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GLOVES AND 
THE GLOVE TRADE 



PITMAN'S C OMMON COMMODITIES 
AND INDUSTRIES 



GLOVES AND THE 
GLOVE TRADE 



B. ELDRED ELLIS 




LONDON 
SIR ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, LTD. 
PARKER STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C.2 

BATH, MELBOURNE, TORONTO, NEW YORK 
1921 



COMMON COMMODITIES 
AND INDUSTRIES SERIES 



Each book in crown 8vo, cloth, with 
many illustrations, charts, etc., 3- net 



TEA. By A. Ibbetson 
COFFEE. By B. B. Keable 
SUGAR. By Geo. Martineau, C.B. 
OILS. By C. Ainsworth Mitchell, 

B.A., F.I.C. 
WHEAT. By Andrew Millar 

RUBBER. By C. Beadle and H. P. 
Stevens, M.A., Ph.D., F.I.C. 

IRON AND STEEL. By C. Hood 
COPPER. By H. K. Picard 
COAL. By Francis H. Wilson, 

M.Inst., M.E. 
TIMBER. By W. Bullock 
COTTON. By R. J. Peake 
SILK. By Luther Hoopek 
WOOL. By J. A. Hunter 
LINEN. By Alfred S. Moore 
TOBACCO. By A. E. Tanner 
LEATHER. By K. J. Adcock 
KNITTED FABRICS. By J. Cham- 
berlain and J. H. Quilter 
CLAYS. By Alfred B. Searle 
PAPER. By Harry A. Maddox 
SOAP. By William A. Simmons, 
B.Sc. (Lond.), F.C.S. 

THE MOTOR INDUSTRY. By 

Horace Wyatt, B.A. 

GLASS AND GLASS MAKING. By 

Percival Marson 

GUMS AND RESINS. By E. J. 
Parry, B.Sc, F.I.C, F.C.S. 

THE BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY. 

By J. S. Harding 
GAS AND GAS MAKING. By 

W. H. Y. Webber 
FURNITURE. By H. E. Binstead 
COAL TAR. By A. R. Warnes 
PETROLEUM. By A. Lidgett 
SALT. By A. F. Calvert 



ZINC. By T. E. Lones, M.A., LL.D., 

B.Sc. 
PHOTOGRAPHY. By Wm. Gamble. 

ASBESTOS. By A. Leonard 

Summers 
SILVER. By Benjamin White 
CARPETS. By Reginald S Brinton 

PAINTS AND VARNISHES. By 

A S. Jennings 
CORDAGE AND CORDAGE HEMP 

AND FIBRES. By T. Woodhouse 

and P. Kilgour 
ACIDS AND ALKALIS. By G. H. J. 

Adlam 
ELECTRICITY. By R. E. Neale, 

B.Sc, Hons. 
ALUMINIUM. By Captain G. 

Mortimer 
GOLD. By Benjamin White. 

BUTTER AND CHEESE. By C. 

W. Walker-Tisdale and Jean 
Jones. 
THE BRITISH CORN TRADE. By 

A. Barker. 

LEAD. By J. A. Smythe, D.Sc. 
ENGRAVING. By T. W. Lascelles. 

STONES AND QUARRIES. By J. 

Allen Howe, O.B.E., B.Sc, 

M.I.M.M. 
EXPLOSIVES. By S. I. Levy, B.A., 

B.Sc, F.I.C. 
THE SLOTHING INDUSTRY. By 

B. W. Poole, M.U.K.A. 
TELEGRAPHY, TELEPHONY, AND 

WIRELESS. By J. Poole, 

A.M.I.E.E. 
PERFUMERY. By E. J. Parry. 
THE ELECTRIC LAMP INDUSTRY- 

By G. Arncliffe Percival. 

ICE AND COLD STORAGE. By B. H. 

Springett. 



OTHERS IN PREPARATION 






to £? 



PREFACE 



The primary object of this short handbook is to furnish 
in popular form an account of an industry which, 
although of comparatively minor importance in point 
of value and extent, by reason of its antiquity and 
the conditions under which it is carried on, presents 
many features of exceptional interest. It has been 
planned to meet the needs of that large class of drapery 
buyers and assistants who are concerned with the 
buying and selling of gloves for and to the public ; but 
it is hoped that it may also find favour with a wider 
circle of readers from the ranks of those who are curious 
to learn something of the conditions under which 
articles in e very-day use are produced. For that reason 
technical language and terms have been avoided,, or 
where used are carefully explained. 

A brief sketch is given of the history of the glove, 
and chapters are devoted to the various processes 
involved in the making of both leather and fabric 
gloves. 

It is the author's earnest hope, above all things, that 
this little work, slight as it is, may kindle a deeper 
interest in the British branches of the trade, the 
activities of which deserve to be more widely known and 
appreciated than they seem to be at the present time. 

In conclusion, I must express my hearty appreciation 
of the advice, suggestions and help extended to me by 
several friends in the trade, and especially to Messrs. 
Dent, Allcroft & Co., Ltd., F. Blake & Co., Thos. 
Adams, Ltd., and Messrs. Beardsley, for their . kind 
courtesy and co-operation. 



B. E. E, 

London, December, 1920. 



$ 



JO 



\ K 



s 






^ %, 







WITH 

THE 

WORLD' 



TRADE MARK. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 

PREFACE . 

I. THE ANTIQUITY OF THE GLOVE . 
II. THE GLOVE AS A SYMBOL . 

III. THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 

IV. LEATHER GLOVES : SKINS AND THEIR ORIGIN 
V. SKIN-DRESSING AND TREATMENT 

VI. DYEING AND DRESSING THE LEATHER . 
VII. GLOVE-CUTTING .... 

VIII. SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 
IX. FABRIC GLOVES : ORIGIN OF THE INDUSTRY 
X. MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 
XI. MARKETING ..... 

XII. DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 
XIII. BRITISH GLOVE TRADE ORGANISATIONS 

GLOSSARY 

INDEX ...... 



PAGE 

V 

1 

8 

12 

23 

31 

48 

60 

72 

91 

98 

113 

117 

136 

141 

144 







GLOVE WORN BY CHARLES 



The Property of 

FOWNES BROTHERS & COMPANY 



(1463j) 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

VIEW OF A GLOVE FACTORY SEWING-ROOM Frontispiece 



PLATE 

1. GLOVES OF HENRY VI 

2. GLOVES OF QUEEN ELIZABETH . 

3. GLOVES OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS . 

4. VIEW OF A LEATHER DRESSING YARD 

5. STAKING THE SKINS (HAND METHOD) . 

6. THE MACHINE METHOD OF STAKING . 

7. WASHING THE SKINS PREPARATORY TO DYEING 

8. PARING THE SKINS WITH THE ROUND OR MOON 

SHAPED KNIFE ...... 

9. THE PARING WHEEL .... 

10. A GLOVE CUTTER AT WORK 

11. STAMPING OUT THE PARTS OF THE GLOVE IN 1 

CUTTING PRESS ..... 

12. THUMBPIECE, TRANK AND FOURCHETTES FOR 

GLOVE WITH ROUND THUMB . 



13. 

14. 
15. 
16. 
17. 

18. 
19. 
20. 
21. 
22. 

23. 
24. 



THUMBPIECE, TRANK AND FOURCHETTES 
GLOVE OF BOULTON THUMB TYPE . 



FOR 



THE BROSSER POINT .... 

THE VICTOR POINT ..... 

EXAMPLE OF RAISED POINT 

RAISED POINT WITH SINGLE ROWS OF DOUBLE 
NEEDLE STITCHING .... 

THE- PARIS POINT ..... 

TAMBOURING THE BACK OF THE GLOVE 

HAND SEWING USING THE " DONKEY-FRAME " 

TYPICAL ROUNDSEAM SEWING MACHINE 

SPECIAL MACHINE WITH TAPERED POST FOR 
SEWING FINGERS OF GLOVES 

PRIX SEAM MACHINE . 

SPECIAL MACHINE FOR PIQUE STITCH 

ix 



PAGE 

14 



GLOVES AND 
THE GLOVE TRADE 

CHAPTER I 

THE ANTIQUITY OF THE GLOVE 

It is impossible to fix, with any certainty, when the 
glove as we know it to-day first originated. How- 
ever, there seems little reason to doubt that the practice 
of protecting the hands with some sort of covering 
reaches back to the very remotest days of man's history. 
Indeed, one eminent anthropologist, no less an authority 
than Dr. Boyd Dawkins, has suggested that the pre- 
historic Cave-men, whose existence dates from before 
the Glacial period, adopted some form of protection for 
their hands which bore a close affinity to the glove 
of modern times. If this theory is to be accepted, the 
antiquity of hand-wear is apparent, for the Glacial period 
is generally regarded by geologists as having commenced 
some 240,000 years ago. 

This contention, of course, is quite speculative ; but, 
looking at the matter from a human point of view, it 
seems perfectly reasonable to assume that the need of 
protecting the hands, both against cold and against 
rough usage in passing through thickets, etc., must have 
been experienced at a very early stage of human develop- 
ment. This possibly brought about the adoption of 
some kind of rough coverings, rudely fashioned from the 
skins of beasts of the chase, and it is probably in some 
such manner that the first rudimentary gloves came to 

1 



2 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

be invented by our pre-historic ancestors. Support 
for this view of the origin of the glove is provided by the 
fact that crude, fingerless coverings for the hand were 
observed to be in use among the primitive peoples of 
northern latitudes by the earliest Arctic explorers. 

However that may be, coming to the times of which it 
is possible to speak with more certitude, ample evidence 
of the use of hand coverings at an early period of man's 
history is forthcoming from ancient literature. There 
is little doubt that gloves of some kind or another were 
used by the ancient Persians and Greeks. Xenophon 
ridiculed the Persians because they used them in cold 
weather ; while in the " Odyssey," Laertes, the farmer 
king, is described as wearing some form of covering to 
protect his hands from thorns. Whether the glove was 
commonly adopted by the Romans is at least open to 
question, but it is known that they were worn to some 
extent, and are referred to in classical writings variously 
as " digitalia" and " chirothecae." Pliny the Younger 
also refers to their use by the amanuensis of the elder 
Pliny, his uncle. Possibly, however, they were regarded 
with contempt by the somewhat austere Romans as 
articles of effeminate luxury. 

In warfare and the realm of sport some form of 
mailed glove or gauntlet seems to have been in use 
from the earliest times of which we have any record. 
The " Cestus " or " Caestus " is mentioned in the 
account of the Trojan games, a thousand years before the 
Christian Era, in Virgil's JEneid, Book V. They were 
used not only as weapons of offence, but also as tokens 
of defiance. It took several forms, but generally 
consisted of thongs of leather wound or plaited round 
the hands and weighted with metal. Some were 
particularly formidable, and a single blow from one 
was often sufficient to cause death. 



THE ANTIQUITY OF THE GLOVE 3 

When the glove, as we wear it, came to be introduced 
to these islands is a matter of controversy. Planche, 
the author of The Cyclopcedia of British Costume, 
declares that " Gloves do not appear to have been used 
by either sex before the eleventh century." Yet it 
seems certain that gloves were known in Britain at a 
much earlier period. Whilst we have no evidence that 
they were worn by the Ancient Britons, it is within the 
region of possibility that they were brought here by the 
Romans. They were certainly worn in Anglo-Saxon 
times, though not to any very great extent. Some 
authorities assert that gloves were already being worn 
by the clergy and military in England and France by 
ad. 712 In the life of St. Columbanus, written by 
Jonas, Abbot of Bobbio (Italy), in the seventh 
century, gloves are spoken of as being used among the 
monks to protect the hands in manual labour . Th at they 
were in fairly general use among the French nobility is 
certain from the fact that the Emperor Charlemagne in 
a.d. 790 granted legal permission to the abbot and monks 
of Sithin for the hunting of deer in order that the skins 
might be available (among other things) for glove- 
making. The Great Council at Aix (a.d. 809) seems to 
have turned aside from its consideration of weighty 
doctrinal disputes in order to prohibit monks from 
wearing any gloves but those made from sheepskin, 
deerskin gloves being reserved for bishops. This 
regulation was made in order to arrest the growing 
passion for ostentation and display among the religious 
brotherhoods. The rule, however, proved ineffective, 
and, finding it impossible to stop such exhibitions of 
ecclesiastical luxury, another council, held later at 
Poictiers, confined the use of gloves, sandals and rings 
to bishops. 

Positive evidence that the glove was in use in England 



4 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

prior to the eleventh century is provided by a law of 
Ethelred (a.d. 978-1016) whereby merchants from the 
Low Countries coming in their ships to Blyngesgate 
(our modern Billingsgate) were directed to pay as toll 
at Easter and Christmas " two grey cloths, and one 
brown one, ten pounds of pepper, two vessels of vinegar 
and five pairs of gloves " (vide Howell's History of the 
World). But, although gloves were in use, it is question- 
able if glove-making as an industry was carried on in 
England to any extent at that period. The art of 
leather-dressing was certainly practised in many of the 
monasteries, and possibly glove -making may have also 
furnished an occupation for the monks here and there 
throughout the country, but the earliest references to 
gloving as a craft in England do not occur until much 
later. On the Continent, however, by the tenth cen- 
tury, glove-making had become a recognised industry in 
several centres, and the Norman conquest seems to have 
brought in its train the gradual adoption of the glove by 
the nobility and clergy of this country. 

The gloves of this period were almost certainly 
always made of either deer or sheep skins, or linen or 
silk, and were frequently of the gauntlet type. Long 
years elapsed ere they passed into common usage, even 
among the classes to whom they were first introduced' — ■ 
the clergy, military and nobility. After the reign of 
Henry I, however, the custom of wearing them gradually 
came to be firmly established. Possibly it was the scope 
which the glove offered for ornamentation that gave 
the first impetus to its general adoption, for there are 
indications that thus early in its history it began to 
•develop claims to be regarded as an article of fashion 
as well as of utility. For instance, embroidered gloves, 
and gloves with bejewelled backs are mentioned by 
Planch e as having been in vogue in the twelfth century. 



THE ANTIQUITY OF THE GLOVE 5 

In any case the foppery of the young Norman nobles 
came in for contemporary condemnation, for we find 
one writer of the period declaring with some acerbity 
that they covered their hands with gloves " too long 
and too wide for doing anything useful." 

We have already stated that glove-making had become 
recognised as an industry in several centres on the 
Continent by the tenth century. France has always 
been famous for its gloves, and the French glove industry 
without doubt ante-dated that of this country. In 
a.d. 1190 the first Corporation of Glovers of which we 
have any knowledge was established by Philippe II. 
This corporation was established at Paris and its objects 
were (1) the regulation of the manufacture and sale of 
gloves, (2) the supervision and adjustment of the 
various interests of masters, journeymen and apprentices, 
and (3) the tendering of assistance to aged and neces- 
sitous members of the fraternity. The first Glovers' 
Guild in Britain was established at Perth. It is said 
that the Perth glovers received a charter in a.d. 1165, 
from William the Lion ; but the evidence on this point 
is not conclusive. Their records can be traced back to 
a.d. 1390, and a charter was granted them in 1406 by 
Robert III. The Glovers' Guild of Perth is still a wealthy 
and influential corporation, although the craft has long 
since ceased to characterise the town. By 1464, we read 
that the London glovers were granted arms by Edward 
IV, but the glovers of the metropolis had to wait until 
1638 before they received their charter of Incorporation 
from Charles I. 

By the middle of the fifteenth century the English 
glove industry must have already been regarded as 
having attained a position of some importance, for in 
1463, the importation of foreign gloves was prohibited 
by an edict of Edward IV in order to afford protection 



b GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

to the growing trade of his " loyal and peaceful citizens, 
the glovers." Incidentally, this prohibition was renewed 
in the following century (a.d. 1564) and also by Charles 
II, and remained in force until 1825, when the importa- 
tion of gloves was again permitted, subject to a small 
ad valorem duty. This duty was repealed in 1860, 
and subsequently the English glove industry was 
severely hit by competition from abroad, particularly 
in the lower grades of gloves. 

Worcester, which is now the chief centre of the English 
glove trade, was one of the earliest seats of the industry. 
The Worcester glovers were incorporated in 1661, and 
they early gained a very high reputation for Venetian 
gloves, made in imitation of those imported from 
Venice . 

It may be interesting here to record that the charter 

granted to the London Glovers in 1638 was ostensibly 

given with a view to correcting certain abuses which had 

crept into the craft, concerning which the glovers 

themselves had petitioned the Crown. The preamble 

is worth quoting even at this distance of time. W T e have, 

of course, modernised the language to render it more 

intelligible : 

We have been informed that their families (the glovers') are 
about 400 in number, and upon them depending above 3,000 
of our subjects who are much decayed and impoverished by- 
reason of the great confluence of persons of the same art trade 
or mystery into our cities of London and Westminster from all 
parts of our Kingdom of England and dominion of Wales that, 
for the most part, have scarcely served any time thereunto, 
working of gloves in chambers and corners, and taking appren- 
tices under them, many in number, as well women as men, that 
become burdensome in the parishes wherein they inhabit, and 
are a disordered multitude, living without proper government, 
and making naughty and deceitful gloves. 

The charter goes on to state that the reputation of 

English glovers had been much damaged by the 

activities of these strangers to the City. Therefore, 



THE ANTIQUITY OF THE GLOVE 7 

the London Company was endowed with extremely 
wide powers, and authorised to search for and destroy 
bad or defective skins, leather, or gloves. In these 
days, when traders or manufacturers most strongly 
resent any interference with their liberties, and to whom 
the mere suggestion of control or regulation of trade is 
anathema, it seems strange to read of a body of manu- 
facturers seeking to have their businesses subject to 
supervision in this way. Such, however, was the 
spirit of olden times. In those days infinite reliance was 
placed on protection, and these ancient guilds were 
endowed with the very widest powers and for a long 
time even fixed the wages which artisans were entitled 
to receive and the prices at which commodities were to 
be sold. The wheel appears to be coming full circle 
again ; for wages are now controlled by industrial 
councils and Trade Boards, while there is a very clamant 
demand abroad for the limitation of prices and profits. 
To conclude this brief historical sketch, it is perhaps 
necessary to remark that the use of gloves seems at first 
to have been confined to men. Originally, as we have 
already indicated, they were restricted to the ranks of 
the clergy and military, and their use outside of the 
church or the army was according to at least one 
authority (Mr. S. William Beck) interdicted by law. 
Indeed, ladies no not appear to have worn gloves until 
the period of the Reformation, but during the sixteenth 
century the fashion began to set strongly in their favour, 
and since those days, the custom of wearing them has 
gradually extended among all classes. 



2— (1463 j) 



CHAPTER II 

THE GLOVE AS A SYMBOL 

Many explanations of the origin of the word " glove " 
have been advanced from time to time, and one of the 
most generally accepted theories is that the word is 
derived from the Saxon " glofe " to hide or to cover. 
This root again, according to etymologists, is a modifica- 
tion of the verb " geloben " or " geloven," to vow or 
to have faith. Whether that derivation is to be trusted 
or not, it is at least significant that the glove seems to 
have been used from time immemorial- as a symbol of 
good faith or trust. We find it appearing as a legal 
symbol in connection with the transfer of property in 
the East from vQry early times, the handing over of the 
seller's glove to the purchaser being the recognised 
form of investing the new owner with his rights. It is 
said that this form of investiture applied particularly 
to the disposal of land. Biblical testimony is sometimes 
advanced in support f this theory, some scholars con- 
tending that the Hebrew word translated " shoe " in 
the fourth chapter of the Book of Ruth (v. 7 and 8) 
would be more properly translated "glove." (Hull's 
History of the Glove Trade.) To confirm the contract 
there mentioned, a " shoe " was handed by the kinsman 
to Boaz, which " was the manner in former time in 
Israel concerning the redeeming, and concerning changing 
for to confirm all things." In any case, even in much 
more recent times, the exchange of gloves was customary 
among the Jews to ratify bargains and confirm 
contracts. 

Isaac D 'Israeli, the author of Curiosities of Litera- 
ture, and the father of Lord Beaconsfield, disinterred 



THE GLOVE AS A SYMBOL 9 

many interesting details concerning the symbolism of 
the glove from obscure literary sources, where they lay 
buried. 

According to old Germanic law, the hand was the great 
symbol of power, and no doubt the glove derived some 
of its significance from that fact. Unquestionably in 
the Middle Ages the glove enjoyed great importance as 
a sign or title of investiture. The Earl of Flanders 
in a.d. 1294 delivered up the towns of Bruges and Ghent 
to King Phillip the Fair, by handing him a pair of gloves. 
Du Cange quotes a Charter of the thirteenth century, 
wherein the re-investiture or restitution of land is also 
symbolised by depositing a glove upon the earth. At one 
time no town of Saxony could establish a free market 
without Imperial sanction, and in token of his per- 
mission the Emperor was wont to send his right hand 
glove. Similarly, no new township could be estab- 
lished without the same permission, which was accom- 
panied by a like symbol of authority. The issue of 
coins was also conditional upon the same curious for- 
mality, and in some instances the recipients would 
return a left-hand glove stocked with money in 
acknowledgment . 

