Swimming cap in mint green decorated with four leaf clovers. A decorative waterproof hat worn while swimming to protect the hair. Originally hair nets would have been used until the invention of rubber in the 1880’s. Early designs would have had a strap underneath the chin to secure the cap to the head. In 1920 it was found that a latex design fitted closer to the head so the straps were no longer needed.

Aqua Musicals in the 1940’s with synchronized swimming routines made the swimming cap a must have swimming fashion accessory. With swimming becoming more popular in the 1950’s swimming caps became more colourful and decorative to cover the more elaborate hairstyles of the time.

Latex or silicon swimming caps are still regularly worn today for leisure and professional sports. Olympic swimmers wear caps to keep hair out of their face as well as to aid them to swim faster. Other benefits from wearing caps are to protect the hair from chlorine, make the person more visible to other swimmers, help googles and ear plugs to stay in place.







More information:

Date 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
Material(s) Rubber
Item number MBPO222

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Can you remember seeing ladies wearing swimming caps like the one pictured?
  • Did you ever wear a swimming cap?
  • Do you like to swim? Is this in the sea, lake or pool?

User Stories

We were lucky enough to have a swimming pool at our secondary school. All the girls had to wear a swimming cap. Such a struggle trying to get your hair up into the cap & then having to remove it again after the lesson! – Helen

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