I love trade magazines. American Funeral Director, Hay and Forage Grower, Elevator World, Demolition, American Jails — each of these very real magazines provides a peek into a previously unseen and largely unimagined world. The best part is the ads, which provide solutions for problems you never thought of before (prison furniture, for example, needs to be very sturdy, in case some violent felon starts tossing it against a wall).
I have copies of all the above-mentioned mags, and many more (including several copies of Referee, “The Magazine for Sports Officials,” which has lots of ads for whistles). Until recently, however, I hadn’t been aware of the trade mag I most needed to know about. That would be Coach and Athletic Director (or, as it used to be known, Scholastic Coach), where a lot of the ads are for uniforms and related equipment.
Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner collects old issues of Scholastic Coach and recently stopped by Uni Watch HQ with a bunch of copies from the 1950s-’70s. The ads provide some interesting windows into the state of uniform and equipment design during that period. First, here are some comments from Scott:
• Although the baseball world was “surprised” when the Pirates switched from flannels to polyester doubleknits in the middle of the 1970 season, this Sand-Knit ad appeared in the fall of 1969. Any high-school/amateur coach would’ve known about doubleknits from this ad. [As an aside, Sand-Knit appears to have had consistently high production values in its Scholastic Coach advertising. Great stuff, as you can see here, here, here, here, here. — PL]
• Here’s an amazing 1957 advert from Spanjian. They were revolutionizing baseball fabric more than a decade before the doubleknit revolution (or so they hoped) — cotton/nylon blend, with hopes of phasing out wool flannel.
• Not an ad, but there are some great grouch-old-coach tips from a guy who’d probably slit his wrists if he saw what was going on today. Start reading halfway down the right-hand column on this page.
And now some thoughts from me:
• When you see three stripes today, you instantly think, “Adidas.” So it’s surprising to see how many non-Adidas brands used to put three stripes on their sneakers and cleats, as seen here, here, and here.
• How many kids do you think learned to dribble a basketball using this?
• I’ve written in the past about how old basketball cards often depicted players wearing their jerseys backwards, because the card companies weren’t allowed to reproduce the NBA’s trademarks. Turns out the same protocol was used for ads.
• Today we generally think of Rawlings as a company that makes equipment, not apparel. And judging from this 1970 ad, it’s easy to see why.
• Never seen a pad setup quite like the one shown on the left side of this ad.
• If I’d been a coach in the late 1960s, I’d have bought my undershirts from these guys just because of their vertically and negatively arched lettering.
• I love how this company was trying to double-dip into the uniform and varsity blazer markets.
• How come this never caught on?
• Did they draw these templates on a napkin during lunch or what?
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch up on the lastest issue of National Hog Farmer.
In Case You Missed It: If you didn’t see yesterday’s post, scroll down to the “NHL All-Star Raffle” section for news on the latest Uni Watch giveaway.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Spot-on analysis by Mark Yacovetta, who writes: “With the Patriots’ loss on Sunday, Belichick will be the coach of the AFC team in the Pro Bowl. You know what this means: the Hood wearing a Hawaiian shirt. I never watch the Pro Bowl, but this may make me tune in.” ”¦ Interesting logo-litigation article here. ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Check out Dave Meggett’s unusual chinstrap style. ”¦ Rugby note from Daniel Brown, who’s intrigued by this practice session photo of the England International Rugby Team. “I’ve seen the NFL practices where the QBs wear red jerseys, so the defense knows not to hit them,” he writes. “But I don’t think I ever seen a jersey with that message actually written on it.” ”¦ Uni Watch intern Vince Grzegorek reports that Antonio Pittman was wearing LaCoste clothing when he declared for the NFL draft last week. “One columnist from the Cleveland Plain Dealer actually wondered why Pittman couldn’t just get dressed up in a bunch of Nike stuff like everybody else,” says Vince. “And especially after OSU got trounced by the Florida Gators the week before, was a crocodile logo really the best fashion choice?”