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Jock historian

Oldschoolbiketen

Jockstrap Fan
Dear Jock Fans - I am sorry for the long delay, but here is some of the material I have collected on jocks of the 1950s, a Golden Age. Military men (including my father) had returned home from the war, and had often been introduced to athletic supporters in the service. Physical education classes in public schools began to rise, and increasingly required boys to wear jocks. Photos and ads were more explicit then than they are now. Here's a sample:

History of the Jockstrap
The 1950s


A 1950s Johnson & Johnson ad has a photo of two baseball players, with text reading, “SELL THE SUPPORTERS WORN BY THE WORLD’S CHAMPION NEW YORK GIANTS.”
A 1950s drugstore display depicts three men over text reading, “Exercise Safely! Bauer & Black SUPPORTERS Protect you from Strains.”
In 1950 Boys’ Life ran 7 ads by The Bike Web Co. The February, March, April, May and September ads featured cartoon boy Billy Bike.
A 1950 ad for Johnson & Johnson V-Front Supporters depicted a baseball player next to a stylized jock, with text reading, “This “V” ends those split-second distractions.”
In 1950 Jantzen made an off-white jock with 4 tracer lines on waistband, 2 tracer lines on legstraps.
In 1951 the Bike Web Co. ran 5 ads in Boys’ Life with the slogan, “Play Safe wear BIKE Athletic Supporters.”
A 2-page Bike ad in 1952 depicts 8 types of jock; the right page shows other products, including 2 cups.
In 1952 the Bike Web Co. ran 8 ads in Boys’ Life, with the slogan, “More athletes have worn Bike Athletic Supporters than any other brand.”
A 1952 ad for The Chevalier “Health Supporter Belt” shows a man wearing a wide-band supporter with a “Detachable Pouch.” From Ronnie Sales, Inc., NY.
A January 1952 ad depicts a Trump V-Front jock from Johnson & Johnson. It reads, “V-FRONT comfort with long PERMOFLEX life!”
In 1953 the Bike Web Co. ran 6 ads in Boys’ Life.
In 1954 the Bike Web Co. ran 5 ads in Boys’ Life. The May ad shows a catcher and a runner sliding into home, and the text mentions “the protective cup supporter worn by the catcher” and the “light, but firm style worn by the runner.”
A 1954 Johnson & Johnson ad for the Faultless Athletic Supporter reads, “Sell the Supporters Worn by Champions.”
January and November 1954 Trump ads by Johnson & Johnson reads, “USE THE SUPPORTERS WORN BY CHAMPIONS.”
A November 1954 Bike Web Co. ad states, “BIKE Supporters stay elastic laundering after laundering.”
The 1955 Boy Scout Handbook for Boys carried a Bike Web Co. ad: “Scouts, Be Prepared! When you compete for these merit badges wear a SUPPORTER; Why wear a supporter? There are a couple of good reasons: 1. It protects you where you need it most. 2. It helps you fight fatigue. Ask any top athlete—he’ll tell you he wouldn’t play a minute without wearing a supporter.”
In 1955 the Bike Web Co. ran 5 ads in Boys’ Life. There are photos of a jock, sometimes a box as well, and text reading, “BIKE Athletic Supporters."
A January 1956 ad reads, “BIKE Supporters stay elastic laundering after laundering.” “BIKE supporter keeps its fit . . . Old-Style supporter needs a knot. . .” From “The Bike Web Company, Chicago, Illinois.”
In 1956 the Bike Web/Kendall Co. ran 4 ads in Boys’ Life. The May and June ads carry the quote, “When you play baseball, wear a good supporter,” with an endorsement of Dick Donovan, Chicago White Sox pitcher. The October ad uses the same format, reading, “When you play football, wear a good supporter,” with the endorsement of Charley Trippi, Asst. coach of the Chicago Cardinals.
The August 1956 issue of Boys’ Life carries a chance to win airline tickets to the Olympic Games in Australia. The ad reads, “LOOK for this Display in drug and sporting goods stores, where you buy your Johnson & Johnson Athletic Supporters. They give you protection with comfort in all sports. Worn by winning teams.”
The January 1957, 5th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook for Boys carries a Bike ad reading, “Scouts, Be Prepared! When you compete for these merit badges wear a SUPPORTER.”
In 1957 the Bike Web/Kendall Co. ran 6 ads in Boys’ Life. They all use the format of “When you play xball, wear a good supporter” and an endorsement (Paul Arizin of the Philadelphia Warriors, Jack Harshman of the Chicago White Sox, Ed Brown of the Chicago Bears).
In 1958 the Bike Web/Kendall Co. ran 3 ads in Boys’ Life, using the same format as in 1957. The February ad carried the endorsement of Cliff Hagan of the St. Louis Hawks.
The April and May 1959 issues of Boys’ Life carried a promotional ad by Johnson & Johnson. For sending in an end flap from any J&J Athletic Supporter along with 50 cents, you will receive 3 color prints of sports action by artist Russell Hoban.

