Sunday, May 30, 2010
Hard Boiled Hats
A fun fact: Author Franz Kafka might have been the first to develop the first civilian hard hat when he was employed at the Worker's Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1912.
However in the United States, the E.D. Bullard Company was a mining equipment firm in California, selling protective hats first made of leather. His son, E.W. Bullard, arrived home from World War I with a steel helmet providing the idea for a "Hard-Boiled Hat", made of steamed canvas, glue and black paint.
These hats weren't used in the beginning of the building of the dam, but once discovered became imperative (though not required) at the Hoover Dam work site. However with rocks capable of falling hundreds of feet onto a man's head, yes, the hard hat was coveted by anyone wishing to avoid such tragedy.
Technology is like the first hard hats these men wore. It provides a kind of protection nobody expected even just a few years ago. Protection? What, seeing that one's sheer identity can be robbed as a result of logging on to a computer?
Yet if we look at it more closely, moving towards its evolved state we find that as we connect, in any given virtual social network, it seems such thing as theives and weirdos do get filtered out. Of course they can try to sneak in, much as the thieves sneaking around the dam job site would steal whatever the men might carelessly leave about, namely their money from slim paychecks. Yet to rob from a working man is not only a poor route to go, it will always have zero virtue in the eyes of the successful thieves, that can steal from the rich to give to the poor.
Thus maybe what we get ourselves into helps us in our creating a way out. And it's this act of creation that is the thrill, the real high-lying outcome of it all.
What the hard hats did for these workers in those days, in terms of protection, was a necessity.
And what technology does now (for those willing to express themselves through it) is protect the developing creativity, shared one to another. Yes, technology might be considered a necessity as well then.
For art is expression that inspires us to wonder. And not only is it safe to wonder, one might say it is a necessity.