Before the advent of the leather-and-felt arm and chest harnesses used in the 1960s, many goalies wore an elbow pad backward on their stick arms. The modern upper-body system integrates a chest protector, arm flaps, shoulder wings and a back guard.
In the early 1960s goaltenders used water-absorbing leather-covered pillows stuffed with kapok and deer hair. Today's pads are made of water-repellent high-tech foams and synthetic leather, and weigh about half as much as the old-style pads by the end of a game.
In the early 1960s the simple fiberglass mask was state of the art. Now headgear is made of Kevlar and fiberglass and can withstand a shot from a .22-caliber rifle. Added protection comes from a polycarbonate throat guard.
Though skates from the 1950s don't look very different from today's, they lacked the ballistic nylon toe tip, molded metatarsal guard, pressure-sensitive foam ankle padding and a high-tensile, corrosion-resistant, stainless-steel blade.
This undersized catcher from the 1950s was little more than a first baseman's mitt with a protective cuff, while the flat rectangular blocker was less effective than the modern curved variety. Today's hand gear contains synthetic leather and the 400 denier nylon found in body armor.