South Carolina pottery tradition, SC State Museum art and history exhibit

At the SC State Museum we recently enjoyed seeing the “Tangible History:

Making a face jug using early 20th century pottery wheel

The Potter's Wheel demonstration: making a funny face jug using traditional pottery tools

South Carolina Stoneware from the Holcombe Family Collection” exhibit (free with museum admission which is $7 adults, $5 children 3-12).

The best part was the live demonstration with a treadle potter’s wheel, an exact replica of the one used by Billy Henson from the Clayton Pottery Shop in 1940s.

The collection features exquisite stoneware from the old Edgefield district by makers such as Thomas Chandler and Dave the Potter, a famous African-American slave artist.

There is also significant pottery from the Upstate, like the Owensby, Whelchel and Williams Pottery Shops.

Stoneware is fire-hardened clay, that becomes as hard as stone after being heated to about 2,000 degrees. It is highly collectible, especially Edgefield pottery, well-known for its unique alkaline glaze.

Replica of a typical late 19th century and early 20th century pottery shop

The South Carolina stoneware heritage...a potter's treadle wheel

Pit fired cooking ware from the Savannah River

Native American cooking vessel c. 1000 from the Savannah River area

Examples of Edgefield pottery
The SCIWAY website has a great article about the Edgefield Pottery tradition including additional work by Dave the Potter.

19th century pottery from the Edgefield  tradition

Edgefield pottery: 1840 honey pot with a lid

Edgefield district South Carolina pottery tradition

A 10 gallon water cooler by Thomas Chandler, alkaline glaze stoneware with iron slip

Pottery produced by famous African American slaves

Jar by Dave Drake. Most pottery in the 18th and 19th centuries was produced by African-American slaves.

Examples of pottery from the Upstate

Late 19th century household stoneware by Samuel Whelcher

Stoneware from the South Carolina Upstate potteries

1990s pottery jugs from Upstate region

Face jugs classics

While inside the State Museum check out one of the world’s finest collections of individually made telescopes and the Great Charleston Earthquake exhibit, dedicated to the most terrific quake to ever hit the east coast.

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The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886: pictures, stories, facts and quacks on display at the SC State Museum in Columbia

The most destructive earthquake ever recorded in the eastern United States occurred near Charleston at 9:51PM on August 31st, 1886. The quake was felt by two out every three people living in the country! Estimated at a 7.3 magnitude (more powerful than the Haiti earthquake in 2010) the shock lasted about a minute.

The following historical data, pictures and quotes are from the SC State Museum exhibit dedicated to the 125th Anniversary of the Great Charleston Earthquake and the “Faults and Fractures, The Medical Response to the Charleston Earthquake of 1886” article on the MUSC Waring Library website.

Dock Street Theater and St. Philip Church in the aftermath of the 1886 earthquake

View of St. Philip's Episcopal Church right after the quake

More than 100 people were killed and almost every building in Charleston was damaged.

Charlestonians suffered the most psychologically given the 300 aftershocks taking place over the next 3 years.

The earthquake triggered many strange afflictions, even in cities far from the epicenter.

According to the Savannah Morning News, at least a dozen people went insane and had to be sent to lunatic asylums, including “the wives and daughters of prominent citizens.”

“A drugstore clerk started walking on Tuesday night and didn’t stop until he reached a town fifty miles away, where he sent a postcard to his parents saying he could not return.”

Earthquake damage throughout United States:
• Maine: The captain of a schooner off the coast saw “black wall” rising on the water, a mighty wave that lifted the ship to a fantastic height. The schooner was buried in a mountain of foam, its sails torn off and its mast snapped.

• North Carolina Mountains: Flames shot from caverns, leaving behind a cloud of smoke that smelled like burning coal. Massive rocks crashed down into the valley.

• Brooklyn, New York: A telephone operator thought he was having a heart attack when all the plugs on his switchboard popped out of their sockets.

