I am writing a book about the history of the throws, i.e. shot put, discus, javelin and hammer. At this time I am asking questions about the historical development of the javelin(the implement). I would like to know if there is information that you may have about the development of the early javelins. For example the javelin used by Eric Lemming in the Olympics, the materials used, and other technical improvements. I am looking for the development between 1900 until 1948. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
There is an interesting book about the history of this sport in Finland, which contains also some history of the javelin itself. It’s name is Suuri suomalainen keihäskirja, es. Siukonen Markku, Pulakka Martti and Ahola Matti. Gummerus Jyväskylä 1991. Since the book is published in finnish, i try to find the most important infomation for you.
Before the year 1907 the javelins used could differ a lot, also there were no common rules for throwing. In London 1908, where Eric Lemming won the javelin, the rules of the english Amateur Athletic Association ( AAA) were used. According to them, the javelin had to be 2,6 meters long and weigh 800 gr. It had to been wooden and have an iron point, and in the middle it had to have an ”handle” made by rolling string around the javelin. The iron point could weigh upto 300 gr. so that the javelin landed point first. In London 1908 there was still a competition of ”free style”, where the thrower could use the swedish style (the normal style, grip in the middle) or the other then used style, holding the javelin from the back end.
In 1912 IAAF stated that the javelin should be 260 cm of length, 800 gr of weight. Still in rules from 1937 and 1951 the length, weight and handle are the same. The handle should be 16 cm long and not more than 25 mm over the javelin. Still the javelin is wooden and has a point of iron or steel, but in 1951 is mentioned that the javelin can also be made of metal.
There is also a library of sports in Helsinki, they could possibly be able to help your further. The email address is of the library is firstname.lastname@example.org, their site http://www.urheilumuseo.fi/Default.aspx?tabid=2386 .