In this country also it was at one time customary to 
establish fairs and markets by virtue of the King's 
glove, and it was for a long period usual to display a 
glove prominently upon a pole in the centre of the fair 
as a symbol of the King's indulgence. Here again we 
have a typical instance of the use of the glove as a token 
of protection : for in many cases its presence conferred 
the extraordinary privilege that during the fair, criminals 
and debtors enjoyed immunity from arrest. 

The use of the glove as a token of loyalty or champion- 
ship will be familiar to most people. In the days of 
chivalry, for a knight to cast down his glove or gauntlet 



10 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

was tantamount to a challenge to combat, and the usual 
mode of acceptance was for the challenger to take up 
the glove, at the same time casting down his own. A 
striking instance of this custom was the Royal champion- 
ship, which survived until the nineteenth century. At 
the coronation of a king or queen of England at West- 
minster the hereditary champion flung down his 
gauntlet, whilst the herald proclaimed the challenge. 
This part of the ceremony was first dispensed with at 
the coronation of Queen Victoria. 

Steevens, in his Notes on Shakespere, observes that it 
was " anciently the custom to wear gloves in the hat 
on three distinct occasions, viz., as the favour of a 
mistress, the memorial of a friend, and as a mark to be 
challenged by an enemy." Every reader of Shake- 
speare will remember the incident in Henry V , where 
the King, the night before Agincourt, walking in the 
lines, takes a glove as a gage from one of his men-at- 
arms. 

A quaint old rhyme of the sixteenth century, A 
Vision of Piers Plowman contains the following curious 
reference to the glove : 

Yea, I have lent lords, that loved me never after 

And hath made mani a knight, both mercer and draper, 

That paid not for his prentishod one pair of gloves. 

This led the late Mr. S. William Beck, in his Drapers' 
Dictionary, to suggest that the glove entered into the 
ancient compact of apprenticeship in some manner. 
It is impossible to confirm this, and a more plausible 
explanation of the rhyme might be that the knightly 
" mercers and drapers " referred to were apprenticed 
free, that is, not even paying the nominal value of a pair 
of gloves as premium. 

Another instance of the symbolism bound up with the 
glove survives to the present day. This is the ancient 



THE GLOVE AS A SYMBOL 11 

custom of presenting the judge with a pair of white 
gloves at a maiden assize (i.e., when no cases appear in 
the list to be heard). It is not at all certain how the 
practice originated, or when. Undoubtedly it is of 
great antiquity. It has been suggested that it sprang 
from the practice of prisoners, who, pardoned after 
concjemnation, were wont to present their judges with 
a pair of gloves. This latter custom is referred to in 
an old seventeenth-century rhyme, The Recantation 
of an III- Led Life — 

Those pardoned men who took their princes' loves 
(As married to new life) do give you gloves. 

From the foregoing it will be seen the glove has long 
figured as a token of trust and of honour, and also as a 
symbol of defiance. To-day, it is esteemed the wide- 
world over as a pledge of friendship and an emblem of 
confidence. 



CHAPTER III 

THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 

Before gloves came into common use, other expedients 
were adopted to protect the hand against the inclemency 
of the weather. At one period the sleeves of ladies' 
robes and cloaks were made long enough to be drawn 
down over the hand. Neither did men disdain to 
protect themselves from the cold by similar means. 
Mr. J. R. Planche, in his Cyclopaedia of Costume, instances 
examples from the dress of Anglo-Saxon times, where 
the tunics worn by the men of that period were furnished 
with a long wide sleeve, which in mild weather was 
wrinkled up at the wrist and secured by a strap or 
bracelet of leather, but which could be drawn down over 
the hand in severe weather to afford the protection now 
obtained from the glove. Muffs were also used for the 
same purpose. Gradually, however, the advantage 
to be derived from gloves came to be recognised, and 
they have steadily grown in popular favour. From 
records still extant it would appear safe to assume that 
most early gloves were of the fingerless type, having a 
separate stall for the thumb only. The glove fitted with 
separate fingers developed later. In the first place 
they were worn for the warmth or protection they 
afforded their wearers, but from mere articles of utility 
they ultimately came to be regarded both as a badge 
of rank and as a means of ostentation and display. It 
is impossible at this distance of time to trace the gradual 
evolution of their development in these respects, but, 
according to both William Hull and S. William Beck, by 
the thirteenth century we find them figuring in the 

12 



THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 13 

investiture of kings and among the symbolical vest- 
ments of the clergy. The gloves of the early monarchs 
were frequently adorned with precious stones and richly 
decorated with gold or silver embroidery. In the case 
of episcopal gloves, a pair worn by William of Wykeham 
are still preserved at New College, Oxford (which he 
founded in 1379), and these convey to us an idea of the 
ecclesiastical gloves of those days. They were made of 
red silk, the backs being embellished with a gold 
embroidered circle surrounding the sacred monogram 
" I.H.S." The thumbs and fingers are also decorated 
with gold embroidery, whilst a curious embroidery 
appears upon the gauntlets. As with all the specimens 
of early gloves in existence, these are somewhat crude 
in shape and appear to have been extremely loose in 
the palm and remarkably short in the finger. 

From these and similar examples to be found in 
museums scattered throughout the country one is able 
to form some impression of the character of the gloves 
worn in mediaeval ages. No matter whether they were 
made of leather, silk or linen, these early specimens were 
almost without exception crude and inelegant in shape 
and loosely fitting, but their lack of attractiveness in this 
respect was more than compensated by the richness 
and beauty of their decoration. In this country gloves 
first came into fairly general use among the Norman 
nobility, and immediately began to play their part in 
the realm of fashion. For a long period, their use 
seems to have been confined to men, but the costume of 
the sterner sex in those days was far less sober than now, 
and the gloves of the period were in keeping with the 
rest of male attire. From the pages of William Hull, 
J. R. Planche, and S. W. Beck, we learn what art and 
skill were lavished upon these mediaeval gloves to make 
them attractive. Rich embroideries, often executed 



14 



GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 



with gold or silver thread, fringes and tassels, and even 
jewels and precious stones, were employed for their 




From Beck's " Gloves, Their Annals and Associations " 
GLOVES OF HENRY VI 



embellishment, and many of the gloves worn in those 
days must have been of great beauty and value. 

Beck, in his Gloves, their Annals and Associations, 
gives a description of a glove once in the possession of 
Henry VI. This appears to have been a rather plain 
and homely article, and, we are informed, was made of 
tanned leather, lined with deerskin, dressed with the 



THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 15 

hair still on. In shape it exhibits all the lack of elegance 
and shapeliness characteristic of mediaeval gloves. In 
style it is of the gauntlet type, with the top of the gaunt- 
let rolling back on to the wrist. The thumb is of a 
peculiar shape, resembling somewhat a heart that has 
been elongated towards its apex. The dimensions, 
which are also given, are rather interesting. From the 
end of the middle ringer to the commencement of the 
gauntlet measures 8 ins., and the gauntlet 5 ins., giving 
a total length of 13 ins. At the thumb this glove measures 

4 ins. across, whilst the gauntlet is rather more than 

5 ins. in width. 

Mr. Beck, to whose work reference has already been 
made, has probably contributed more to the history of 
gloves than any other writer. His book is stored with 
a wealth of detail which testifies to the admirable zeal 
and painstaking industry with which he conducted his 
researches after glove lore, and it is largely to him that we 
are indebted for our knowledge of the character of 
mediaeval gloves. Among the famous gloves he describes 
and illustrates are specimens which are reported to have 
been in the possession of prominent personalities in 
English history, notably those of Henry VIII, 
Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, James I, and 
Shakespeare. 

Those of Henry VIII are hawking gloves, and in their 
heavy, bluff outline present an appearance strangely 
in keeping with the popular conception of the character 
of that monarch. Somewhat broad in the hand, and 
rather short and broad in the fingers, they are of the 
usual gauntlet type, and the only attempt at decorative 
effect is furnished by a rather crude and clumsily 
executed circular embroidery on the gauntlet. 

In striking contrast to these are the gloves of Queen 
Elizabeth, the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots, and those 




By permission of the Keeper of the Bodleian Library 
GLOVES OF QUEEN ELIZABETH 



THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 17 

of James I. Those of Elizabeth may still be seen in 
the Bodleian Library at Oxford. They are reported 
to have been worn by her on the occasion of her visit 
to the University in 1566. These are close upon 16 ins. 
long, and are finished at the gauntlet with a 2 in. fringe 
of gold thread. The gloves themselves are of exceedingly 
fine white leather, beautifully embroidered with a 
scroll-work of gold thread which covers the gauntlet and 
is continued round the base of the thumb. The size 
of these gloves is remarkable, the middle finger being 
close upon 5 ins. long, the thumb quite 5 ins. and the 
width at the palm 3| ins. 

Beautiful as these gloves are, they are easily excelled 
by those of Mary Queen of Scots, which are (or were 
until recent years) still preserved in the Saffron- Walden 
Museum. These are elegant in shape, and beautifully 
made of buff coloured leather. The elaborate 
embroidery upon the gauntlet, executed in silver wire 
and various coloured silks is a remarkable example of 
sixteenth-century work. The design includes roses 
carried out in two shades of blue and crimson silk and 
foliage of green silk, with a bird in flight. The gauntlet 
is lined with crimson satin, and finished with a fringe of 
gold lace, decorated with steel or silver spangles. The 
opening of the gauntlet is connected by two bands of 
crimson silk decorated with silver lace. 

Yet another glove reported to have belonged to the 
same unfortunate lady is preserved in the Ashmolean 
Museum. These are of a plainer type, being neither 
so beautiful nor so ornate as the Saffron- Walden speci- 
mens. They are also less shapely, but the workmanship 
is particularly neat. They are fitted with a short 
gauntlet, which is embellished with decorative stitching 
and rosettes of ribbons. These gloves, also, are rather 
on the large side, from which one is inclined to conclude 



18 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

that the gloves of those days were purposely made on 
roomy lines, rather than that gloves of such size were 
necessitated by the proportions of their owners. 




By permission of the Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum 
GLOVES OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS 

Other examples of beautiful sixteenth-century glove 
wear are illustrated in Beck's pages. If these owe 
nothing in point of interest to their identification 
with illustrious owners, they are entitled to notice by 
reason of their sheer beauty. One such pair of 
sixteenth-century gloves is described by Beck in the 
following passage — ■ 



THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 19 

The magnificent embroidery on the cuff of the glove, of which 
both back and front are given, can hardly be done justice to in 
description, or even in colourless print. Every flower, the 
columbine and pink in particular, the butterflies, and even a little 
goldfinch in the middle of the cuff, are rendered in natural colours 
with an exquisite fidelity, and with such skill as to make them 
veritable needle-paintings, in which, too, the needle well holds 
its own against the brush. The work is done in fine silk, and the 
shading is eloquent of the skill of early dyers, for the range of 
colours admitting of such undefinable graduations must have 
been very extensive. The colours are, of course, somewhat 
faded, but, considering their age, are wonderfully well-preserved. 
The raised gold work and stitching with gold thread are also 
in excellent condition, though the work has in some places worn 
out the white satin on which, with such excellent skill, it was 
first grounded. The glove is nearly 13 inches in total length. 
The whole cuff, 4£ inches in depth, is lined with crimson silk, 
and the side bands of cloth of gold ribbon, edged with gold 
fringe, were probably attached to the gloves to confine the wide 
leeves, and allow the ornamentation of the gauntlets unhindered 
admiraton. 

Exceptional interest attaches to a pair of gloves 
illustrated and described in the same volume. These, 
it is believed, belonged at one time to Shakespeare. They 
are said to have been presented to Garrick by the Mayor 
and Corporation of Stratford-on-Avon in 1769, and 
ultimately passed into the possession of the Benson 
family. They are made of stout leather, and are 
ornamented with red and gold scroll work at the knuckles. 
A fringed yellow ribbon borders the cuff, which is formed 
of a double layer of leather, in the upper surface of 
which is a pinked pattern. 

In passing, it is worthy of mention that there is some 
ground for assuming that William Shakespeare's father 
may have been identified with glove manufacture. 
Aubrey, the old chronicler, says he was a butcher, but 
more modern opinion seems to incline to the belief that 
he was a wool dealer and glover. It may well have been 
that he was all three, for the callings of grazier, wool 
stapler, and leather dresser not infrequently went 



20 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

together. In any case, an examination of the poet's 
works discloses numerous allusions to the glover's craft, 
and such knowledge in itself affords strong presumptive 
evidence that at some time or another Shakespeare had 
ample opportunity to familiarise himself with the tools 
and processes of the glover's calling. 

To return to the part which the glove has played in 
the realm of fashion, the advent of the Puritans to 
power ushered in an era of severity in costume, and the 
glove suffered in the general eclipse. The wonderfully 
decorated gloves which had been pre-eminent during 
the Tudor and Stuart periods found no place in England 
under the Commonwealth, but with the Restoration, 
all the old tendencies towards lavish ornamentation and 
luxurious decorations reasserted themselves with renewed 
vigour. Embossing and embroidery work in gold and 
silver thread, rich silk and satin linings, fringes and 
tassels and exquisite laces were all employed to adorn 
and beautify gloves. Fringed gloves, in particular, 
were very popular with the fashionable set in the days 
of Charles II and James II, and the feeling for them 
continued throughout the first half of the eighteenth 
century, silver and gold fringes being specially favoured. 
It is worthy of note in passing that the dandies of 
London in the days of Beau Brummel were so enamoured 
of fringed gloves, that they formed a " Club of the 
Fringed Glove," though beyond the fact of its formation 
we know nothing further of it. A curious sidelight is 
thrown upon the importance with which the glove was 
regarded by the gentlemen of fashion in the early 
nineteenth century, by the following rules which, it is 
said, were laid down by the famous Count d'Orsay : 
" An English gentleman," he said, " ought to use 
six pairs of gloves a day. In the morning to drive a 
britzska to the hunt, gloves of reindeer. At the hunt, 



THE GLOVE IN THE REALM OF FASHION 21 

to follow a fox, gloves of shammy leather. To return to 
London in a Tilbury, after a drive at Richmond in the 
morning, gloves of beaver. To go later for a walk in 
Hyde Park, or to conduct a lady to pay her visits, 
coloured kid gloves, braided. To go to a dinner party, 
yellow dog's-skin gloves. And in the evening, for a ball 
or rout, gloves of white lamb-skin, embroidered with 
silk." We have, happily perhaps, travelled far from 
so slavish a regard for fashion's decrees as these rules 
would seem to imply, but the glove is still almost 
universally regarded as a badge of gentility. So far 
as dress gloves are concerned, however, a few years ago 
no gentleman would appear at a dinner or dance without 
a pair ; to-day they are rarely used except at court or 
state functions. 

Latterly, with the demand expanding in an ever 
widening circle, the bulk of the trade to-day is naturally 
concerned with gloves of fairly stereotyped character. 
Still, style changes do take place from generation to 
generation and from season to season, even in the most 
work-a-day sections of the trade. Thus, where a few 
years ago the ordinary glace kid glove represented the 
principal type called for, to-day it would be difficult 
to ascribe pre-eminent popularity to any single class of 
glove. Certainly there would seem to be almost as 
great a demand for chamois, wash-leather, degrains, 
suedes, and fabrics, as for those of the glace variety. 

Naturally, being an auxiliary article of attire, the 
glove is inevitably influenced by the' changing moods 
of fashion in costume. This applies more particularly, 
of course, in the ladies' section of the trade. To-day it 
needs, perhaps, to be emphasised that this tendency 
of the glove to reflect the variations of fashion is becoming 
somewhat more marked in the cheaper branches of the 
trade than was wont to be the case formerly. Women, 



22 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

even working class women, are much more discriminating 
than they used to be. Witness the tremendous demand 
for fringed gloves in recent years following a vogue 
for fringe. A craze for stiff gauntlets of a military type 
during the war furnishes another instance of the same 
kind. Again, coloured gloves to match the tones and 
shades popularly adopted from season to season are 
also sought after. Nevertheless, it remains true that the 
various styles of ordinary wrist-length glove, in tan 
glace, slate or sable suede or degrain will always find a 
sale to-day, no matter what strange and fantastic whims 
are abroad. 

So far as the fashion end of the trade is concerned, 
however, a visit to any of the large wholesale glove 
houses, or to any of the great drapery emporiums of 
London, Paris or New York, would be sufficient to 
disabuse the minds of those who imagine that the 
making of gloves of superlative elegance is a lost art. 
In some respects, notably in originality of conception, 
variety of design, and beauty of workmanship, the 
modern gloves of fashion excel those of earlier periods. 
While they lack the over-elaborate ornamentation of 
the Tudor, Stuart and Restoration periods, their 
superior cut and finish and the tasteful beauty of 
decoration compel our admiration. Many large manu- 
facturers make a speciality of this branch of the trade, 
and every season now brings its quota of new styles 
and innovations. Highly skilled designers, thoroughly 
familiar with the processes of the industry (and fully 
conversant, be it said, with the limitations as well as 
the possibilities of the glover's art) are retained by the 
makers, and the combination of their art with the 
skill and craft of the operative glover results in the 
production of the fine gloves which adorn the hands of 
the leaders of fashion in the world's capitals 



CHAPTER IV 

LEATHER GLOVES : SKINS AND THEIR ORIGIN 

In the preceding chapters we have dwelt briefly upon the 
glove as an article of fashion : we will now devote our 
attention to its position in the world of commerce. 

Broadly speaking, there are three distinct classes of 
gloves, i.e., (1) Leather Gloves, (2) Fabric Gloves, 
(3) Knitted Gloves. Leather gloves and knitted gloves 
without doubt are of great age. What is now usually 
termed the fabric glove is of comparatively modern 
development, although gloves of silk, linen and other 
fabrics are referred to in old documents. In recent 
years the manufacture of this latter type has made 
striking progress, and many people in the trade believe 
it has an even still greater future before it. Neverthe- 
less, leather gloves still take pride of place, and represent 
the largest and most important branch of the industry, 
fabric gloves coming next in order of importance, and 
knitted gloves last. Taking them in this order we will 
deal with leather gloves first. 

In the early days of the glove industry, leather 
gloves were almost always made of either deer skin 
(buck skin) or sheep skin. Nowadays, however, gloves 
are made from a wide variety of skins Those chiefly 
used are kid, goat, sheep, lamb, reindeer, antelope, 
gazelle, calf and colt Kid and goat skins, and lamb 
and sheep skins supply the greatest part of the leathers 
used for gloving, whilst reindeer, antelope and gazelle 
are used largely— when available. We mention calf 
and colt, for although they are rarely used to-day for 
glove-making they were employed formerly to a limited 
extent. Colt skins are still used in America for 

workmen's gloves. 

23 

3— (1463j) 



24 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

The French undoubtedly were the first to discover 
that kid skins possessed special qualities which rendered 
them eminently suitable for glove-making, and to that 
fact, coupled with the development of exceptional 
skill in skin-dressing, France owes the pre-eminent 
position she has so long enjoyed for the production of 
fine-quality gloves. So long as the British glovers were 
immune from the effects of foreign competition they were 
content to rely mainly upon home supplies of raw 
material, chiefly sheep, lamb and deer skins. After the 
removal of the prohibition against the importation of 
foreign gloves into England (1825), however, in order to 
meet competition from France, British glove makers 
commenced to import kid-skins in much larger quantities 
and to dress them in the continental manner. For a 
long time, the British trade suffered severely owing to 
keen competition from across the Channel (French 
manufacturers holding the advantage of having ample 
supplies of skins near at hand and abundant supplies 
of cheap labour). Steadily, however, the English 
industry found its feet, and, largely owing to the enter- 
prise and far-sightedness of a few eminent firms, who 
concentrated upon the production of sound, reliable 
articles, British gloves have won a special reputation 
in the world's markets by virtue of their outstanding 
merits. Latterly the industry has extended its efforts, 
and to-day the home trade is probably in a stronger 
position than ever in its history. 

Without doubt, kid skins furnish the finest and thin- 
nest of all leathers, and from them the majority of the 
lightest and best quality gloves are made. Practically 
all the supplies of these skins are drawn from Europe, 
France being the principal centre, with Switzerland, 
Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, Belgium and Ireland 
providing smaller quantities. Ireland, by the way, was 



LEATHER GLOVES ! SKINS AND THEIR ORIGIN 25 

at one time famous for supplying particularly fine skins 
for a special type of glove known as " Limericks." 
It is said that these were taken from kids born pre- 
maturely. Large quantities of kid skins come also from 
South America. The flocks of kids whose skins are 
destined for the glove industry are raised mainly in 
mountainous districts. In France, the kids are specially 
bred and reared, and special attention is paid to their 
nurture so as to avoid any blemish in their skins which 
would be likely to detract from the value of the finished 
leather. Milk-fed kids furnish the finest skins, for so soon 
as the animal begins to eat herbage its skin thickens and 
coarsens. Sometimes, however, the kids are allowed to 
grow to their full stature, and when they are full-grown 
they are known as " chevrettes " (the French designa- 
tion for goats). As such, their skins yield a particularly 
clear and strong leather, remarkable for the perfection 
of its grain. Many of the so-called " kid " gloves sold 
to-day are made from lamb skins, owing to the shortage 
of suitable kid skins. 

