Michigan Today has nice story on the 75th anniversary of Michigan's iconic winged helmet. It includes the stuff we know (e.g., Crisler brought the wing concept with him from Princeton) along with a lot of stuff many of us didn't.
Introduced to MIchigan in 1938, this marks the 75th year of the winged helmet. The article has some curious assertions such as:
(b)ack then the headgear looked like the leather biking helmets favored by today's Tour de France riders
telling us the author (none other than FOB John U. Bacon) does not spend a lot of time watching professional cycling, but overall it gives a nice history of one of Michigan's defining symbols.
In a case of function defining form, the author relays that at the time helmets
typically consisted of a leather bowl with an extra pad to protect the forehead, from which three strips of padding ran to the back—all of it painted black. To help his Princeton quarterback identify his receivers downfield and give his team a little style in the process, Crisler simply painted the extra padding Princeton orange and—voila!—the winged helmet was born.
Princeton dumped the design in 1937 (before Crisler left), so I'm guessing Crisler did not feel bad about taking the innovation with him.
So rather than subjecting ourselves to more "Akron ... grumble, grumble" (I'm sure the UFRs can get us right back in that mood), enjoy a bit of Michigan football history.
Crisler favored the FH5 model, with three straps running front to back. (Image courtesy of U-M's Bentley Historical Library.)