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CATCHER'S MASK
DATING GUIDE

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Reference

1883 Spalding
 Catchers Mask Ad
1883 Spalding Catchers Mask Ad
1983 Spalding Official
Base Ball Guide

1907 Reach Patent Elastic Head Strap
1907 Reach Ptent for Elstic head strap
Google Patents

1911 D & M Electric Weld Steel Wire Catcher's Mask
1911 D & M Electric Weld Mask
Draper & Maynard, 1911 Baseball Catalog

Vintage Catchers Mask Dating Guide 
CATCHER'S MASK DATING GUIDE
  The dating of a catcher's mask could be very difficult as the basic designs for some masks were used for a long period of time, and by a number of manufacturers. In some cases the only way to accurately date a mask is by matching it to an ad or catalog like a fingerprint. The manufacturing method could help for example; electric weld steel wire was introduced in 1911, and could assure the mask was made no earlier than 1911 but the loop and clip assembly that was used prior to the the electric weld was used for some years later. The materials used to construct the mask could also be useful in dating.  

Sample   Detailed Information & Pictures   Notes

1877 -1899 Catchers Mask Dating Guide 
  1877 - 1899
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  The first Catcher's masks were used in 1875, were heavy, clumsy and impleaded the sight of the catcher. The first retail catchers mask was made available by Spalding in 1877. All leather head straps are used to secure the mask to the head, chin and forehead for support. Side padding is used to cushion the face

1900 -1909 Catchers Mask Dating Guide 
  1900 - 1909
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  Just like the Catchers masks of the 1800's Looped & Clipped steel wire is used to build the frame.  The bright steel & "Gun Metal" is being coated with black enamel. Elastic head bands and sunshades are introduced into the market. Forehead pads are starting to replace straps at the very end of the decade

1910 -1920 Catcher's Mask Dating Guide 
  1910 - 1919
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  The first electric welded steel wire masks hit the market, gradually replacing the Loop & Clip construction. Full length padding that extends around the sides and across the forehead are becoming more common. "The Spitter" hole hits the market. Wide sight, open vision frames start replacing the "Goggle Eyes" AKA Spiderman Masks.

1920-1929 Catchers Mask Dating Guide 
  1920 - 1929
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  The one piece constructed frame with the padding strapped to the frame makes an appearance but does not catch on fully until the 1940s. The electric weld Steel Wire still dominates the market and truss construction is added to the mix. Open vision masks are quickly replacing the "Spiderman" masks.

1930-1939 Catcher's Mask Dating Guide 
  1930 - 1939
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  Heavy Carbon steel wire is now being used.  Ridged  5/8" round bars are replacing the "wire mesh" masks. Double and triple wiring with Truss construction is becoming more common as well as, padding laced to the frames. Padded chin rests are replacing the leather chin pads.

1940 - 1949 Catcher's Mask Dating Guide 
  1940 - 1949
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
   Double and triple carbon steel wire, Truss construction masks continue to be developed, and are being made with a broader design. Face padding is commonly laced to the frame. The one piece double bar masks are becoming more common than the previous two decades.

1950 -1959 Catcher's Mask Dating Guide 
  1950 - 1959
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  The one piece two-bar style catchers masks dominate the market. Unlike the pervious models of the 1930's and 1940's where lacing was used, buttons are used to secure the padding to the frame. This style makes it into the 1960's but become more streamlined.

1960-1979 Catcher's mask Dating Guide 
  1960 - 1969
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  The one piece double bar catchers masks are still holding on and being made with a more streamlined design. The welded carbon steel wire  masks are becoming the more popular choice with catchers.

1970-1979 Catcher's Mask Dating Guide 
  1979 - 1979
Catcher's Mask Dating Guide
  The The welded carbon steel wire  masks are being developed to the max, and dominate the market. Ear protectors are almost standard and attached throat protectors are the new fad.

Catchers Mask Timeline
  • 1877 Spalding introduces the first retail Catcher's mask
  • 1891 Spalding introduces a Patented Molded Leather "Sunshade"
  • 1907 Reach introduces Elastic Head Straps
  • 1911 D&M introduces Electric Welded steel wire construction
  • 1912 Reach introduces "Wide Sight" frame construction Spalding
  • 1914 Reach introduces "The Spitter" hole
  • 1914 The first use of chin padding start to replace chin straps.
  • 1916 the use of Truss support & double wire construction.
  • 1921 Aluminum one piece frame is patented by umpire James E. Johnstone.
  • 1930 Two, "eye space bars" each constructed with three wires is patented.
  • 1935 One piece molded frame with two "eye bars" affixed to it is patented
 
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