• Terre Haute, Indiana: At a minstrel show the galleries swayed, and one man was thrown out of the balcony; he saved himself by clinging to a railing.

• Dubuque Iowa: The audience in the opera house stampeded, thinking the building was about to fall.

125th anniversary exhibit at the SC State Museum

"People ran through the streets...bare feet cut by broken glass and brick shards. Fires raged across the city."

Earthquake damage in South Carolina
• Dorchester County: Every structure in town was damaged. “…the structure seemed to dance up and down…The doors and ceilings were warped and twisted; the timbers groaned and crackled; the chimneys crashed at their bases, sank downward, carrying fireplaces, mantles and hearthstones through the floors through the ground below.” U.S. Geological Survey final report.

At present day Colonial Dorchester Historic Site, the ruin of 1719 St. George Anglican Church tumbled to the ground. A chuck of the bell tower flew through the air and landed 35 feet away.

• Horse Creek, Aiken County: A train pulling stock cars plunged off the tracks into 40 feet of water. The fireman was killed and four horses drowned. Other animals kicked holes in the cars and swam to safety.

• Adams Run, Charleston County: 20 feet high geysers covered the ground hip-deep with water.

• Ravenel, Charleston County: The ground broke open for 2.5 miles. A man trying to reach his grand-children was cut off by a jet of water.

• Columbia, Richland County: The Congaree River threw up 10 foot waves.

Shock and awe
Within days almost everyone in Charleston abandoned his damaged home to sleep outside, in parks, cemeteries, backyards, on buses, ships, ice wagons, and railroad cars. Ships in the harbor became refugees for the homeless.

Major destruction on the corner pf East bay and Cumberland

Building completely destroyed by the earthquake


By September 3rd, 40,000 people were tenting and encampments bloomed on every piece of open ground. Many families returned to their houses only to flee back when aftershocks struck.

At first black and whites shared the camps, but soon whites moved away from integrated areas like Washington Square Park and congregated instead at White Point Garden by the Battery.

The state government never provided relief money or supplies. After more than a week the city began to erect wooden shelters and substantial tents sent by other states and the U.S. military.

Where is disaster there is also opportunity…
• Within days a large number of tourists from as far away as Boston came to see the wreckage. Railroads scheduled a variety of excursions and sometimes donated funds to the relief effort. On September 12, 1550 visitors arrived from Georgia and Florida, 400 of whom stopped to eat dinner in the city’s big hotels. Most wary of the aftershocks got back on their trains and left before dusk.

• Businessmen scrambled to serve the tourists: stores offered booklets showing the damage, some sold vials of the brightly colored sand and clay brought up by sand blows.

Entrepreneurs profiting from the Charleston quake of 1886

'Earthquake Views...Not an advertising scheme'...yeah right!

When those ran out they filled glass tubes with coffee grounds and red pepper flakes.

• One antique dealer ran ads seeking door knockers, candlesticks and other artifacts that survived the quake to sell to “Northern parties”.

• Agents for dime museums were said to be in town looking for “earthquake babies” as special exhibits. Some twins born the night of the disaster were nicknamed Earth and Quake.

The biggest quake sham of all time!
Earthquake Ray-Charged Copper Battery made by J. M Brasington, Benetsville South Carolina, discoverer of Rays, 1890.

The maker, J.M. Brasington, contends that the battery will intercept and store earthquake rays from 10,000 miles away, and when connected to the body can cure a many illnesses.

How it Works (text from the battery label)

Some try to profit from the earthquake with sham products

The Ray Charged Copper Battery scam of the late 1880s...

“The Battery trap intercepts rays from earthquakes; this stream of rays is the first entering the lower pure blood veins; the rays from the battery immediately enter the upper pure blood veins meeting the quake rays in the heart;

Then it seems million of battery and quake rays shoot out through all blood, flesh, nerves, bones and skin, strengthening the heart nerves, improving resistance to infestation, aiding appetite, digestion, inducing sleep and rest; helps to keep mentally tired man’s body youthful and vigorous.”

