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Discuss Black Tom at the Miscellaneous Wrestling within the Wrestling Talk Forums; Does anyone know of a item called a Black Tom? It is supposedly an original ...
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Black Tom

    Does anyone know of a item called a Black Tom? It is supposedly an original jockstrap. It was wore on the outside of the tights. I an writing an article about wrestling in the 40s and 50s. A coach told me about this from his memory.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Wiltz's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Black Tom

    better ask Spider.
    RIP Jacob Schlottke; KR1963 and rpayton

  3. #3
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Black Tom

    Mine was a Black Thomas - a much larger version.
    Atrophy: what you get when you win atournament.

  4. #4
    NCAA Champ ideamark's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Cincinnati area

    Default Re: Black Tom

    The "black Tom" was a nickname* for what was referred to as an outside supporter, which, from photos I've seen, looks like a simplified version of what know as a traditional athletic supporter, with some differences:
    > Simpler in construction -- instead of the straps in the back, it appears that it was more like what we'd call a thong -- minimal coverage over the butt
    > It was worn OVER the tights, providing the same "modesty/cover" purpose as trunks
    a singlet or other sports gear
    > It was black, not white

    I'm not sure if it provided actual support and/or protection, or was more about coverage and modesty.

    As for when black Toms were worn... I'd say it was more a 1920s and 30s thing. I've seen photos of US Olympic wrestlers for the 1928 Games wearing them... as well as some collegians into the late 1930s. In Henry Stone's 1938 how-to-wrestle book, the wrestlers demonstrating the holds in the photos are wearing black Toms over tights.

    It was an interesting time for amateur wrestling gear in the US. Some schools wore black Toms over tights... while some wore tights with trunks... while some wore trunks, no tights. (For instance, in the late 30s, Oklahoma State and Kent State wrestlers wore wool "trunks" that were styled more like what we associate with today's pro rasslin' -- over bare legs.) Realize that this was before today's one-piece singlets, which, in fact, were BANNED by the NCAA until the late 1960s (!)

    I have a photo album at my AmateurWrestlingFanAddicts Photo Annex Yahoo group that traces the history of amateur wrestling gear in the US. It has some pics of wrestlers in black Toms.

    You might also find these articles to be helpful, too:
    > "Major Changes College Wrestling" talks about uniforms of the past:
    > "Old-School Gear and Strategy" -- how uniforms, shoes and mats of the past affected wrestling. Spider was among those kind enough to be interviewed for the story:

    Good luck with your paper. If you have any questions, let me know.

    * I have no idea where the name "black Tom" came from

  5. #5
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    New Jersey
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    Default Re: Black Tom

    The Black Tom explosion occurred on July 30, 1916 in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was an act of sabotage on American ammunition supplies by German agents to prevent the materials from being used by the Allies in World War I.

    Black Tom was an island in the Hudson River that took its name for the lone resident of the island.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

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