Oldest Glove Brand in the U.S.

Boss Manufacturing got its start back in 1889 when a farmer living in Kewanee, IL, invented and patented a unique corn husking tool. In order to begin mass production, he sought out the help of four local businessmen. In 1893, the Boss Manufacturing Company was established, so named because a popular expression about something that’s the best was, “that’s boss!”

A bit of brilliant marketing led to Boss Manufacturing’s next great innovation. After observing that area farm wives bought large quantities of flannel and sewed work mittens for their husbands, the company decided to meet that need by manufacturing work gloves and mittens. Demand was strong and the business took off. In 1901, Boss® expanded manufacturing beyond the plant in Kewanee to a second operation in Galesburg, IL. Eight more plants quickly followed, covering all of America’s breadbasket.

The Next 100 Years

By the early 1900s, Boss® was referred to as “the US Steel of the cotton work glove and mitten industry.” Retailers began asking to have their company name printed on husking mittens that were then resold for 5-cents a pair. Boss Manufacturing became the largest company in the world making cotton, jersey and flannel work gloves.

Boss® gloves were shipped all over the world. They even went to the Antarctic with Admiral Byrd in the 1930s. A 1936 letter from Byrd thanking Boss® for outfitting his expedition to the South Pole is displayed at the company headquarters.

Boss® continued to grow, adding leather, rubber and latex gloves to their industrial offering. For the retail sector, they focused on meeting the needs of active people with hunting gloves, ski-mobile gloves, ski gloves and rope-tow mittens. In addition to having manufacturing and distribution facilities across the U.S., they also established plants in Mexico and Canada.


Over 100 years since it began as a glove company, the Boss® brand is still well-recognized and trusted as a quality work glove. Today, products and markets include retail consumer and industrial uses. The Boss® logo can be found on select work, garden and sports gloves as well as boots, rainwear and safety gear.

In 2019, Boss Glove and Safety and its coveted brand was acquired by PIP Global and is now integrated into both their PIP® Industrial Safety line and the West Chester retail division.

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