripts, &c., armoured men are sometimes portrayed fighting in their hoods, without casques, basinets or other form of helmet. The casque was, of course, normally of plate, but in some instances it was a strong leather cap covered with mail or imbricated plates. The most advanced form of this early helmet is the conical steel or iron cap with nasal (fig. 2), worn in conjunction with the hood of mail. This is the typical helmet of the 11th-century warrior, and is made familiar by the Bayeux Tapestry. From this point however (c. 1 too) the evolution of war head-gear follows two different paths for many years. On the one hand the simple casque easily transformed itself into the basinet, originally a pointed iron skull-cap without nasal, ear-guards, &c. On the other hand the knight in armour, especially after the fashion of the tournament set in, found the mere cap with nasal insufficient, and the heaume (or "helmet") gradually came into vogue. This was in principle a large heavy iron pot covering the head and neck. Often a light basinet was worn underneath it - or rather the knight usually wore his basinet and only put the heaume on over it at the last moment before engaging. The earlier (12th century) war heaumes are intended to be worn with the mail hood and have nasals (fig. 3). Towards the end of the 13th century, however, the basinet grew in size and strength, just as the casque had grown, and began to challenge comparison with the heavy and clumsy heaume. Thereupon the heaume became, by degrees, the special head-dress of the tournament, and grew heavier, larger and more elaborate, while the basinet, reinforced with FIG. 4. - Heaume, 15th century. FIG. 5. - Heaume, 15th century.

camail and vizor, was worn in battle. Types of the later, purely tilting, heaume are shown in figs. 4 and 5.

The basinet, then, is the battle head-dress of nobles, knights and sergeants in the 14th century. Its development from the loth-century cap to the towering helmet of 1350, with its long snouted vizor and ample drooping "camail," is shown in fig. 6, a, b, c and d, the two latter showing the same helmet with vizor down and up. But the tendency set in during the earlier years of the 15th century to make all parts of the armour thicker. Chain "mail" gradually gave way to plate on the body and the limbs, remaining only in those parts, such as neck and elbows, where flexibility was essential, and even there it was in the end replaced by jointed steel bands or small plates. The final step was the discarding of the "camail" and the introduction of the FIG. 6. - Basinets.

"armet." The latter will be described later. Soon after the beginning of the 15th century the high-crowned basinet gave place to the salade or sallet, a helmet with a low rounded crown and a long brim or neck-guard at the back. This was the typical headpiece of the last half of the Hundred Years' War as the vizored basinet had been of the first. Like the basinet it was worn in a simple form by archers and pikemen and in a more elaborate form by the knights and men-at arms. The larger and heavier salades were also often used instead of the heaume in tournaments. Here again, however, there is a great difference between those worn by light armed men, foot-soldiers and archers and those of the heavy cavalry. The former, while possessing as a rule the bowl shape and the lip or brim of the type, and always destitute of the conical point which is the distinguishing mark of the basinet, are cut away in front of the face (fig. 7 a). In some cases this was remedied in part by the addition of a small pivoted vizor, which, however, could not protect the throat. In the larger salades of the heavy cavalry the wide brim served to protect the whole head, a slit being made in that part of the brim which came in front of the eyes (in some examples the whole of the front part of the brim was made movable). But the chin and neck, directly opposed to the enemy's blows, were scarcely protected at all, and with these helmets a large volant-piece or beaver (mentonniere) - usually a continuation of the body armour up to the chin or even beyond - was worn for this purpose, as shown in fig. 7 b. This arrangement combined, in a rough way, the advantages of freedom of movement for the head with adequate protection for the neck and lower part of the face. The armet, which came into use about 1475-1500 and completely superseded the salade, realized these requirements far better, and later at the zenith of the armourer's art (about 1520) and throughout the period of the decline of armour it remained the standard pattern of helmet, whether for war or for tournament. It figures indeed in nearly all portraits of kings, nobles and FIG. i. - Casque with Neck-guard.

FIG. 2. - Casque with Nasal and Mail Hood.

FIG. 3. - Heaume, early 13th century.

