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Research is Fun: Hard Hats

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

By Linda Wilson

June 2020: Research is important not only for nonfiction, but for fiction, too. The basic elements even in fantasy and science fiction books need to be accurate; such as in the classic book, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.

You don’t believe me? This book is way too imaginative and couldn’t be real (though we wish we lived in the world L’Engle created—who wouldn’t want to be transported through the universe by tesseract?)

Ha, I say! That’s elementary, Sherlock! By “basic elements,” I mean that the author creates her works from what she knows, researches much, and imagines the rest! Madeleine L’Engle fashioned her characters, the Murrys, from her own family. A book on Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity inspired her to write her Time Quintet series of books.

See if you can determine the basis for the fiction books you read. Even read about the authors and how they created their works. You will be amazed to find how grounded in reality even the most fantastic stories are!

This brings me to the topic of hard hats. A far reach, you say? Not really. For you would be amazed at how much research went into the making of Secret in the Stars. I chose to tell you about hard hats today because while writing the book, I didn’t dream I would need to research the color of the hard hats! I’m glad I did because different color hard hats mean different things in the world of construction and industry.

Now, nobody wants to get hit in the head by a wooden beam. So, in the early days of the shipbuilding industry, workers made hats out of pitch (tar), dried the head covering in the sun, and wore their concoction as protection against falling objects. Steel helmets worn by soldiers in World War I gave one industrious man, E.W. Bullard, the idea to create protective head coverings, and the hard hat was born.

Look through your book, Secret in the Stars, and find what color hard hat the workers wore. Here is a chart to help you:

Take the Guessing out of Hard Hats

White Worksite managers, foremen, engineers, and supervisors

Yellow General laborers and earth-moving operators

Blue Carpenters and other technical operators, including electricians

Green Safety inspectors and new workers on a site

Orange Lifting operators so the crane operator can pick them out from other workers

Red Fire marshals, and usually have an identifying sticker on them

Brown Welders and other workers who work with high heat

Grey For site visitors to separate them from workers

Today, the different color hard hats are worn for safety and to identify a person and his or her responsibility on a job site. Have you found what color the workers wore? Hint, hint. The workers arrived in trucks ready to demolish the inn. Now that you know all about the colors of hard hats, you will know the responsibility of workers you see at various work sites you encounter. And you now know the importance of the research I did to place the correct color of hard hat on the workers in my story.

Twitter: @LinWilsonauthor

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