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Leather and Metal Catcher's Mask, c.1940



About This is an original vintage catcher's mask. The main body is metal with thick leather padding. The piece has retained most of its original finish and is in good condition with appropriate patina for its age. Creator: Unknown. Date of manufacture: c.1940. Materials and techniques: Leather, metal. Condition: Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Dimensions: H 8 in. W 7 in. D 3.5 in. History Masks were more obviously a protective device. Probably the first one was invented by an Ivy League man, Fred Thayer, who in 1876 adapted a fencing mask for Alexander Tyng, then with the Harvard Nine. At first, Thayer’s better mouse trap was derisively called a rat trap. But the catcher’s mask caught on quickly among pros and amateurs alike and was in wide use by the 1880s. Thayer’s patented mask went into the Spalding catalog for the 1878 season, and adaptations followed quickly. Its simple forehead and chin rests were embellished with padding—made from “imported dog skin,” according to one Spalding catalog— to insulate the steel-mesh frame from the catcher’s face. The “platform mask,” a one-piece aluminum casting with horizontal crossbars instead of soldered mesh, was patented by umpire James E. Johnstone in 1921. Mesh still evolved, though, getting springy, shock-absorbing action and ball-deflecting shapes in the 1920s. One such mask designed by H. Goldsmith in 1923 had a padded “oval surround” with two cross bars. Other mask materials have come along, but carbon-steel wire mesh remains the material of choice to this day.


  • Creator
    Spalding (Manufacturer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 8 in. (20.32 cm)Width: 7 in. (17.78 cm)Depth: 3.5 in. (8.89 cm)
  • Style
    Industrial (In the Style Of)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Minor structural damages.
  • Seller Location
    San Francisco, CA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU1280223160292

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $110 Standard Parcel Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 3-5 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: San Francisco, CA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in San Francisco, CA
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Established in 2014
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