Today's Tidbit... The Evolution of Shoulder Pads
A Tidbit from two months ago showed a motley collection of homemade shoulder pads sewn on the jerseys of a 1910 Minnesota high school team. Here’s the image of the Minnesota boys again.
When the Minnesota team’s picture was taken, Spalding and its competitors had a decade of experience selling leather shoulder pads through catalogs and stores, but the Minnesota boys likely lacked the money for the real thing, so they made do.
Today’s Tidbit concerns another RPPC (real photo postcard) that arrived in the mail over the weekend. It shows an unknown football player wearing a pair of Spalding’s Model D shoulder pads.
The Model D was an evolutionary step on the path to today’s shoulder pads. The close up image of the pads and a 1906 advertisement for the Model D show the pads were not sewn on the jersey exterior as was typical at the time. Instead, they are tied together, forming a ring around the neck, and are held in place by straps running under the arms. Since the Model D is not attached to the jersey and has straps under the arms, it provides a window into the direction shoulder pads would go in the future, despite being worn over the jersey rather than under it.
Amazingly, some Model D shoulder pads survive, as seen in the images below:
If you have thoughts or images related to the evolution of shoulder pads or other football equipment, feel free to comment below.
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