How It All Started

In the early 1970s, Frank Stucke started his career at Perfect Fit Glove Company as a knitting machine mechanic, moved into a management position and went on to buy the company in 1983 with fellow manager Joe Hoerner. In 1986, Frank and Ed welcomed Ed Mesanovic to Perfect Fit as General Manager. Meanwhile, in 1976 in Wilkesboro, NC, Harold Plemmons established Golden Needles Knitting & Gloves. A few years later, Kerry Dyer was brought in to lead the sales force by growing sales of cut resistant gloves for the automotive and food processing industries.

On their own, each company contributed greatly to U.S. cut resistant glove and sleeve ingenuity. Perfect Fit worked with Abbott Labs to produce the first U.S.-made latex dip on a Kevlar® glove. They also combined the benefits of knit and leather by introducing the world to the Junk Yard Dog® glove. At the same time, Golden Needles entered into a partnership with DuPont® to develop gloves featuring Kevlar® fiber, and at one point became the world’s largest producer of seamless, string-knit gloves.

By the late 1990s, the combined output of both companies was responsible for a significant portion of the cut resistant knit gloves in the U.S. market. Perfect Fit was turning out more than 3 million pairs of gloves a week from its Buffalo headquarters. In Wilkesboro, Golden Needles was producing over five million pairs weekly. In 1997, Ansell acquired Golden Needles while in 1999, Perfect Fit was sold to Bacou USA. Founders from each company moved on to new enterprises, some staying in the glove business, others choosing retirement.

Opportunity Kept Knocking

Over the next 10 years, the markets changed and there was an evident need for customized PPE. That opportunity brought leaders from the two companies back together, and in 2008 Worldwide Protective Products was formed by Kerry Dyer, Ed Mesanovic and Matt Stucke, Frank’s son. Worldwide led the market when it blended fiberglass and aramid fibers to produce a super-strong yarn for cut-resistant gloves and sleeves which they branded as ATA® for Advanced Technology Armor. This innovation represented a shift in value and affordability for high cut resistant gloves in the industrial market.

Worldwide capitalized on the need for customized products for key end-users in automotive and food processing where cut and abrasion risks are high. Both sales and manufacturing capacity grew, leading Worldwide Protective Products to re-establish glove production at the original Golden Needles building in Wilkesboro, NC as well as outside Buffalo, NY for sleeve making. In 2014, they also acquired US Mesh, a manufacturer of metal mesh gloves and garments located in North Attleboro, MA.

In 2019, Joe Milot, steadily increasing the role of PIP® as a global leader in hand protection and PPE, took note of Worldwide’s expertise in customizing PPE to meet end-user needs. It aligned so perfectly with Joe’s philosophy of finding reasons to say yes to the customer that the outcome was almost predictable when Worldwide Protective Products became a member of the PIP Global family.

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