How to Use (text from the battery label)
“When taking the hot or cold rays, the wrist band must be on the right or left wrist…Copper traps must be laced to slipper soles, stocking or bare feet. When wrists and straps are properly fitted you will get the Quake and Battery rays even if sitting on rubber, glass, riding in automobile, boat, lying on bed or couch.

Place Battery in any position best suited to your comfort; except the Battery must not be between your feet. While Battery is surrounded by your feet you will get no Earthquake Rays…”


Fun stuff for kids inside the SC State Museum Earthquake exhibit

Test your engineering and architectural skills at the large shake table to see whether you can build an earthquake proof building.

Test your architectural skills

See whether you can build an earthquake proof structure

Check out the one of the base isolation pads used in the renovation of the SC State Capitol in the late 1990s. About $13 million was spent to make the building meet and exceed 20th century earthquake protection codes. A new base isolation system was created to absorb the energy of vibrations caused by earthquakes. 130 base isolation pads were installed to support the building, a first for a major structure building east of the Mississippi River. Nowadays computers monitor any shifts in the ground through these isolators.

Hundreds of base isolation pads were installed under the foundation

The SC State Capitol was the first major building east of the Mississippi River to undergo a massive earthquake prevention renovation.

Learn how to be safe when the earthquake strikes: drop, cover and hold!

Safety tips during an earthquake

Drop, cover and hold!

See more exhibit details in the presentation below:

Read “Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow” by Susan Millar Williams and Stephen G. Hoffius, a gripping account of the natural disaster and turbulent social change in Charleston following the Civil War.

The book features Francis Warrington Dawson, editor of Charleston’s News and Courier, who rallied Charlestonians after the earthquake struck by organizing the relief committee and receiving contributions that helped rebuild the city. Hailed as a hero in the aftermath of the earthquake, Dawson was denounced by white supremacists and murdered less than 3 years after the disaster. His killer was acquitted after a sensational trial that unmasked a Charleston underworld of decadence and corruption.

Don’t miss!
You have until end of April 2012 to see the remarkable Body Worlds Vital exhibit at the SC State Museum.

Astronomy lovers check out the incredible collection of historical telescopes, donated by Robert B. Ariail.

Body Worlds Vital at SC State Museum, Columbia fun and exciting things to do with kids

Recently we visited the SC State Museum to see the renown Body Worlds exhibit. We took advantage of the special $1 admission (1st Sunday of the month) and ended up paying $20 total (adult and child tickets). We spent over an hour browsing the galleries and gift shop and we were impressed.

In the elevator leading up to the 4th floor gallery

So excited to see this!


My 7 years old daughter became fascinated with the heart and the circulatory system (see cool facts below). She took the time to complete the survey and gave the exhibit a rave review.

Body Worlds tickets allow full day admission to the entire museum
• $18 adults ($8 members)
• $15 seniors ($7 members)
• $12 children 3-12 ($6 members)

Hours
• Tue 10AM – 8PM
• Wed,Thu and Fri 10AM – 5PM
• Sat 10AM – 6PM
• Sun 1 – 5PM

Body Worlds Vital is the latest installment in the Human Saga by Gunther von Hagens. It features 200 real body specimens, presented without skin using plastination, so you can see bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and all of the internal organs. You get a deep understanding of how the body works when is healthy and what happens when is sick. Smart displays drive the healthy lifestyle point home: respect your body or else.

Revealing posters lining up the exit of the Body Worlds exhibit

In your face...smoking kills people!

Things to know before you go
• Come early. We arrived at opening time and got in real fast. Most importantly we were able to browse all the stations at our own pace, taking time to see the displays and read all the explanations. Two hours later there were at least 200 people in line waiting to be allowed in the exhibit…not to mention those waiting at the museum check-in line!

• Not sure whether this is right for you and the kids? Check out the exhibit video, Family Guide and FAQ provided by the state museum. There is enough visuals to help you decide.

