Our November 2017 Artifact of the Month is a football "union suit" manufactured between 1901 and 1911 by A.G. Spalding & Bros. The football union suit got its name from flannel or wool one-piece long underwear that was first patented in 1868. Unlike the undergarment, the football union suit consisted of canvas or moleskin pants and football jacket connected together with an elastic waistband. Spalding was the first manufacturer to mass produce the union suit in 1901 and continued production until 1911. Other manufacturers continued to sell union suits until the late 1910's.
Questions or comments? Please email me at:
Spalding Varsity Union Suit Ad,
Spalding Official Football Guide for 1902.
Draper-Maynard Union Suit Ad, 1909
Stall & Dean Union Suits, 1905
Sporting goods manufacturers produced a variety of union suit styles. Stall & Dean and Draper & Maynard, for example, offered union suits with added shoulder pads and internal and external protection. Players could also construct their own union suit by purchasing a separate "football belt" which could be sewn to their own pants and jacket. Football jackets with an integral belt were also available for purchase.
Canvas, Lard, and Turpentine:
The Football Jacket
August 16, 2015