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Thread: Evolution of the Rams helmet

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    Evolution of the Rams helmet

    EVOLUTION OF THE RAMS HELMET

    Before the 2013 regular season begins, one last "history thread"...


    HISTORIC RAMS HORNS!

    - -

    It's a given -- most Rams fans know that back in 1948 our team became the FIRST in the NFL to don a symbol / logo on their helmets thanks to a creative artistic player, Fred Gehrke (Rams RB 1946-49 [and '40, '45 in Cleveland]), that came up with the idea of painting gold bighorns on the still early helmets of the Los Angeles Rams, just as seen in picture above.


    The story:

    Rams halfback Fred Gehrke, who studied art in college, painted the first helmet logo in 1948

    Some pro football players are known for their running. Some are known for their passing. And some are known for their kicking. But Fred Gehrke was probably the only player known for his painting. Fred played for the Los Angeles Rams. He was a halfback. He also painted pictures. In 1946, Fred began thinking how plain pro football helmets looked. They were made of brown leather. Most of them had no other color on them. So Fred painted a picture. It showed how he thought the Rams' helmet should look. In the picture, the helmet was blue. There were gold horns on the sides. Fred showed the painting to the Rams' head coach, Bob Snyder. "Bob could not tell much from the painting," says Gehrke. "So he gave me a helmet. He told me to paint it the way I wanted."

    Fred took the helmet home. He stayed up all night painting it. "I drew the horns on with chalk," he says. "Then I painted the rest of the helmet in blue. Then I came back inside the chalk lines with the gold for the horns. It was not easy. On those helmets, the leather was not even. It was hard to paint." The next day Fred went back to show the coach. He was afraid Snyder would not like it. But Snyder was pleased. He showed the painted helmet to everyone. Now Fred's real work would start. He would have to paint each one of the Rams' helmets. The team's owner, Dan Reeves, paid him $1.00 for each paint job. The next year, when the Rams came out on the field in their helmets, the fans stood up and cheered. But even then, Fred's work was not done. The helmets took a beating in games. A lot of paint came off. Fred had to paint some of the helmets after each game. In 1949, the helmet makers came out with a new helmet. It was plastic. This could be painted when the helmet was made. This way the colors and designs would not come off. Soon, other teams started putting colors and designs on their helmets. From then on, Fred did not have to paint helmets anymore. But his idea caught on. Today, all the pro teams have helmets painted in team colors. Fred Gehrke was not one of football's greatest players. But he added color to the game. And he did it in his own special way- with a brush.

    Source: Helmet Hut.com

    Will be adding more through-the-years Rams helmets. Feel free to contribute.

    Below, Fred Gehrke flanked by Jim Benton and Bob Waterfield, and in action ca. 1948...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-fred-gehrke-center-.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-fred-gehrke-2.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 06:01 AM. Reason: Kenny Washington


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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    [ Thanks Nick for removing the duplicate thread I had due to "rams" in title. ]


    - - - - -

    1946 and '47
    (not actual helmet design)


    It appears that in 1947 the horns were "under construction" and not yet officially accepted by the NFL. The actual implementing came the following year, 1948, when the gold horns were painted as seen in the previous post with Kenny Washington pictured.


    ... Actual 1946 era college football helmet.


    Below, Kenny Washington with the L.A. Rams ca. 1946 and '47 -- no horns on helmet.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-kenny-washington-ca.-1946.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-kenny-washington-ca.-1947.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 06:12 AM. Reason: KW 1946
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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet



    1948 helmet made of leather and other compounds

    NOTE: Above photo shows HOF receiver (End) Elroy Hirsch in training camp with a 1948 helmet.
    However, 'Crazylegs' started with the Rams in 1949; see '49 helmet below.
    Notice placement of horn roots here as opposed to the 1949 design.




    Another 1948 version with experimental materials later that year
    (notice horns still hand painted)




    - -



    1949 helmet made of plastic materials by Riddell
    with factory painted horns (and fading ridges front to back).
    This unique "horn above earhole" design was used this year only.

    Below, last look at the evolution of the football helmet itself, including Bob Waterfield (HOF QB, P, K, DB) in 1948. Helmet facemasks could generate an entirely different chapter!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-cascos-evoluci-n1.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-cascos-antes-de-1920.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-bob-waterfield.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-cascos-evoluci-n2.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-cascos-evoluci-n3.jpg  

    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Tyop
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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    - - - -

    1950-52
    (gold horns together at their root, long horn tips)





    Dan Towler. Notice clear plastic face mask used by some players in the mid '50s.

