In the earliest days of football in the 1860s some players simply tied a bandana around their heads. There weren't even leather football helmets then.
In those days there were brutal plays. Players actually trampled on opposing team members, yet there was no protection for players' heads. 18 deaths were reported.
The earliest leather football helmets were invented by a Navy player in 1893 after his doctor warned him that one more kick to the head could kill or paralyze him for life. The player asked a local blacksmith to improvise a leather harness hat to protect his head. Thus the first football helmet was born.
Soon other players created additional styles of leather football helmets to protect their heads and ears. Styles included the early beehive leather football helmet, the flat-top leather football helmets, and the dogear leather football helmet.
The colors began to show up on early 1940s leather football helmets. Before that most helmets were plain natural leather either brown, cordovan, or black.
Color leather football helmets allowed the quarterback to better see the receiver at long distances when he was far down the field. So more and more teams began to paint their leather football helmets to put some visibility sizzel into their games.
Gradually in the late 1940s the leather football helmet began to be replaced by early plastics. However many of the early plastic football helmets shattered and caused injury. So, the leather football helmet survived through the World War II years and lingered into the early 1950s. Some pooreer high school teams and JR high teams used old leather helmets right into the 1960s and 70s.
But gradually the old leather football helmet was replaced by the plastics.
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