Comic Book Questions Answered - where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.
Reader Chris U. wrote in to ask:
With Captain America: Civil War coming out I got to thinking, "When wasCaptain America's shield first described as indestructible?"
Read on for the answer, Chris!
Captain America having an indestructible shield has been such a big part of the character's identity for so long that it is hard to believe that it wasn't always presented as such. The shield didn't have any special properties during the Golden Age besides being a strong shield. Heck, Cap didn't even really even THROW it back then!
He DID throw it in a short story written by Stan Lee, thus making Lee the inventor of Captain America throwing his shield.
When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought Captain America back, they promptly had Cap throwing the shield...
(Note that Kirby hadn't drawn Cap in almost two decades before his Silver Age return!)
While the shield could now be thrown, it was not indestructible.
Iron Man opened it up to put transistors into it...
It was specifically referred to as being made out of STEEL in Avengers #8!
(It's too bad the Avengers weren't captured by the X-Men, then Cap wouldn't be worried at all).
In Avengers #34, Cap has to treat his shield with a special protective coating to fight the Living Laser...
In the next issue, it doesn't even work!
(He just has a new shield the next issue - it is later explained that it was a facsimile shield)
In Avengers #44, the Red Guardian slightly damages Cap's shield...
So it clearly was not indestructible!