In today’s safety-obsessed world, it seems like we might as well be wearing helmets while going about our daily lives. Well, it turns out someone thought of that already… over five decades ago. Introducing the Buco Helmet-Hat: designed specifically as an automobile safety accessory.
This wasn’t a crackpot product from a fly-by-night company, either. Joseph Buegeleisen Co. had produced “Buco” motorcycle jackets and other biker accessories since the 1930s, before focusing on exclusively on helmets starting in 1958.
The firm’s helmets were well-regarded at the time, developed with assistance from materials scientists at several Michigan universities. Buco decided to capitalize on the growing concern for automobile safety in the mid-1960s with the Helmet-Hat, noting that “72 percent of automobile injury accidents involve the head.”
Joseph Buegeleisen Co. gave it a good try — they produced Helmet-Hat styles for both men and women, and the company enlisted Indy 500 veteran Rodger Ward as a spokesman. But try as they may, Buco couldn’t quite make helmets a popular auto safety feature.
Helmet-Hats may have been quickly forgotten, but at least they left us with some good promotional material to enjoy.