Our April 2018 Artifact of the Month is the first mass-produced football head harness, an A.G. Spalding No. 35 1st Generation 4-Strap Head Harness. Billed as the "lightest and most comfortable to wear of any head guard yet devised," the No. 35 was sold by A.G. Spalding between 1897 and 1903. Modeled after the patent awarded to Thomas Larwood in 1895, the No. 35 was designed to protect the entire head and ears while utilizing a lightweight, open design.
Between 1897 and 1903, A.G. Spalding subsidiary A.J. Reach & Co. sold a nearly identical 4-strap head harness that lacked the metal rivets present on the Spalding model. The Reach model was originally named the No. 35 as well, but was renamed the No. 1 prior to 1900. Our Artifact of the Month is one of the few surviving examples of this rare head harness. Despite moderate cracking and a detached forehead strap, the No. 35 remains in phenomenal condition for a 120-year old relic.
c. 1897 - 1903
A.G. Spalding No. 35
4-Strap Head Harness
Utilizing our extensive catalog collection we have built the following chart detailing the production timeline of A.G. Spalding & Bros. football helmets between 1893 and 1925.