Steamer Horning
Personal information
Date of birth: (1892-11-15)November 15, 1892
Place of birth: Phoenix, New York
Date of death: January 24, 1982(1982-01-24) (aged 89)
Career information
College: Colgate
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Detroit Heralds ( 1920)
Career highlights and awards
* 1916 College Football All-America Team
  • Colgate University Athletics Hall of Honor
  • All-Pro (1922)
Games played     36
Games started     30
Touchdowns     2
Stats at

Clarence Edward "Steamer" Horning (November 15, 1892 – January 24, 1982) was an American football player in the 1910s and 1920s. He played college football for the Colgate Raiders and was selected in 1916 as a first-team All-American at the tackle position. He also played professional football in the Ohio State League in 1917 and 1919 and in the National Football League (NFL) from 1920 to 1923. He was selected as a first-team All-NFL player in both 1922 and 1923.

Early yearsEdit

Horning was born in 1892 in Phoenix, New York.[1] His parents, Wilburt (or William) and Amelia Horning, were both New York natives. In 1900, the family lived in Phoenix, and Horning's father was described as a "paper machine tender".[2] By 1910, the family had moved to Wheatland, New York, where Horning's father worked as a fireman in another paper mill.[3]

Athletic careerEdit

Colgate UniversityEdit

Horning played college football for the Colgate Raiders from 1913 to 1916.[4][5] In December 1915, he was selected as the captain of the 1916 Colgate team.[4] After the 1916 season, Walter Camp, writing in Collier's Weekly, selected Horning as a first-team All-American at the tackle position.[6]

Pittsburgh PiratesEdit

In early 1917, Horning was signed by Barney Dreyfuss of the Pittsburgh Pirates to play professional baseball,[7] In a draft registration card completed in June 1917, Horning described himself as a baseball player under contract to play for the Pittsbugh National League baseball club.[8] However, it appears from the records of that he never played at the professional level.[9]

Professional football and militaryEdit

In the fall of 1917, Horning began his professional football career playing for the Detroit Heralds, a professional team that competed against teams in Michigan and in the Ohio League.[10] However, his first stint in professional football was interrupted by military service during World War I. Horning was inducted into the military at Fort Niagara, New York, at the end of November 1917.[11]

In 1919, Horning was hired as the assistant coach responsible for the linemen on the University of Detroit football team.[12] He also played for the Detroit Heralds during the 1919 season.[10]

In September 1920, the NFL (called the American Professional Football Association during the 1920 and 1921 seasons) was founded at a meeting in the Hupmobile auto showroom of the owner of the Canton Bulldogs.[13] In the inaugural season of the NFL, Horning played for the 1920 Detroit Heralds.[1] The Heralds opened the 1920 season with a game against the Cleveland Panthers, played at Navin Field on October 10, 1920. The Heralds won by a 40–14 score, and Horning, playing at the right tackle position, also handled kicking for the club and converted on four goals after touchdown for Detroit. Horning's four conversions were the first special team points scored by a Detroit NFL team.[14]

Horning played a total of four seasons in the NFL. After the 1920 season, he played for the Detroit Tigers (1921). When the Tigers folded, Horning was among the players loaned to the Buffalo All-Americans to finish out their season; he scored the All-Americans' only touchdown on a blocked punt return in the de facto championship game that year, falling on the ball in the end zone after the block.[15] The touchdown was one of two Horning, a lineman, scored during his NFL career.[1] Horning spent the 1922 and 1923 seasons with the Toledo Maroons, where he was selected as a first-team All-NFL player by the Canton Daily News in both seasons.[1]

Later yearsEdit

In 1921, Horning became the coach for the University of Detroit High School football team.[16]

In 1940, Horning was living with his wife, Georgianna, and daughter, Betty June, in Royal Oak, Michigan, and was employed as a school teacher.[17] Two years later, he was employed at the high school located at the corner of Glendale and 2nd in Highland Park, Michigan.[18]

In his later years, Horning lived in Beverly Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He died there in 1982 at age 89.[1][19]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Steamer Horning NFL Football Statistics". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  2. 1900 U.S. Census entry for Wilbur Horning and family. Son Clarence, born November 1892 in New York State. Census Place: Schroeppel, Oswego, New York; Roll: 1144; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0146; FHL microfilm: 1241144. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  3. 1910 U.S. Census entry for William Horning and family. He and wife Ameila both New York natives. Son Clarence age 17 born in New York. Census Place: Wheatland, Monroe, New York; Roll: T624_993; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0222; FHL microfilm: 1375006. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Horning Chosen Colgate Captain". Boston Daily Globe: p. 8. December 8, 1915.
  5. Brad Pearson (1990). A Roar from the Valley: Remembering 100 Years of Colgate Football Triumphs and Defeats on and Off the Field. Colgate University Press. p. 25. ISBN 0912568089.
  6. "Three Colgate Men Picked By Camp for All-American Team". The Syracuse Herald: p. Sports. December 26, 1916.
  7. "Welly's Corner". Harrisburg Telegraph: p. 13. February 15, 1917.
  8. Draft registration card dated June 5, 1917 for Clarence Edw Horning, born Nov 15, 1892, at Phoenix, NY. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918 [database on-line].
  9. "Player search for "horning"". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Keith McClellan (1998). The Sunday Game: At the Dawn of Professional Football. University of Akron Press. p. 158.
  11. Clarence Edward Horning, birth Place Phoenix, New York, birth date 15 Nov 1894 [sic]. New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917–1919 [database on-line].
  12. "Three Coaches Working U. of D.: "Steamer" Horning, Formerly of Colgate, Added to Staff as Line Mentor". Detroit Free Press: p. 15. November 4, 1919.
  13. "Sept. 17, 1920 – The Founding of the NFL". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  14. "Heralds Trim Panthers 40–14: Vogel, Cleveland Star Right Halfback, in Hospital From Injuries". Detroit Free Press: p. 13. October 11, 1920.
  15. Howard Roberts (1947). The Chicago Bears. G. P. Putnam's Sons. p. 19.
  16. "Horning Directs Good-Sized Squad". Detroit Free Press: p. 16. September 1921.
  17. 1940 U.S. Census entry for Clarence E. Horning, age 48, born in New York. Census Place: Royal Oak, Oakland, Michigan; Roll: T627_1802; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 63–139. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
  18. World War II draft registration card for Clarence E. Horning, born November 15, 1894 [sic] at Phoenix, NY. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line].
  19. death record for Clarence E Horning, 15 Nov 1892 – 24 Jan 1982. Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Michigan, Deaths, 1971–1996 [database on-line].
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