The story of Helly Hansen started in 1877. After many years at sea, Norwegian captain Helly Juell Hansen and his wife Maren Margarethe began producing oilskin jackets, trousers, sou'westers and tarpaulins, made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil.They certainly struck a nerve in the market, because over the first five years they sold approximately 10,000 pieces. In 1878 the company won a diploma for excellence at the Paris Expo, and began exporting its products.
In the 20th century, Helly Hansen made several breakthroughs in product development to complete the layering principle today known as the 3-Layer System™. In 1949 the Helox, a thin sheet of translucent PVC plastic sewn into waterproof coats, took over for the oil based outerwear and became the must-have protection for outdoor use. With a production of 30,000 coats each month the success was almost immediate.