Taking Inventory: Helmet
Hatters gonna hat!
Helmets are the third of four parts of Minecraft’s suit of armour (be patient, chestplate fans, we’ll get there). They were added at the same time as the other armour parts – in February 2010 – though there had been non-functional armour models and textures in the game for about six months by that point.
Helmets come in five different types – leather, chainmail, iron, diamond, and gold (plus the turtle shell, of course), and their purpose is to protect the head from damage. They do a very good job of it, too – adding a different number of defence points depending on the material used to make them. Diamond helmets, the toughest of them all, will fill one and a half points of armour.
To make a helmet, you’ll need five of the relevant material. Put it in a crafting grid in an n-shape, and voila! You can also loot helmets occasionally from zombies, husks, strays and skeletons, buy them from villagers, or find them in loot chests.
Oh, and don’t forget that helmets can be enchanted. Fire protection, projectile protection, blast protection, and good’ ol regular protection, are all possible – along with the usual unbreaking, thorns and mending enchantments that all armour types can get. But there are two enchantments that can only appear on helmets – aqua affinity makes it easier to mine underwater, and respiration extends breathing time. Both are very handy if you’re planning an underwater sojourn.
In the real-world, helmets are important because heads are important. You can survive without a foot, or even a leg – but you can’t survive without a head (unless you're a Dullahan). That’s probably why they’ve been around longer than we’ve been recording history. But there have been a few key breakthroughs in helmet history that are pretty interesting.
The earliest is the Corinthian helmet, from the 8th century BC. They’re the ones you can see in the movie 300. They originated in ancient Greece, were made of bronze, and covered the entire head and neck – with slits allowing the wearer to see, breathe and speak. Variations stuck around for hundreds of years.
Then there was the Kettle Helm, which was invented in the 11th century but variations were worn all the way up until World War II. They’re basically a bowler hat made of metal – covering the top of the head with a wide brim, but not covering the face at all. They were popular because they offered protection while still giving the wearer a lot of freedom.
Since the invention of plastics in the middle of the 20th Century, helmets have become much more common outside of military use. Now we wear them all the time – for playing sports, for cycling, for skiing, and much more. Today, there’s even an inflatable helmet that bursts out of a neck collar like an airbag when a cyclist crashes.
We don't have those in Minecraft yet. Mostly because we’re still waiting for some smart villager to invent plastics. But hey, keep an eye on future patch notes. With some luck, we'll have them by the end of the century!