Pith Helmet - Modern Survivals - Modern Commercial Models of Pith Helmet

Modern Commercial Models of Pith Helmet

The pith helmet has had a limited comeback in recent years, with their now novel appearance and genuine functionalility making the headdress increasingly popular for gardening, hiking, safari and other outdoor activities. Today's helmets are generally available in four basic types (see below). These have changed little since the early 1900`s, except that for easier adjustment the inner headband utilises velcro instead of the earlier brass pins.

(i) French pith helmet. This is the most functional of the helmets, with its wide brim providing more sun protection than the more narrow-brimmed variations. This helmet is mostly made in Vietnam, where the design was inherited from French colonial patterns. Like other civilian pith helmets it can be soaked in water to keep the wearer's head cool in hot weather. Another feature in common with other patterns is the adjustable chinstrap at the front of the helmet.

(ii) Indian pith helmet. The Indian model is almost exactly the same as the French one, but with a slightly narrower brim and a squarer dome. It shares with other helmets the ventilation "button" atop the dome.

(iii) African pith helmet,or safari helmet, is a variation mainly used in savanna or jungle regions of Africa. It is generally a khaki-grey colour, with the same dimensions and shape as the Indian helmet described above.

(iv) Wolseley pith helmet. This variation of the helmet was named after (but not designed by) Sir Garnet Wolseley and widely used by the British Army and Colonial civil service from 1900. It differs from other pith helmets in having a more sloping brim with an apex at the front and back. The dome is also taller and more conical than the other more rounded variations. It is the helmet often portrayed as being worn by stereotypical "Gentleman Explorers".

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