The 1950s saw the following jocks (mostly courtesy of Allkink’s Jockstrap Locker Room):
All-Star Athletic Supporter for boys, of “heat resistant rubber, nylon stitched.” The box also reads, “Exercise Safely – Always Wear An Athletic Supporter.” From Frost Co., Shirley, MA.
Bard Sani Jock with flannel-lined pouch and plastic cover, for incontinence.
Bike No. 10, off-white;
Bauer & Black PAL, off-white with a rare double line of blue stitching at top of pouch, white label with blue and red lettering on waistband;
Bauer & Black No. 5, “worn to protect the delicate cords and muscles of the ‘vital zone’ against painful blows and strain,” off-white, white label with blue & red lettering on waistband;
Champion No. 81, narrow label with red lettering at top of pouch; Champion, off-white, 1 gold tracer line on waistband, narrow white label at top of pouch, from Champion Supporter Co., Cincinnati, OH;
Champion Model 88, swim jock, 1 gold tracer line on waistband, sold for $1.10 at Bursch Rexall Drugs, Henning, Minnesota;
Champion model 490-BF with 6” waistband, vertical fly, detachable pouch and leg straps, covered metal stays;
Champion Model 490-BF wide band abdominal supporter, vertical fly, removable pouch, metal stays in 6” waistband;
Dolphin swim jock from Shillington, PA, label on waistband depicts a dolphin;
J. B. Flaherty Company’s “Bub” Duribilknit No. 61, white label with green & red lettering on waistband which reads, “Genuine Surgical Elastic; Freshly Knitted Athletic Supporter; Will Outlast 3 Low Price Supports; The Worlds Best;”
J .B. Flaherty’s “Bub” Special swim jock, white label with read & green lettering;
J. B. Flaherty’s “Bub” Duribilknit No. 641 cup jock, white label with red & blue lettering on waistband, pouch closes with 2 metal snaps;
J. B. Flaherty’s Flarico No. 47 swim jock, white label with red and blue lettering on waistband;
J. B. Flaherty’s Flarico No. 110 Athletic Supporter, “Made With Formula 921 X Heat Resistant Rubber, Permoflex and Fleshelastic Understraps,” white label with black and red text on waistband;
Johnson & Johnson Coach, with a pouch of “all-webbing elastic for maximum support and protection”;
J & J Trump V-Front Athletic Supporter “used and endorsed by The World Champion New York Yankee Baseball Club;”
Wilson Preshrunk GRID Interlock Athletic Supporter, white label with red and blue text on waistband, from Wilson Sporting Goods, Chicago and New York;
Guelph Elastic Protex hockey jock from Ontario, Canada, off-white, blue tracer lines on waistband, gold label on front panel over pouch;
Wellinger & Dunn cup jock made in Toronto, Canada, off-white, white label on waistband, pouch closes with one metal snap.
I love the photo of Stan Musial. He is wearing Jockey Midway Briefs. Very early boxer briefs. I own a dozen pair, all made in the USA prior to 1990. I love American made jocks and underwear. Both a dieing breed.
 

CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
A novel issue, but one which created a lot of discussion among the Physical Education teaching corps was whether cups should be a required part of the school PE uniform. Starting about the 1950's, about the time lawyers were starting to pursue liability cases for PE class related injuries. many school districts initiated some risk reduction measures such as removing climbing ropes, eliminated pyramid gymnastics and requiring jock cups and even mouth pieces for boys PE programs.

In the era when I taught, most PE instructors used common sense and required or suggested that cups be worn when contact sports were scheduled, but I was aware teachers or schools where cups were required in ALL PE classes, regardless of activity. It seemed that the ex-military PE instructors were more inclined to follow department uniform requirements, but the new PE teachers, still in their probationary year were the most strict.

While the cup requirement was mostly intended for high school age boys, I found a few old school supply lists documenting that even some junior high students had their "boy parts" protected during their physical education class experience.
 

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TominRichmond

Jockstrap Fan
I was introduced to Bike jocks in 7th grade gym class during the 1960s, and though it went underground for years, I have loved them since. Currently I am most interested in the history - when jocks began, and how they changed over the years. I have collected images of jocks, their boxes, and their ads, from the 19th century to the present. My start in this was Allkink's Jockstrap Lockerroom site by Tom Perdue, that I came across in the 1990s. Since then, I believe I have found the invention of the modern jock a decade before the legendary invention of Charles Bennett in 1874. Though I am only an amateur historian, I have tried to be careful about documentation, and I welcome questions about history.
I went to the U.S. Patent and Trademark gov web site maybe 10 years ago. I found an 1868? patent for an "athletic modesty girdle", which I had read was an article of contention for the City of Chicago baseball players. Not sure my search terms are *exactly* correct.
 

JSMike

Jockstrap Fan
As far as I know, there have never been any ads for jocks on TV. I recall in the 1970s-80s jocks were mentioned on M*A*S*H, and on Magnum PI. In 1993 an episode of "Grace Under Fire," Grace takes her son, Quentin, to buy his first cup supporter, and there is a funny scene of the male clerk, Russell, demonstrating how to put it on. More recently, in 2018, an ad for a laundry detergent depicts two boys dangling a jockstrap in front of the nose of their sleeping father. They hope he will wake up in disgust, but instead he seems to enjoy it. There was a Twitter storm of protest at this "dirty" commercial, but as one person put it, anyone who has raised boys knows this is the kind of thing they do.
 

Strapncap

Jockstrap Fan
As far as I know, there have never been any ads for jocks on TV. I recall in the 1970s-80s jocks were mentioned on M*A*S*H, and on Magnum PI. In 1993 an episode of "Grace Under Fire," Grace takes her son, Quentin, to buy his first cup supporter, and there is a funny scene of the male clerk, Russell, demonstrating how to put it on. More recently, in 2018, an ad for a laundry detergent depicts two boys dangling a jockstrap in front of the nose of their sleeping father. They hope he will wake up in disgust, but instead he seems to enjoy it. There was a Twitter storm of protest at this "dirty" commercial, but as one person put it, anyone who has raised boys knows this is the kind of thing they do.
Yes I remember that commercial there was also an episode of Coach dedicated solely to jockstraps he became a spokesman for a brand and they had a poster of him in his jockstrap at the end he had a whole roomful of jockstraps in their boxes I always found him attractive Craig T Nelson hoping to see the episode again it's on a station called antenna but I haven't seen that one episode yet, hope that they air it
 

TallJack

Jockstrap Fan
Fascinating - in the UK Litesome were THE jock makers - alas, no more: some of their ads featured coal miners wearing nothing else
 
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yorky2

Jockstrap Fan
Hi, further to the comments above by TallJack I would agree that Litesome were the definitive British Jockstrap- but as he says they are no longer around. They stopped manufacturing about 25 years ago.
I cant recall the ads featuring coal miners, but I do recall seeing their ads featuring international cricketers, speedway stars aircraft fighter pilots (during WW2) as well of course as rugby players.
Litesomes jockstraps were particularly popular with rugby league teams.
 

CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
The internet blogs are replete with postings relating jockstraps to sports and physical education classes, but comparatively little is written about the history of jocks worn in occupations, on the farm and in the military. For purposes of discussing the military jockstrap experience, I'll start with an inquiry regarding regarding the military suspensory. In the US, the transition from suspensory to jockstrap appeared to occur during WWII, but I haven't found definitive information on suspensory use in the military. I suppose we can assume military use was common noting that most of the manufacturers labeled the garment referring to ARMY and NAVY on the product. Can JSMike or anyone else enlighten me on the use of the suspensory in the military? Was it used for physical training, or was it considered part of the duty military uniform? How did the suspensory acquire the ARMY and NAVY descriptor? Was the suspensory worn with boxer shorts, or as the sole undergarment? I offer this question with understanding that the BDU's and fatigues did not acquire zippers at the fly's until the 1960's and I can not imagine the discomfort having one's dick pushed forward into a zipper all day, but presumably if the military britches had only button secured "barn doors" wearing a suspensory would have been more tolerable. Finally, the size of a suspensory was selected solely based on scrotum size.
 

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TallJack

Jockstrap Fan
Coal miners? I've never seen those ads. I don't suppose you have any to share . . .
Thanks - and thank you for sharing your research. I am pretty certain that Litesome were based in Yorkshire and in addition to Rugby League (and other sports) they also targeted men in heavy industrial work. This was, indeed, a long time ago - I remember seeing their ad with a discreet line drawing of a coal miner - in the heat of the mine any other clothes would be pointless. If only today's RL players wore jocks under their commendably brief shorts!
 

yorky2

Jockstrap Fan
Hi Talljack!
You are correct, the Litesome company was based in Keighley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. I agree re; current rugby league players. Jockstraps have all but disappeared in the pro rugby league teams and were declining from the late 1990s onwards.
For the sake of sentimentality.. and other things, some pics from those days before the decline:
 

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yorky2

Jockstrap Fan
Unmistakeable Litesome on the Salford player:
 

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JSMike

Jockstrap Fan
The internet blogs are replete with postings relating jockstraps to sports and physical education classes, but comparatively little is written about the history of jocks worn in occupations, on the farm and in the military. For purposes of discussing the military jockstrap experience, I'll start with an inquiry regarding regarding the military suspensory. In the US, the transition from suspensory to jockstrap appeared to occur during WWII, but I haven't found definitive information on suspensory use in the military. I suppose we can assume military use was common noting that most of the manufacturers labeled the garment referring to ARMY and NAVY on the product. Can JSMike or anyone else enlighten me on the use of the suspensory in the military? Was it used for physical training, or was it considered part of the duty military uniform? How did the suspensory acquire the ARMY and NAVY descriptor? Was the suspensory worn with boxer shorts, or as the sole undergarment? I offer this question with understanding that the BDU's and fatigues did not acquire zippers at the fly's until the 1960's and I can not imagine the discomfort having one's dick pushed forward into a zipper all day, but presumably if the military britches had only button secured "barn doors" wearing a suspensory would have been more tolerable. Finally, the size of a suspensory was selected solely based on scrotum size.
I have some information, and some guesses to try to answer your questions. The suspensory, a medical device for men recovering from illness or injury, was invented by British Navy doctors in the 1850s. A decade later, Smith Rawson patented his "US Army Suspensory" (to my mind the first jockstrap) in 1863, for the US Cavalry. I can't prove it, but it seems logical that the designation "Army and Navy" stems from this origen. The earliest documented use of the term, 'Army and Navy suspensory' that I have is from an 1891 ad for Flavell's U.S. Army & Navy Suspensory Bandage. I suspect you are correct about WWII being the time of transition form suspensory to jockstrap. My clearly dated sources for military suspensories goes from 1863 to 1932. (I have one reference to a 1952 contract between Johnson & Johnson and the government to produce a suspensory.) During WWII there were a number of companies that produced athletic supporters for the government. As to when and how suspensories were worn by the troops, I have no information. Men are forever reluctant to discuss these kind of details.

