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Helmet Style:
Catalog Images:
Distinguishing Characteristics:
Dates of Manufacture:
2-Piece Plastic Helmet
1940 - 1952
AF Designation
Webbed Head Harness
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Two-Piece Clear Tenite Plastic Shell
In 1940, John T. Riddell submitted a patent application that would revolutionize football headgear. His "Helmet" consisted of two molded tenite (plastic) halves joined together with a plastic reinforcing band to form a helmet that was 8-ounces lighter than conventional leather helmets. The initial testing of Riddell's helmet, which took place at Northwestern University, was a failure as the plastic was too brittle to withstand football force impacts. Undeterred, Riddell continued to experiment with plastic resins until a more reliable plastic resign was developed. Riddell's design utilized clear plastic for the shell, which enabled it to be painted from the inside, thereby protecting the paint from chipping. The helmet utilized an interior web harness to prevent the head from coming into contact with the helmet. Riddell is also credited with introducing the first modern chin strap designed to hold the helmet tight on the head. Riddell licensed his design to other manufacturers who produced it until the early 1950's when the process forming a one-piece plastic helmet was perfected.
1948 Rawlings No. PH
Representative Examples:
Plastic Reinforcing Strap
c.1950 2-Piece Plastic Helmets