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Bollards: A Brief History

The versatility of bollards is no secret, as these products apply to a wide variety of settings and scenarios including bike lane, parking lot, and stadium complex protection to name a few. And while bollard applications are increasingly well-known, the history of these incredible products isn’t. Take a moment to learn about bollards’ fascinating origins before considering which type benefits your project the most. 

Related Words

The term bollard is believed to come from the word bole, which means “tree trunk” in botany. The Dutch word bolder and the Norman-French name boulard may also be related. Bollard first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1844 and refers to the products’ original use in maritime settings. 

Ship Dock Assistance

The original bollards were quite eco-friendly. Old cannons were reused as bollards to help docking ships. Each post was buried with its muzzle in the ground so the breach, or cannon rear end, could provide something for ship ropes to cling to. This “lassoing”-type action streamlined the docking process for safer practices, and old cannons continued their work as docking bollards until the 19th century. Bollards manufactured in the cannon style became common and some are still seen on European docks today. 

18th Century Traffic Management

Metal cannons weren’t the only bollard material in the 18th century. Wooden posts were used to help guide traffic, such as the famous two-oak posts at Waltham Cross, the former village in Hertfordshire, England. Amsterdam in the Netherlands also used wooden posts to regulate traffic; however, they were eventually replaced with elevated sidewalks that protected pedestrians from traffic. Once drivers started trading horse-drawn carriages for vehicles, wooden bollards were no longer the best option for managing traffic. Steel bollards became commonplace in European cities since the metal could withstand the impact without as much damage. 

The Evolution Continued

By the 20th century, bollard applications became more widespread. Manufacturers created the products out of different materials, such as heavy-duty cement bollards surrounding parking lots or flexible bollards on bike trails. Bollards started appearing in and around warehouses to protect employees and inventory from dangerous forklifts, and in hospital complexes where traffic should be extra slow. Illuminated bollards light up college campuses while permanent bollards placed around bank teller windows keep employees and ATM
machines safe. These are just some of the ways bollards benefit society. Find the perfect bollards for your needs today at 1800Bollards, your premier online bollard wholesaler.

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