1948—Hard Shell Helmets
Following the war, the government approached the company to determine the feasibility of using this same textile composite to manufacture helmets for the pilots of the new jet fighters being introduced throughout the military. In response, General Textile Mills produced its first hard shell helmet using its textile composite technology in 1948. The helmet, known as the H-1, was made for the U.S. Navy and the P-1 soon followed for the U.S. Air Force. Eventually this same technology was incorporated into helicopter pilot helmets for both military and commercial applications, as well as ground and tank crew ballistic helmets.
To reflect the new focus of its business, in 1958 General Textile Mills shortened its name to Gentex and began diversifying its business into a number of protective products and technologies.