Today's Tidbit... Player Safety Via Homemade Headgear
Earlier this year, I posted images of early shoulder pads, which initially were leather or cloth pads sewn atop their jerseys. Players also sewed pads on the elbows, sternums, and other locations. Among the images was a 1910 Minnesota high school team whose shoulder pads were homemade rather than manufactured by a sporting goods supplier.
Today, we look at a similar situation but focus on homemade headgear.
As seen in the c. 1905-1910 RPPC of a high school team below, the center, left halfback and left tackle wear homemade shoulder pads, while the rest of the team either goes without or wears their pads under their jerseys.
Similarly, the halfbacks and the center wear nose guards, which stay in place using a strap around the head and clenching a shelf on the backside of the nose guard between the teeth. The 1907 Spalding advertisement below shows a Morrill nose guard or mask and several headgear models.
The center and right guard wear commercially-produced headgear that appears to be the Spalding Model B or D or a comparable model, while the right end wears one similar to the Spalding Model M. The left guard's head harness may be commercially produced or devised by the local harness maker or cobbler.
Everyone else on the team wears homemade headgear. Several have head gear modeled after commercial models, like the right end, while others look like padded turbans.
All eleven players wore head protection, which is unusual since many players of the era wore nothing. So, it was good for them to protect their noggins, no matter how rudimentary the method was.
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