FIG. 7. - Salades or Sallets.

soldiers up to the time of Frederick the Great, either with the suit of armour or half-armour worn by the subject of the portrait or in allegorical trophies, &c. The armet was a fairly closefitting rounded shell of iron or steel, with a movable vizor in front and complete plating over chin, ears and neck, the latter replacing the mentonniere or beaver. The armet was connected to the rest of the suit by the gorget, which was usually of thin laminated steel plates. With a good armet and gorget there was no weak point for the enemy's sword to attack, a roped lower edge of the armet generally fitting into a sort of flange round the top of the gorget. Thus, and in other and slightly different ways, was solved the problem which in the early days of plate armour had been attempted by the clumsy heaume and the flexible, if tough, camail of the vizored basinet, and still more clumsily in the succeeding period by the salade and its grotesque mentonniere. As far as existing examples show, the wide-brimmed salade itself first gave way to the more rounded armet, the mentonniere being carried up to the level of the eyes. Then the use (growing throughout the 15th century) of laminated armour for the joints of the harness probably suggested the gorget, and once this was applied to the lower edge of the armet by a satisfactory joint, it was an easy step to the elaborate pivoted vizor which completed the new head-dress. Types of armets are shown in fig. 8.

The burgonet, often confused with the armet, is the typical helmet of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In its simple form it was worn by the foot and light cavalry - though the latter must not be held to include the pistol-armed chevaux-legers of the wars of religion, these being clad in half-armour and FIG. 9. - Burgonets.

vizored burgonet - and consisted of a (generally rounded) cap with a projecting brim shielding the eyes, a neck-guard and earpieces. It had almost invariably a crest or comb, as shown in the illustrations (fig. 9). Other forms of infantry head-gear much in vogue during the 16th century are shown in figs. Io and 11, which represent the morion and cabasset respectively. Both these were lighter and smaller than the burgonet; indeed much of their popularity was due to the ease with which they were worn or put on and off, for in the matter of protection they could not compare with the burgonet, which in one form or another was used by cavalry (and often by pikemen) up to the final disappearance of armour from the field of battle about 1670. Fig. 9 b gives the general outline of richly decorated 16th-century Italian burgonet which is preserved in Vienna. The archetype of the burgonet is perhaps the casque worn by the Swiss infantry (fig. 9 a) at the epoch of Marignan (1515). This was probably copied by them from their former Burgundian antagonists, whose connexion with this helmet is sufficiently indicated by its name. The lower part of the more elaborate burgonets worn by nobles and cavalrymen is often formed into a complete covering for the ears, cheek and chin, and connected closely with the gorget. They therefore resemble the armets and have often been confused with them, but the distinguishing feature of the burgonet is invariably the front peak. Various forms of vizor were fitted to such helmets; these as a rule were either fixed bars (fig. 9 c) or mere upward continuations of the chin piece. Often a nasal was the only face protection (fig. 9 d, a Hungarian type). The latest form of the burgonet used in FIG. II. - Cabasset. active service is the familiar Cromwellian cavalry helmet with its straight brim, from which depends the slight vizor of three bars or stout wires joined together at the bottom.

The above are of course only the main types. Some writers class all remaining examples either as casques or as "war-hats," the latter term conveniently covering all those helmets which resemble in any way the head-gear of civil life. For illustrations of many curiosities of this sort, including the famous iron hat of King Charles I. of England, and also for examples of Russian, Mongolian, Indian and Chinese helmets, the reader is referred to pp. 262-269 and 285-286 of Demmin's Arms and Armour (English edition 1894). The helmets in brass, steel or cloth, worn by troops since the general introduction of uniforms and the disuse of armour, depend for their shape and material solely on considerations of comfort and good appearance. From time to time, however, the readoption of serviceable helmets is advocated by cavalrymen, and there is much to be said in favour of this. The burgonet, which was the final type of war helmet evolved by the old armourers, would certainly appear to be by far the best head-gear to adopt should these views prevail, and indeed it is still worn, in a modified yet perfectly recognizable form, by the German and other cuirassiers.

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

(Heb. kob'a), a cap for the defence of the head (1Sam 17:5, 38). In the New Testament the Greek equivalent is used (Eph 6:17; 1Thess 5:8). (See ARMS.)

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

what mentions this? (please help by turning references to this page into wiki links)

This article needs to be merged with HELMET (Jewish Encyclopedia).

Simple English

A helmet is a hard or cushioned hat which is worn to protect a person's head. There are many different types of helmets. Some helmets are made from metal. Other helmets are made from plastic. Helmets often have fabric cushions inside and fabric straps to hold the helmet on a person's head.

Types of helmets

Soldiers wear steel helmets to protect their heads from explosions and bullets. Construction workers wear plastic helmets to protect their heads from falling objects. Welders wear special helmets with a lens that lets less light through. This protects their eyes from the bright light of welding. Bicycle riders wear plastic and foam helmets to protect their heads in case they have an accident. Motorcycle riders wear helmets to protect their heads in case they have an accident. People who ride horses often wear helmets, to protect them if they fall off the horse. People who rock climb wear helmets in case they fall. Cavers wear helmets to protect their heads from bumping into rocks in a cave.


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