Sheep and lamb skins fall next in order of importance. 
The chief centres of supply are Russia, South Africa, 
Italy, Spain and the South-Eastern countries of Europe 
(The Balkans), South America again contributing a 
smaller quota. 

South African sheep produce an excellent heavy- 
weight skin, of a particularly large spread; but tight 
fine grain. Formerly supplies were almost exclusively 
drawn from the Cape and Port Elizabeth districts — 
hence the origin of the " Cape " glove. So-called 
" Cape " gloves of the present day are no longer made 
exclusively from South African skins, which are largely 
used for heavy-weight gloves, such as motor and 
military gauntlets. 

Some of the very best types of lamb skins come from 



26 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

Russia. These are known in the trade as " Kasans." 
At present (1920) owing to the troubles in Russia these 
are hard to obtain. 

Excellent lamb skins are also obtained from Spain. 

The " Mocha " or Arabian Hair Sheep furnishes 
another skin very widely used for leather gloves. The 
Arabian Hair Sheep according to some authorities is a 
distinct type ; others contend that they have been 
developed by the inter-breeding of Mocha goats and a 
species of sheep. Their pelts are known variously 
to skin-buyers as " blackheads," " redheads," and 
" whiteheads," according to the colour of the hair on 
the poll or head of the animal. Gloves made from these 
skins are often confused with " suede " and so-called 
" doe " and " chamois " gloves. Arabian sheep skins, 
however, are not " sueded," but " degrained," or 
" frized " which is quite a different process. 

The district between Cairo and Khartoum supplies 
another special type of sheep skin known as " Soudans," 
whilst Indian sheep skins are also used to a certain 
extent. 

Returning to lamb skins, these are procured from all 
over Europe and from parts of South America. The 
finest grade of all lamb skins, known as " Tuscany 
skins," come from Southern Italy and are used for the 
very highest class of lamb skin gloves. At one time the 
home supplies of lamb and sheep skins entered very 
largely into glove-making. To-day they are nothing 
like so extensively used for " grain " leathers, being of a 
rather coarse grain and lacking durability. They still 
enter largely into the making of " doe " and " chamois " 
leathers. During the war, however, many thousand 
pairs of trench and motor-transport gloves were manu- 
factured from them. These were made from sheep and 
heavy lamb skins dressed with the wool on, the glove 



LEATHER GLOVES I SKINS AND THEIR ORIGIN 27 

being made with the wool inside for warmth. Similar 
gloves are also made for farming use and rough driving 
wear. Fine short wool lamb skins from the Pyrenees 
and China are also dressed with the wool on and utilised 
largely for lining ordinary leather gloves. 

It is a peculiar fact that those sheep yielding the best 
wool do not generally furnish the best skins for glove 
making. Normally, the more hairy and wiry the wool 
the better the skin from the glover's point of view. One 
reason suggested is that the more wiry the wool the 
finer and closer the grain of the leather — an important 
point in gloving. 

The German and Austrian glove- makers used to 
buy very large quantities of lamb skins from the 
Balkans. 

Gazelle skins are still used to a fairly large extent in 
the glove trade. They are obtained from the hinterland 
of Aden, and Africa, and are sometimes known as the 
African small deer. 

Reindeer skins, which furnish one of the finest 
leathers for gloving are obtained from Alaska, Russia 
and North Western Europe. 

The foregoing will introduce the reader to the principal 
skins used in the leather glove trade. Before proceeding 
to describe the various processes through which they 
must pass ere they reach the hands of the glove-maker, 
it is necessary to refer to a few popular terms which are 
frequently subject to misconception. 

In the first place, considerable confusion exists as 
to the terms " dressed kid " and "undressed kid." All 
skins, of course, must be dressed before they become 
leather, but some are dressed and finished on the hair 
side (known in the trade as the " grain " side) of the skin, 
and some upon the flesh side. " Dressed " kid is the 
designation of the former, which gives a grain or glace 



28 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

finish, whilst the latter are known as " undressed " 
kid. Sometimes, however, the hair or grain surface 
of the skin is removed, when the skins are known as 
" degrains," " chamois " or " doe," but are sometimes 
classed as " undressed " kid. 

Glove trade nomenclature is often very misleading. 
Some terms which had at one time a certain well-defined 
meaning and were applied strictly to specific articles, 
in the course of time have taken on a much wider 
significance ; the field of their application has become 
enlarged. " Cape " gloves furnish a case in point. 
Originally applied to gloves made from skins procured 
from Cape Colony, the name is now used for gloves made 
from the skins of sheep, lambs, and even goats obtained 
from many other lands than South Africa, which have 
been finished by the method known as " Nappa " 
dipping or " Staining." 

Similarly, the term " Mocha " is sometimes wrongly 
applied to gloves made by the " sueding " process. 
Suede leather is dressed on the flesh side of the skin, 
but the leather for " Mocha " gloves is " friezed " or 
" frized " and not " sueded," and the finished or wearing 
surface is on the hair or grain side of the skin, the grain 
being removed to take the finish. " Chamois " is another 
term which deserves a word or two of explanation. To 
the laymen, the chamois (a species of mountain goa£ 
peculiar to Switzerland) furnishes the raw material for 
all leather and gloves known as " chamois." The genuine 
chamois, is practically extinct so far as glove-making 
is concerned. Here again, the name is preserved and 
applied to a special manner of treating the leather. The 
" genuine " chamois of to-day is usually nothing more nor 
less than sheep or lamb skin, specially dressed with oil, 
or maybe chromed. Gloves so made possess admirable 
washing qualities — a fact which is largely due to the 



LEATHER GLOVES I SKINS AND THEIR ORIGIN 29 

absence of acids or dyes, which otherwise would tend to 
harden the leather in washing. 

Sheep skins, particularly the heavier varieties, are often 
split from edge to edge, yielding two thinner skins. 
That portion bearing the grain surface is known as a 
" skiver," while the flesh side, or lower portion, is termed 
a " flesher." It is from these latter that the leathers 
known throughout the trade as " chamois " and 
" doe skins " are often produced. 

Before concluding this cursory survey of the various 
skins used in the leather glove trade, it will not be out 
of place to interpolate a few words as to the prospects 
for supplies during the next few years. The late war, 
which convulsed the world with devastation, has had 
a very serious effect on the trade. In the first place 
tremendous inroads were made upon the stocks of all 
sorts of leathers which were required for many different 
articles of military equipment. In addition to this, 
the serious shortage of food experienced all over Europe 
during the war led to the slaughter of all edible animals 
on a wholesale scale, and the flocks of kids, sheep and 
lambs whose skins were normally utilized for glove 
making suffered with the rest. In the combatant 
countries, many of the shepherds and goat-herds were 
withdrawn from their avocations and sent away on 
active service ; their flocks, in consequence, went 
frequently neglected and untended. The result of all 
this was visible soon after the Armistice (11th November, 
1918) when the glove manufacturers began to devote 
their energies to the revival of trading under peace 
conditions. The herds of goats and kids and sheep 
and lambs were then found to be seriously depleted 
in numbers, but, what was more disconcerting, very many 
of the animals remaining were in poor condition. Early 
in 1919, it was estimated that the quantity of skins 



30 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

in sight for that year was only just short of one-fourth 
of the normal pre-war annual supply. Obviously, then, 
the shortage cannot be regarded as of a temporary 
character, and it is evident that years must elapse 
before the herds can be restored to their pre-war 
strength and condition. 

Meanwhile the demand for leather gloves continues 
unabated, and in fact tends to expand. Further, it has 
to be remembered that practically all the skins suitable 
for glove-making are also in demand by other indus- 
tries — ladies' shoes and fancy leather goods particularly. 
In addition, Fashion, with the strange caprice that some- 
times seems to sway her moods, has recently decreed in 
favour of the use of soft leather for millinery and dress 
trimmings. All this has naturally intensified the 
competition for the very skins glovers need for their 
industry. Thus we come face to face with one of the 
main factors which have contributed to force up the 
price of all kinds of leather gloves to levels undreamt of 
in pre-war years. 

In addition to this increase in the cost of the principle 
raw materia], the costs of making the gloves have also 
advanced enormously. This applies, of course, to every 
one of the very numerous operations which enter into 
the making of the glove. The prices of all materials 
used in skin-dressing have increased considerably as 
compared with pre-war levels, so too have the silk and 
cotton threads used in sewing ; whilst finally much 
enhanced wages are now being paid to all workers 
throughout the industry. Thus it will be understood 
that cheap leather gloves — as " cheapness " was under- 
stood before the war came to shatter our notions of 
value — can no longer be obtained. 



CHAPTER V 

SKIN-DRESSING AND TREATMENT 

Skin-dressing for the glove trade is a specialised indus- 
try, and involves a long series of complicated processes. 
The various stages occupy anything from 6 to 8 weeks, 
the time varying according to the kind of skins being 
treated, the character of the dressing or tannage, the 
locality where dressing takes place, and the season of the 
year. Glove leather-dressing is now carried on at almost 
every centre where glove factories are to be found, both 
at home and abroad. Spain was at one time famous for 
dressing glove leathers, if an old adage is to be believed, 
for it used to be said : " For a glove to be good three 
realms must have contributed to it, Spain to prepare the 
skin, France to cut it, and England to sew it." Times 
have changed, and Spain to-day supplies few dressed 
skins for the glove trade. France is one of the principal 
countries for such, supplying many parcels to this 
country as well as to the French glovers. The chief 
French centres are Annonay, Grenoble, Millau and 
St Junien. Annonay since the fourteenth century 
has been pre-eminent for dressed skins, and its reputa- 
tion in this respect is referred to in Mrs. Henry Wood's 
well-known glove trade novel, Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles. 
Ottignies, near Brussels, Naples in Italy, Munich in 
Bavaria, and Prague in Bohemia, are also well-known 
dressing centres. In England, many thousands of skins 
are dressed annually in the Yeovil district, at Abingdon 
in Berkshire and at Worcester. 

There is no doubt that the character of the water of 
various localities has considerable bearing upon leather- 
dressing, although some of the extravagant claims 

31 



32 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

advanced in favour of certain districts can be largely 
discounted. That there is a great deal of truth in the 
theory is evident from the fact that some localities 
seem to yield better results than others even when there 
is little or nothing to choose between the skill and 
experience of the dressers concerned. The softer the 
water the better, whilst the presence of certain bacteria 
is also an advantage. 

In the previous chapter the various skins now used 
for gloving were described in detail. They are purchased 
in their raw state in the different centres where the 
animals are reared. They are then in the " pelt " 
stage, that is, with the hair or wool still upon them. 
Before they can be transported or stored they have to 
be cured or treated to prevent decomposition and damage 
by worms. There are several methods of effecting this. 
Some skins are merely sun-dried, others are salted and 
dried. Small skins are frequently dried and sprayed 
with napthalene. Others are wet salted and packed in 
barrels, a method which many leather-dressers would 
like to see more generally adopted, although it adds 
considerably to the cost of packing and shipment. 
Again, large skins are sometimes treated with both salt 
and lime. Notwithstanding all these precautions, 
great care has to be exercised while the skins are stored 
prior to dressing in order to prevent damage by maggots 
or worms. Constant changes of position and frequent 
spraying with napthalene are the most effective safe- 
guards against deterioration. Subsequently the skins 
are sorted, being graded according to size, weight and 
condition, and baled for transhipment. 

On arrival at the dressing yards the skins are very 
dirty and greasy, and the preliminary treatment they 
undergo is a cleansing process, known as soaking, which 
clears away all foreign matter and impurities. To 



34 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

effect this, the skins with hair or wool still on are placed 
in tanks or pits of clear, soft water. There they are 
left to lie for some time. Salted hides require a longer 
soaking than those which have been merely dried or 
treated with napthalene, whilst a longer soaking is 
usually necessary in winter, when the water is less soft, 
than during the summer. After being thoroughly 
soaked, the skins are sometimes passed through a rolling 
machine, resembling in principle the ordinary household 
mangle, but the rollers of which have a rubber surface. 
This operation squeezes a good deal of water from the 
wool or hair of the skins and with it much of the dirt 
and impurities adhering to the wool. 

The next operation is that of depilation, or the removal 
of the wool or hair. There are several means of dehairing 
or unhairing, as it is more commonly called. Formerly 
the use of a solution of ordinary lime was the only method 
adopted, but latterly pastes made of sulphide of sodium 
or red arsenic in combination with lime furnish more 
expeditious means of loosening the hair. Every dresser 
makes his own paste and the strength of the solution 
naturally varies between one yard and another. Usually 
the proportions of the solution vary from six to eight 
parts of lime to one of sulphate of sodium or red arsenic. 
Powdered lime is preferable, and it must be well mixed 
with the other ingredient in water. Some time is allowed 
for the lime to slake off and the paste is then thickly 
painted over the flesh sides of the skins, care being taken 
to see that the solution does not touch the wool, which 
would otherwise be damaged. The skins are then 
folded, wool side outwards, and left to stand for hours, 
by which time the hair-sheaths or cells are loosened 
and the wool or hair can be easily removed. The 
sulphide of soda solution is most generally used for sheep 
and lamb skins, and the red arsenic for goat and kid 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 35 

skins, and their use is thought to improve the grain. 
Before the adoption of such depilitants, after being 
loosened with lime the hair or wool was removed from the 
skins by the " beaming " process. The " beam is a 
sloping convex-shaped balk supported by a trestle, 
and the " beaming knife " a blunt convex-shaped 
knife with two handles. The skins are laid over the 
" beam " and the loosened wool or hair scraped off with 
the knife. Now, by the use of modern depilitants it 
is possible to pull the wool or hair off by hand. At 
Grenoble, and often elsewhere, fine kid skins are still 
unhaired by the lime and beaming methods. 

Sometimes, of course, the skins are dressed with the 
hair and wool still on, and used for gloves with the 
natural covering of the animal for lining. Small lamb 
and antelope skins are frequently treated in this way. 

After unhairing the skins are thoroughly washed in 
rotary paddle washing machines, and then placed to 
soak in lime pits for some weeks. The lime pits are 
rectangular in shape, the fronts of which are preferably 
constructed so as to slope back to the pit in order to 
facilitate the draining of the skins. The lime used is 
carefully slaked, all lumps being eliminated or reduced 
to paste in the process, for unslaked lime would burn 
the skins, doing irreparable damage. The well-known 
purifying and cleansing properties of lime have the effect 
of loosening all small hairs, hair cells, and particles of 
flesh preparatory to fleshing. The skins remain in the 
lime pits from a fortnight to a month or more, and they 
are frequently taken out of the pits, " hauled out " 
or left to drain a short time, and then returned to the 
same pit or another pit containing a fresher solution of 
lime. After liming the skins are first subjected to another 
course of washing in a paddle washing machine, and then 
passed on to the fleshing department. 



36 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

The fleshing operation, as the name implies, has for 
its object the removal of all the loose particles of flesh 
from the flesh side of the skin. Formerly done entirely 
by hand by means of a special knife, the work is now 
largely done in a fleshing machine. The hand operation 
calls for exceptional dexterity. The fleshing knife is 
shaped much like the beaming knife, but has two edges, 
the inner of which is keen and sharp and the outer 
blunt and dull. The dull edge is used to scrape away 
the particles of flesh loosened in the liming process, 
whilst the keen edge is used to shave off the remainder. 
Great skill and care are necessary to avoid cutting into 
the skin itself. Fleshing machines, which are now 
rapidly superseding the hand process, are nearly all 
constructed on the same principle. Spiral knives are 
mounted upon a cylindrical roller, half the blades con- 
verging to the left and half to the right. The skins are 
fed into the machine grain side downwards and passed 
under the knife cylinder which rotates at high speed 
and cuts away all superfluous flesh. 

Fleshing, by the way, occasionally reveals defects in 
a skin which render it absolutely unsuitable for glove 
leather. All wool and hair-bearing animals are fond of 
scratching themselves by rubbing against bushes or 
by rolling in grass stubble. It sometimes happens that 
in so doing their coats get covered with minute thorns or 
pieces of sharp spear grass. These have a trick of 
penetrating right through the hide of the animals, where 
they often pass unnoticed until the operation of 
" fleshing " burrs them up and causes them to form small 
holes in the skin itself. The writer has seen a lamb 
skin so damaged that after fleshing it appeared to be as 
full of holes as a strainer. 

Deliming follows, in which the skins are washed in 
warm or soft water in rotary paddle washing machines. 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 37 

The next step, " puering," is one of very great impor- 
tance. Hitherto the skins have retained their harsh 
and rather gristly character and the object of the puering 
process is to render them more soft and supple. Puering 
also saponifies the lime and facilitates its removal. 
Formerly dog-manure was used universally for puering 
glove leather, but in recent years the substitution of 
artificial puers has become general. One of the best 
known chemical puers is " Pancreol " which is composed 
of pancreatic extracts in combination with ammonium 
salts and sawdust. The pancreatic extract is obtained 
from the intestines of pigs and other small animals. 
Animal galls and enzymes are also used to good effect. 
Many leather-dressers, however, still contend that the 
dog-manure yielded better results, but the drawbacks 
associated with securing suitable supplies, and the 
difficulty of standardising the strength of the mixture are 
causing it to be discarded. There is no doubt that the 
use of chemical puers is attended with many advantages, 
and on hygienic grounds alone their substitution for 
dog puer is to be commended. Puering, again, is a wet 
process, the puer being put into solution with warm 
water and the skins soaked in the mixture until reduced 
to the necessary degree of softness. 

After puering the skins are again thoroughly washed 
and subsequently drenched. Drenching is a fermenta- 
tion process, in which the skins are placed overnight in 
a vat or tub containing an infusion of warm water and 
either wheaten flour, pea meal, or bran. Fermentation 
takes place and by the following day the skins are found 
to be floating on the surface of the water in a very 
swollen and puffed-up condition. Some dressers regard 
a single " rising " of the skins as sufficient, but others 
force the skins under water and allow the " rising " to be 
repeated several times. French dressers, in particular, 



38 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

attach great importance to repeated " risings." By 
this process the last vestiges of lime are removed from the 
skin, which is by now reduced to a soft, pulpy, gelatinous 
substance, in which condition it will readily absorb the 
" tawing " or " tanning " ingredients necessary to 
convert it into leather. Drenching is followed by 
" scudding," which is the last of the cleansing steps 
preparatory to " tanning " or " tawing." First the 
skins are rinsed in warm or tepid water and then the 
" scud," consisting of particles of lime deposit, short 
hairs and scum, is gently scraped off the grain with a 
scudding tool which though shaped something like a 
beaming knife is fitted with a blade of slate or vulcanite. 

Up to this point most skins, no matter their origin and 
no matter the finish to be imparted to them, have under- 
gone much the same treatment. They are now in the 
stage known throughout the trade as "in the white." 
All the operations hitherto described, however, are 
preparatory to the process of leather-dressing proper. 

There are several methods of dressing glove leather, 
but that adopted for by far the greatest portion is the 
process of tanning known as " tawing " in which the 
skins are treated with a mixture of alum, salt, egg-yolk, 
flour, and sometimes a vegetable oil. Bark-tanning is 
adopted for tanning particularly strong glove leathers, 
such as are used for driving gloves, etc., whilst there are 
distinct tannages for " chamois," washable and Mocha 
leathers, and " suedes " also are often subjected to a 
special process. 

The white tannage — the tawing process — is generally 
used for kid, lamb, and light sheep skins. Leather for 
white dress gloves and for the " nappa " and coloured 
gloves, which have, of course, to be subsequently dyed, 
are so produced. Every dressing yard follows its own 
recipe for the tawing mixture, but a comparison of the 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 39 

several mixtures would probably not reveal a great 
measure of variation. An average tawing mixture 
contains 5 parts of flour, 4 of alum, 2 of salt, and 1 of 
egg-yolk. A usual method of mixing the tannage is 
to dilute the yolk in warm water, the flour is then added 
and mixed into a paste, after which the salt and alum 
are dissolved in water and stirred into the mixture. 
About 12 lbs. of this tannage suffice to dress 100 lbs. 
of skins. Alum is one of the oldest of known tanning 
agents, and this in conjunction with the salt furnishes 
the real preserving or leather-making ingredient, the 
flour (or meal which is sometimes substituted) and egg 
yolk stuff or feed and lubricate the skin, helping to render 
it soft and flexible. The dressing is applied by means 
of a machine called a drum-tumbler. This is usually a 
cube-shaped receptacle which is slowly revolved on its 
own axis. The inner side of the drum is fitted with pegs 
or staves. A certain quantity of water — about 2 gallons 
to each 100 lbs. of skins being treated — is poured into 
the drum, the tawing mixture is added, and the whole 
is then mixed together by rotating the drum for a minute 
or two. The skins are then placed in the drum, which is 
again set in motion and allowed to rotate slowly for some 
hours. In this manner the tawing mixture is thoroughly 
kneaded into the pores of the skin. From one to three 
hours suffice to " taw " the lighter and thinner skins, but 
somewhat longer periods are usual for larger and heavier 
pelts. Frequently, however, after the drums are stopped, 
the skins are allowed to remain standing in the drum for 
some hours, after which they are withdrawn and piled 
in baskets during the night to consolidate the effects of 
the tannage upon the fibres of the skins. 

