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CATCHER'S MASK
DATING GUIDE

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Reference

1911 Reach Patent
Wide Sight
1911 Reach Wide Sight Catchers Mask Patent 
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 
1910-1919 CATCHER'S MASK DATING GUIDE
  The first electric welded steel wire masks are made, 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, "Truss support" and double wire construction hits the market. Wide sight, open vision frames start replacing the "Goggle Eyes" AKA Spiderman Masks.  
Visual Glossary
1890-1910's Catchers Mask with Neck protector   Parts of a Catchers Mask   1900's -1910's catchers mask with Sun-Shade 
1890-1910's Loop & Clip, Goggle Eye Catchers Mask with Neck Protector 1916-1920s Electric Weld catchers mask with Diamond Spitter 1900's -1910's Catcher's Mask
with Sun-Shade

  The Dating of a catcher's mask could prove to be a difficult task. Construction styles, models, or features could have been used for many years after they were introduced. In some cases you could positively date a mask to after a feature was first introduced but you might have to settle on dating it to a longer era of use. Generalized, such as the mask in the Visual Glossary above, that is dated approximately to 1916-1920's. It cannot be made before 1911 because it's has an electric weld frame, and it cannot be earlier than 1914 the year the Spitter was introduced. However these features along with the "full length face pads, and the truss style construction can still carry it over into and through the 1920's. Based on matching the framework to the catalog ads below I believe that the mask is closer to the late 1910's to the early 1920's rather than mid to late 1920's.  
1912 Wide Sight catchers Mask 1900-1920s Catchers Masks 1916 catchers mask develpments  
"Wide Sight" eye space  starts replacing Goggle eyes in 1912 L: Bright Steel loop & Clip Goggle Eye
R: Black Enamel Elec. Weld Wide Sight
1916 Mask developments - Spitter, Elec. Weld, truss & double wire
    These are the type of things to look for when dating a mask. The construction methods are a great tool for dating a mask. The loop & clip construction pictured above center left, was used throughout the 1800's and 1900's. Starting in 1911 Electric weld was used to construct the masks (Above center, right) Electric weld masks cannot date before 1911 but the loop & clip method was still used into the early 1920's. Full length face pads that wrap around across the forehead, like the padding on the mask center right, was patented in 1906 and becomes more common in the 1910's. If you have a mask that has chin padding instead of a chin support, a simple piece of leather, it is most likely a later model.

Features are not replaced over night, most are gradually phased out. Most people see the Google Eye AKA Spiderman masks and automatically date them to late 1800s or early 1900's but the fact is this style made it commonly through the 1920's, did make appearance less commonly into the 1930s, and show up as late as 1942. Youth models typically use out dated features.

 Basically the main features with masks dated to the 1910-1919 manufacturing period are; Wide Sight replacing Goggle eye mostly towards the end of the decade, Electric weld frames slowly replacing Loop & Clip construction, Soldered joints, and the use of full length padding. Chin padding becomes more common in the 1920's. Design changes throughout the decade are slight and the variety of designs increases. You will also notice more use of lacing to secure the face pads.

 Because it is easier to date a mask to the era when a feature was available I have listed a timeline below. You might be able to use unique features on your mask that overlap other features to narrow down the date. I have also included catalog images so you can match styles and construction characteristics like a fingerprint.
 
Catchers Mask Timeline
  • 1911 D&M introduces Electric Welded steel wire construction.
  • 1912 Reach introduces "Wide Sight" frame construction.
  • 1914 Reach introduces "The Spitter" hole
  • 1914 The first use of chin padding that slowly replaces chin support straps.
  • 1916 Spalding starts to use Truss Support, and double wire construction.
1910-1919 Catchers Mask Catalog Samples & Patents
 
1910 Reach Catchers Masks 1910 Diamond Brand & Goldsmith Catchers Masks 1911 D&M Cachers Masks
1910 Reach's Official
Base Ball Guide
1910 Diamond Brand & Goldsmith Catchers Mask advertisements 1911 Draper & Maynard Catalog
Electric Weld Catchers Mask
1912 Spalding Catchers Masks 1914 Reach Catchers Masks 1916 Spalding Catchers Masks
1912 Spalding Official
Base Ball Guide
1914 Reach Catalog
Patent Wide Sight Mask
1916 Spalding Official
Base Ball Guide
1916 Spalding Catchers Masks 1916 Spalding Catchers Mask Patent  1917 Reach Catchers Masks 1918 Simmons Catchers Masks
1916 Spalding's Official
Base Ball Guide
1916 Spalding Spring Head Strap adjustment  Patent 1917 Reach masks 
Simmon's Catalog
1918 Simmon's
Catalog Advertising
 
 
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