• Tickets are non-refundable and are good for just one entry. The Body Worlds exhibit closes on April 15, 2012.

People lining up to enter the Body Worlds exhibition

People lined up to see the remarkable Body Worlds Vital exhibit

Cool Body Facts
• At birth, humans have 300 bones. As a baby grows, however, many of the smaller bones fuse together so that adults have just 206 bones. Half of the bones are in the hands and feet.
• The brain uses 25% of the oxygen you take in. It transmits signals to the body at 100 miles an hour.
• Lungs are made up of about 600 million spongy bags called alveoli. Lungs are the only organs in the body light enough to float on water.
• If all the blood vessels were laid end to end, they would extend about 60,000 miles, far enough to circle the Earth twice.

We also enjoyed the Body Worlds gift shop, especially the pictures of plastinates from the animal kingdom. It’s fun to compare the inner workings of the human body to that of other animals.

Animal plastinate pictures at the SC State Museum gift shop

This is how you do it

While inside the museum check out the 125th Anniversary exhibit of the Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886, the greatest quake ever recorded in the eastern United States (biggest than the one in Haiti!).


Be smart, have fun in beautiful South Carolina!

It’s a gem! Precious stones and minerals galore at the Science Museum in Asheville

A touch of gold, diamonds, and ruby….

Precious sculpture of Andromeda

Andromeda sculpture of gold, sapphire and diamonds on quartz

Known for the original gold rush, North Carolina also has one of the largest varieties of mineral species in the United States.

Amazing gemstones to admire downtown Asheville

Enter a world of riches...

From clays to gemstones to valuable ores, more than 300 mineral species exist within the state’s boundaries.

The Colburn Earth and Science Museum has an amazing collection of gem stones and minerals for everyone to enjoy: emerald, sapphire, ruby, topaz, hiddenite, kyanite and much more.

Admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors, students, and children over 5 years of age.

The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 10AM – 5PM, and Sunday 1 – 5PM.

Hiddenite discovery and early mining
In 1879 Thomas Edison sends William Hidden, a New York engraver and rockhound enthusiast, to look for potential sources of platinum to be used in his new photograph invention.

Hidden meets businessmen and fellow rockhound John Stephenson from Statesville, NC which shows him some unusual rock specimens found on a farm in present day Alexander county.

Hiddenite specimens at the Colburn Museum

Miners working at the Hidden Mine in early 1900s

Recognizing the potential value of the stones, Hidden quit his job and acquired the mineral rights of the Warren Farm near Stony Point, NC.

Hidden hired a mining crew and soon discovered numerous specimens of emerald and other unidentifiable green stones. It was later determined that the mineral was a new variety of spodumene and was named “Hiddenite” in honor of the discoverer.

George Kuntz, a good friend of Hidden and a jeweler for Tiffany’s recognized the value and beauty of the newly discovered minerals. Kuntz created a domestic market not only for hiddenites but also for the emerald coming from the North Carolina mine.

Second phase of hiddenite mining
“I wanted something to keep me out of mischief and it occurred to me that the collecting of minerals will be just the right hobby to take up.” Burnham Standish Colburn, 1953

The state gemstone on display at the Colburn Museum

The real green beauty and power!


Burnham Colburn retired to Asheville because of its proximity to North Carolina’s mineral fields. One of the first residents of Biltmore Forest and he had a museum in his home to house his minerals collection.

Colburn sought out Col. Joseph Hyde Pratt, the State Geologist for North Carolina, who told him that hiddenite will be the most interesting mineral to collect. Colburn obtained the mining lease to the land and reopened the mine in 1926. He found quite a few good specimens, yet not enough to make a real profit.

After two years, Colburn released the lease and donated his best specimens to the Smithsonian Institution in D.C., the University of South Carolina and the British Museum in London. After his death the family donated the rest of his collection to the Southern Appalachian Mineral Society for public display, thus the precursor to the current museum was started.