After tawing, the skins are dried or " stoved " in large 
specially constructed chambers heated by means of 
steam pipes. Sometimes revolving fans are installed in 

4— (1463j) 




By permission of 



Messrs. Dent, Allcroft & Co., Ltd. 



STAKING THE SKINS 
The old hand method is still used for the lighter and thinner skins. 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 41 

the drying-rooms to keep the skins in motion in order to 
secure even drying. 

The skins are now in what is termed the " crust " 
stage, and as much unlike the beautifully smooth and 
flexible glove leather as it is possible to imagine. In 
appearance they resemble a piece of wash leather that 
has been soaked and left to dry in the sun. The method 
by which the stiff, unsightly " crust " skins are broken 
out and transformed into a soft, pliable leather is called 
" staking." Formerly this was done entirely by hand, 
but now most staking is done by machine, though the 
lighter and more delicate skins are still dealt with by 
hand-stakers. 

For hand-staking, the stake is a short post fixed 
rigidly into the floor and rising about 3 ft. from the 
ground. At the head of the post or stake is a blunt 
knife, half-circular in shape. The skins are first softened 
by damping in wet sawdust, and then drawn smartly 
(flesh side downwards) over the edge of the knife until 
all the harshness is broken out of them. 

The staking machine, which has so largely superseded 
hand-staking, is a wonderfully simple contrivance. 
Two arms, mounted with small rollers, are actuated by 
shafting gear so as to move in a forward direction, and 
at the same time closing together much like a pair of 
jaws. The jaws or arms of the machine meet in a grip 
in a gap between two tables, and while still retaining the 
gripping position are drawn swiftly backwards by the 
rotary movement of the actuating gear. The operator 
stretches the skin, flesh surface upwards over the gap 
between the two tables, and the jaws with their rollers, 
move forward and close on the skin, and are drawn 
rapidly backwards over its surface. These movements 
are rapidly repeated, the operator gradually moving the 
skin between each forward movement of the jaws until 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 43 

the whole has been broken out. The upper jaw or arm 
of the machine is fitted with a roughened roller which 
impinges on the flesh surface of the skin, and really does 
the work of the stake in the hand operation. 

Staking is always done on the flesh side of the skin, 
otherwise the grain surface would be scratched to pieces, 
rendering a glace finish impossible. 

This concludes the preliminary operation of leather- 
dressing, and the skins are now ready for the dyeing and 
finishing processes which are usually carried out in the 
glove factory itself. 

" Tawing," however, is not the only tannage for glove 
leather. There is a bark tanning process, in which, 
after puering and drenching, the skins are steeped in 
tanning extracts made from oak, chestnut, gambier, 
sumach or other barks. By this method a strong 
durable leather is produced coloured with the natural 
tones of the bark used. As a rule only heavy-weight 
skins are selected for this process, the leather for driving 
gloves and similar articles being so produced. 

The so-called " chamois " (often spelled " shammy ") 
and " doeskin " leathers are produced by a special 
tanning process. Sheep and lamb skins are commonly 
used. Sheep skins are frequently split edgewise, the 
upper or grain portion being termed a " skiver," while 
the lower half is called a " flesher " or " lining." Skivers 
are largely used for the boot trade, but the fleshers or 
linings furnish the skins for making chamois leathers. 
The flesh surface of these fleshers is frized or friezed by 
means of a keen-edged knife, resembling a fleshing 
knife, much as other skins are fleshed by the hand method 
except that the frizing knife bites rather deeper into the 
surface of the skin. Lamb skins which are to be 
" sh amoved " are frized to remove the grain. After 
frizing the skins are delimed, either by being washed in 



44 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

weak lactic acids or by drenching with bran, wheaten 
flour, or pea meal in the manner already described for 
tawed skins. They are then washed, and the important 
operation of kneading follows. This is a lengthy process 
often carried out in a " stocking machine " in which the 
wet skins are severely pummelled preparatory to being 
dressed with oil. The " samming " process follows, the 
skins being hung up and allowed to dry partially. An 
oil- dressing or tanning is then applied to the skins, cod 
oil being usually used though other fish oils are suitable. 
This oil dressing is applied in a very drastic manner, 
and the method adopted is totally different to any other 
system of tannage. The skins or fleshers are first 
steeped in oil, the oil being poured over the skins as 
they are placed in the vats. After an hour or so, the 
oiled skins are taken out and pummelled again in the 
stocking machine, and these alternate processes are 
repeated for a number of times until the oil has per- 
meated through each individual skin. Subsequently 
the skins are stove-dried and in order to complete the 
tannage the oil-dressed skins are heaped together so 
as to generate spontaneous heat which causes the oil 
to oxidise and fixes the tannage. During this process, 
they have to be carefully watched and frequently 
moved to avoid overheating. When oxidization is 
completed, it is found that there is a certain amount of 
free oil in the skins which is not absorbed into the body 
of the leather. This is usually removed by pressing 
the skins in a hydraulic press after they have first been 
immersed in hot water. Finally an alkaloid wash is 
applied and the leather is ready for staking and finishing. 
The skins are bleached either by being spread in the sun 
or by chemical bleachers, the former method being 
much more preferable. 

Yet another process is used for making the choice 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 45 

white washable leather which has captured popular 
favour to a remarkable extent in recent years. The great 
drawback of ordinary " tawed " skins is that gloves made 
from them cannot readily be washed or cleansed without 
damage. Latterly, some dressers have endeavoured to 
neutralise this drawback by applying combination 
tannages or by applying a light chrome dressing after 
tawing, which is said to render the leather more imper- 
vious to water. This method, however, is not very 
generally adopted, and the real washable leather is 
found to give better results. In making this the skins 
are soaked, dehaired, limed, puered and drenched in the 
same way as for tawed skins, but the tannage applied 
is a mixture of sodium carbonate and formaldehyde. 
This is applied by the drum method, and occupies 
rather less time than " tawing " An average solution 
is composed of 8 parts sodium carbonate and 3 parts 
formaldehyde. Subsequently a light dressing with a 
weak solution of sulphate of ammonia is applied, after 
which the skins are stuffed and lubricated in order to 
feed and soften the leather. For this purpose special 
patent preparations are frequently used, but some 
dressers prefer their own nourishing mixtures. An 
emolient of egg yolk and neatsfoot oil is very popular 
for this purpose, while olive oil in conjunction with 
soft or curd soap also gives excellent results. 

Good Mocha is rather more difficult to produce than 
any other gloving leather. After soaking and softening, 
the skins are steeped for some time in lime liquors pre- 
paratory to unhairing. The drastic depilitants (sulphide 
of soda and red arsenic) are not used, the skins being 
soaked in the lime pits until the hair is sufficiently 
loosened. The grain is then removed by the " frizing " 
knife, and the skins are put back into weak lime liquors 
for two or three days. Washing in warm water follows 



46 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

and the skins are then drummed in a 5 per cent, solution 
of lactic acid in water at about blood-heat. After this, 
they are rinsed, stuffed and dressed with alum, salt, 
egg-yolk and flour, and subsequently dried or staked, 
and ground upon a fine emery wheel. Another dressing 
of yolk follows, and the skins are then ground again upon 
a still finer wheel. 

Processes for treating flesher sheep skins and other 
skins to produce a simulated Mocha finish have been 
patented. One method is as follows : After removal 
of the outer grain, the skin is soaked in a solution of 
potassium carbonate, and subsequently the inner 
grain is removed. The skins are tawed in the usual 
manner, but a small percentage of grape sugar is added to 
the mixture to increase the body. Rice starch, 
glycerine or tannic acid may also be added. 

Imitation Mochas are produced in many ways. One 
method is to dye and coat the skin with coloured pow- 
ders. The skins are ground on the flesh side, which is 
afterwards coated with a mixture of linseed oil, man- 
ganese borate, benzine and colouring matter, and 
finally sprinkled with starch, talc or other powder 
dyed the same colour as the skin. This is beaten into 
the skins, which are finally dried in stoves and finished 
in the usual way. 

Yet another process has been invented in connection 
with the production of so-called Mocha leather. Instead 
oi " frizing " to remove the grain, a solution of caustic 
soda and potash is applied which corrodes tne grain, 
and the surface is then ground off by means of an 
emery wheel. Diluted vitriol and other acids are some- 
times used first, to disturb the grains. 

Such methods as these latter, however, are not 
resorted to by reputable firms. 

In glove leather-dressing there is of course ample scope 



SKIN DRESSING AND TREATMENT 47 

for varying the different processes. In the course of 
time every establishment develops special lines of 
practice which are believed to yield improved results. 
Thus every dressing-yard has its own characteristics, 
and the leathers produced therein often exhibit a dis- 
tinctive character, which though apparent to the 
expert could not be easily detected by the uninitiated. 
In recent years considerable developments have taken 
place in the industry, mechanical methods superseding 
more cumbersome hand operations, whilst the ingredients 
used for dressing have been much improved and stan- 
dardised. Further developments along these lines are 
anticipated, whilst the possibility of the invention of 
much improved tannages must not be ruled out. 



CHAPTER VI 

DYEING AND FINISHING THE LEATHER 

Glove leather as it leaves the hands of the dressers 
is either white or tan colour, according to whether it 
has been subjected to the white dressing (the " tawing " 
process) or the bark tanning. For certain kinds of 
gloves, such as white dress gloves or tan driving gloves, 
the leather in this state can be graded and polished and 
handed straight on to the cutting- room, but the majority 
of leathers have yet to pass through several more 
processes ere they are ready for the cutters. As a rule, 
all glove leather on receipt at the factory is put into store 
and allowed to ripen for some time after its arrival. 
Long experience has taught that it is best to allow 
the skins to mature slowly after dressing. This ripening 
consolidates the effects of dressing and enriches the 
appearance and " feel " of the leather. 

On emerging from the store, the skins are immedi- 
ately dealt with by skilled sorters. Skin-sorting in 
the glove trade is, a responsible calling. It demands 
great experience and considerable judgment. As a 
rule the sorters are drawn from the ranks of the older 
cutters, and include probably some of the most expert 
and experienced men in the factory. They have not 
only to grade the leathers, but to decide the class of 
glove a particular skin is best suited to make, and they 
often decide the colours it can be most profitably dyed, 
and the kind of finish the skin will take best. The 
knowledge a sorter must possess to exercise judgment 
in such matters can only be acquired in the factory 
through actual experience of the practical working of 
skins. A good sorter can discriminate almost instinc- 
tively between good and bad skins, and between those 

48 




By permission of Messrs. Dent, Allcroft & Co., Ltd. 

WASHING THE SKINS PREPARATORY TO DYEING 



50 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

suitable for different purposes. In sorting he will 
select a batch of skins of approximately the same char- 
acter and grain, and these will be bundled together 
for the subsequent processes and sometimes accompanied 
on their journey through the different departments 
with a docket indicating the number of skins in the 
bundle, the class of gloves to be made, the finish, and 
even the number of pairs of gloves the parcel of skins 
is expected to yield. 

After sorting, the leather is passed on to the washing 
room to be prepared for dyeing or staining. The skins 
are there washed in revolving drums of tepid or warm 
water, by which they are cleansed from any dust or 
impurities which may have accumulated upon them 
whilst in store. Washing, at the same time, renders the 
skins more soft and workable. One result of this cleans- 
ing is that a certain proportion of the tanning and 
stuffing ingredients is lost, and this necessitates redress- 
ing or re-egging either before or after dyeing. Some 
glovers believe it best to re-dress before dyeing, but 
others hold that if the re-dressing follows dyeing the 
colours are rendered more permanent. 

The dyeing process itself is one of great interest. 
Actually there are two methods, one, the more common, 
by immersion, which stains the skins throughout from 
grain to flesh surface, and the other brush-dyeing, by 
which the dye or stain is brushed on to the grain or 
wearing surface of the. leather only. The latter process 
is the older, but it is now fast falling into disfavour, so 
far as heavy, hard-wearing gloves are concerned, though 
it is still used for the lighter classes of ladies' gloves. 

Whichever method is adopted, wood and bark dyes 
furnish the bulk of the colours, though sometimes a 
top dressing of aniline or coal-tar dye is added to obtain 
a higher degree of brilliance. The dyes used include a 



DYEING AND FINISHING THE LEATHER 51 

wide selection of barks and woods, fustic, saffron, 
logwood, gambier, sappan wood, ebony, gold tan, 
mangrove, and oak bark, and redwood being among the 
most favoured. Many glovers prepare their own dyes 
from the dye-woods or barks, but the practice of 
utilizing paste or dry extracts is increasing. In the 
first instance the dye-woods yield practically only 
the three primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, but 
by careful mixing and dilution almost any shade can 
be obtained. 

In dyeing, the skins are first washed in a solution of 
ammoniacal salts which serve as a mordant. If the 
brush method is to be adopted, the salts are merely 
brushed on the grain. In the " drum " or " dipping " 
process the skins are placed in revolving drums con- 
taining the dyeing mixture, the drums being rotated 
until the dye is worked thoroughly into the skins. 

For brush-dyeing, a much more tedious and difficult 
process, the skins have to be treated singly. Each is 
taken separately and " slicked " or stretched out upon 
a leaden slab or table, and the dye is painted or brushed 
on to the required depth or fullness. The reasons why 
" brush staining " as it is called, is falling into disuse in 
this country are that not only does it involve more work, 
but it is less satisfactory in its results than the " dipping " 
process. Only the surface of the glove being coloured, 
the tendency is for the dyed surface to wear off those 
portions of the glove which have to bear the hardest 
usage, the finger tips and palms, for instance, rendering 
the glove patchy and unsightly. 

" Strikers " are afterwards applied to fix the colours. 
For this purpose a wide variety of metallic salts is 
available ; iron, copper and zinc sulphates, titanium 
salts, bichromate of potash, and nitrate of iron are 
all used. One striker specially favoured is a patent 



52 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

preparation sold as "Corichrome." This is composed of 
titanium lactate, and is specially valuable as it can be 
used without any fear of the leather being damaged. 

Before or after dyeing, the leather is re-egged and 
re-dressed. In many factories, a similar dressing is 
applied as in tawing, i.e., a mixture of alum, salt, egg- 
yolk and flour ; other glove-makers deem it sufficient 
to apply a dressing of egg-yolk and olive oil. This 
re-dressing is performed in the manner described in the 
previous chapter. 

Here a word may be offered in explanation of the use 
of egg-dressing for preparing glove leather. Only the 
yolk of eggs is used, and millions of egg-yolks are annually 
imported for the purpose, largely from China. The skins 
themselves before the tannage is applied are thin and 
empty, and for this reason they have to be stuffed or 
nourished. Just as alum and salt furnish the preserving 
tanning ingredients, the egg-yolk and flour or meal enter 
into the pores of the skin giving it body and nourishment. 
The physical explanation of the virtue of the egg-yolk 
dressing is that the yolk is composed of exceedingly 
minute globules, and these it seems are capable of being 
kneaded right into the pores and membranes of the skin. 
There they act as lubricating agents and impart to the 
leather that smooth, soft " feel " which is its peculiar 
characteristic. Some of the finer oils would probably 
serve the same purpose equally well but for the fact that 
they are liable to stain the leather and render it greasy. 
Egg-yolk, however, furnishes an ideal feeder and lubri- 
cant without greasing or staining the leather, and 
hitherto no effective substitute has been discovered. 

Mrs. Henry Wood, in the novel we have already men- 
tioned has left on record a picturesque description of the 
method in which glove leather was dressed in the early 
part of last century. " When the skins came in from the 



DYEING AND FINISHING THE LEATHER 53 

leather-dressers," she writes, " they were first washed 
in a tub of cold water. The next day warm water, 
mixed with yolks of eggs, was poured upon them, and a 
couple of men, barelegged to the knee, got into the 
tub and danced upon them, skins, eggs and water, for 
two hours. Then they were spread in a field to dry, 
till they were as hard as a lantern horn ; then they were 
" staked," as it is called, a long process, to smooth and 
soften them. To the stainers next, to be stained black 
or coloured ; next to the parers, to have loose flesh pared 
from the inside and to be smoothed again with pumice 
stone." 

From this quotation it will be seen that in principle 
the process has undergone little change, the kneading 
now being done in revolving drums, while drying in 
stoves, supplants the open-air method. As a matter 
of fact, the alum and yolk tannage is of great age and the 
real origin of the process is not known. In the Sloane 
MS., quoted by Planche, directions are given for making 
cheveral (goat) leather for parchment by means of a 
solution of alum mixed with the yolk of eggs. 

When the leather has been dyed and redressed, it is 
again dried in similar stoves to those used in the dressing 
yards. In " stoving " the skins have to be most care- 
fully watched, for if left too long they dry into a brittle 
state and crumble to pieces. As it is, the skins emerge 
from the stoves shrivelled and " crusty," and have 
therefore again to undergo a course of staking. This is 
performed also in the same manner as in the dressing 
yards, all except the lightest and thinnest skins 
being machine-staked. If the original staking after 
tawing effected a marked change in the character and 
appearance of the dressed leather, the results of staking 
the dyed skins is even more remarkable. In the crust 
stage the dyed skins are if anything more unsightly than 




By permission of 



Messrs. Dent, AUcroft & Co., Ltd. 



PARING THE SKINS WITH THE ROUND OR 
MOON-SHAPED KNIFE 



DYEING AND FINISHING THE LEATHER 55 

when the leather is in the white, the dye appearing dull, 
and somewhat streaky and patchy. After being well 
staked, however, the leather resumes its beautifully soft 
and pliable character, the colours become richer, more 
lustrous and intense, while the beauty of the grain is 
brought out to a fuller extent. 

After staking the leather is ready for " paring." 
This process has a dual object : it is necessary first as a 
means of removing all roughness from the flesh side of the 
leather, and secondly in order to reduce the skins to a 
uniform thickness. The skins of all animals are 
invariably thicker at the necks and on the backs than at 
the flanks, but before they can be manufactured into 
gloves they must be brought to an even thickness all 
over. Formerly paring was entirely a hand operation, 
performed by means of the round or moon-shaped 
glover's knife, familiar to many readers as one of the 
symbols of the glover's art, and further by reason of 
Shakespeare's allusion in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 
where Mrs. Quickly, speaking of Slender, asks : 

Does he not wear a great round beard, 
Like a glover's paring knife. 

In hand-paring, the skins are slung over a slender 
horizontal pole affixed between two uprights, and the 
razor-keen knife is swiftly but carefully used to pare 
away the surplus part of the flesh side. 

Another method is sometimes adopted for small, thin 
kid and lamb skins, called " doling." In this process the 
skins are stretched out over a slab upon a bench, the 
operator shaving off the unwanted portions by means 
of a broad keen knife, shaped something like a broad 
bladed chisel. Both this operation and " paring " 
call for extreme dexterity, for the slightest slip on the 
part of the operator would gash the skin and often the 
operator's own wrist. 

5— 1463 j) 



56 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

Both these operations have now been very largely 
displaced by the " wheeling " or " fluffing " method. 
In this process the flesh sides of the skins are applied to a 
swiftly revolving, wide, emery wheel and ground down to 
a level degree of thinness. Attached to each wheel is 
a cowl running down to a shaft into which all the dust 
and scraps are drawn by suction as they are frayed off 
by the wheel. 

The heat produced by friction in the wheeling process 
tends to harden the skin, and a slight staking is usually 
necessary to restore the leather to its former soft and 
flexible condition. 

We now arrive at the final finishing operations which 
determine the ultimate character of the leather. The two 
most popular finishes are the ordinary glace and the 
suede. Glace finish, as was pointed out in the chapter 
dealing with the various skins used for gloving, is the 
name given to the ordinary grain finish. Leathers 
with perfect, clear, bright grain are selected for this 
finish, which is obtained by polishing the surface of the 
skin with a lamb's- wool pad, glass slicker or revolving 
felt wheel. Perfect kid, lamb and certain sheep and goat 
leathers are finished in this manner. 

