Recently, I photographed several K-State football helmets for some marketing materials. One helmet was 80 years old. After the assignment, I researched the evolution of the football helmet.
* George Barclay, of Lafayette College, is credited with inventing the helmet in 1896.
* Padded leather helmets were introduced in the 1920’s.
* Helmets were not mandatory in college until 1939.
* Helmets were not mandatory in the NFL until 1943.
* John T. Riddell, of Riddell Sporting Goods, invented the plastic helmet in 1939.
* John T. Riddell invented the chin strap in 1940.
* The NFL began using logos on their helmets in 1948.
* The Los Angeles Rams were the first NFL team to use a logo on their helmets.
* The Cleveland Browns are the only current NFL team with no logo on their helmets.
* G.E. Morgan, of Riddell Sporting Goods, invented the BT-5 single bar face mask in 1955.
* Single wave radios were installed in helmets for hearing play calls in 1956.
* Air bladders inside the helmet were first used in 1971.
* Protective eye visors were first used in 1984.
* Riddell released the Revolution helmet in 2002 which reduces concussions by 31%.