Part of learning how to become an excellent or professional Welding Helmet saleman, is to learn the history, as well as learn how to review a product properly, and this knowledge forms the basis of my welding helmet reviews. As a salesman, I learnt very quickly it is important to know your subject matter when dealing with large or serious buyers. As such, history of the development of a product is very important, so this page is dedicated to the history of welding helmets.

Welding is a dangerous occupation, and more so in the early days of poor safety equipment. The sparks causing scars, the toxic fumes, not to mention the radiation, all caused many an injury. In the early days, welders used to use a combination of goggles and face masks, it seems that the welding helmet as a concept came in the 1930s when Industrial revolution came into full swing and as welders became more in demand.

First Introduction of Helmets

As far as my research can tell,  Welding helmets seem to have first been in use in the late 1930’s, a date that is often quoted is the year 1937 for a proper welding helmet, prior to that welders used a combination of face masks and goggles. In30’s were the mainstream industrialization years, so its no surprise that an industrious individual came up with the idea of a full head to chin protection.

These early helmets were crude, using a polarized lens, and we suspect that these did not filter out UV radiation as well, considering that the industry was ignorant about the effects of UV radiation on welders.

Introduction of the Auto Darkening Helmet

MannGlas welding helmet

It seems that Hornell, which was a Swedish manufacturing company came up with what is dubbed to be the FIRST auto Darkening Helmets, manufactured under the brand name Speedglas, which to date is still in production, however the company and all its assets were taken over by 3M, another well known welding helmets manufacturer, in 2004.

The advantages of such helmets was quickly obvious to the market, the speed of welding, as well as the increased safety offered by the LCD electric  shutters which were the main selling points off these helmets.



Image Credit: “MannGlas welding helmet 2views” by Glogger – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –