Vintage

These patches were created before the current revival of roller derby (ie; pre-2000).

This patch celebrates the New York Chiefs' win at the 1972 season championship game held in January 1973 in New York City's Madison Square Garden.  The Chiefs wore green-and-gold uniforms, hence the colors on the patch. I don't know who played against the Chiefs in the finals, but the Chiefs beat the San Francisco Bay Bombers in the semi-finals. This may have been the last world championship from the International Roller Derby League -- it folded not long after in part due to rising gas prices and transportation costs.  Other derby organizations existed, but none lasted very long.

One interesting difference from modern derby: the number of games each year was vastly higher.  A modern team might skate 8-12 games per year, back then a team was expected to skate 120 games during that time.  The Chiefs were a busy team indeed.

Also worth noting: the Chiefs' name and logo would be viewed by many in modern derby as racist and culturally insensitive.

 

The Baltimore Washington Cats were sometimes called the Baltimore Cats or the Atlantic Cats.

The Bay Bombers, also known as the San Francisco Bay Bombers, are (according to some) the most famous team in pre-WFTDA roller derby history. 

This patch was sometimes worn on the front of the Chicago Pioneers (aka Midwestern Pioneers) jackets.  It's actually the logo for the band Chicago, but was co-opted by some members of the Chicago Pioneers.  Your call whether it counts as a derby patch or not -- I'm listing it here so this bit of knowledge isn't lost.

This is a 1954 satin jacket and back patch worn by the Chicago Westerners.

The Eastern Warriors were based out of Philadelphia.

This is the front patch of a jacket typically worn by the Jersey Jolters.  It would have been worn around 1971-73.  It's worth peeking at a picture of the full jacket front.

This patch is thought to be from 1969.  It could be worn on the front of a Midwest Pioneers jacket.

This is the team jacket with back patch of the Midwestern Pioneers.  The extra patches were briefly sold to "select" fans through the Pioneer Boosters Club.  (I'm not sure exactly what this is but I'm guessing some sort of fan club.)  The Midwestern Pioneers was sometimes called the Chicago Pioneers -- teams reformed and rebranded a lot as the years went by.

Another patch from the New York Chiefs.  A notable collector told me he'd never seen this on a team jacket in any picture so it may have been marketed toward the fans.

This patch is approximately six inches in diameter.

This is the team jacket with back patch of the New York Chiefs.

This is a commercial patch for Roller Derby brand roller skates. The company was founded in 1936 by Oscar Seltzer, the brother of Leo Seltzer who pioneered the sport of roller derby.  The word "official" means it's an official patch and does not reference referees, NSOs, etc.  The company still exists today and is based in Litchfield, Illinois.

Skaters typically wore this on their jackets between 1969 and 1971.

This patch was typically worn on skater jacks in the mid-60s.  It was replaced around 1969 with a newer design.

In the 1950s and 60s there were several centers around the country that trained roller derby skaters including Chicago as well as Alameda and Oakland, California.  It is unclear which training center this patch came from, or whether it's a patch multiple centers gave their students and/or staff.

The sport of roller derby has a somewhat convoluted history, but it's enough to know that in the 1960s there were two rival roller derby franchises.  Each had a series of teams that traveled around the country playing each other.  The first, owned by the Seltzer family, had a monopoly on the name "roller derby".  The second referred to the sport as "Roller Games" and did business internationally under various names such as the National Roller League, Canadian National Roller League, and Japanese National Roller League.  Due to dwindling popularity by the mid-1970s both franchises were effectively out of business although they continued to reincarnate themselves in periodic (often brief) attempts to revitalize the sport.

The Roller World Training Center was a banked track derby "school" in Alameda, California. In 1974 it was one of only two such schools in the United States.  This patch was used in 1974-75.

This is the team jacket and back patch of the San Francisco Bay Bombers.

This is the team jacket and back patch of the Southern Eagles.  This was a warmup jacket from early 1972 (the team didn't last long) and is now in the property of the Roller Derby Hall of Fame.

This is oldest known derby patch of which I'm aware.  Its history goes back to August 13, 1935 when Leo Seltzer held a month-long event in Chicago he called Transcontinental Roller Derby.  It was the simulation of a 3000-mile cross-country roller skating race in which 25 two-person (male-female) teams circled an oval banked track made of wood.  They would skate for 11.5 hours a day, and a team was disqualified if both members were off the track during skating times.  Only 9 of 25 teams finished the race.  He later took the sport to other venues around the United States.  Certain periods of time allowed physical contact between the skaters, a development that was highly popular with the audience.  He later reformed the event to minimize time and maximize contact, and a new sport was born.  This patch is likely from sometime in the mid-late 1930s.