Bollards: A Brief History

The short vertical posts known as bollards enjoy an interesting history in addition to a variety of practical applications. Take a moment to learn a little about how bollards came into existence before deciding which type suits your commercial, industrial, or residential project best.

Origin Of A Word

The word ‘bollard’ can be traced back centuries. If you break the word up into “bole” and “ard,” the former is an old Norse word from the 14th century meaning “tree trunk.” The latter is associated with the word “hard.” In 1844, the word bollard was used as a mooring post-term for people to tie up their boats and ships. As of 1948, the term refers to traffic control products.

Nautical Beginnings

Bollards as mooring posts started with the use of old cannons. These cannons were placed on quaysides during the 17th and 18th centuries to help ships coming into harbor dock safely. Cannons were buried “muzzle first” at about two-thirds of their length with the rest sticking out for rope use. Bollard manufacturing started in the 19th century, with many products at the time retaining the cannon shape. Mooring bollards often featured wider tops to prevent issues with dockline shifts.

From Ships To Vehicles

The 18th century saw bollards used for traffic control purposes. Wooden posts were placed throughout the towns and villages in England, such as those at Waltham Cross at Hertfordshire, to protect pedestrians and make traffic navigation easier. As traffic patterns evolved and towns turned into cities, people began using bollards more frequently and for things such as sectioning off vehicle-free areas.

Today’s Bollards

Bollard innovations continued through the 19th and 20th centuries, such as illuminated bollards used in Ireland the United Kingdom in the 1930s and 1940s. Originally used for traffic purposes, illuminated bollards have also substituted for street lights and signs.

The evolution of bollards has also seen removable, flexible, retractable, and permanent options, such as those designed to withstand vehicular impacts or make it obvious that a section of a park or service area is off-limits. These practical devices also serve decorative purposes and there have been innumerable artistic renderings around the world.

Bollards are used everywhere, from city streets to restaurant and retail parking lots to sports stadiums, warehouses, and medical complexes among others. What do you use bollards for?

Find the perfect bollards for your needs at 1800Bollards today.

Published: 30 November, 2018