    1953-57
    (gold horns still together but sorter tips)


    Below, notice difference in horn tip length, ca. 1951 and 1955. Clic on images...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1951.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-rams-1955.jpg  
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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    That I know of, from 1957 to 1963 the Rams helmet changed very little.



    1962
    Rams running back Jon Arnett

    Below, a Norm Van Brocklin helmet, ca. 1957. Lamar Lundy in 1959 and a 1959-62 helmet used by Ollie Matson. Also, Jon Arnett in 1962. Clic on images to enlarge. Color hues vary due to photography lighting.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1955-57a.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-lamar-lundy-ca.-1959.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1959.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-jon-arnett-ca.-1962.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 05:47 AM. Reason: Attachment
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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    i actually like the horns with the little ridges
    Last edited by citr92; -09-03-2013 at 11:13 AM.

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    i actually like the horns with the little ridges

    woops...double post, delete this one lol

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    Jason Smiths 2011 helmet

    Notice the cutout in the horn at the bottom of the chinstrap press stud which is repeated in the front where the face cage attaches. The horn is a plastic sticker.

    Last edited by clive; -09-04-2013 at 03:45 PM.
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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet



    Rams vs Bears at the L.A. Coliseum, Nov. 15, 1964.




    NFL Official mini repro.

    1964-72, a good run with this design!
    A memorable standard look for the Rams of this era.



    This helmet design, one of the most memorable, came about with the Rams' white and blue uniform used from 1964 (not '65) to '72. It was, IMO, sharp, distinctive, awesome. The contrast between white horns and royal blue helmet is very emblematic.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-rams-helmet-ca.-1971.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-rams-offense-ca.-1967b.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-rams-packers-ca.-1967.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-carnero4a.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1972.jpg  

    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Layout
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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet



    1973

    In 1973 the Rams revert to the yellow gold horns along with a 'new classic' blue and gold uniform. This look remained while the Rams were in Los Angeles (receiver Rod Sherman pictured above), Anaheim, and St. Louis (1995-99). It appears that the same decal design of the '64-72 years was used but made in gold color.


    - -


    Notice here that cutouts were starting to be made on the horn decal -- e.g., Merlin Olsen's helmet -- in order to accommodate chin strap and facemask side and front hardware as mentioned in Clive's post #8. Also, these helmets still had the horn roots beginning at the front edge of the helmet.



    Below, a game worn helmet used by OL Rich Saul in the mid 70s. Different helmet manufacturers such as Wilson, Riddell, MacGregor, Bike, etc., placed the face mask hardware cutouts in different areas according to the players' facemask preference.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1977.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Attachment

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet



    - -

    1973-79

    As evidenced by McCutcheon's helmet in 1978 and that of Ferragamo's above (during Vince's first years with the Rams up to SB XIV in 1979, the roots of the gold horns were still placed at the front edge of the shell.


    Whereas ... on the Rams helmet from 1980-99, the root of the horns is approx. 1.5 - 1.75" above front edge of shell, where the outside of the rubber head bumper ends. Also, horn tip is separated from curl to allow for facemask fasteners.





    1980-99
    Another long run with the horns in this style


    Below, typical Rams helmet of the mid and late 80s to late 90s as described above.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-jackie-slater5.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-eric-dickerson6.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-doug-smith1.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1981.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-04-2013 at 11:26 PM. Reason: Attachments

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    By 2000, the new and different uniform also modified the helmet in that the horns changed to a bronze gold color and their roots were brought down again back to the helmet's front edge.

    -





    THE HORNS: 2000 to 2010?



    2002: Riddell's 'Revolution Pro Line' design,
    first worn in the NFL by Rams FB James Hodgins that year.





    Notice this particular helmet has a lower and longer jaw protection area which allows for the ram horn to fully curl from start to end. Otherwise, the horn decals are separated as previously discussed to fit the face mask and chin strap hardware items.
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-06-2013 at 02:46 AM. Reason: J. Hodgins

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    Of course, with the ever evolving change in helmet designs - bigger and/or wider, etc., as well as the different models - the logos of some teams have had to sacrifice somewhat due to the shape of the shell, not to mention those conspicuous vent holes that open and break through the logo itself! Such teams may have to come up with a new logo that avoids such distortions.


