"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN
Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
H. B. GLOVER COMPANY
H. B. GLOVER COMPANY. The H. B. Glover Company, founded by Henry B. GLOVER in a copartnership named H. B. Glover and Company with W. P. Bingham, A. J. Parker, Lester C. BISSELL and J. B. Glover, was one of the oldest manufacturers of men's wear west of Chicago and one of the oldest companies of its type in the nation.
Founded in 1856 as a small auction room on Main Street, the company began large-scale manufacturing of clothing in 1876. (1) Its factory, listed in the 1878-79 Dubuque City Directory was located at 744 to 752 Main. It had forty-eight steam-powered sewing machines and used 2,600 yards of material daily. In June of 1879 the Dubuque Herald reported that the company manufactured 300 dozen overalls per week. (2) The company dissolved the copartnership in December 1890 and established a corporation named H. B. Glover Company. (3)
In 1895 the firm employed three hundred fifty people of which three hundred were women. The company pioneered adjustable pajamas and sweat-proof pockets. A "pocketeer" in overalls provided many pockets for holding tools.WORLD WAR I when a shortage of dyes caused the branches to close. The Dyersville site was later reopened and was in business until the entire company closed in 1955. (6)
In 1921 H. B. Glover began a series of "Buy At Home" advertisements designed to introduce the public to their products and encourage merchants to handle home products with no freight, express "or drayage" charges. (7) Glover had an endorsement deal in 1925 with the "Four Horsemen" of the Notre Dame football team, who sported their leather jackets. (8)
According to the 1936 article “World of Romance Behind Glover Company Products”, Glover took great pride in their materials. (10)
“Most of the raw materials used in Glover Sportswear (Jackets, Coats, Ski Pants, Snow Suits, etc.) originate in the West and the Glover company in selling its goods is emphasizing this very fact. Wool from Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas; Mohair from Del Rio and San Angelo; Sheel leather, Horsehide, Piggrain, etc., from the great plains . . . all these find their way into Glover Sportswear. And yet not all grades of woolens and leathers are good enough for Glover garments. The selected Western Range Woolens, for example, are chosen with infinite care. The choicest portion is bought right on the range, direct from the sheep raiser, thereby eliminating costly brokerage fees and the handling of the wool in dirty, crowded warehouses.”Richard BISSELL, son of the company president. (11) This story was made into the hit musical Pajama Game.
The announcement that the company was closing came in March 1955. Reasons cited were "economic factors" and competition in the industry. (12) Machinery from the plant was sold to the Pendleton Woolen Mills and was shipped to Portland, Oregon. (13)
The 1886-87 Dubuque City Directory listed 103 to 121 6th.
The 1916-1917 Dubuque County Directory listed 470-490 Iowa.
The 1939 Dubuque City Directory listed 480-498 Iowa.
1. Riechman, Leona. " 'Glovers' Known All Over U. S. A.," Telegraph Herald, April 30, 1930. p. 8
2. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, June 20, 1879, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18790620&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
3. "Notice," Dubuque Daily Herald, Deember 31, 1890, p. 4.
4. "The Dubuque Overall Industry Gives Employment to 1,300 Persons," Telegraph Herald, February 16, 1910, p. 1
5. Ibid., p. 12
6. "Glover Firm, Founded in 1856, Closes Doors." Telegraph Herald, March 31, 1955, p. 8
7. "Glover Starts 'Buy at Home' Campaign Here," Times-Journal, June 17, 1921, p. 5
8. Stewart, Spencer. "The Art of Vintage Leather Jackets," Online: http://vintageleatherjackets.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-hb-glover-company-dubuque-iowa.html
9. "The H. B. Glover Company," The Fedora Lounge. Online: http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?72733-The-H-B-Glover-Co
10. "1930s H. B. Glover Utility Jacket," Vintage Haberdashers, Online: http://vintagehaberdashers.com/tag/h-b-glover/
11. "Susan Adams Bissell," The Stone City Art Colony and School 1932-1933, Online: http://projects.mtmercy.edu/stonecity/otherartists/adams.html
12. "Glover Firm..."
13. "Plans to Rent Glover Factory Announced," Telegraph Herald, January 11, 1956, p. 13