A jersey, as we all know, is a piece of clothing in cotton or wool, often light in weight, with sleeves and usually without collars worn like a loosely fitting pullover without button in front.
Usually, jerseys are used mainly in sports to create common identities between players and the teams they represent. They are mostly single color toned with player name and number, team markings such as emblem or logo and carry logos of sponsors and affiliates as well as a promotional and marketing tool. Sports such as cycling, football or soccer, hockey, cricket, baseball, athletics etc involving multiple players use jerseys made of synthetic, microfiber material that aids in sweat evaporation.
How the term ‘jersey’ came to be applied to these garments throws up interesting facts.
T-shirts, so called because they follow the ‘T’ shape of the body, are made from heavier fabric but are also sometimes manufactured from light-weight and synthetic material. T-shirts are more fitting than shirts of jerseys and can be in single color or with designs, patterns and stripes and are usually one of a kind.
The name ‘jersey’ was adopted from the Jersey Channel Islands which became known for its knitting trade in the medieval period and came to denote most forms of knitted fabric. Navy blue was the most popular color used in the dyes as it does not require stripping the material of its natural pigment or oil.
A Jersey is also used to refer to a most unusual object – traffic partitions on highways, which are known as Jersey Barriers. These are commonly seen in many countries these days to divide traffic lanes. These are designed to ensure driver safety on both sides in the event of a vehicle crash. The earliest designs used in California in 1946 replaced the standard wood beam guardrails on the state’s Ridge Route Highway, a treacherous section that saw many head-on collisions. In 1949, the state of New Jersey pioneered a new design that adopted comparable concrete structures and saw the installation of parabolic median barriers along sections of highways that had steep downgrades. Through a series of design tinkering and better prototypes a standard barrier design was established. Although many other states implemented these barriers, their identity as a New Jersey state development remained.
Jersey Barriers are designed in a manner that redirects a vehicle crash causing the momentum to absorb the impact of the crash and push the vehicle parallel along the barrier’s side so that a rollover is prevented. Over the years other designs and barrier shapes have been created but Jersey Barriers are highly acceptable because of their high pass percentage in the crash tests administered by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).