For the second year in a row, only one vintage head harness went to the auction block in Hunt Auctions' annual SuperBowl auction. The January 31st auction included a moleskin flattop with team scores and "06" written on one of the leather ear flaps; assumed to be a reference to 1906. A further indicator of the age of this example is the lack of a neck extension at the rear of the helmet.
February 2015
The Spalding Head Harness now being made are designed to protect those parts of the player's head most liable to be injured seriously. The rear extension coming down low enough to protect thoroughly the base of the brain and the front covering well the region adjacent to the temples. Prominent trainers connected with the large colleges give the Spalding head harness their unqualified approval, and players will quickly realize the manifold advantages of this additional protection. They conform in every particular to the Official Rules.
After the 1905 season, President Theodore Roosevelt met with leading universities about the meteoric rise in football fatalities and injuries. As a result, the American Intercollegiate Football Rules Committee adopted new rules for the 1906 season designed to reduce high impact collisions on the football field. Sporting goods manufacturers followed suit and increased the level of protection afforded by their head harnesses. Spalding, in their Official Foot Ball Guide for 1906 stated:
While there are exceptions (such as later entry level head harnesses), a general rule of thumb is that most head harnesses that lack the rear extension were manufactured before 1910. The auctioned example remains in EX condition, retaining its original chin strap and interior padding. The final auction price for the harness was $1,200.00.
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1905 Leather & Moleskin Flat Top
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AntiqueFootball Artifact of the Month
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