History of the Balaclava Helmet

miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2012

As those of you in the northern hemisphere begin to think about the transition in to autumn and then winter, this might be an opportune time to plan seasonal changes into your dolls house setting.

The balaclava helmet, sometimes referred to simply as a balaclava, gained its name from Balaklava, a town on the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. During the Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) British troops were supplied with knitted balaclavas to protect their heads from the bitter cold. The term Balaclava helmet however is thought to have come into use in 1881, some 25 years after the conflict that gave it its name. When associated with the modern day American military they are often referred to as helmet liners.

Traditionally, balaclavas were knitted in wool, latter-day examples can be found in acrylic or other synthetic materials such as polar fleece, a polythene derivative. One benefit of the balaclava is that the neck part can be rolled upwards to the forehead creating a cap if required. Sadly the obscuring properties of the balaclava has also led to it being the first choice head gear of criminals, terrorists and wrongdoers alike. However it would be unfair to caste the balaclava as solely a villain, fire retardant versions are worn by racing drivers and firemen under their helmets as protection.

So, as the colder weather draws closer this might be the right time for you to knit a balaclava for your miniature people.