Emerald – The State Gemstone
Emerald deposits are rare in the United States, and the best are in North Carolina. The largest single crystal emerald ever found in North America is from the Rist Mine in NC. Named the Stephenson Emerald, this crystal weighs 1,438 carats and is valued at over $50,000. Discovered in 2003 by Jamie Hill it is now displayed at the Natural Science Museum in Houston.

Photo of the 1,861 carats emerald discovered at the Rist Mine in 2003

The real crystal is at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences

The Star of the Carolina
The ultimate value of a natural star sapphire depends on the quality of the cut, color, clarity and definition.

Guiness Book Record holder Star of Carolina sapphire

A star sapphire for the records...


The Star of the Carolina displays a six ray asterism that enhances its value and exclusivity. The uncut stone weighted one and half pounds, or about 2,847 carats.

Discovered in 1987 at the Old Pressley Mine in Canton, NC, The Star of the Carolina achieved the final finish of 1,445 carats in the hands of master gem cutter John Robinson of Dallas, TX.

The star appeared in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest star sapphire, but lost it to another stone from the same location.

Spodumene was first discovered in 1906 in Kings Mountain,NC yet it didn’t gain economic significance until 1942. Spodumene is the main source of lithium ore, a very light metal used in many industries from aeronatutics to cars to electronics. A small area in Cleveland and Gaston counties contain 80% of the known lithium reserves in the United States and is the country’s largest producer.

The countrys largest spodumene deposit is in North Carolina

Most of US lithium extraction comes from North Carolina

Granite – The 1 mile long Mt. Airy Quarry in Surry County is the largest granite quarry in the world. Mining operations began in 1889, and ever since granite from the mine has been shipped all over the world. This high quality granite can be cut in large blocks and used in many construction projects like the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk and the gold depostory at Fort Knox.

North Carolina has the largest granite quarry in the world

A granite world above the rest...

Discover the beautiful gemstones of North Carolina at the Colburn Earth and Science Museum in Asheville!

Native Americans exhibit at the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville

The history museum in downtown Greenville has an interesting exhibit about Native American tribes in the South Carolina Upcountry. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children and students age 4 to 18 and free for children age 3 and under.

The Cherokees
“…The Great Buzzard flew all over the world…when he reached the Cherokee country, he was very tired, and his wings began to flap…wherever they struck the earth there was a valley, and when they turned up again there was a mountain.” Cherokee myth

“The males of the Cherokee…are tall, erect, and moderately robust, their limbs well shaped so as generally to form a perefect human figure…”
William Bartram, naturalist, 1791

18th century encounter with the Cherokee tribe

Early description of Cherokee men

Drawing of early Cherokee settlements in the Carolinas.

Cherokee settlements around 1250 AD

Cherokee village near Pisgah North Carolina 1250 A.D.

Over time the Cherokee settlements turned into towns that were more spread out and more advanced than earlier villages, as illustrated in the Tennessee’s Chota town layout below.

Cherokee town settlement

A look at a more developed prehistoric Cherokee town

Trade and war
In 1730, seven Cherokee warriors went to London to sign a treaty with the British government. They signed a trade agreement that will eventully build colonial fortunes for Great Britain. European traders obtained deerskins and sometimes slaves from the Cherokees. In the early 1700s, South Carolina exported 54,000 deerskins annually.

Cherokee come to England the early 18th century for a trade contract

Cherokee leaders travel to London in 1730 to establish a trade agreement


Native Americans became dependent on European manufactured goods, such as fabric, farming tools, hardware and weapons. They soon exhausted the deer population.

Mounting debt forced them to sell land in order to satisfy their creditors.

Treaties between the Cherokees and the Charlestown-based government limited European settlement in the Upcountry. South Carolina Governor James Glen secured treaties with Native Americans in 1743 that promoted trade and designated land for European settlement. However, as Piedmont region offered rich soil and clean water for farming, settlers ignored these treaties and moved into Native American land.

