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Local News

Joliet museum to delve into history of jockstraps

JOLIET – The history of jockstraps will see the light of day Sunday at the Joliet Area Historical Museum

Billed as a “scholarly talk on a ‘jocular’ subject,’ ” public speaker Ellie Carlson, who is also a museum and costume curator, will give an examination of masculine protective equipment that was first designed for bicycle jockeys and has evolved over time to be protective, concealing and healthful. 

“The purpose is to introduce the audience to the protective equipment that has been utilized by gentlemen … to preserve the family jewels so they are not compromised in athletic pursuits,” Carlson said. 

Her talk, called “Cup Check, Please!” will take place 2 p.m. Sunday at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, 204 N. Ottawa St. The cost is $5 for museum members and $7 for nonmembers. 

Carlson has lectured on other topics, such as ladies’ underclothes – that talk is called “Speaking of Unmentionables: The Rise and Fall of Ladies Underwear” – as well as aprons and the history of Valentine’s Day. 

She also does costumed interpretations and has researched cooking techniques, period ingredients and recipes for several eras, according to her website. 

While jockstraps may be an unusual subject, Carlson said they have a regional connection. The jockstrap was invented in Chicago in 1874. 

“It has a Chicago connection and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to expand my repertoire,” she said. 

Her interest in the subject came about through managing a vintage baseball team called the Chicago Salmon, which plays by the rules of 1858 baseball. She noticed there wasn’t masculine protective equipment used in the time period. 

Carlson said Sunday’s talk will be a clean, family event. She stressed there will be no modeling of jockstraps by anyone during the presentation. 

Coaches are invited to come, as they’ll learn useful information.

“Knowing the background of anything is always important. Knowledge is power,” she said.  



WHAT: Cup Check, Please!

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Joliet Area Historical Museum, 204 N. Ottawa St.

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