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In 1875, Jason Draper & John Maynard began manufacturing buckskin gloves in a small Ashland, New Hampshire factory. In 1882, Arthur Irwin, shortstop for the Worcester Ruby Legs, solicited Draper to make him a fielding glove to protect his broken finger. Draper & Maynard, the most successful baseball glove manufacturer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, was born. By the late 1800's, D&M expanded their sporting goods to include boxing gloves and football goods. It is unknown when D&M began manufacturing football helmets, as turn-of-the-century D&M catalogs are practically non-existent. In fact, the earliest D&M Fall & Winter catalog in the AntiqueFootball collection is 1909.
On July 2, 2016, MEARS Auctions sold an unusual early head harness described as an "1890's circa Combination Canvas & Leather 'Raincap' Helmet." During a recent visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History we photographed a rare Robert H. Ingersoll & Bro. catalog contained within the Manufacturers and Distributors of Athletic Equipment collection.
August 12, 2016
Draper & Maynard's
1890's Combination Canvas & Leather Raincap Helmet
MEARS Auctions, July 2, 2016 auction
1899 Robert H. Ingersoll & Bro. Catalog, Smithsonian Museum of American History
Page 7 of the Ingersoll catalog listed a Draper & Maynard "Armorclad" head guard manufactured of heavy brown duck with leather ear guards and heavily padded with felt. After careful inspection of the catalog image we have concluded that the MEARS raincap is the only known example of the earliest Draper & Maynard football helmet, the Armorclad Head Guard.
4-Panel Duck Construction
Leather Ear Guards
Button for Rear Neck Strap
Outside Seam Stitching to Secure Interior Padding
Remnants of Chin Strap
The Armorclad included several unique features for a turn-of-the-century football head harness, including:
Distinct Forehead Band
Leather Ear Guards
Button & Rear Neck Strap
A baseball cap style visor that has been removed from the MEARS example.
A v-shaped slit that could be sewn together to adjust the fit to the wearer's head.
Metal ventilation air holes sewn into the crown of the helmet.
The History of Draper & Maynard
Full Draper & Maynard Evolution Chart
The discovery of the Ingersoll catalog allowed us to update our Draper & Maynard helmet evolution chart. Hopefully additional reference materials can be identified in the future to help us fill in the remaining unknowns in our evolution chart.