Howard Head (deceased)
Year Inducted: 1979
Born: July 31,1914 Philadelphia, PA
Died: March 3, 1991 Baltimore, MY
Howard Head was a man of determination, vision and immense vitality. The inventor of the first marketable non-wood ski and the over sized Prince tennis racket, he was an average sportsman who was fascinated about making equipment easier for the average person to use.
He began thinking about making metal skis in 1947. At the time he was a structural engineer for the Glenn Martin airplane manufacturing company. After his first weekend on skis in the early winter of 1947 he came to the conclusion that there must be a way to make a less cumbersome ski. He applied his engineering skills from airplanes and came up with the first multi-material laminated ski using aluminum strips with a composite core. After about 40 versions, he came up with a workable ski named the Head Standard. In 1949 he produced 50 pairs, in 1950 300 pairs. During 1951 he produced over 1000 pairs of skis and kept increasing production throughout the 1950s. By the end of the decade Head was the largest ski maker in America.
Head kept his advantage by introducing the rubber layer in the Head 360, which eventually outsold the Head Standard, and from there developed Head racing skis. He was continually improving an already superior product and never ceased to work with the best skiers he could get into his testing programs. Furthermore, he worked hand in glove with the best dealers he could get to carry his skis. He never failed to back up the dealers guarantee of quality. If a ski wasn’t up to par, it was replaced at no cost. Through his vision he played a major role in increasing the popularity of skiing.