The familiar " suede " leather is not a distinct leather, 
but is the name of a particular finish. Skins with 
imperfect grain are usually selected for this finish which 
is applied to the flesh or " flower " side of the skin. 
They are tanned in the usual way, and sueded by rub- 
bing up the flesh side on a dry emery wheel. In America 
the skins are tanned with formaldehyde and the 
" sueding " is accomplished by rubbing up the flesh 
surface of the skin into nap by means of a wet emery 
or carborundum wheel, similar in design to the wheels 
used for "fluffing." As with sueded leathers the grain 
or outer side of the skin becomes the inner side of the 




By permission of Messrs. Dent, AUcrojt & Co , Ltd. 

THE PARING WHEEL 



58 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

glove, it is usual to remove the grain for the greater 
ease and comfort of the wearer. Cheap suede leathers 
are inferior to glace both in appearance and in strength 
and durability. 

" Mocha " glove leather is finished in a similar manner 
to suede leather (with which it is often confused) with 
the important difference that the wearing surface is 
upon the grain side. The grain is first " freized " or 
" frized " off, this operation being performed by means 
of a knife similar to the knife used in beaming. As a 
rule skins with shallow grain, such as those of Mocha or 
Arabian sheep, the calf reindeer and the gazelle are 
selected for this finish. " Mocha " finished gloves are 
notable for their great strength and the beautiful velvety 
character of their finish. High grade suede gloves are 
sometimes sold as " Mocha," bat if the two are com- 
pared closely, the superiority of the " Mocha " is very 
evident. The Mocha is usually much heavier, and 
usually much the stronger of the two. In the Mocha 
finish although the grain is removed to take the finish, 
much of the strength of the outer epidermis remains ; 
but in sueded leathers not only is the grain side of the 
leather removed, but the wearing surface is finished upon 
the weaker side of the skin. 

Modern " chamois " or " doeskin " leathers, as 
explained in the previous chapter are produced 
by a special tannage. With these again it is usual 
to remove the grain and finish with the emery 
wheel. 

" Nappa " gloves are made from tawed leathers, 
stained by the dipping process already described, and 
completed with a glace or grain finish. 

Real Cape gloves are usually bark- tanned and given 
a glace finish, but many gloves sold as " Capes " are 
tawed and dyed by the dipping process. 



DYEING AND FINISHING THE LEATHER 59 

" Dogskins " are merely heavy gloves made from 
tawed sheep skins. 

Whatever finish is imparted to the leather, after all 
the operations of dressing and dyeing are finally com- 
pleted, the skins are again passed over to the sorters. 
Each skin is closely examined for flaws and faults, and 
finally graded for quality. The sorters also decide the 
number of gloves which can be cut from each skin. Kid, 
lamb, and gazelle skins are exceedingly small. Kid 
skins yield on the average from a pair to a pair and a 
half of gloves. Some skins, however, are so very small, 
that not even a complete pair of gloves can be cut from 
them. When this happens the greatest care has to be 
exercised in selecting and matching the skins for the 
single pair of gloves. Average lamb skins yield from 
a pair to two pairs of gloves, and sheep-skins upwards 
of three pairs. Reindeer skins also yield several pairs ; 
as a rule it takes three gazelle skins to make a pair. 

This concludes our survey of the dressing and pre- 
paring of glove leather. It is essential to point out, 
however, that all the operations described involve much 
time and afford employment for numbers of skilled and 
experienced workmen. The dressing, dyeing and 
finishing of the skins is, indeed, something of an art. 
The workers have to be selected with care and trained 
with patience. The technical skill necessary cannot 
readily be taught : it has to be acquired by actual 
practical experience in the dressing- yards and factories. 
As in the silk and cotton trades, generations of 
association with the industry have, so it seems, engendered 
a certain hereditary expertness among the workers in 
those localities where the industry is established. Here 
we light upon one of the probable reasons why gloving 
is such a localised industry in every country where it is 
carried on. 



CHAPTER VII 

GLOVE- CUTTING 

Gloving, as we have seen, enjoys an established claim 
to rank among the oldest of handicraft industries, and 
although machinery now enters very largely into all 
operations which the making of gloves involves, there 
are yet some processes calling for the exercise of mental 
intuition in association with manipulative expertness 
rather than for what one may term mere mechanical 
dexterity. Such is particularly true of glove- cutting. 
Formerly, of course, leather gloves were entirely cut 
and slit by hand. Then the cutters actually cut 
" tranks " of leather, the shape of a double hand (minus 
the thumb which had to be cut separately) in outline, 
tranks afterwards being handed over to the slitters who 
slit the fingers, and the holes for the thumb and the 
wrist opening. Nowadays, the " trank " is merely an 
oblong piece of leather, bearing no resemblance whatever 
to a glove, and the whole art and skill of the cutter is 
applied to pulling and stretching the skins in order to 
cut these " tranks " of appropriate dimensions for 
different sizes and classes of gloves. The actual outline 
of the glove is subsequently stamped out in a cutting 
press. 

As a rule the cutter receives a number of similar 
skins, which are frequently accompanied by a docket 
from the sorters or the foreman of the cutting- room 
indicating the number, character and sizes of the gloves 
to be made from them, the kind of stitch to be employed 
in their sewing and the style of " point " with which they 
are to be adorned. All these factors have an important 
bearing upon the problem with which the cutter has to 

60 




By permission of Messrs. Dent, Allcroft & Co., Ltd. 

A GLOVE CUTTER AT WORK 



62 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

deal. For instance, some stitching takes up more leather 
in the seam than others, and the same with the different 
" points " (the " points " are the three lines of decorative 
stitching or braiding on the back of the glove) and 
naturally this has to be allowed for in cutting the trank. 
Apart from these considerations, every skin presents 
points of difference from all other skins, and has there- 
fore to be studied by the cutter as a fresh problem. 
Animals, like human beings, are endowed with certain 
hereditary and individual characteristics which find 
physical as well as temperamental expression. Just as 
it is rare to find two human beings whose appearance, 
proportions and character are alike, so also with the 
animals whose skins are utilized in the making of gloves. 
The difference between say a dozen kids or lambs may 
appear insignificant to the unobservant, but to those 
whose calling brings them into close contact with the 
animals wide variations in size, shape and character 
are evident. These variations are reflected in the skins 
and remain through all the stages of dressing until as 
leather they reach the glove- cutter's hands. Thus it is 
that all skins exhibit marked differences in grain and 
texture, shape, size and weight, even within their own 
class. Incidentally it is worthy of mention that in the 
case of French kids, which are often specially bred and 
carefully reared, the disparity between the texture of 
one skin and another is perhaps less striking than in the 
case of other animals which live under more natural 
conditions. The differences in grain, texture and weight 
of the skins are more the concern of the sorter than of the 
cutter, but the differentiation in size and shape is of 
considerable moment to the latter. Some skins are long 
from head to tail and narrow across the shoulders and 
flanks, whilst others are short in length but broader 
across. Between these extremes there is room for a 



GLOVE-CUTTING 63 

great degree of variation. So no two skins are identical, 
and each presents a new problem for the cutter to solve 
in order that it shall be cut to the best advantage. 

Here it may be expedient to interpolate a few words 
as to the general structure of the skins used in gloving. 
Actually, every skin is composed of three layers or strata, 

(1) the epidermis or outer skin known as the " grain," 
from which the hair or wool of the animal springs, 

(2) the Hyaline membrane — a fine transparent membrane 
— which separates the epidermis from (3) the dermis, or 
main body of the skin. From the head and over the 
collar and along the spine (the crupper) where it is at 
its thickest, the skin thins gradually away to the edges of 
the flanks and the feet. 

Intuition, born of experience, and skill in manipulating 
the skins are the cutter's real equipment. The first 
step is to pull and stretch the skin to ascertain its 
" spread." A cutter will spend some time in this way 
on a single skin, pulling it lengthways and sideways, and 
so working out every inch of material to advantage. 
Then by the aid of cardboard patterns cut in the shape 
of the glove in double outline the skin can be measured 
off and cut into oblong shaped " tranks " ready for the 
cutting or punching press. Any pieces left over from 
the skins are utilised as far as is possible for the odd 
parts of the glove, the thumbs, fourchettes, gussets, 
etc. Here the work of the skilled cutter ceases, and the 
" tranks," after being examined are passed on to the 
punching rooms, where the actual cutting of the glove 
shapes is done. 

On examining a finished glove it will be seen that it 
consists of several separate parts. The main part, 
forming the palm and back of the glove and the upper 
and lower surfaces of the fingers, is in one piece, the 
thumb is formed of a separate piece ; the sides of the 



64 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

fingers, called variously, " fourchettes," " forgits " or 
" forks," are formed by additional pieces ; and in 
between the interstices of the fingers, at the juncture of 
the fourchettes, there are sometimes smaller pieces 
called " piecettes " or " gussets " ; while at the base of 
the thumb another small piece is sometimes inserted 
known asa" quirk." Separate strips again are used for 
" welting "the wrist and for strengthening the sides of 
the wrist-opening, and often there is a small stay piece, 
designated a " heart " or " protector " placed under the 
binding of the palm at the opening. All these are 
stamped out from the " tranks " of leather or from odd 
pieces of the skins left over after the " tranks " have been 
cut. Very little of the skin remains when all these 
parts have been provided for, and even the remaining 
small scraps and parings are not wasted, but are 
collected and sold to the makers of artificial manure, 
glue, etc. 

The process of stamping out the parts of the glove 
from the tranks of leather is exceedingly simple. As 
a rule six tranks are cut at one time — sufficient for three 
pairs of gloves. The number, of course, varies according 
to the class of glove, and the practice of particular 
factories. These are placed back to back, so that each 
alternate piece is suitable for a right-hand and a left- 
hand glove respectively. A die, or calibre, as it is more 
commonly called — being really a pattern knife shaped 
like a double thumbless hand with its keen cutting 
edge facing upwards — is locked in the base of the 
cutting machine or press ; the " tranks " are then 
placed upon the " calibre," and a heavy weight is forced 
down upon them, and the cutting is done. 

Cutting presses are actuated by different methods, 
individual makers holding a preference for various 
types. Some prefer the old " goose neck " presses 







By permission of 



Messrs. Dent, AUcroft & Co., Ltd. 



STAMPING OUT THE PARTS OF THE GLOVE IN A 
CUTTING-PRESS 



66 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

operated by hand, whilst others have adopted electrically 
operated presses. Many factory managers, however, 
declare that these latter do not give such good results 
as the hand cutting presses. Moreover, it is urged that 
the damage they inflict upon the knife edges of the 
calibres is too serious to be ignored. Whichever method 
of operating is preferred, the principle remains the same. 

Glove-cutting calibres are not of standard shape, 
and there are consequently wide variations in the style 
and cut of gloves made by different factories. Apart 
from differentiation in the calibres due to the style of 
glove to be cut, there is also considerable difference 
in the general shape of the calibres adopted in individual 
factories. Some manufacturers contend that a better 
fitting glove can be obtained by dispensing with the 
gussets at the 'junction of the base of the fingers and 
the " fourchettes," whilst others eliminate the " quirks " 
or " gore " at the base of the thumbs. In the latter 
case a small section of the main part of the glove or 
trank is cut to run down the inner side of the thumb 
opening. Thumbs so made are termed " Boulton 
thumbs." Owing to the endless variations in the shape 
of the human hand, it is impossible to ascribe perfection 
to any single style of cutting ; some hands are better 
fitted by gloves cut with " quirks " and " gussets," and 
others are equally well suited by gloves from which either 
" quirks " or " gussets," or may be both, have been 
eliminated. Finger lengths also vary a good deal, and 
here again different calibres are necessary. Some 
manufacturers only make a standard length of finger 
to each size of glove, but others turn out two lengths to 
each size. Again, some calibres are fitted with adjustable 
knives which permit the cutting of various finger lengths. 

The steel punches for stamping out several pairs of 
gloves at one operation were first invented in 1819 by 



GLOVE-CUTTING 67 

a French glove manufacturer, named Vallet d'Artois. 
It was, however, left to a young medical student of 
Grenoble, Xavier Jouvin, to develop and perfect the 
invention of d'Artois so as to effect something of a 
revolution in the glove trade. Jouvin in the course of 
his professional work made a thorough study of the 
human hand, and ultimately classified 320 different 
sizes and shapes of gloves. At first the inventor reaped 
little reward for his labours, but in 1839 his system was 
awarded a bronze medal at the Industrial Exhibition 
held at Paris, and subsequently was adopted by the trade. 

All glove dimensions are calculated from the total 
width of leather used at the widest part, i.e., at the 
palm. Sizes also are based upon this measurement, 
a size 6 glove having 6 French ins. in the double- 
palm width. About 9 J French ins. are equal to 10 
English ins. There is a common error held in relation 
to glove sizes. In ascertaining one's size, a rough 
method is to measure the width of the closed hand at 
the knuckles, and double the measurement ascertained 
to find the glove fitting. Some people, however, measure 
round the palm of the hand, and in the result find when 
ordering gloves based upon this measurement, that the 
fitting is quite a size too large. An individual who really 
takes a size 6| glove, will on measuring round the palm 
find his or her hand is quite 7 ins. round. It may seem 
paradoxical, that the glove should really measure less 
than the hand, but the fact is glove leather stretches 
readily, while the wrist opening and the gussets, 
fourchettes and quirks all allow a great deal of play to 
the skin of the palm and back of the glove. 

The average dimensions of the different parts of the 
glove appended are given merely as an indication of 
the relative proportions. They must not be regarded 
as the proportions generally adopted, and are quoted 




r 
C 



£ 



Z 





c 



E 



xz 



o 



70 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

solely in order to give a clue to the average relative 
dimensions. 

If we regard the width as represented by unity, the 
various proportions for an ordinary glove of wrist 
length average approximately as follows — 

Times Width. 
Length from end of wrist to thumb-hole . . -6 

thumb-hole to tip of second finger - 8 

Total length of glove . . . . .1*4 

Length of thumb ...... "8 

,, forefinger ..... "5 

,, ,, second and third fingers, slightly over "5 

,, little fingers, rather less than . . *5 

Width of thumb piece ..... 4 

,, ,, of finger pieces, including fourchettes, 
average ....... "32 

In the accompanying diagrams the main parts of 
gloves of the Boulton thumb type and the Round 
thumb type are shown. 

The main portions furnish the backs and palms of 
the glove and the backs and fronts of the fingers. The 
curiously shaped slits to the left of the centre of the 
main parts are the holes for the thumb-pieces, whilst 
the openings are the slits for the wrist openings, at 
either side of which are placed the buttons and button- 
holes or spring-dome fasteners. As a rule the back 
half of the main piece is slightly wider than that for the 
palm, the reason being that a certain amount of leather 
is taken up in the " pointing," the decorative braid or 
stitching to be found on practically all gloves. On the 
left hand side of each diagram are the corresponding 
thumb-pieces, the fourchettes being shown on the right 
hand side. 

To conclude, it may be mentioned that glove- cutting 
is one of the oldest craft trades, and the system of 
apprenticeship is still used for recruiting the ranks of 



GLOVE-CUTTING 71 

the cutters. Formerly the period of apprenticeship was 
seven years, but four years is the usual term now. In 
this branch of the industry, as in many others, father 
and son have followed the occupation for several genera- 
tions, and many people claim that such cutters enjoy the 
advantage of hereditary skill. 



6— (1463, ) 



CHAPTER VIII 

SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 

After the tranks, fourchettes, quirks, thumb pieces and 
gussets have been cut, they are carefully inspected in 
order to ensure that all parts are correct in every detail. 
They are then ready for sewing. 

Nearly a hundred years ago, William Hull, the author 
of A History of the Glove Trade, in the course of a 
remonstrance against the removal of the embargo which, 
prior to 1826, prevented the entry of foreign gloves into 
England, wrote, "It is a happy circumstance for the 
operative glovers that machinery cannot be brought 
into operation against them." Since then, however, 
great developments have taken place, and machine 
sewing has all but superseded hand sewing from the 
industry. Meanwhile, in one other respect the glove 
industry still clings to old traditions. For generations 
now the sewing of gloves has been conducted largely as 
a cottage industry, and although to-day it is no longer 
possible to claim that the factory system has no part in 
the glove trade, a very great proportion of the making -up 
or sewing of gloves is still executed by the operatives in 
their own homes. This may seem curious in an age 
when factory organisation and equipment, permitting 
rapid and large scale production, have reached a high 
standard of perfection, but although the factory system 
in recent years has made very great strides in the gar- 
ment making trades generally, the bulk of leather gloves 
are still sewn by women in their own homes in the 
country districts of gloving centres. AH round Wor- 
cester and Yeovil, in the County of Somerset, and in 

72 



SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 73 

Oxfordshire and parts of Dorsetshire, Gloucester and 
Wiltshire, thousands of women rely upon glove-making 
either wholly for their means of subsistence, or in order 
to augment the common family purse. Many firms, of 
course, have their own factories where numbers of 
girls are employed in the sewing operations, but it 
frequently happens that the young gloveresses employed 
therein, when they leave the factory to set up house- 
holds of their own, continue to work at the trade as 
out-workers in their own homes. In the factories, 
power machines are used and production is usually more 
rapid, but the home-workers execute their work with the 
aid of treadle machines, w T hich are usually supplied by 
the firms for whom the gloves are being made. 

The work of glove-sewing is divided into specialised 
branches, and as a rule each individual worker has been 
trained to do a particular part of the work. Thus, 
" pointing " or the decoration of the back of the glove, 
stitching in the thumbs, fourchettes and gussets, closing 
of the glove, making of button-holes, sewing on of 
buttons, welting and finishing are often done by different 
operatives and frequently on entirely different classes of 
machines. Many of the machines used are of foreign 
manufacture, but the Singer Sewing Machine Manu- 
facturing Company have paid considerable attention 
to the designing and manufacture of gloving machines 
and now make a complete range for all sewings. These 
are meeting with increasing favour from British glove- 
makers. 

The first step in the sewing operations is the process 
known as " pointing." There are some hundreds of 
different styles of " points " now adopted, and they 
vary from simple single lines of stitching to quite ela- 
borate embroideries. In the case of the ultra-fashionable 
gloves for ladies, there is also a tendency to substitute 



74 



GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 



for pointing more general and more ornate embroid- 
ered designs for the back of the glove, after the style of 




THE BROSSER POINT 



decorations to be seen in examples of seventeenth - 
century glove work. Moreover, every individual maker 
endeavours to create special designs, particularly for 






SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 



75 



the higher types of gloves, in order to give an individual 
character to his wares. 

One of the most simple points is what is known as the 




THE VICTOR POINT 



Brosser or Brossier. This is a single thread design, 
stitched by a machine fitted with a single needle and 
single or double looper. Sometimes several rows of 
plain stitching are employed for points, and such 
work is frequently carried out on a machine of the 



76 GLOVES AND THE CxLOVE TRADE 

multiple needle type, i.e., one which operates two, three 
or perhaps four needles simultaneously. Embroidery 




EXAMPLE OE RAISED POINT WITH TRIPLE 
ROWS OF DOUBLE-NEEDLE STITCHING 

is usually simulated by means of combination stitching. 
In such cases if the decoration is closely examined it will 
be seen to be composed of a series of separate sewings 
stitched so closely as to present a composite design. 




RAISED POINT WITH SINGLE ROWS OF DOUBLE 
STITCHING 



78 



GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 



Such decorations may involve separate operations, 
each being the work of a distinct machine. A centre 
line of roundseam stitching flanked by two outside 




THE PARIS POINT : 
AN EXAMPLE OF MACHINE EMBROIDERY 



rows of chain-stitching is a simple example of this class 
of point. The well-known Paris pointing can be produced 
in a similar manner. Some points again are made with 
groups of ordinary plain stitching the ends of which are 
rounded, or may be finished with arrow or spear heads. 
Another class of point which is exceedingly popular 




By permission of Messrs. Dent, Allcroft & Co., Ltd. 

TAMBOURING THE BACK OF THE GLOVE 

The work is done by hand in a frame, holes being first perforated 
by a stamp or preen 



80 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

is that known variously as the Ribbed, Raised or Beaded 
Point. There are single rib, double rib and treble rib 
points, and these are sewn with multiple needle machines, 
fitted with a drawstitch mechanism for drawing the 
leather into ribs or beads. 

Corded points are formed by stitching a cord of silk 
or other material to the backs of the gloves. Prac- 
tically the only hand-made points now met with are 
what are known as " Tambour " points, and even 
these are eliminated by most makers. This is really 
a crocheted point. In making it, the back of the 
glove-trank has first to be perforated to furnish a series 
of holes, this being done by means of a preen or stamp. 
The trank is afterwards stretched in a tambour 
embroidering frame and the point is crocheted through 
the holes. The reason tamboured points have fallen 
into ill-favour is two-fold. In the first place the 
necessity of perforating the trank is a grave drawback 
owing to the liability of the glove to split along the line 
of the holes. Secondly, such work takes a considerable 
time, even for expert workers, and is thus rather expen- 
sive, whereas the effect of a hand crocheted point can 
be very closely simulated by combinations of machine 
stitching. Nevertheless there is still some demand for 
this class of decoration. Silk threads of varying tex- 
tures are used for making the various points, a great 
variety of colours being used. 

Pointing, owing to the work frequently involving the 
use of more than one machine, is more often than not 
a factory operation. 

The various sewing operations involved in closing and 
finishing the glove follow. These again are, for the most 
part, machine sewings ; although there is still a strong 
demand for hand-sewn gloves. Many people still seem 
to be of opinion that hand-sewing is stronger than 



SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 81 

machine, yet it is more than doubtful if this is actually 
the case. 

For the general stitching emp^ed in closing leather 
gloves, that is, round the outer edge, round the fingers, 
and round the base of the thumb- piece, one of three 
kinds of stitching is invariably employed. These are 
known as " Roundseam," " Prixseam " or " Prickseam " 
(abbreviated in the trade to "P. R. X. M.") and 
" Pique" (abbreviated to " P. K."), or " Lapped Seam." 
Roundseam sewing takes the place of the oldest form of 
hand- sewing. It is called by the French, " La 
Surjeteuse," literally, " over the edge," and is usually 
used for the finest and lightest kid and lamb skin gloves. 
The two edges of the leather are brought together back 
to back, and the thread is sewn through and over the 
edge at each stitch, hence the name. Furs, by the way, 
are joined by much the same method. In the machine 
(of the single needle and looper type) the leather is fed 
by a ratchet wheel, the needle pricking through 
both thicknesses of leather and the looper doing the 
over-casting to complete the stitch. 

The Prixseam sewing is the type favoured for the 
heavier classes of gloves, such as driving gloves and 
gauntlets, real cape, etc., by reason of its great strength. 
It is not a sewing, however, which makes for elegance. 
In this sewing, the pieces of leather are brought together 
back to back, both edges being exposed, and the stitch is 
sewn through and through parallel to the edges. 

Most Roundseam and Prixseam machines sew with 
the needle in a horizontal plane. 

What hand-sewing is still resorted to is usually of 
the Prixseam variety. It is usually done in a frame, 
known as a donkey-frame, the vice or head of which 
somewhat resembles a donkey's head in shape. The 
edges of the glove are brought together and fixed in the 



S2 



GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 



head of the frame, the top of which is composed of a 
serrated or toothed edge of metal, so that the seam to be 




By permission of Messrs 

HAND-SEWING — USING THE 



Dent, Allcrofi & Co., Ltd. 
DONKEY FRAME " 



sewn runs along the line of the serrations or teeth of the 
edge. The gloveress using the machine sews with her 



SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 



83 



needle through both edges of the exposed leather, 
using the teeth to guide her stitches so that a neat and 
regular seam results. 




TYPICAL ROUNDSEAM SEWING MACHINE 

By far the most common stitch adopted for the 
majority of gloves for ordinary wear is the Pique, or 
Lapped" Seam sewing. In this one edge of the leather 
is lapped over the other, leaving only a single raw edge 
exposed. It is an extremely neat sewing and is at the 



84 



GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 



same time strong and durable. Pique sewing machines 
are sometimes fitted with a tapered vertical post to 
facilitate the sewing of the finger ends. Other special 




SPECIAL MACHINE WITH TAPERED POST FOR 
SEWING FINGERS OF GLOVES 



forms of sewing are adopted by individual firms, Dent's 
" Magpie " stitching, a combination of black and white 
sewing, being a case in point. 

After pointing, the gloves are passed on to the glove- 
makers proper ; whose task it is to sew the various 



SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 



85 



parts together, close the fingers and thumb and the out- 
side seam. This work, as may be imagined, requires 
considerable dexterity. The sewings involved are 
short (the longest runs being only of a few inches) and 
the operative has to concentrate her whole attention 




PRIXSEAM MACHINE, SEWING IN HORIZONTAL PLANE 



upon the work in hand, twisting and turning the glove 
about, and continually stopping and restarting the 
machine as each section of sewing is completed. For 
this reason, although many glove-sewing machines are 
capable of running at relatively high speeds, high-speed 
sewing as it is understood in many branches of garment- 
making has no place in glove manufacture, where neat- 
ness and even regular sewings are of considerable 



86 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

importance. Nevertheless, it is interesting to watch 
a skilled glove-maker at work and to notice with what 
rapidity the sewing can be done in spite of the intricacy 
and detail involved in the work. Where the sewing is 




SPECIAL MACHINE FOR THE PIQUE* STITCH 



done in the factory it is possible to subdivide the work 
to a greater extent than is usually the case with gloves 
sewn by home-workers. Some operatives will be 
sewing the fourchettes, quirks and gussets and thumbs, 
whilst others will be closing the fingers, the thumbs 
and the outside seams. In this way even greater 
speed and expertness are attained than by operatives 
•who perform a number of different operations. 

The next operation is the welting and binding of the 



SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 87 

wrist, and for this again a variety of special machines 
is available. With some gloves the wrist edge is merely 
turned and stitched down by means of a chain stitch, 
lock stitch or diamond stitch machine to form a welt or 
binding , whilst in others a separate strip of leather is 
used to make the welt or binding. Welting also includes 
the sewing of the reinforcing pieces of material along 
the wrist opening where the buttons are sewn. 

Latterly, the Singer Company have introduced a 
special triple lock-stitch machine, in which the needle 
vibrates forwards and backwards so as to lay three lines 
of thread instead of one in each stitch. This makes an 
exceedingly strong sewing and is occasionally employed 
in finishing some of the stronger types of gloves. The 
strength of seams sewn by this method is trebled, and the 
use of it avoids the danger of ripping. This stitch can 
also be employed to form decorative points. 

Button-holing and the affixing of buttons follow, and 
these again are now almost universally accomplished by 
means of special machines. There are several kinds 
of button -holing machines on the market, but the 
principle of all is very similar. They are fitted with 
knives which cut the holes, before or after stitching. 
Purl stitching is commonly used- for finishing the button- 
holes. Sometimes the holes are strengthened by over- 
lapping the edges of the material forming the hole itself, 
another method being to reinforce the hole with small 
pieces of leather sewn to the under-surface. The button- 
sewing machines are wonderfully ingenious. These not 
only sew the buttons but knot and cut the threads. 
They can be gauged to make a specified number of 
stitches for each button, and the machine is automatic- 
ally set so that the operative cannot vary that number 
of stitches. The knives cut the thread on the last 
stitch, leaving it the proper length to begin the stitch 

7— (1463j) 



88 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

for the next button, so that there is absolutely no 
wastage of thread. Special clamps are sometimes fitted 
which can be adapted to any required size of button 
within certain limits. Recently the Singer Company 
have introduced a machine of the chain-stitch type 
which sews on buttons with stitching resembling hand- 
sewing. These work at remarkable speeds, sewing 
1,000 stitches a minute. In four-hole buttons the 
stitches are sewn across diagonally, but the machines can 
be adjusted by merely pressing a lever to sew two-hole 
buttons. 

Domes or clasps made on the press-stud principle are 
very frequently used as fasteners in place of buttons 
and button-holes, although buttons are preferred by most 
people for the simple reason that they can be readily 
re-sewn should they become detached, whereas domes or 
clasps are not so easily attached when they pull through 
the leather. The two separate sections of the dome are 
inserted into the glove by machines of much the same 
type as those used for inserting the brass eyelets for the 
lace-holes of boots and shoes. The domes themselves 
are made from a wide variety of materials, although the 
spring and post must be of metal. Most domes are made 
entirely of metal, but others are made partly of glass, 
imitation pearl, horn, pyroxlyn, vegetable ivory, bone 
or celluloid or some other similar compound. 

Alternative means of fastening the glove are adopted 
for the sac-wrist types, i.e., those gloves which are not 
slit at right angles to the wrist opening. Sometimes a 
strip of elastic is gathered into the glove a short distance 
from the wrist opening itself, whilst the strap or buckle 
type of fastener is also very popular, particularly for 
men's gloves. 

There are many types of lined gloves for winter 
wear, varying from the rather expensive antelope or 



SEWING AND FINISHING LEATHER GLOVES 89 

lamb skin gloves made from leather dressed with the 
hair or wool still on, and cut and finished so that the 
coat of the animal forms a natural lining for the glove, 
to the ordinary wool or fur-lined glove. For wool- 
lined gloves, knitted woollen hosiery fabric, either 
plain or fleecy is employed, and this is sewn to the inner 
side of the glove in the course of making. Rabbit and 
hare fur are frequently employed in a similar manner. 

After the gloves have been finally completed by the 
sewers, they are handed over to the finishing room. Here 
they are dressed into shape on metal " hands " which are 
kept at a uniform heat by steam or electricity and 
finally ironed out and finished for packing. Paired and 
banded into half-dozen pairs, they are boxed ready for 
despatch to the wholesalers. 

To those unacquainted with the ramifications of the 
industry it may seem an exaggeration to claim that an 
ordinary pair of leather gloves may have required 
as many as 72 distinct operations before they leave the 
manufacturer's premises in the form they are offered for 
sale, yet such is the case. Gloving, indeed, involves 
throughout all its processes considerable technical 
skill in association with highly trained and experienced 
labour. In the initial stages, particularly in the dressing 
and preparing of the skins, the dyeing and finishing of 
the leather, and in the cutting operations, the utmost 
skill and care are essential. A slight miscalculation 
or error at any of these stages may easily result in 
reducing valuable skins to a practically worthless 
condition. 

Fur Gloves. The development of motoring and 
aviation has led to a large demand for fur gloves. These 
are consequently being produced in increasing numbers. 
Almost an y fur is suitable, but naturally the bulk of 
the trade in fur gloves runs on the cheaper kinds of 



90 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

furs — rabbit, hare, etc. These gloves are made in a 
great variety of styles, from the bag- shaped fingerless 
variety to those of normal shape, whilst occasionally 
gloves are made with separate sections for the thumb 
and first fingers. As a rule fur gloves have only the 
backs of fur, the palms and under surface of the fingers 
being of sheep or deer skin. Thus the cutting of the 
glove is done by rather different methods than for 
ordinary gloves of leather. The fur for the back and 
leather for the palm are cut with a knife by means of 
a cardboard shape, and the parts are afterwards 
assembled and sewn in the usual manner. 



CHAPTER IX 

FABRIC GLOVES : ORIGIN OF THE INDUSTRY 

The fabric glove industry, though still regarded by many 
people as a minor and subsidiary branch of the glove 
trade is of considerable and growing importance. 
Although in point of value it still falls far short of the 
trade in leather gloves, the number of fabric gloves 
manufactured every year possibly approaches the number 
of leather gloves. World production already runs into 
several million dozen pairs annually, and tends to 
increase. In many respects the fabric glove trade can 
claim to be regarded as a distinct and separate industry 
from leather gloving. Although many manufacturers 
of leather gloves both here and in France have taken 
up the making of the fabric article, the production of 
fabric gloves is no longer confined to the well-known 
gloving centres. Nevertheless, there are many authorities 
in the trade who claim that the best fabric gloves are 
made in those centres where glove-making has long 
been established. Gloving, we will repeat, may be 
regarded as an industry where hereditary skill — the skill 
of operatives born, so to speak, into the industry — 
confers decided advantages ; and there are many 
experienced glove buyers who hold the view that such 
hereditary skill is of as great advantage in the sewing and 
finishing of fabric gloves as of leather. Be that as it 
may, the Germans succeeded in building up a great 
fabric glove industry in Saxony, where previously 
gloving was almost, if not entirely unknown ; while 
a number of fabric glove factories have been established 
in several English centres where previously glove- 
making had not been carried on. At the same time 

91 



92 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

it must be conceded that the fabric industry owes much 
to the leather industry, for practically all the operations 
of cutting and sewing in the former are based upon and 
inspired by experience gained in the latter section of the 
trade. 

Looking to the future it is fairly safe to prophecy 
that the prospects before the fabric trade are exceed- 
ingly promising. The limited supplies of skins, and the 
long and costly processes to which they have to be 
subjected ere they can be fashioned into gloves, mean 
that for some years the supplies of leather gloves are 
likely to be somewhat restricted. At the present 
time, the production of many English factories is less 
by from 33 to 50 per cent, as compared with pre-war 
output, principally owing to the shortage of skins, but 
partially, of course, as a result of shorter hours in indus- 
try and the depletion of the ranks of the operatives 
caused by the war. These factors are world-wide in 
their incidence, and therefore it would seem safe to 
suggest that leather gloves for some years to come will 
be relatively scarce and dear. On the other hand, 
more attention is being devoted to the production of 
fabric gloves not only in this country but in America, 
France, Japan and Canada. The necessary supplies 
of cotton and silk, it is true, have been adversely affected 
by war conditions, but the prospect of a more speedy 
return to normal conditions in this respect would seem 
to be more promising than in the case of skins for 
leather gloves. Again, thanks to the development of 
rapid knitting machinery, the fabric can be produced 
in very large quantities. Fabric gloves, therefore, are 
much more easy to produce and consequently much 
cheaper than the leather article. Moreover, every 
year witnesses considerable improvements in the char- 
acter of glove fabrics, " sueded " leather being simulated 



FABRIC GLOVES : ORIGIN OF THE INDUSTRY 93 

in fabric with remarkable skill. Thus there is a growing 
tendency of the fabric glove to trench more and more 
upon what was, until a few years ago, regarded as the 
exclusive field for leather gloves. This tendency is 
specially noticeable in the growing production of fabric 
gloves for men's wear. There may be a limit to the 
possibilities of development in these respects, but it 
has certainly not yet been reached. 

Like many another industry that ultimately passed 
into other hands the fabric glove industry originated 
in the United Kingdom. Not only were the yarns 
used spun in English mills, but the machines upon which 
the fabric was knitted were invented in this country. 
The origin of modern fabric gloving dates from the middle 
of the nineteenth century, when the first warp knitting 
machines for glove fabric were invented and perfected 
at Melbourne, in South Derbyshire. Up to that time 
textile gloves were either made from woven fabrics, 
linen and silk largely, or were of the fashion-knitted 
seamless type. The majority of the latter were hand 
knitted wool gloves, the fingers and thumbs of which were 
shaped in the process of knitting. Such are still made 
in fairly large quantities, although machine knitting 
has largely displaced hand knitting, but wool yarns are 
usually used. Attempts have been made to produce 
fashion-knit cotton gloves, but these have failed to 
prove altogether satisfactory. 

Following the invention and development of warp 
knitting machines, considerable development was made 
in this country in the making of gloves from knitted 
cotton fabrics ; but some ten years later, in 1860, to be 
precise, the duty on imported gloves was repealed, 
with serious consequences to English gloving generally 
and to the making of fabric gloves in particular. Then it 
was that the German textile industry established in 



94 GLOVES AND THE CxLOVE TRADE 

Saxony, with Chemnitz as its centre, found an oppor- 
tunity to lay the foundations of a fabric glove-making 
industry which was eventually to become a great, 
world-wide monopoly. The steps by which this was 
achieved furnish an instructive object lesson in the 
tactics adopted by the Teuton in his commercial 
development. The initial advantage of the German 
manufacturer rested solely in the abundance of cheap 
labour at his command. German operatives, in those 
days, were content to work much longer hours than the 
English, and for wages which would have been regarded 
as a beggarly pittance by British operatives. Moreover, 
child labour was very largely employed. Beginning 
by purchasing glove fabric made in England, which 
they shipped to Saxony, there to be made up into gloves, 
the Germans deliberately set out to capture the industry 
for themselves. For many years they made little 
headway except in the production of exceedingly 
cheap gloves of inferior workmanship and finish. But 
as time passed the German industry accumulated an 
experience of its own, and by the end of the nineteenth 
century competition had grown so keen that English 
manufacturers were being undersold both in their own 
home market and in the export trade. As in the case 
of other industries the Germans schemed to capture, 
this proved but a beginning, and a time came when the 
Germans were no longer buying English fabric, but 
were buying English-made knitting machines whereon 
they produced Germ an -made fabrics. Moreover, by 
specialisation and organisation considerable improve- 
ments and developments were made in the character 
of the fabric itself. The production of glove fabric 
was studied as a science. The knitting machines were 
speeded up considerably, and production was inten- 
sified by concentrating upon the manufacture of special 



FABRIC GLOVES : ORIGIN OF THE INDUSTRY 95 

types of fabric. Although the first German machines 
were little more than bare-faced copies of British 
machines, the Germans must be given credit for effecting 
considerable improvements. They also made marked 
progress in the finishing of the fabric, and in the inven- 
tion of the well-known duplex fabrics and imitation 
suede and chamois finish effects. These developments 
accelerated the progress of the German industry at the 
expense of our own and those of other countries. More- 
over, enjoying the support of a Government at all times 
solicitous for promoting the interests of German trade, 
the German industry was enabled to market its produc- 
tions overseas on severely competitive lines. As is 
now well-known, every German industry before the war 
was securely protected by tariffs and highly organised. 
Prices were frequently regulated by a central body, 
and it was often customary to fix two prices, one for 
articles sold for home consumption showing a high rate 
of profit (protected from foreign competition by the 
tariff duties) and the other, a considerably lower price, 
for export goods. The large profits made in the home 
trade compensated for the narrower working profit 
margin on export business. This practice is known to 
have been adopted by the German glove industry. 
Indeed, the fabric glove makers of Saxony are said to 
have sold gloves for export at from 25 to 30 per cent, 
under the prices at which the same goods were offered 
for sale in Germany. 

By such methods, English fabric makers and glovers 
were driven almost entirely out of the business ; though 
it is said, strangely enough, that even up till 1914, 
English knitting machine makers were still exporting 
to Germany machines for the making of fine glove 
fabrics. 

Such in brief outline is the story of the origin and 



96 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

development of the German fabric glove monopoly. 
The extent of that monopoly will be appreciated when 
it is stated that in 1913 out of every 10 pairs of fabric 
gloves sold in this country 9 pairs were of German 
origin. 

The effects of the German monopoly were seen in the 
autumn of 1914, when, as the result of the outbreak 
of hostilities, practically no supplies of fabric gloves 
were forthcoming, and it became necessary to take steps 
to re-establish the industry in the United Kingdom. 
The initial difficulties were appalling ; for the making 
of glove fabric and fabric gloves were to all intents 
and purposes lost arts in Britain. It is true that even 
in 1913 a few British firms were still producing fabric 
gloves, but the total output of their combined factories 
was comparatively small, and much of the fabric used was 
imported from Germany. The truth is, for 20 years 
prior to the outbreak of war in 1914, Saxony had been 
the chief centre of the trade, and all the progress and 
invention that had taken place during that period 
represented German progress and German invention. 
Many special methods and processes both in connection 
with the knitting of the fabric and with its finishing and 
dyeing were German secrets. 

When the German supplies were cut off by the war, 
it was realised that an opportunity for reviving all 
branches of the industry in this country had arisen. 
The big English wholesale firms and glove manufacturers, 
in co-operation with some of the leading builders of 
knitting machinery and makers of the finer hosiery 
fabrics concentrated their attention upon the problem. 
Some of the commoner fabrics were comparatively 
easy to manufacture, but special fabrics of the " duplex " 
typa and the popular " suede " finished fabrics were 
another matter. The machines for making and finishing 



FABRIC GLOVES : ORIGIN OF THE INDUSTRY 97 

these were far from simple in construction and for 
a long time little progress was made in producing high 
grade glove fabric. Necessity, however, is one of the 
finest stimulants for inventive genius, and after much 
experiment considerable progress has been made during 
the last three or four years. Machines are now available 
for turning out large quantities of high grade fabric, the 
equal of anything that ever emanated from Saxony, 
and in some respects German productions have even been 
surpassed. The machinery installed in this country 
at the present time is sufficient to produce between 
5 and 6. million yards of fabric annually, which repre- 
sents only about 500,000 to 1,000,000 yards short of 
our normal annual consumption of gloves. 



CHAPTER X 

THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 

Fabric gloves, as the name implies, are made of a cloth 
or fabric ; and just as leather gloving is to be regarded 
as a branch of the leather trade, so the manufacture of 
fabric gloves must be grouped as a section of the textile 
industry. Glove fabric is sometimes spoken of as if 
it were a woven cloth. It should be pointed out, how- 
ever, that the fabrics principally used are fine gauge or 
closely knitted cotton cloths of varying degrees of 
fineness, those most extensively adopted being known 
as Atlas cloths, Milanese, Milanese Lisle, Sueded and 
Duplex cloths, whilst silk, taffeta and lace are also 
used. Fabric gloves should not, however, be confused 
with the knitted gloves of the seamless type, which are 
made as a rule from heavier yarns, usually wool, and by 
different processes. The latter gloves are knitted on 
special machines which fashion or shape the glove in 
the course of knitting. With fabric gloves, the fabric 
is knitted and finished in the piece, the gloves afterwards 
being cut from " tranks " of fabric and sewn much as 
leather gloves are cut and sewn. 

