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c. 1910-1920 Hand-Painted
Football Down Marker
My November 2019 Artifact of the Month is an early 1900's football down marker found in Dubuque, Iowa. The marker features a wooden 12" x 9-1/2" x 7" rectangular wooden cube mounted onto a post. Down numbers 1-4 have been hand-painted on each of the vertical faces, and the name "Molly," perhaps the marker's painter, is written beneath the number "1." The bottom half of the post broke off at some point in the marker's past, leaving only the top 4' section. The complete original marker likely stood 7' to 8' in total height.
I date the marker to between 1912 and 1925. On February 3, 1912, the Intercollegiate Foot Ball Association increased the number of downs in which a team must gain 10 yards or forfeit the ball to its opponent from 3 to 4. Prior to this date there would be no need to include the number "4." By the mid-1920's, dual sided flip panel down markers, such as the Eckielipp Linesman Outfit set pictured below, were available for purchase from sporting goods manufacturers.
Eckielipp Linesman's Outfit, A.G. Spalding Fall and Winter Catalog, 1928