Native American artifacts from the Upcountry

Cherokee hunting and harvesting tools


In response, the Cherokees attacked the settlements in 1759. The following winter,
at Fort Prince George, the colonial militia killed hostages when Cherokee warriors stormed the fort.

After intese fighting a new treaty was signed creating a new boundary between Cherokee lands and European settlements.

During the American Revolution the Cherokees sighted with the British, hoping they would stop the advancement of the settlements. Patriot militia burned Cherokee towns and crops. On May 20, 1777 at DeWitt’s Corner, Outacite and other Cherokee leaders gave up their lands to the new American government.

The Catawbas
The Catawbas settled east along the Catawba and Wateree Rivers. They often fought with the Cherokees over precious Upcountry land. When the Europeans arrived the tribes agreed to a truce in order to participate in trading. Over time Catawba pottery became highly desired by European settlers who used it for cooking.

Catawba tribe artifact

Catawba peace pipe artifact

Once a distinct nation, by the 1730s, the Catawbas became an amalgam of different trives joined together from wars, settler incursion and disease. By 1760, war and smallpox ravaged the Catawbas to just about 500 people.

The Catawba in the Upcountry

Early drawing of a Catawba man

Military war camps at the Upcountry history museum in Greenville

For over 200 years the Upcountry sent her sons and daughters to serve in the military and has provided a home for several training camps.

Uniform and personal items worn during WWI

Army uniform in WWI


The tradition started before the American Revolution, when militia troops trained at Fort Prince George.

Throughout the years residents understood the benefits of having troops nearby. Local businessmen sold land for camps, built houses, outfitted and entertained the soldiers.

Come camp payday, money “bounced from one merchant’s cash register to another.”

You can learn more about it at the Upcountry History Museum in downtwon Greenville. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children 4-18 and free for children age 3 and under.

Disclaimer: historic data and pictures in this post are from the museum exhibits.

During the Spanish American War of 1898, horses were still the main mode of transportation. Sick soldiers recovered at Camp Wetherill in a hospital tent that had a wooden floor. Other places had tents with dirt floors that sometimes turned into mud when it rained.

Military training camps in the 19th century

Horses were the main way of transportation during the Spanish American War

Bootcamp humor – The unusual cold winter of 1898-1899 surprised soldiers from northern states who expected to lie around in the shade of palms trees and gorge on oranges and bananas.

Soldiers jokes on military training in the Upcountry

Guard duties humor

During World War I soldiers were required to shave to allow gas masks to fit properly. In 1901 Gillette developed the safety razor, a welcome improvement over the dangerous straight edge razor. The army bought millions of the new razor and blades for soldiers.

Army soldiers personal items

The first safe razor used by military personnel during World War I

The mess kit or “meat can” contained eating utensils and a frying pan that could be used as a plate. After the meal the utensils went back into the pan, the cover slipped on, and the handle slid across to secure it.

The mess kit used in the army

The multi-purpose meat can, frying pan and dinner plate for the WWI army soldiers

American soldiers used a Coupon Book containing one, two and five francs, to pay the French luxury tax on items purchased there. The Army Air Force published an Emergency Book with jungle and desert survival techniques to airmen deployed to the Pacific and Africa battle fronts.

WWII personal items carried by soldiers

World War I French coupons, Emergency manual and medals

During World War I, medical personnel at Camp Wadsworth took part in stretcher drills to learn how to care for casualties. Did you know? Camp Wadsworth sent out a call for dried peach pits which provided the carbon for gas masks filters.

Medical personnel doing stretch drills in the Upcountry

Medical drills at Camp Wadsworth during World war I

During World War II at Camp Croft, troops conducted war maneuvers and prepared for battle in the European and Pacific fronts in. Camp Croft also housed German POWs who picked peaches, fixed jeeps and cooked their own food.

Military exercises at Camp Croft in 1940s

Bombardment drills at Camp Croft during WWII

Women were able to serve their country as WACS (Women’s Army Corps), at Greenville Army Air Base during World War II.

