This category includes establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture of dress, semi-dress, and work gloves that are made exclusively of leather or leather with lining of other materials. Excluded are establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture of athletic gloves, classified in SIC 3949: Sporting and Athletic Goods, Not Elsewhere Classified; semi-dress and work gloves made primarily of cloth, classified in SIC 2381: Dress and Work Gloves, Except Knit and All-Leather; and safety gloves, classified in SIC 3842: Orthopedic, Prosthetic, and Surgical Appliances and Supplies.
Glove and Mitten Manufacturing
Historical data shows that the industry has been shrinking in both output and the number of manufacturers over the latter part of the twentieth century and the earlier part of the twenty-first century due to competition from lower priced imports. The U.S. glove industry began about 1760 when Sir William Johnson, founder of Johnstown and Gloversville, New York, brought in a group of glove makers from Perthshire, England, to make deerskin mittens and heavy gloves for nearby farmers. Native Americans had shown Johnson how to use the local barks for dying and tanning. The abundant supply of deer hides and the availability of streams and lakes for tanning the hides and transporting the finished gloves to nearby farm communities helped the industry flourish.
Nineteenth-century inventions that mechanized glove cutting and sewing increased productivity in the industry, but the industry still needed skilled workers. In the 1890s, many glove workers came from Italy. Fulton County, where Johnstown and Gloversville are located, remained the U.S. glove-making center and was home to the now defunct industry association and union headquarters. Through the 1930s, the U.S. Department of Labor noted, men cut most of the materials for gloves in the area's many small factories, and most of the sewing was performed by women. Sewing of the heavier work gloves was done in the factories on heavy duty machines, while work on...