By far the greatest proportion of glove fabrics are 
made from the finest grades of Sea Island and Egyptian 
cottons. The raw cotton is first spun into particularly 
fine yarns, the bulk of the spinning being carried on in 
the Manchester district. It is worthy of note in passing 
that even when the fabric glove trade was little more than 
a German monopoly, Lancashire supplied practically 
all the spun yarns used for making glove fabrics, large 
quantities being annually exported to Saxony for the 

98 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 99 

purpose. Nowadays, Lancashire supplies many million 
pounds of yarn to the mills in the Nottingham, Ilkeston, 
Melbourne and Leicester districts, where the bulk of 
English glove fabric is produced. 

The most suitable fabrics for glove-making are what 
are known in textile phraseology as " warp knitted " ; 
that is, cloths knit from warp yarns only, and not from 
weft yarns. Some of the finer gauges of interlock 
knitted fabrics are also used for gloves, but to a far less 
extent. 

In order to convey an idea of the distinctive character 
of the fabric it is expedient to explain briefly the differ- 
ence between the various kinds of textile piece goods. 

Broadly speaking, textile fabrics may be manu- 
factured on four distinct principles, i.e., weaving, knitting, 
felting, or twisting. Felt fabrics, formed by compressing 
the actual raw material (usually wool or fur) under the 
application of heat and moisture, and twisted fabrics, 
such as laces, embroideries, braids, etc., formed by 
twisting warp threads or yarns, may be ignored : in 
point of volume they represent but a small fraction of 
the textile trade. Woven fabrics, which form the largest 
group of textiles, consist of two distinct sets of yarns — 
warp yarns, running lengthwise parallel to the selvedge 
of the piece of material, and weft yarns which are 
woven at right angles over and under the warp yarns in 
the process of weaving. Such woollen cloths as serges, 
worsteds and cheviots, and cotton cloths such as calicoes, 
zephyrs, etc., are typical examples of woven cloths. 
Knitted fabrics, which form the only other inportant 
group of textiles, are produced by looping either weft 
yarns or warp yarns into a chain of loops, cohesion into 
a solid fabric being obtained by interlocking each row 
or chain of loops to the next row or chain. Hosiery and 
underwear fabrics, stockings and scarves are typical 



100 GLOVES AND THE CxLOVE TRADE 

examples of knitted fabrics, and glove fabrics may be 
regarded as falling within the same category. Glove 
fabric, however, should not be classed as a hosiery 
fabric. Although both hosiery and glove fabrics are 
made on the same principle — that is, by means of the 
looped or knitted stitch — the actual processes involved 
and the machines on which they are knitted present 
rather different features. Practically all hosiery gar- 
ments and fabric are knitted from weft yarns, in which the 
threads of yarn are knitted across the width of the gar- 
ment or fabric, the length of the piece being gradually 
built up by the addition of successive rows of loops or 
stitches as in hand knitting. In the manufacture of 
warp-knitted fabrics, such as are used for gloves, however, 
a large number of warps of yarn are simultaneously 
knitted longitudinally through the machine., each 
thread of yarn passing over two or more needles, so that 
the automatic interlocking of the loops Jinks up each 
row of stitches with its neighbouring rows and thus 
builds up the width of the piece. By this process a 
fine, close and solid fabric is produced, which is strong 
and sufficiently elastic for the purpose of gloving. 

The foregoing gives but a bare outline of the 
principle involved in warp knitting and the actual 
making of glove fabric is a highly technical business, 
and involves a series of extremely delicate and intricate 
operations. 

Before passing on to describe the actual process of 
knitting the fabric, a few words need to be said about 
the character of the yarns employed. Yarn, it may be 
necessary to explain, although in appearance somewhat 
similar, differs considerably from thread and the two 
should not be confused. Yarn is more supple and 
softer than thread, which in the process of twisting, 
doubling and polishing takes on its harder character. 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 101 

Every class of yarn, whether of wool, silk, or cotton, 
varies considerably in texture or fineness, and each class 
embraces many important divisions. For instance, 
in the case of the cotton knitting yarns with which we 
are now dealing there are ordinary fine yarns, mercerised 
yarns, and lisle thread yarns. Again within these broad 
classifications there are widely varying degrees of fine- 
ness. For the purpose of identification all yarns are 
numbered and designated by a count. Thus we have 
20's, 30's, etc., up to 200's and 300's. These counts 
are calculated by finding the relation of the weight of 
the yarn to its length. A simple rule for a:certaining 
the count of a cotton yarn is to find how many yarns 
there are to the pound and divide by 840. Thus if 
the pound weight of yarn contains 16,800 yards, the 
" count " would be 20 and the yarns would be designated 
20 's. From this it will be appreciated that the finer the 
yarn, the higher the " count " will be. 

The yarns most suitable for glove fabric are the ordinary 
fine cotton and Lisle yarns. As we have already 
indicated, Sea Island and Egyptian, the two finest 
descriptions of cotton, are used almost exclusively, and 
some idea of the fineness of glove fabric yarns will be 
gathered from the fact that the " counts " vary from 
70 's in the commoner and cheaper descriptions up to as 
high as 120's in finer fabrics. Even these latter do not 
yield the finest fabrics, which are made from what are 
known as Lisle thread yarns. Originally Lisle thread was 
a specially spun linen thread which had its origin at 
Lille, the great French textile centre. Now, however, 
the name is applied to any yarns, whether linen or cotton, 
produced by doubling two separate strands which have 
been previously spun in opposite directions. The range 
of counts of Lisle threads used for glove fabric vary 
from 180 up to as high as 260. These knit into a 



102 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

remarkably close, fine fabric which is used for making 
the very highest quality gloves. 

Yarn comes in from the spinners sometimes in the 
form of hanks and sometimes wound on spools, cops or 
cones. Considerable attention is paid nowadays to the 
selection of yarns for glove fabrics, whilst in the early 
stages of " winding " and " warping " the yarn the 
utmost care is taken to secure the elimination of imper- 
fections which would be likely to give rise to patchy 
or uneven places in the finished fabric. Thus, whether 
yarn has been wound or not before it reaches the fabric 
manufacturer, it is frequently rewound on to suitable 
spools or bobbins for the next process of warping." 
Good winding is regarded as essential to good knitting, 
and especially so in the case of glove fabrics which 
include the finest of all knitted fabrics. There are 
several types of winding machines used, but all follow 
much the same principle, and the operation, which 
is highly technical in character, need not be described 
here. 

The next process, that of " warping," is of even 
greater importance. " Warping " consists of winding 
a large number of threads of yarn side by side on to a 
" warping mill." To effect this a number of bobbins or 
spools of cotton are placed upon a framework or stand, 
called a " creel " or " jack," the number of bobbins 
" warped " at a time varying according to the gauge of 
the machine for which the warp is being prepared. 
The " warping mill " consists of a large drum or reel and 
round this the yarn is wound, often being measured by 
clock work in the course of winding and each section 
of threads being warped from the same number of 
revolutions of the reel. From the reel the yarn passes 
through a perforated warping plate, which fixes the 
distance between the threads, and the warp is then wound 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 103 

either on brass bobbins for the Milanese machine, of 
on to rollers, sometimes called " beams," for the Atlas 
machine. In warping the utmost attention has to be 
paid to the tension of the yarn, for upon this factor the 
closeness of the ultimate fabric largely depends. 

We pass now to the knitting of the fabric. 

Warp knitting, reduced to its simplest form, as already 
explained, may be described as a series of simple chains 
of loops running longitudinally the whole length of the 
fabric, each chain being attached to its nearest neigh- 
bours on either side and so forming a continuous 
fabric. There is, however, more than one type of 
machine now used for knitting glove fabric. The chief 
are the Atlas and the Milanese. The Atlas machine, or 
loom as it is sometimes called, is a verticte needle fast 
warp machine, and although it is the older of the two it 
has shewn itself capable of greater development and is 
now more widely used owing to the fact that it enables 
a greater variety of fabrics to be produced and can be 
run at very high speeds. The Milanese machine, 
however, produces rather finer fabrics. 

The Milanese loom is what is termed a two-bar machine, 
that is, there are always two rows or " bars " of cotton 
yarn in the machine. Brass bobbins of cotton warp are 
mounted on travelling carriages and these move auto- 
matically along their base from the back to the front 
of the machine. A thread from the top " bar " and a 
corresponding thread from the bottom " bar " are fed. 
to each needle. In working the brass bobbins carrying 
the thread on the bottom bar move slowly transversely 
across the machine from left to right, while those on 
the top bar move from right to left. At each side of the 
machine there are attachments for transferring each 
thread as it reaches the extreme end of its sidewards 
journey from the top bar to the bottom bar and 

8— (1463j) 



104 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

vice-versa. Thus, while the threads are continuously 
travelling from one end of the machine to the other, 
the threads of the top bar are constantly crossing those 
of the lower bar. The needles (of the bearded type) 
are mounted upon a bar running along the width of the 
machine, and the yarn is knitted by the usual method, 
i.e., by being forced over and under the beard of the 
needle by means of a sinker. 

During the process the needles are looping the yarn 
into a strong and elastic knitted fabric. Some of these 
machines are built to knit great widths of fabric, and 
many contain up to 5,000 needles, and there being, as 
explained, two threads to every needle, it will be seen 
that 10,000 threads of yarn may be knitted simultane- 
ously. The machines vary in gauge according to the 
fineness of texture of the fabric being produced, and 
some Milanese fabrics are so very fine that there are 56 
threads knitted to 1 in. width of fabric. The gauge is 
calculated from the number of needles to the inch. 

The operations of the Atlas machine are rather more 
simple. Just as in the case of the Milanese machine, 
there are two bars or rows of warp thread at work ; but 
these are wound on rollers or beams and instead of 
working from one side of the machine to the other, 
the threads of each bar travel only over a limited number 
of needles, the number varying according to the quality 
of fabric being knitted. The threads of the bottom bar 
travel in one direction and return to their original 
position, the threads of the top bar moving in the 
opposite direction, and then return, the needles knitting 
the fabric as the threads pass over them. Atlas cloth 
so produced can always be identified by the shaded 
bars running across the fabric, an effect which is due to 
the fact that the various bars of thread travel in reverse 
directions. 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 105 

These machines are also built in great widths and work 
at high speed, and are thus capable of producing huge 
quantities of fabric. The length of the pieces and the 
width vary considerably, the finer fabrics being usually 
shorter and narrower than the heavier makes. 

Dyeing and Finishing the Fabric. After it has been 
knitted the fabric has to undergo various dyeing and 
finishing processes ere it is ready for the glove factory. 
It is precisely these processes which have presented 
the greatest difficulties in the task of re-establishing 
the industry in this country. British dyers and finishers 
had to start in this section absolutely de novo, and it has 
only been by the slow and tedious path of practical 
experiment that the necessary processes have been 
evolved. The manner in which the various difficulties 
have been surmounted is worthy of the highest praise 
and commendation. 

Glove fabric is received from the mills in the " grey " 
state exactly as it comes off the machines. It is first 
graded, and then bleached by the usual methods. 
Dyeing, one of the most important operations, follows. 
Here the greatest care is lavished. Fast colours are 
essential, and as a great variety of tones is called for 
(and these tend constantly to change), the dyers, 
resources are taxed to the utmost. Certain colours, 
however, may be regarded as staple lines, such as 
lemons, greys, beavers, blacks, browns, and blues, for 
these there always being a steady and constant demand. 
Other shades vary according to the prevailing fashion. 
The actual dyeing is carried out by running the fabrics 
through the dyeing liquids by means of washing machines 
of the rotary type, hand or power driven. 

On leaving the dyeing-house the fabric is next treated 
with chemicals to reduce its elasticity, and then passed 
on to the drying- rooms. There it is stretched out upon 



106 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

long frames, the atmosphere of the rooms being main- 
tained at an even temperature of about 95° F. by means 
of steam pipes. Above each drying frame, numerous 
large fans are rotated to keep the air in constant 
circulation, which facilitates drying. 

In recent years a great demand has sprung up for 
sueded fabrics, i.e., cloths having the appearance and 
feel of suede leather, and duplex fabrics, or cloths of 
double texture. Fabrics of these types were produced 
with extraordinary success by the Germans, who jealously 
guarded the secret processes by which these effects 
were produced. " Sueded " and " duplex " cloths, 
however, are now being produced by several English 
firms with varying degrees of success. Probably the 
most effective results have been achieved by Messrs. 
Thomas Adams, Ltd., of Nottingham, who have devoted 
considerable attention to the dyeing and finishing of 
gloving fabrics, and use machinery of their own invention 
and make. By the courtesy of this firm, the author 
has been permitted to inspect the actual machines 
used for these processes, and the methods of working 
them ; but it would be obviously unfair at this time 
to disclose trade secrets of this nature which have been 
discovered and perfected only after painstaking research 
and the expenditure of considerable capital. All that 
can be said is that tremendous strides have been made 
in this branch of the industry, and although by no 
means disposed to rest content with their achievements, 
the British finishers need fear no comparison between 
their fabrics and those of their German rivals. 

In sueding the fabric, extraordinarily ingenious 
machines have been devised for raising the nap of the 
cloth in such a way that when the fabric is handled 
it needs very close scrutiny to detect that it is not 
actually leather. British finishers can also claim that 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 107 

they have gone a step further than the Germans in this 
direction, and they are now producing heavy fabrics 
with chamois and wash-leather effects which approx- 
imated the actual articles with remarkable fidelity. 

The making of duplex fabrics also involves secret 
processes which cannot at present be divulged. These 
fabrics, again, were invented by the Germans ; but 
to-day satisfactory methods have been discovered for 
producing them in this country. Duplex cloths consist 
of two separate fabrics which are stuck together by 
ingenious means. The great advantage of these fabrics 
is that they allow the making of much stronger and 
stouter gloves than ordinary single fabrics, particularly 
where suede and similar finishes are required. English 
makers, however, are also carrying duplexing a step 
further even than their rivals did, and the process is 
now being employed to join an ordinary glove fabric 
with fleecy and other similar fabrics so that when the 
glove is made the fleecy side is turned inside the glove 
and forms a warm lining. 

In addition to the " duplex " fabrics, English inventors 
have succeeded in producing other types of interlock 
or double fabrics, but these do not as yet compare with 
the " duplex." 

During the last few years more attention has been 
devoted to weft fabrics, and developments in this 
direction are to be looked for. If suitable fabrics could 
be produced for gloving, weft knitting offers certain 
advantages owing to the reduced cost of production. 
Speaking generally, however, warp fabrics have certain 
advantageous characteristics which it has so far proved 
impossible to reproduce in weft knitted gcods. Warp 
fabrics, for instance, can be knitted with a great variety 
of stitches and gauges. They are more rigid than 
weft-knitted cloths and yet retain sufficient elasticity to 



108 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

yield the pliability essential for gloving material. They 
are more durable, wear better, and are not so liable to 
" run " when cut as are weft fabrics. Moreover, the 
close knit of the warp fabric lends itself readily to 
" sueding " and other popular finishes. 

Cutting and Sewing Fabric Gloves. The making of 
fabric gloves follows dosely the procedure adopted in 
making leather gloves. The fabrics are received at the 
factory in pieces varying from 12 to 40 yards in length. 
These are first very carefully inspected for faulty knitting 
or finishing defects, any imperfect patches being rejected 
and cut out. The fabric is then divided into shorter 
lengths and ultimately into " tranks," as in the case of 
leather gloves. 

The actual cutting out of the glove is executed by 
means of calibres and screw presses of the same type as 
described in Chapter VII, but larger quantities of 
fabric gloves can be cut out at one operation than is 
possible when leather gloves are being cut. Usually, 
about a dozen pairs are cut at a time. Thumb-pieces 
and fourchettes, and gussets and quirks, when used, 
are cut out by separate machines. 

In the sewing and stitching of fabric gloves a very 
wide range of sewing machines is used, and co-incident- 
ally- with the revival of the industry in Great Britain the 
Singer Company have shown commendable enterprise 
in developing and improving suitable machines for the 
various operations. As in the case of leather gloves, 
a great variety of styles of points is called for. Com- 
binations of roundseam (La surjeteuse) with chain or 
other stitching furnish a very popular design, a single 
central row of roundseam, flanked by a single row of 
chain-stitch on either side forming a particularly neat 
point. A richly embroidered effect is produced by 
employing a double chain-stitch machine sewing several 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 109 

parallel rows of stitching. Other machines of the 
multiple needle variety are also employed to good effect, 
whilst special machines for r'bbing or beading the fabric 
are also utilised. Another popular point, known as the 
" Kohler," is produced by a double needle machine, the 
needles of which are set tandem fashion, i.e., one behind 
the other, one sewing with a fine thread, whilst the other 
sews with a thicker thread, and the combination results 
in a singularly artistic point. 

In the closing of the glove, the sewing of the four- 
chettes to the fingers, and the closing of the thumb, 
diamond stitching is more frequently preferred. The 
pique stitch is used to a large extent for the heavier 
makes of fabric gloves— those of " duplex " and similar 
material. With these gloves a Boulton thumb is very 
popular as it gives greater freedom to the wearer. In 
some cases pique stitching is partially employed, the upper 
seams of the fingers only being sewn on that principle, 
diamond stitching being used for the remaining seams. 
This is known as half-pique. Thumbs are often inserted 
by means of a twin needle chain-stitch machine. 

For " welting " or " binding " the edge of the glove, 
sometimes called " wristing," a hem is often formed 
merely by turning the edge of the material at the wrist 
opening and sewing it down with a chain-stitch machine. 
For the better class of work, however, twin-needle 
embroidery stitch machines are preferred. In other 
gloves again a separate narrow strip of fabric is welted 
round the edge of the glove. Small strips of material 
are also usually sewn up the edge of the wrist opening 
to reinforce the section of the fabric which is to carry 
the buttons or fasteners. Many machines for wristing 
are fitted with a cylindrical arm or base which enables 
the operative to hem the wrist after the glove is 
closed. 



110 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

Button-holing • and button-sewing, both machine 
operations, are very similar to those described for leather 
gloves. Finally, the gloves are ironed-out on heated 
hand-shaped instruments, after which they are banded 
in half-dozen pairs and boxed ready for sale. 

Silk Gloves. In recent years the demand for silk 
gloves has grown very insistent, the popularity of these 
articles having shown very marked progress. Silk 
gloves are essentially luxury articles, and appeal more to 
the fashionable ladies of the United States, London, 
Paris, and other European capitals. Comparatively 
small quantities are made in the United Kingdom and 
in France, but the real centre for their production is the 
United States, where they are manufactured with marked 
success. The late Julius Kayzer, who migrated to the 
States from Germany whilst a youth, was the pioneer 
of the American silk glove trade. 

The making of these gloves is very similar to the making 
of cotton fabric gloves. The silk is spun, and wound 
on to spools, and subsequently warped. The warps are 
fed to fine gauge knitting machines of the Milanese type, 
and knitted into a fine close elastic fabric. Afterwards 
the fabric is carefully dyed. Special machines are used 
for dressing the silk after dyeing, by which the extreme 
elasticity of the fabric is reduced. 

Finally the material is cut into short lengths from 
which the parts of the glove are stamped out, assembled 
and sewn in the usual manner. 

Woollen Gloves. Woollen gloves represent another 
important branch of the glove trade, and although their 
sale is more or less confined to the winter season, it is 
a large and growing business. Their manufacture is 
to be regarded as a branch of the hosiery trade, and the 
woollen gloves of Leicester, Hawick and other English 
centres enjoy a world-wide reputation. Practically 



THE MAKING OF FABRIC GLOVES 111 

all hosiery firms of any importance specialise in their 
manufacture. Originally they were produced as hand- 
knitted articles, and naturally the output was then on 
somewhat limited lines. However, with the rapid 
improvements which have taken place in the knitting 
industry during the last half- century, the manufacture 
of woollen gloves has shown remarkable development, 
and a wider range and variety of articles are now avail- 
able. The improvement in manufacturing processes, 
leading to rapid and cheap production of these goods, 
has been of particular benefit to the working classes, 
providing them with serviceable winter hand-wear at 
a price well within the reach of the poorest. 

Woollen gloves, speaking broadly, are of two types, 
i.e., the seamless variety, and what is known as the 
wrought glove. The seamless glove is fashioned to shape 
in the course of making. These are usually produced 
partly on a hosiery knitting machine of the circular type, 
and partly on flat hand-knitting machines. The wrist 
section is frequently formed with a ribbed cuff, while the 
hand and fingers as a rule are made with a plain knitted 
stitch. The cuff and the hand can be knitted on circular 
machines or flat machines while the thumbs and each 
finger are knitted separately on flat hand machines. 
Special types of machines have been designed for 
automatically knitting the rib cuffs with a plain 
hand. 

