Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Honest Headlinesman - Clay Co. Invention

Radical Football Measurement Device: This is the story of two Clay Center gents who became disgusted with the rules of football. There they were, it was 1938 and rules required that just to measure the progress of a football team down the field, three men from the sidelines had to stop the game, pick up a couple of sticks tied together with a chain, run all the way out into the field, sometimes all the way across the football field, set the stakes, stretch the chain and then, and only then, see if the ball had been advanced far enough for a First Down.

Then those three men would pick up their two stakes with the chain, traverse the distance back to their sideline, reset the sticks on the sideline and then, finally then signal for the game to resume.

Disgusting. You would think that by 1938 some kind of better system would have been invented.

So Leonard (Bum) Cassell and D. B. Massie, both of Clay Center devised the mechanical Honest Headlinesman to streamline and speed up the game of football, improve accuracy of measurements and keep the game running smoothly for the players and fans.

This description of the device appeared in the Clay County Sun newspaper on May 5, 1938. The device was implemented in high school conferences on one college conference in the fall of 1938. It lasted for a few years and faded from the scene.

Clearly, an idea whose time has still not arrived.

Personal note: Leonard Cassell was better known to me as Uncle Bum. - Jerry Johnson, Sutton Historical society.

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