    This a Riddell 'Speed' model. Notice how the ram horn manages to stay intact all the way. One would think that the manufacturer would work closely with most teams (there are just way too many to satisfy when the number of teams is considered: 32 in the NFL then a thousand in college, CFL, Arena Football and so on) to ensure that their logos are kept whole, and at the same time, that all modern day safety requirements are met. The Minnesota Vikings, for example, are one of these teams whose viking horn is perforated by some current helmets [too bad ^_^].


    On the other hand, I'd really like to see wider, stronger ram horns in today's helmets. Wider throughout. Something that resembles more the old school horns, not for the sake of retro but because we are REAL Bighorn Rams! Make those strong horn decals wider, then put 'em on our helmets! Like the ones on the helmet pictured above.

    IMHO, the horns don't have to be too wide as they were in the 50s when both horns touched each other as they started from the front of the helmet, but they should be noticeably wider at that point and gradually taper till reaching their tip, an area which should also be clearly recognizable.


    B I G H O R N S!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-carnero24.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1967a.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-cullen-bryant3-ca.-1974.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-carnero19.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1974a.jpg  

    Last edited by RealRam; -09-06-2013 at 03:12 AM. Reason: Text

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    Forgot to mention that as the Rams horns were initially (1948) touching together at the base, or roots, they were set apart in 1949 when the one-time horn above-the-earhole design was used. During the 50s they were again brought together at the front edge of the helmet edge.

    -

    In the 50s and early 60s the helmet shells were reinforced by a center bar / seam that overlaid the shell about 1/8" high from front to back edges or, around the late 60s - 80s the shell used a more refined assembly method that reduced the center bar height. This seam is easily visible in Tom Fears helmet above, it protrudes less on Jack Snow's.

    The front of the ram horn decals were thus placed just outside of this center bar. And they stayed that way.








    2012 helmet. Notice how the bottom portion of the horn decal
    is slightly distorted to conform to the new shape(s) of newer shells.


    Below, the yellow horn roots initiate together as they were painted over the first couple of inches of the center reinforcement seam. In 1964 the white horn decals were moved about 1/4" outside of the edge of this seam.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1955.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1964b.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1971a.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-06-2013 at 07:30 PM. Reason: 1955 horns

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    Re: Evolution of the Rams helmet

    Be not deceived by 1955-? Rams players with a single bar face mask "protecting" their nose / mouth / jaw!

    They too were tough grunts.

    Back then there were still players that did not wear any face mask at all, maybe not the smartest decision of their career but it was the way college and pro football was played, the "style" if you will. By 1962 however, ALL players in the NFL were required to use a face mask, even if only a single bar make-believe.

    Plenty of good, successful players went single-bar helmet. But most upgraded later!



    * Jon Arnett, Roman Gabriel, Tommy McDonald, Jack Snow, et al, of the Rams
    * Otto Graham was one of first to wear the single bar, ca. 1955
    * Ray Nitschke (a LB!)
    * Sonny Jurgensen
    * Fred Biletnikoff
    * Fran Tarkenton
    * Archie Manning
    * Gary Anderson
    * Johnny Unitas
    * Lance Alworth
    * Joe Theisman
    * Sean Landeta
    * Don Meredith
    * Scott Player
    * Carroll Dale
    * Billy Kilmer
    * Tom Matte
    * Mike Ditka
    * Jim Taylor
    * Bart Starr
    * Joe Kapp

    Many more, and they weren't all kickers.



    I bring this up because, begging your indulgence, the obvious difference in face mask hardware also affected the cut modifications of some team logos, namely in our case, the ending curl of the famous rams horn, i.e., depending if it was a cage mask or a single bar. For most other teams, if not all, the single bar attachment endings did not interfere with their logo as it did with the Rams helmet.


    From no face mask, to single bar, double bar, half cage / full cage face masks. Like so...



    Flanker Tommy McDonald. May look little but played big w/the Rams (1965-66). He's HOF.




    Here the ending curl of the horn is clean and easily recognized from afar. Only the ends of the face mask covers a portion of the lower curl. Same with the double bar face mask below.

    - -

    -

    -

    - -

    Two half cages, three full cages, same fasteners over the horn curl.






    Time changes everything indeed. Football players and their organizations did get $marter, they opted for more and better face masks. And the rest is history.

    Of course, "if" the helmets had much better protective padding way back when, there would not be all these current concussion class actions coming down the NFL hot line!

    The evolution of the football helmet safety is amazing. But that's a different story.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-la-rams.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-casco-ca.-1965b.jpg   Evolution of the Rams helmet-rams-ca.-1972-jy-mo-mm.jpg  
    Last edited by RealRam; -09-06-2013 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Format

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