Watch a man test an early football helmet while getting his head kicked



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Coat those chicken wings orange coating and pour that light beer, because football is back. The NFL juggernaut kicks in tonight as the Panthers take on the Broncos to kick off the new season.

The ball carriers, linebackers, the kicker and indeed each member of the team will be equipped with new equipment with the latest equipment. Boots to run faster, more slippery jerseys and more secure helmets. All this modern equipment and sporty technology are tested and developed over the months by engineers in the laboratory.

But it has not always been so.

In 1932, football helmets were still considered new. Not long before, they weren’t even mandatory. The first models were made of leather, and they turned out to be largely ineffective. In the early 1930s there was a growing demand for better headgear. The man in this British video Pathé thinks he has the answer. The bespectacled guy wishes, darkly enough, to “rid the game of fatalities” with his new invention.

How to test this? Maybe not in line with today’s scientific methods, but the answer is simple: kick it in the head. Footballers in slippers and shoes huddle around him and one of them hits him directly on the noggin. Others laugh and tell him mercilessly, probably the team’s kicker, to start over. Three bean boots in all.

Then it’s time to get slapped with a stick. The creator of the hardened hat, grimacing, at least sees the fun side of it. After a good blow, he says: “It’s like my mother-in-law isn’t it?”

It’s getting worse.

Sprinting into a wall, obviously head first, our man shows the true strength of the helmet, and is thrown over his backside. Everything is intact, it charges again. Stalls. And as the narrator notes, “he actually seems to like it.”

Every day, we track down a video wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires and entertains. Have you come across a video that we should feature? E-mail [email protected]

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