Have you ever thought about where the word “pigskin” came from? Pigskin is likely the most well-known football moniker out of all of them. But when did the nickname come about? Even more crucially, why?
Learn the answers to these and other questions by reading on.
Introduction to the pigskin
You might be surprised to discover that pig bladders, among other animal bladders, were once used to fill footballs with air. Later, when these animal bladders were encased in leather, the term “pigskin” was coined. Instead of the famous pointy points of modern game balls, the inflated pig (or other animal) bladder had an oval shape.
As you may guess, the procedure for inflating these early pigskins was somewhat unpleasant. Instead, straw and other materials were frequently put into the pig bladder, although this usually resulted in balls with bumps and odd shapes that complicated official game play.
Fortunately, when vulcanized rubber was developed in the 1860s, football players, both professional and amateur, stopped blowing up pig bladders.
Charles Goodyear, an American chemist and engineer, invented vulcanized rubber in 1844. This was naturally occurring rubber that had been fired-cured and strengthened with sulfur. The well-known vehicle tires made by the business bearing his name are a testament to Goodyear’s legacy even today.
Soon after, football fans started favoring Goodyear’s vulcanized rubber over uncomfortable pig bladders as the favored material. But the moniker “pigskin” persisted.
Ironically, modern pro and collegiate footballs are all covered in cowhide leather even though they are still referred to as “pigskins.” On the other hand, recreational and youth footballs are frequently composed of synthetic materials or vulcanized rubber.
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