I may not get to it tonight, but I'll try to post some images from my collection to illustrate some of these points. And should you come acrosss more information, I would be glad to see it.
 

CoachBob

Jockstrap Fan
I have some information, and some guesses to try to answer your questions. The suspensory, a medical device for men recovering from illness or injury, was invented by British Navy doctors in the 1850s. A decade later, Smith Rawson patented his "US Army Suspensory" (to my mind the first jockstrap) in 1863, for the US Cavalry. I can't prove it, but it seems logical that the designation "Army and Navy" stems from this origen. The earliest documented use of the term, 'Army and Navy suspensory' that I have is from an 1891 ad for Flavell's U.S. Army & Navy Suspensory Bandage. I suspect you are correct about WWII being the time of transition form suspensory to jockstrap. My clearly dated sources for military suspensories goes from 1863 to 1932. (I have one reference to a 1952 contract between Johnson & Johnson and the government to produce a suspensory.) During WWII there were a number of companies that produced athletic supporters for the government. As to when and how suspensories were worn by the troops, I have no information. Men are forever reluctant to discuss these kind of details.

I may not get to it tonight, but I'll try to post some images from my collection to illustrate some of these points. And should you come acrosss more information, I would be glad to see it.
Thanks JSMike. I'll move the discussion into the WWII military jockstrap in the next few days. Bob.
 

JSMike

Jockstrap Fan
OK guys, I've come to the 1960s at last. Many of you will remember that decade, perhaps the last glorious era of the jockstrap. Do post your responses, memories, or further information.

The 1960s

In 1960 the Bike Athletic division of the Kendall Company (Chicago, IL) had a US Marine Corps contract to make their standard Bike “No. 10” athletic supporter with a special USMC label for the Marines. The label reads, “No. 10; U. S. M. C.; Small.”

1960 B&W photo of U.S. Olympic Trials shows 3 runners in mid-stride, one with the leg straps of his jock visible beneath his shorts.

Around 1960 I remember my brother’s two Bike cup jocks that he wore for Little League. They were mostly cotton, solid off-white, with the bicycle wheel logo on the front label. The pouch closed with two metal snaps. The plastic cups were black, with green cushion around the edges.

A 1961 ad has a drawing of a football player labeled “Bill George” of the Chicago Bears, with text reading, “BIKE’S Tips from the Experts sports column.” From “The KENDALL Company, BIKE SALES DIVISION.”

A 1961 ad has a drawing of a swimmer labeled “Johnny Weissmuller.” Text reads, “BIKE’S Tips from the Experts, Sports Column.” At the bottom is a depiction of a box. From “KENDALL.”

An April 1961 ad reads, “Another reason to buy BIKE Bulk Pack! Bike #10 now color-coded for easy sorting.” There is a photo of 12 jocks; all with two red tracer lines on the waistband, indicating size Medium. The bottom reads, “BIKE; The KENDALL Company, Bike Sales Division.”

A 1963 ad depicts the “No. 10 BIKE Athletic Supporter; Contains 4T-280 Heat Resistant Rubber.” The text reads, “No other brand outlasts BIKE…the supporter that’s made with more live rubber! More live rubber means longer life for this practically laundry proof supporter. Even the stitching stretches, so it delivers full support and protection month after month. Feathered knit edges all but do away with chafing. And the poro-knit pouch is extra cool.” The bottom reads, “BIKE; The KENDALL Company; Bike Sales Division.”

A February 1963 ad for Bike Athletic Supporters in Scholastic Coach shows a football helmet and a jockstrap and states, “Two Pieces of Equipment No Good Coach Ever Skimps On.” “Now Color-Coded for Easy Sorting.” Kendall Company, Bike Sales Division.

In 1965 I bought my first athletic supporter for 7th grade P.E. It was a Bike No. 10, in a cardboard box. It was off-white (no tracer lines) and had a white label on the front of the waistband with the bicycle wheel logo.

A 1965 ad in Boy’s Life shows a young man diving into a pool, wearing swim trunks. The text reads, “Where The Action Is . . . BIKE Should Be.” From Kendall.

