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Today's Tidbit... The Washington Huskies' Mid-1930s Helmet Logo
We've been on a helmet logo theme lately since ideas for logo-themed research keep surfacing. There are a few more in the pipeline, but today's focus is on the Washington Huskies and their being the second identified team to paint a logo on their helmets.
Earlier this week, we looked at the timing of logo adoption by Rose Bowl teams, and before that, we looked at logos appearing on the front and back of helmets rather than the sides. The latter article showed the first team known to paint a symbol on their football helmets was the University of Chicago in 1921 and 1922 when they painted a white wishbone C on the back of their helmets. The article also showed that teams carved letters in the winged pads on the front of their helmets by the mid-1930s. (Purdue did so in 1932.) Based on new research, Football Archaeology's crack investigators have found evidence that Washington painted a W on the back of their helmets from 1932 to 1935.
Jimmy Phelan was in his third year as head coach at Washington in 1932. He joined Washington after leading Purdue to the Big Ten title in 1929, but his 1930 and 1931 teams finished fifth in the Pacific Coast Conference. Those teams went logoless, but his 1932 teams appeared with the W logo, keeping them through 1935. (Click the images to enlarge)
Unfortunately, the logos go unmentioned in period newspapers, so it isn't easy to know why Washington made the addition or how anyone reacted to them. Interestingly, Phelan would have seen Chicago's Wishbone C helmets in 1922, his first year coaching Purdue, but they must not have made too much of an impression on him since he waited ten years to use one with his team.
Of course, we'll let you know if we locate other early logo teams or learn why Washington had logoed helmets for a four-year run.
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