Buffalo Inventor: John Leopold Brodie “the War Hero”

The inventor of the “World’s Most Famous Hat”, John Leopold Brodie, resided on West Ferry Street in Buffalo, New York in the early 20th century.  Brodie moved to his wife’s, Eleanora Thompson’s, hometown, Buffalo New York to raise a family. Here is where he further developed his invention.

Brodie created the most effective and valuable armored helmet for World War I. It was nicknamed “Brodie’s Tin Hat.” He received US Patent number: 1251959, Issued Jan 1, 1918 (PDF)

In the beginning years of the war, soldiers of most nations wore caps made of cloth or leather which provided basically no protection from modern weapons of the time.

After seeing the statistics that about 75 percent of soldiers suffered from head wounds, Brodie decided to design a more efficient and effective helmet. The patent for the Brodie Helmet was filed in 1915. The Helmet was designed to be much lighter and virtually bulletproof. Inside the helmet was a cushioning cage which provided resistance to the shock.

“The Tin Hat” was first used by the British Empire and later the United States once they entered the war forces. Brodie’s invention was chosen out of over 40 different hats that were offered to British military forces.

Confident that his invention was the finest, Brodie placed the helmet on his head and allowed it to be struck with a heavy steel bar. Brodie was even willing to wear the hat while government examiners fired a 45 caliber revolver at it. After being proved to be the strongest helmet, it was used the first year of World War I was it save many British and American soldiers lives.

The inventor was one most distinguished and wealthy citizens in all of Buffalo in his time. Buffalonian, John Leopold Brodie’s saved countless lives with his invention the Brodie helmet and is still thanked for his war contributions to this day.