Sometimes I write about books and old ephemera I have on hand and other times, such as now, I write about postcards and photos I have. There is no theme to these cards: they are simply the ones I found at OKC antique stores last weekend. This means, however, that to appreciate the text, you will need to first find the pictures illustrating the topic.

Sometimes I write about books and old ephemera I have on hand and other times, such as now, I write about postcards and photos I have. There is no theme to these cards: they are simply the ones I found at OKC antique stores last weekend. This means, however, that to appreciate the text, you will need to first find the pictures illustrating the topic.

Football Helmets

Shown here is a May, 1910 card mailed from Okarche to E.S. Hadlock, Foss, Ok. Some players have helmets and the fellow center right being blocked by the player in the white shirt with his back to us not only has no helmet, he is wearing unprotected glasses.

My first helmet as a seventh grader in 1948 was like the helmet labeled “thirties.” The only shock absorption feature of the helmet was a canvas web in the crown. The shock absorption it provided was similar to falling on hard dirt rather than concrete! By the 9th grade the helmets were more globular hard plastic with considerably more webbing. Now they have lined helmets with bars on the front.

I’m proud to say that there are folks who grade the appearance of helmets and they consistently grade helmets from my school, the University of Michigan Wolverines as the best appearing in the nation. Go Blue!

Now for the bad news. In 2016 the NFL acknowledged the link between football injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy CTE]. This is a progressive neurodegenerative disease resulting from repetitive head trauma from contact sports—especially football.

The brains of 500 athletes who exhibited the markers for this disease [mood changes, memory loss, etc.] are stored in the VA Healthcare System in Boston. Of these, 360 had CTE. Concussions cause the release of tau, a protein that causes the brain to shrink. The final stages 3 and 4 the patients has progressive memory loss

To prevent such injuries, teams now have special helmets used only in practice that prevent concussions. [I was hit so hard so often in my playing days doctors tell me that had I worn proper headgear my IQ would be as high as 100.]

Side bar: This Saturday night my grandson, a wide receiver on the Benton, Arkansas Panthers football team participated in the annual ‘Salt Bowl” with neighboring Bryant. There was an all-time state record 38,000 plus spectators in the stands when a fight broke out under the Bryant stands. A security cop yelled “Gun” and students in the stands did as trained and left the stands to hide in place outside the stands. The Benton football team took charge of the cheer leaders, giving them their helmets for protection. [The game was called. ]

Bathing Beauties

What can I say about these six lovelies other than to compare their modesty with young women on the beach now. [see attached] Honestly, I’m more interested in that beauty of a car in the postcard which I think is about a 1928 Ford Model A.

Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant

The Twin Cities Assembly Plant of Ford was in operation from 1925 until 2011. It produced glass for Ford automobiles from 1926 to 1959 and Ford Ranger Pickups from 1983 until the plant closed in 2011. The plant will reopen next year to assemble the Ranger T6.

The plant relocated from its original location in Minneapolis [1912] to its present location beside the Mississippi river in 1925 following completion of the original dam and lock in 1917`--one of the oldest on the River. It proved to be too low to produce enough hydroelectric power and was demolished and replaced by a larger one [see attached picture]

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering the possibility of three dams in the Twin Cities area being removed to transform the slow-moving commercial waterway into a whitewater rapids.

American industry owes a tremendous debt to the federal government. Republican Abraham Lincoln’s sponsorship of the transcontinental railroad during the Civil War created the possibility of national markets and greater economies of scale that brought an industrial explosion.

Similarly, infrastructure building by all levels of government had a direct and benevolent effect on private industry.

Construction of paved roads progressed from hardly any in 1900 to 369,000 in 1920 and 662,000 in 1929. These in turn permitted expansion of the automobile industry. The Ford Model T took America off horseback and onto wheels. By 1920 Ford was producing half the cars in the world. Continuous productivity improvements permitted the price of the Model T to decline 7.6% a year from its initial price of $850 in 1908 to $265 during WWI. [1]

It may be impolitic to mention, but WWI and WWII brought the U.S. from the middle ranks of industrial nations in 1900 to number one in 1945. Wars not only destroyed the economies of our competitors in global markets, they subsidized our domestic economy for the quarter century following peace bestowing the title “Golden Age” on that era. My generation so luxuriated in those unique economic conditions that old timers yearn to return to them when they speak of our nation being “Great Again.” Unfortunately, global competitors have rebuilt, giving their economic ascent the title, “rise of the rest.” Flash: you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube.

[1] Gordon, John Steele, An Empire of Wealth, Harper-Collins Pub., 2004, p 298-299.