Elite Glove Company in Gloversville
The new plant of the Elite Glove company, which was completed recently, adds to Fulton County -- the home of gloves -- one of the finest and best-equipped plants in the country. On being shown through the establishment, the writer, who has made a study of the history of this industry, was struck forcibly with the wonderful advance made in this country since its inception over a century ago. The fruits of this century of progress are all embodied in this modern plant. To give the reader an idea of the evolution of this industry locally, a few words pertaining to the early history of the glove business will be necessary.
To go into details, however, regarding the days when James Burr founded the glove business of a continent, would require several volumes, therefore, the writer will touch briefly upon some of the more important facts connected with the beginning of the industry. Thus, by contrast may be seen the massive strides the craftsmen have attained in their onward march of progress.
This industry is handed down to us today by the early settlers of this section who, as is well known, were a race of sturdy New England settlers, endowed with the Yankee spirit of thrift and enterprise. Not content with tilling the soil, they introduced a number of New England enterprises, in this, their new home. Some were tanners, others shoemakers, and still others tinsmiths. Their homes were often their factories. The tin industry was the first local industry. Household articles made of tin were made up, and loaded on horse back, and transported to neighboring communities, where the stock was exchanged for merchandise of a miscellaneous character. Among the articles brought home by the traders would be generally several deer skins. How to best utilize them was a problem. This was solved when Ezekiel Case came here from Cincinnati shortly after year 1800 and who possessed a partial knowledge of the art of dressing deer skins.
Case dressed several skins and made up a few pairs of buckskin mittens as an experiment. Of course, they were rough and primitive, but they found a ready sale among the farmers and woodchoppers of this section whose rough and laborious work demanded something durable.
than the cloth gloves, which were being manufactured by the hardy Scots who had previous to this located at Perth and were manufacturing textile goods. A strange fact it is, but nevertheless true, that the buckskin product was at that time much cheaper than the fabric gloves. This fact our shrewd ancestors took advantage of, and we find in 1809 that they were not only supplying the local trade, but were furnishing gloves for the entire Mohawk Valley.