Training camps for service women during World War II

Army women training in Greenville during WWII

More interesting things to see at the museum and surrounding areas:
• “Mud, Sweat & Cheers Football in the Palmetto State, 1889-Present”, a fun filled exhibit dedicated to over 120 years of football in South Carolina. Check out the heated Gamecocks – Tigers rivalry, the early days rules and legends and interesting collectible items.
Be a textile worker in the early 1900s (Greenville used to be the “Textile Capital of the World”)
• Be inspired by the impressive collection of paintings by Southern artists at the Museum of Art. Right now you will be delighted to see exquisite watercolor work by Mary Whyte and Andrew Wyeth. Admission is free.
• Enjoy the historic 1838 Kilgore-Lewis home and garden, one of the oldest and best preserved houses in the area. Admission is free.

Early days of football: “Mud, sweat and cheers” at the Upcountry History Museum

“A field of carnage” Anderson Independent Farmer 1915, about the Clemson – Auburn game

To this day football remains one of the toughest and most unforgiving team sports games in America. And yet it is a far cry from its literally “bloody” beginnings. The Upcountry History Museum in downtown Greenville showcases the fascinating world of South Carolina football, from the 1880s through today. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors and college students, $3 children 4-18 and free those under 4.

The father of American football
“From ocean to ocean he is known as the father of American football, as the lover and upholder of all manly sports, as the prophet of physical well-being in the happily efficient life.” Dean Lebaron Russell Briggs

Walter Chauncey camp was born in New Haven, Connecticut.

The man who transformed American football

Walter Camp The Father of American Football

From 1876 to 1881, Camp played football for Yale (being a captain for 3 years). From 1882 to 1910 he served as an advisor to the Yale and Stanford football coaches.

Throughout his life Camp played a major role in the establishment of American football. He led the American Football Rules Committee and helped establish the NCAA. He invented the quarterback position, the scrimmage, and the forward pass. He reduced the number of players on the field from 15 to 11. He was responsible for the selection of the first All-American team.

Originally Camp aspired to become a doctor. However he left the Yale Medical School after two years and instead he began his career at New Haven Clock Company as a clerk. When he died, Camp was the company’s chairman and president. A monument honors his memory in front of the Yale Bowl, the home of the Yale football team.

The wild, wild west: rules, recruiting and wacky formations
“It was a common practice for partisan of certain larger institutions to make almost regular annual campaigns for drawing players away from smaller colleges.” American College Athletics 1929

Although football rules were codified by 1890s problems persisted with how to call off sides, what constituted a pass, what was a legal block and fair play on the field. At the line of scrimmage it was common for players to use their fists on their opponents. Compounding the problems, for a long time there was only one referee on the field.

The flying wedge
“What a grand play!…half a ton of bone and muscle coming into collision with a man weighing 160 or 170 pounds.” – New York Times, November 30, 1892 describing the first use of the flying edge at a Harvard – Yale game.

Football carnage early 20th century

The flying wedge came crushing down


The flying edge was introduced in 1892 at a Harvard – Yale game. It consisted of two wings, the biggest linemen going in motion before four lighter players. Both wings would head at an angle toward the team captain, who would hand the ball to the halfback.

Once the two angles converged the ball carrier would follow the wedge down the field. Smaller defensive fronts could be overwhelmed with such a formation and often suffered severe injuries.

Within two years of its introduction in 1892 the “Wedge” was declared illegal. A modified version, in which a mass of players could pull, push and even punch its way through a defense with the ball carrier remained legal. This formation continued through most of 1910s.

The forward pass
“Until 1910 the plan was to put the man catching the forward pass out of commission before he got his hands on the ball. This football season may ‘make or break’ the forward pass” – The State Oct. 1, 1910.

Until 1906 the only way to advance the ball was by a lateral, running with it or kicking it. In an effort to reduce injury the pass was introduced. There were restrictions: the receiver could be blocked before the ball ever reached him (some protection was given to the receiver in 1910), you can only throw the ball a maximum of 20 yards and you had to be at least 5 years behind the line of scrimmage. Because of penalties and the large ball size many coaches used the forward pass infrequently. In 1912 the ball size was reduced and by 1940s most pass restrictions were dropped.

