Where Are Charles Owen Helmets Made?
Do you know where your Charles Owen helmet comes from? Its journey to your local tack store starts in Wrexham, Wales. Charles Owen was founded in 1911 and brings more than 100 years of experience to manufacturing the equestrian helmets we make today. It is a special part of the company’s heritage that the helmets are all made in the UK in our state of the art factory.
We produce approximately 180,000 helmets annually and each part of the production process is handled by specially-trained teams. Our helmets are made in small batches and are meticulously tracked throughout the production process.
All of Charles Owen’s stitching is done to fine tolerances; the maximum variance of the seams are within one 32nd of an inch! In addition to sewing the outer covering of the helmets, the harnesses are also sewn in-house, including the patented GRpx® harness that has five distinct layers that need to be stitched together.
Next, every Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) moulding is checked for weight to ensure it will offer maximum protection. The EPS layer of the helmet is critically important because of the role it plays in keeping the rider safe. EPS is comprised of microscopic, energy-absorbing beads that burst upon impact to absorb and dissipate the energy of that impact. This thick layer is unable to offer the same level of protection once the beads have burst.
The fibreglass shell of the helmet is created and trimmed with a diamond-tipped router. The fibreglass shell provides initial protection against a concentrated impact, such as being struck with a hoof or falling against the sharp edge of a jump. It’s able to spread the force of impact before it reaches the EPS layer beneath it. Each shell is pre-drilled to prepare it for attachment of the helmet’s harness.
Many models of Charles Owen helmets have a painted shell. Colours include black, brown, navy, pink, purple, and two heat reflective colours: silver and gold. The shells of jockey skulls have a special texture hand-applied during painting that can help them slide across the ground and reduce twisting of the brain in a fall.
Next, the harness is attached by rivets to the shell of the helmet. Glue is applied to the surface if the shell is to be covered with either microsuede, leather look or velvet. All of these outer coverings are specially designed to be weather-resistant and, most importantly, to slip across the ground during a fall to reduce impact. The cover is stitched through the outer shell to ensure it can never shrink and come away from the shell.
The EPS layer is sized according to the helmet size and the shell is covered with fabric. Each glue used in the helmet production process is colour coded depending on its strength so that the correct one is always used. This is why you will see colour, such as bright red, inside your helmet if you peel back the liner.
The final step of the process is cleaning and checking the helmet before it is passed through independent quality control. Skilled technicians handle this part of the production process to ensure that nothing is missed.
Charles Owen is proud that all of our helmets are meticulously hand-crafted with the highest quality materials and the latest safety innovations. We look forward to continuing to make a safer world, one helmet at a time!