April 1967 AMG photo for the film, The Temptor, in Physique Pictorial shows Joseph McDaniel, age 22, wearing only a jock. An August 1967 AMG photo for the film, The Lineman and the Athlete, in Physique Pictorial shows a man wearing tennis shoes and a jock.

October 1968 B&W photo of U.S. Olympic jumper Bob Beamon shows the leg straps of his jock beneath his shorts.

July 31, 1969 Technical Crew Debriefing Manual for the Apollo 11 mission included Buzz Aldrin’s account of lost jocks: “There’s only one exception to that—our athletic supporters. I had no idea where they were. Finally we said to heck with it, and if they weren’t there, why we’d get along without them.”

September 1969 ad in Boy’s Life reads, “Going to gym? Take a Bike. Going to swim? Take a Bike. Going to play basketball? Take a Bike. Bike. The supporter the pros use. Not only protects . . . but helps you perform better.”

October 1969 saw the publication of Jock magazine, with a photo of the NY Mets on the cover.

The October 1969 issue of Scholastic Coach carried a Bike ad with a lavishly colored depiction of David and Goliath. David carries his sling, and is wearing only a jockstrap as he prepares to fight the Philistine giant, Goliath. I saw this magazine at my high school, and wanted to steal it. I didn’t, but it haunted me for decades. Finally, in 2018, I bought a collection of SC magazines, and found the ad again. Thank you, eBay.

The 1960s saw the following jocks:

All-Star Athletic Supporter, “Nylon Stitched, Heat Resistant Rubber,” with a sewn-in foam cup;
Bike No. 10 Athletic Supporter, white label, red lettering, and blue bicycle wheel logo;
Bike No. 59 swim jock, white label, red lettering, blue bicycle wheel logo;
Boston Athletic Supporter by George Frost Co., Shirley, Mass. is solid off-white, a white label with blue text on the waistband, the box states, “In all athletic activities, moderate or strenuous, every man should wear an athletic supporter for health protection, avoidance of fatigue and for peace of mind.”
Champion Model 88 Swim Supporter from Champion Supporter, Co., Cincinnati, OH, narrow waistband;
Champion No. 93 cup jock, white waistband, white label with orange text, off-white pouch;
Double K cup jock, 1 tracer line on waistband, white label which reads, “Double KK”;
J.B. Flaherty Company’s “Bub” Duribilknit No. 119 heavy-duty cup jock, wide waistband;
J.B. Flaherty’s Flarico No. 110 Athletic Supporter, black and orange box;
Fruit of the Loom Athletic Supporter;
Futuro V-Guard Athletic Supporter with “Contoured “V” Front, Pre-Shrunk-Interlock Pouch;”
Futuro Sports-3 Athletic Supporter, white label with blue text;
Hawthorne jock sold by Montgomery Ward;
Healthknit jock, white label with red lettering;
Jantzen jock, blue/red tracer lines at top and bottom of waistband, white label;
MacGregor jock, green label with white lettering on waistband, double line of red stitching;
MacGregor Grid Athletic Supporter, double line of blue stitching at top of pouch;
MacGregor cup jock has two tracer lines on waistband (red, blue); white plastic cup with green cushion edge;
J.C. Penney Towncraft jock, white label with blue/white design, blue & red lettering;
Sears Athletic Supporter, white label with red lettering on a 3” waistband;
SMC No. 10 jock, 1 red tracer line on waistband, white label with red lettering;
Steichen’s Model SA-10 cup jock, white label, pouch closes with 2 metal snaps;
Cooper DJSL hockey jock, solid white, lacing ties in front, white label reads, “Cooper,” made in Canada;
Litesome Cricket cup jock, 2 tracer lines at top and bottom of waistband;”
Jim Sport cup jock with terrycloth pouch, 3 black tracer lines at top of waistband, made in Spain;
Longdon jock with “Action Cush’n” pouch to lift & separate, made in Canada;
Wellinger & Dunn WinnWell cup jock with a cotton flap-style pouch holding a plastic cup, made in Canada.
 

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