Exploring J Bank’s 178-Year History

ww1 vest


Above: J Banks’ team member, Phil, trying on the WW1 protective vest

In an extraordinary display of history and craftsmanship, we were visited by a relic from the annals of warfare: a World War I-era protective vest, manufactured by J Banks over 100 years ago.

The documents say it is made with “government-recognised, non-magnetic steel,” and “proved by official tests to be impenetrable to shrapnel bullets travelling at 1200 ft. velocity per second.” This was a poignant reflection of the grim choice’s families were forced to confront – weighing the cost of protection against the stark limitations of their means. The vest’s small size serves as a heart breaking reminder of the soldiers’ youth. Though it claimed to be “foldable to fit into a kit bag or pocket,” our team marvelled at its weight.

The Willenhall History and Heritage Society is committed to preserving the memory of the past, and have given the artefact to the Staffordshire Regiment Museum , where it can be viewed by the public. This is another product that underscores J Banks’ expansive history, and legacy of innovation and quality, which continues still.