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'04-'05 University of Texas Cabinet Card
Our January 2017 Artifact of the Month is a circa 1904-1905 cabinet card featuring three University of Texas football players that was sold on EBay on January 22nd for $500.76.
For AntiqueFootball, the photo is a valuable time capsule, as it captures two very early football helmets from an unknown manufacturer. The 8-spoke head harness on the left, and the molded crown head harness on the right, both feature 3-leaf clover pattern holes in each ear flap. This design does not appear in any of our football catalog databases. If you have any information that would help identify the manufacturer, please let us know.
Rare Helmet Images - Unknown Manufacturer
The University of Texas at Austin was founded in 1883, and first fielded a football team in 1893. In 1895, Texas joined the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which included Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, and Clemson. The program enjoyed early success, posting a record of 56-13-3 over its first 10 seasons.
The 1904 Longhorn football team, which was coached by Princeton alum Ralph Hutchinson, posted a final record of 6-2, outscoring their opponents 219-88. The season was marred, however, by a 68-0 loss to Amos Alonzo Stagg's Maroons from the University of Chicago. After studying the 1904 Texas football team photo it appears that the three players in the EBay photo were members of the 1904 University of Texas varsity football team. The identities of the two outside players is unknown, but based on his height, the central figure is likely George Cyrus Kindley.
University of Texas Football Research
The seller described the 5"x7" image as an 1890-1910 University of Texas photo after acquiring it in a lot with other Texas materials, including schedules, and yearbooks.
A quick analysis of the equipment worn by the players in the photo suggests it was taken between 1903 and 1905. The player on the left is wearing a three hole Morrill Nose Mask, which was sold between 1892 and 1900. In 1901, the Morrill mask was modified to a 10-hole configuration. The player on the right is wearing this later variation.
In addition, neither of the football helmets in the photo have a neck protector. In or around 1905, practically every helmet manufacturer added extensions to the rear of their helmets to protect the back of the neck.
After narrowing the photo date range, the image was compared to team photos in period University of Texas yearbooks.
1904 University of Texas football team photo, 1905 "Cactus", incorrectly listed as 1903
Harness without Neck Protector
The 1905 University of Texas yearbook, the Cactus, lists the tallest player on the team as 6'-7" George Cyrus Kindley, of Graham, Texas. Kindley played left guard for the Longhorms in '04-'05, as appears to be the same player in the center of the EBay photo. After graduating in 1905, Kindley obtained his medical degree, and was a physician in Dallas, Texas from the mid-1910's through the 1940's. He died in 1963 at the age of 81.
George Cyrus Kindley
George Kindley, 1905 University of Texas "Cactus"
8-Spoke Head Harness
Molded Crown Head Harness