Safety gear 100 years evolution
Football players wore very little protection in the early games. In 1894, a doctor predicted “instant insanity” to a player if he was struck on the head again. A shoemaker in Annapolis, Maryland made the first leather helmet. It was not made mandatory for college football until 1939. Leather helmets guarded against injury to some extent however they were highly unreliable.

Helmet and pads design changes over 100 years

Tough business to be a football player in the 1900s

In the 1950s colored plastic helmets became popular and greatly reduced head injuries. In the 1970s improvements included inside air pockets and a four point chin strap.

In 2002 Riddell Sports “Revolution” helmet became the first major innovation to protective head-gear in 25 years.
With a spherical shape designed specifically to reduced concussions, head injuries were reduced by 30%. Although injuries still occur today football players are much safer than they were 100 years ago.

Pads – During the late 1890s some players put cushioning

Mud sweat and cheers exhibit Upcountry History Museum

What a silly looking man

under their sweaters, but their teammates often made fun of them. Leather shoulder and hip pads became common in the 1910s and 1920s as players and coaches became more aware of injuries.

By 1950s padding became more sophisticated yet also added some risks. The plastic will get dangerously hot and players suffered a high numbers of heat related injuries and even death. Over the years improvements were made and in the 1990s air-conditioned shoulder pads were introduced.

Today pads are specialized for different positions. Quarterback pads have fewer flaps to enable more arm movement and their larger size give ribs added protection from tackles. Running backs and receiver have smaller, lighter and more flexible pads to allow freedom of body movement.

Football comes to the Palmetto State
“On Saturday morning, December 14, 1889, the foot ball teams of Furman University and Wofford College played a very interesting and exciting game at the Encampment Grounds, Spartanburg, S.C.” Wofford College Journal, February 1890.

Although football was played back in the 1860s in the Northeast it took almost 30 years for it to arrive in South Carolina.

Football begins and the rest is history...

Furman - Wofford was the first football game played in South Carolina in 1889

The first documented game took place in 1889 between Furman and Wofford with little publicity.

Yet by 1910 college football had become a major fall event on most South Carolina campuses. The Citadel (1905) and Erskine (1915) were the two of the last ones in the state to introduce varsity football. As each school tried to get better and win games, student and alumni became increasingly passionate about recruiting. During the first decades of the game the player captain ran the team with a faculty member as an advisor. The full-time football coach was many years away.

The Purple Hurricane, Furman glory in mid 1920s
After playing in the state’s first ever football game, Furman struggled to maintain a winning season. The program was actually suspended from 1903 through 1912, when strong appeals from students brought re-instated it.

The “Purple Hurricane” came back roaring! In the 1920s Furman dominated the state competitions, winning the South Carolina Championship Cup, seven times through 1932.

Greatest Furman team ever

The Purple Hurricane played in and won the first Orange Bowl


In 1926, one of the biggest victories of the era came over heavily favored Georgia. Winning 14-6, Furman made a Georgia journalist to make good on his promise if his favorites lost. He walked 101 miles from Athens to Greenville where Furman students and town’s people greeted him as a “great sport”.

A year later, Furman had one of its best seasons ever, defeating Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina and Duke. The team received an invitation to play at Coral gables in Florida in what will later became the “Orange Bowl”. Furman beat Miami 38-7.

Bill Laval, became the only coach in the state history to lead three different colleges Furman, South Carolina and Newberry.

Nightime football frenzy begins in the Palmetto State

1929 ball from the first night game in South Carolina between Furman and Erskine

For most South Carolinians football revolves around its biggest and most accomplished schools South Carolina and Clemson. Read about the 100 plus years history of the state’s most heated football rivalry.

Note: Historic data, pictures and quotes used in this post are from the “Mud, Sweat & Cheers” exhibit.