Dress and Work Gloves, Except Knit and All-Leather

SIC 2381

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing dress, semidress, and work gloves and mittens from purchased woven or knit fabrics, or from these materials combined with leather or plastics. Knitting mills primarily engaged in manufacturing gloves and mittens are classified in SIC 2259: Knitting Mills, Not Elsewhere Classified; establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing leather gloves are classified in SIC 3151: Leather Gloves and Mittens; those manufacturing sporting and athletic gloves are classified in SIC 3949: Sporting and Athletic Goods, Not Elsewhere Classified; and those manufacturing safety gloves are classified in SIC 3842: Orthopedic, Prosthetic, and Surgical Appliances and Supplies.

Glove manufacturers produce gloves for a variety of purposes, ranging from the functional to the purely ornamental. Because of their utility in work, industry, fashion, and casual apparel, gloves have been a popular accessory for men, women, and children for centuries.

Gloves have been used since the fourteenth century B.C. Linen gloves were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen. These accessories have served many purposes for both men and women throughout history and once were among the costliest items of clothing. In 1834, Xavier Jouvin, a French glove maker, invented a press that could cut six gloves simultaneously, bringing down the cost and increasing their popularity and availability. About 100 years later, the Singer Co. introduced the Pique sewing machine, designed with a thin post that held the glove for sewing the fingers.

During the first half of the twentieth century, Gloversville, New York, together with the surrounding Fulton County region, was considered the glove capital of the world, with around 300 manufacturing companies producing 90 percent of the world's leather gloves. Shortly thereafter, the glove industry had to move production offshore to become more competitive due to rising labor costs. This move began in the 1950s and continued into the 2000s, to places like the Philippines, India, and China. During 1999, glove companies began targeting niche markets, such as specialty gloves for the government, using U.S. production in Gloversville.

The two major types of gloves include work or industrial gloves and casual or dress gloves. Casual and dress gloves are different from work gloves in many ways. Unlike their more durable counterparts, they are made from finer fabrics and weaves--including linen, silk, and fine weaves of cotton and wool. Their popularity as an accessory rises and falls according to the dictates of fashion.

Because industrial gloves are designed to provide protection, they are constructed of more durable materials, such as cotton, wool, or leather. In 1999, the American National Standards Institute and the Industrial Safety Equipment Association issued a hand protection standard ANSI/ISEA 105-1999. This standard provides glove selection criteria in 12 specific categories related to testing and performance properties, including puncture resistance, abrasion, protection from heat and cold, and chemical resistance.

The world's largest glove maker in the late 2000s was Wells Lamont Corp. of Niles, Illinois. Founded in 1907, Wells Lamont, a subsidiary of the Marmon Group, manufactured work gloves, garden gloves, hunting gloves, mittens, and gloves for industrial uses. Annual sales for the firm in the mid-2000s were around $33 million. Another industry leader was Best Glove Inc. of Menlo, Georgia, which produced more than 100 different glove styles for use in the industrial and health care markets. Best Glove was acquired by SHOWA of Japan in 2007. Other industry leaders included Southern Glove Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Newton, North Carolina, and Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing Co. LLC, with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 55 establishments engaged in glove manufacturing in 2007, down significantly from 95 in 2004. Total industry shipment values declined from $143 million in 2004 to an estimated $124.9 million in 2007. Employment by manufacturers of gloves also continued on a downward trend begun in the mid-1990s. In 2007, a total of 1,247 employees worked in this industry, as compared to 3,044 in 2004 and 5,068 in 2001. Approximately 88 percent of employees were production workers. Dun and Bradstreet reported in 2009 that Illinois accounted for the highest percentage of employees in this category as well as the highest value of sales. Georgia was second in terms of revenue. The remaining three states in the top five--California, Missouri, and New Jersey--accounted for significantly less in sales compared to the top two.

As with many segments of the manufacturing industry, competition from overseas companies utilizing cheap labor continued to be a concern for glove manufacturers, especially as the trade restrictions were lifted in 2008. For example, imports of gloves from China alone totaled $296 million in 2005, up from $262 million the previous year.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

News and information about Dress and Work Gloves, Except Knit and All-Leather

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US Fed News Service, Including US State News; December 3, 2017; 638 words
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