Our June 2016 AntiqueFootball Artifact of the Month is a circa 1930 Goldsmith No. PH Princeton-style head harness from the collection of Robert Tibi. Originally acquired by Keith Javic of AntiqueSportsShop.com, the eight-attachment Princeton head harness was a 1930's variation of the four-attachment Princeton head harness made popular in the mid-1910's.
The Princeton-style head harness was a lightweight football helmet designed to maximize air flow at the crown of the head. The style, which was first produced in 1912, became known as the "Princeton-style" because it was the model supplied to Princeton by A.G. Spalding in the 1910's. The initial design consisted of a leather body around the head and a separate padded leather crown attached to the body at four points. By the mid-1920's, sporting goods companies stopped manufacturing the Princeton-style helmet, focusing instead on more substantial and heavily padded designs.
In 1930, P. Goldsmith & Sons of Cincinnati, Ohio reintroduced the Princeton-style as a more rigid, eight-attachment helmet. The No. PH was marketed as a "light weight type suitable for warm climates or for players desiring a light weight helmet."
The Princeton Head Harness
Circa 1915 Princeton head harness
Helmet advertisement page, 1930 Goldsmith catalog
By 1933, Goldsmith modified the No. PH with additional ventilation holes at the ears and a fibre reinforcement to the crown to provide additional stiffness. Goldsmith also introduced the No. PC, a slightly more rigid version of the No. PH with an elastic hinge between the ear and back portions of the helmet.
The eight-attachment Princeton head harness had a short production run between 1930 and 1935, and given the rarity of examples on the market today, was likely not one of the more popular helmet styles of the 1930's.