Discover more from Football Archaeology
Today's Tidbit... Accessorizing in 1940
While the average fan cared little about the Accessories page of the 1940 GoldSmith catalog, equipment managers knew otherwise, so let's review the featured items.
Colorite paint and brushes. It was not wise to paint helmets with products obtained at the local hardware store, and those in the know also used GoldSmith paint thinner. The paint thing makes sense, the thinner less so, but thinner is not in my vocabulary, so what do I know?
Nose Guards. On offer was the old school No. 6, which had seen little change since the 1890s. The 4NG is an example of old-school protective equipment fit for Mardi Gras, and led people to call such gear, face masks. Early "birdcage" face masks were also available to protect the nose and eyes.
Helmet Ventilating Forms. Some folks called them drying racks, which plastic helmets did not need, but were a big deal in the leather helmet days. Nothing worse than laying your waterlogged leather helmet on a shelf and finding it misshapen before the next practice.
Chin Straps. The 1940 catalog offered replacement chin straps. I've never figured out why they called them chin straps rather than jaw straps since they never touched the chin. Riddell's plastic helmet of 1940 was the first popular helmet with a true chin strap. It is also why the American M1 helmet of WWII had them, unlike the soup bowl Brodie helmet of WWI.
Timers and Watches. The top two timers wound down from a twelve, fifteen, or another minute mark set by the timekeeper, while the third model appears to be a standard watch. Big stadiums had scoreboard clocks by 1940, but the small college and high school mass market did not, so these timepieces were in demand.
Cut-Out Letters. An image at the top of the page entices schools to customize their helmets by cutting letters out of the padded wing on the helmet's forehead. Those had been around since the early 1930s and were among the first logos on helmets.
Of course, sporting goods manufacturers have Accessories pages today, but their online catalogs cannot approach the coolness of those arriving in the mailbox before WWII.
Subscribe for free and never miss a story. If you are a regular reader, consider becoming a paying subscriber to support my work.