Wrought gloves are all knitted on straight bar machines 
and can be made with a great variety of stitches and 
patternings. Each part of the glove is fashioned to 
shape with a selvedge, and afterwards fhe parts are 
seamed by a special sewing machine designed for 
joining hosiery and known as a cup seam machine. 

Until recent years the woollen glove has been re- 
garded rather as an article of utility than of luxury, but 



112 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

recently the manufacturers have devoted a great deal 
of attention to producing fancy effects. Exceedingly 
fine wools are being used, and checks in contrasting 
colours and other beautiful effects are now available 
in the long gauntlet style of glove so much in demand 
among ladies. 



CHAPTER XI 

MARKETING 

We have now concluded our brief description of the 
making of the glove, and a few words will suffice to 
explain the method of distribution. 

Many of the big retail stores buy the majority of their 
gloves (as they do the major portion of the merchandise 
they handle) direct from the manufacturers at home or 
abroad. Most drapers and retailers in this country, 
however, only requiring smaller quantities at a time, 
secure their supplies through the intermediary of a 
wholesale house. Some of these wholesale houses are 
known as general houses, carrying a great variety of 
merchandise largely in common demand (" bread and 
cheese lines " is the vulgar description used in the dry 
goods trade) ; others are known as specialty houses 
which have built up a reputation for stocking the newest, 
freshest and most fashionable merchandise in certain 
classes of goods. Thus in the wholesale glove trade 
there are many houses which handle gloves among 
a host of other articles, and a smaller number of firms 
which make a special feature of gloves, and it is through 
the latter that most of the novelty styles are to be 
obtained. In addition there are several very large 
firms of glove manufacturers having their own wholesale 
warehouses in London and throughout the world, 
through which they dispose of their own factory output 
(supplemented by the products of smaller firms) directly 
to retail customers. 

Ordinarily, gloves may be regarded as comparatively 
safe merchandise to handle. Style changes do occur, 

113 



114 GLOVES AND niK GLOVE 1KADE 

but those are neither so violent nor so frequent as in 
certain other elasses of apparel or dry goods merchandise. 
The demand is fairly constant and steady, and it is 
therefore easier to avoid dead stoek than is the ease in 
a trade handling ultra-fashionable goods like millinery 
or costumes. Nevertheless the glove-makers and whole- 
salers have to watch the trend of events with care and 
attention. Changing fashions, especially in ladies' 
attire, exert eonsiderable influence in glove styles. A 
vogue for short-sleeved gowns brings a bigger demand for 
long-sleeved gloves of the mousquetaire tvpe. Recently 
there was quite a rage for fringed dresses, and immediately 
a demand for gloves with long fringed gauntlets arose. 
Men. while not so suseeptible to fashion changes as women, 
have also to be watched with care. A few winters 
before the war a sudden eraze set in for white woollen 
gloves. Half the men in the country seemed to be wear- 
ing them, and the glove trade had much to do to meet 
the demand. The season's colours, too, have to be 
anticipated and allowed for. 

Unseasonable weather is perhaps the worst enemy the 
glove distributor has to face : and the fact that it can 
never be anticipated intensities the evil. A delayed 
spring, or a cold, wet summer will often have serious 
effects upon the sale of the lighter elasses of gloves for 
summer wear. So, too, a mild winter curtails the demand 
for lined and woollen gloves. Unseasonable weather. 
in fact, can easily throw all the wholesalers' calculations 
out of gear. 

It will be understood, then, that the glove trade has 
its pitfalls for the unwary, and wholesale merchanting 
calls for considerable skill and experience. The buyers 
for the big houses have to be very watchful and alert 
in order to anticipate possible changes in public, taste, 
especially in the case of those catering for the high class, 



MARKETING 115 

or fashion end, of the trade ; and at the same time they 
have to be prepared to face risks. 

Competition in the trade is keen, and for this reason 
the wholesale houses are always sending their buyers 
into the manufacturing centres in order to keep in the 
closest touch with manufacturing developments. With 
those businesses which specialise in novelty lines this 
is particularly true, and when a manufacturer produces 
something exceptionally striking, one wholesale firm or 
a large retail distributor will often undertake to purchase 
the whole output of that range. 

With regard to the retail trade— the trade of the drapers, 
hosiers and outfitters who pass the g'oves on to those 
who will ultimately wear them — little need be said here. 
Many of the considerations we have indicated as bearing 
upon the wholesale trade, apply also to the retail. 
Generally speaking, however, the retailers' stock being 
much smaller, he does not have to take such big risks 
as the wholesaler. Practically every draper or hosier 
carries a stock of gloves, and in many of the larger 
stores of the West End and Suburbs of London and the 
provinces, separate specially equipped departments 
are set apart for their sale. With the retail, gloves 
are popular goods, being clean merchandise— of a 
character easy to handle. 

How to Judge Gloves. Gloves vary tremendously 
in quality as all wearers of them will agree. It is true 
in their case, as with all merchandise, that if a good, 
sound, reliable article is desired one must be prepared 
to pay a fair price for it. As practically everyone 
wears gloves nowadays, the manufacturers have to 
cater for a very varied demand, and consequently there 
are very many styles and very many varying qualities 
in each style. There are a great number of people who 
cannot afford to pay for good quality gloves, hence 



116 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

there is always a big demand for low-priced articles. 
For these, naturally, the lower grades of material are 
used, whilst their workmanship is not of the best. 
Nevertheless one can pay quite good prices for gloves 
and yet buy without discrimination. 

Gloves of all kinds are divided into different classes 
within their own group, according to quality, and the 
various classes or grades are known as " firsts," 
" seconds," etc. 

The three main points to observe in buying gloves are 
(1) the quality of the leather or fabric, (2) the cut, and 
(3) the sewing and finish. In the case of leather gloves, 
particularly, care should be taken to see that the material 
is free from flaws, blemishes or harsh patches. The 
colouring too should be of a regular, even tone. The 
cut should be well-balanced and shapely, true to size 
and to the shape of the wearer's hand. Many manu- 
facturers make several varying finger lengths to each 
size of glove so that those with long, medium or short 
fingers can be equally suited. Another point to look 
for is to see that the fourchettes, quirks and gussets 
(the small pieces between the interstices of the fingers 
and thumbs) are evenly cut and regular. The sewing 
should be regular, following the line of the edge sewn, 
with even intervals between each stitch. 



CHAPTER XII 

DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 

It must be clear to everyone that the recent war has had 
a tremendously disturbing effect upon the industry and 
commerce of the world, yet few people outside immediate 
business circles realise how far-reaching that disturbance 
has been. The fact is, the whole system of international 
commerce as it existed prior to the war has been largely 
thrown out of gear owing to the welter of industrial 
and commercial confusion which is proving one of the 
worst consequences of the prolonged hostilities in 
Europe. It is not merely that old and known standards 
of commercial value have largely disappeared ; but, 
what is in some respects even more disconcerting, the 
very centres of production and avenues of distribution 
have in many cases shifted. The trade of the world 
at the present time is passing through a period of 
transition, and there are possibilities of change without 
parallel in the history of commerce. It is therefore 
extremely difficult for any writer dealing with an indus- 
try of international ramifications to give a clear, accurate 
and reliable picture of the geographical distribution of 
that industry. This is peculiarly true of the glove 
trade. The industry has, it goes without saying, shared 
in the general dislocation of commercial machinery. 
Regarded from an international point of view, the trade 
is in a state of flux, and no one can forecast with any 
certainty what the position will be a few years hence. 

Let us look at the international geographical distri- 
bution of the glove trade prior to 1914, when the chief 
centres of the industry were well-known and easily 

117 



118 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

defined. We shall then be in a position to form some 
idea of the position to-day. Taking leather gloves first, in 
those days France was the leading producing centre, 
Austria-Hungary (Bohemia) and Germany competed 
for second place, Belgium coming third, Great Britain 
fourth, Italy, Denmark and the United States bringing 
up the rear. It is necessary to bear in mind, however, 
that British enterprise exerted considerable influence 
in the foreign centres of production. Britain was not 
only one of the largest importing nations in pre-war 
years, but several large British glove houses owned and 
controlled factories of their own in the principal 
manufacturing centres on the Continent. 

To-day the position may be set out roughly as follows : 
France still holds her place as the leading leather glove 
manufacturing country, the United Kingdom probably 
takes the second position, the situation in the remaining 
producing centres being obscure. But the annual 
production is very much below pre-war quantities in 
a*l branches of the industry. 

It would be absurd, however, to assume that the 
present state of affairs is one that will continue 
permanently. So far as one can gather, for the time 
being, the production of leather gloves in Germany is 
severely handicapped by the disturbed political situa- 
tion prevailing, by the difficulty in securing supplies 
of raw materials, and by the dislocation of the credit 
system. In Bohemia, which has been transferred to 
the new state of Czecho- Slovakia much the same applies. 
Certainly until the political situation is clarified, neither 
country can settle down to normal work, and until that 
is possible it is futile to attempt to anticipate their 
prospects of recovering the trade they have lost. Whether 
our erstwhile enemies can ever regain the position they 
held formerly, only time will prove. All that can be 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 119 

said is that the industry of neither country is at a com- 
plete standstill ; on the contrary there is ample evidence 
going to show that the German and Bohemian manu- 
facturers are biding their time, and merely await a 
favourable opportunity to re-enter the world's markets. 

The Belgians, of course, are making big efforts to 
reconstruct their industry, which was centred largely 
at Brussels. They are suffering from the disastrous 
effects of the prolonged German occupation. Here the 
prospects of recovery are more certain than in the case 
of either Germany or Austria. Belgium enjoys the good- 
will of the world, and the course of a few years should 
again see the glove industry of that country thriving and 
prosperous. 

Meanwhile the manufacturers of leather gloves in 
other countries, especially those of Great Britain and 
America, are making very strenuous efforts to extend 
the field of their activities. Far more success has 
attended the efforts of British glovers in this respect 
than is generally credited, although the measure of 
success attained would be considerably greater were 
the general conditions prevailing in the trade more 
favourable. Unfortunately the situation is complicated 
by a number of adverse factors. As we have already 
explained in dealing with the glove leather situation, 
our own glovers, in common with those of other nations, 
are seriously hampered by the world shortage of skins : 
but that is not the only hindrance to progress. Other 
obstacles are presented by the delay in proceeding with 
factory extensions and the installation of new machinery 
and factory plant owing to financial conditions and 
difficulties of other industries, while the general move- 
ment towards shorter hours and higher wages in industry 
has naturally a retarding effect on production. 

With regard to the fabric branch of the industry, we 

9— (14S3j) 



120 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

have already noted the effects of the war in our chapter 
dealing with the history of the manufacture of fabric 
gloves. Practically speaking, the Germans had prior 
to the war a monopoly of the fabric glove trade : the 
reasons for this have already been explained at length. 
Of the 2,531,798 dozen pairs of fabric gloves imported 
into this country in 1913, 2,511,009 dozen pairs were of 
German* origin, and the bulk of the remainder were 
silk gloves of American make. In that year, and for 
years previously, in point of quantity the British 
production of fabric gloves was negligible. These 
facts reveal the extent of the former German 
predominance in this branch. 

Since the war, the fabric glove situation has undergone 
a great change. But, looking to the future, as in the 
case of leather gloves, it is extremely difficult to offer 
any reliable forecast as to how events will shape. Last 
year (1919) although the imports of fabric gloves into 
this country closely approached one million dozen pair 
(less than one-half the pre-war volume), very few came 
through from Germany. The official analysis of the 
figures is not yet available at the time of writing, but 
it is well known in the trade that the largest portion of 
the gloves imported were of Japanese origin. The 
Japanese, by the way, were very early in seizing the 
opportunity presented by the temporary elimination 
of German competition, and promptly took steps to 
develop the manufacture of the cheaper grades of 
fabric gloves. Yet notwithstanding many advantages — 
considerable support from a progressive and sympathetic 
government, good supplies of raw cotton, and abundant 
cheap labour— Japan has failed to make the most of 
her opportunity. Her glove factories, hastily organised, 
turned out gloves in extraordinarily large numbers : 
but quality was sacrificed all through to quantity 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 121 

production. The gloves sent from Japan to Europe 
so far, have been for the most part cheap, inelegant 
articles of poor quality fabric, atrociously cut and shaped, 
and badly sewn and finished. They were, in the main, 
totally unsuited for the European market, and were it 
not for the absolute shortage of gloves of all kinds would 
have stood little chance of a sale here. This year the 
imports of such gloves from Japan have fallen off 
considerably. So far as this country is concerned 
Japanese competition is very little feared. 

France last year was sending us bigger consignments 
of fabric gloves than ever before in her history, and the 
majority of these were very high grade articles. 

Whether Germany can ever regain her monopolistic 
position in this branch of the trade must remain a matter 
of speculation. The German manufacturers are already 
very active and it is unreasonable to imagine that they 
will let the trade slip out of their hands without making 
a fight. They have a generation of experience behind 
them ; so far as is known their factories are intact, 
while possibly the majority of their skilled workpeople 
are available to help in the rehabilitation of the industry. 
Momentarily their chief disadvantages are the unsettled 
state of the country and the difficulty in securing 
supplies of raw cotton, cotton yarns, etc., owing to the 
depreciation of the mark. However, they are already 
undercutting home producers in the British market 
the low rate of the mark against the pound sterling 
being a big advantage. 

Meanwhile British manufacturers of fabric gloves 
have made remarkable and steady progress. In point 
of quality, British productions can now claim to compare 
with the German : indeed, in some lines they are 
certainly superior. Until recently, even the price 
factor was in favour of British-made gloves and it was 



122 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

possible to buy a better British fabric glove at a slightly 
lower price than an inferior German article of the same 
type. In recent months, however, the position has 
changed in this respect. From a national point of view, 
the progress made in this branch of the industry is 
extremely encouraging : but no British manufacturer 
is foolish enough to overlook the fact that much yet 
remains to be done. Although the British fabric glove 
in point of general excellence and quality will bear 
comparison with any — qualitatively the industry has 
nothing to fear — the output is, comparatively speak- 
ing, still small. Much development must take place 
before the home trade can claim to rival the highly 
organised German industry of pre-war years. It is 
this fact confronting the British fabric glove-makers 
which gives them most concern. They have demon- 
strated that fabric gloves of high quality and excellent 
workmanship can be manufactured in this country on a 
commercial basis ; they have laid foundations upon 
which an important industry, offering employment to 
many more workers, can be reared : but to develop 
an industry of this kind necessarily takes time. Capital 
has to be raised, factories built, and workers trained and 
organised ; so that for a few years development must 
proceed slowly and on tentative lines. The question 
arises : can our continental rivals resume large scale 
trading on their old methods before the industry here 
at home has become established firmly enough to with- 
stand competition ? This is the dominant question 
present in the minds of the trade leaders to-day : it is the 
vital consideration behind the policy of British glove 
manufacturers at the present time. 

The leaders of the industry urge, possibly with justice, 
that during the war they were invited by the Govern 
ment (through the Board of Trade) to endeavour to 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 123 

develop the manufacture of fabric gloves in this country. 
They responded to the call. Much time and money were 
devoted to research and experimental work, workers 
were trained, factories were built and a fair amount of 
capital was sunk in the industry. When the armistice 
was signed, the industry was just emerging from the 
experimental stage, and everyone concerned felt that 
granted favourable conditions during the next few 
years there was a good chance for its development on a 
large scale. So far, however, the trade holds that the 
Government promises to take steps to check the " dump- 
ing " of foreign made goods into this country have been 
singularly ambiguous. A frank and unequivocal 
official undertaking that under no circumstances would 
ihey permit the home industry to be swamped by unfair 
competition from abroad would do more to encourage 
greater progress and development than anything else. 
If that undertaking were forthcoming, there is no reason 
to doubt that the manufacture of fabric gloves in this 
country would in the course of a few years reach 
gigantic proportions. 

As it is, a few of the smaller firms have already 
abandoned the making of fabric gloves, whilst some of 
those who strove the hardest to re-establish the industry 
here are beginning to be discouraged. 

The Industry in Britain. The glove trade of England 
has witnessed considerable vicissitudes in the course of its 
long history. As mentioned in an earlier chapter there 
are many indications pointing to the making of gloves 
in those early seals of learning and craftsmanship— the 
monasteries. In Anglo-Saxon times glove-making was 
carried on by the tawyers or skin-dressers in association 
with other crafts involving the working of leather. But 
by the middle of the fourteenth century the glovers had 
certainly come to be regarded as a separate trade. The 



124 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

growing importance of the industry is reflected in the 
records of the glovers' guilds which sprang into existence 
at Perth, Worcester and London. There can be no 
doubt these old guilds rendered very valuable services 
to the industry, and probably did much to maintain 
and improve the standard and character of the pro- 
ductions of the trade. Their influence and powers 
were considerable ; for, in addition to regulating the 
manufacture and sale of gloves in the home trade, they 
were also able to bring pressure to bear upon the Crown 
resulting in Statutes of Edward IV, Richard III and 
Elizabeth, which prohibited the importation of foreign- 
made gloves. This prohibitive legislation remained in 
force until the early years of last century. It has been 
suggested that these protective measures were obtained 
by the glovers not so much in recognition of genuine 
grievances, but rather as privileges in return for moneys 
advanced to the Crown or other services rendered. 
Be that as it may, there can be no doubt that they 
enabled the home industry to keep its head above water 
when otherwise it might have been swamped by compe- 
tition from abroad. They did not entirely prevent the 
entry of foreign gloves into this country, and ample 
evidence could be adduced to show that such gloves were 
continually being brought in during the four centuries 
while the Statutes were operative. Smuggling was a 
profitable calling and comparatively easy to effect. 
The laws were not rigidly enforced although they stood 
upon the Statute Book ; but when necessity arose they 
were remembered and put into effect. The protection 
afforded by these laws was extended by an Act passed 
in the reign of George III (1776) ostensibly to encourage 
the importation of kid and lamb skins. English glovers, 
even in those days, excelled in producing the heavier 
types of gloves, whereas the French were more successful 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 125 

with the lighter and more elegant articles. It was 
hoped that by rigorously excluding French-made 
gloves, the importation of suitably dressed skins for 
the manufacture of the lighter class of goods would 
follow as a natural consequence. To this end the 
fines imposed on those detected importing foreign 
gloves were increased to the point of severity whilst 
the goods so seized were sold and the proceeds divided 
between the officer making the seizure and the Crown. 

Thus during four centuries and more the industry 
enjoyed comparative freedom from foreign competition. 
Whether the protection thus afforded was an unqualified 
advantage in the long run is at least debatable. The 
limitation of free competition, whilst it may have 
enabled the glovers to pursue their industry without 
fear of being driven out of business, had also the effect 
of making them somewhat lethargic. When business 
could be had for the asking, there were not and could 
not be the same incentives to initiative, invention and 
progress, as when trade had to be striven for in the 
face of keen rivalry. Desirable as it might be that home 
industries should be fostered and encouraged, there is a 
limit beyond which State protection should not be applied. 
It is perhaps difficult to fix an arbitrary limit, but it is 
at least beyond serious contention that where protection 
is so complete that the industry it is intended to safe- 
guard is in danger of being stultified thereby, State aid, 
whether direct or indirect, begins to be undesirable. 
Artificial economic expedients for the stimulation of 
industry need to be applied with considerable intelli- 
gence, and it was the absence of an intelligent application 
of the old prohibitive laws which rendered them harmful. 

In 1826, the British glove trade was confronted with 
its first great crisis. Three years earlier Huskisson had 
initiated his Free Trade policy which was destined to 



126* GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

change the whole course of English political economy, 
and by the date mentioned the old legislation prohibiting 
the entry of foreign- made gloves was finally repealed 
and all such wares were admitted, subject only to the 
pavment of certain ad valorem dut.it s. The effect appears 
to have been little short of disastrous, and the unem- 
ployment and distress which followed entailed undue 
hardships upon the unfortunate glovers. It was to 
protest against the evil consequences which the removal 
of protection brought in its train that led Mr. William 
Hull to write his History of the Glove Trade (published 
in 1834). The main portion of that publication is 
devoted to the development of an argument in favour 
of re -enacting the old prohibitory laws. While we may 
now ignore Hull's remarkable and somewhat contro- 
versial special pleading, some of the evidence he 
adduced to support his case is worthy of citation as 
illustrating the disturbance caused by the legislation of 
those days. 

Thus, in Worcester and its environs (Hull tells 
us) there were in 1825 some 30,000 men, women and 
children engaged in the trade, and the average produc- 
tion of gloves amounted to 12,000 dozen pairs weekly. 
Few people were then out of employment. In 1832, 
according to a statement issued by a committee of 
operative glovers of the town, out of 1,000 men, only 113 
were in full employment, whilst 465 were partially 
employed, and 422 were out of work. In London, the 
industry furnished employment, prior to the removal of 
the prohibition, for from 1,500 to 1,700 men, mainly 
on making gloves from French kid skins. By 1834 
several manufacturers of the metropolis had discontinued 
making and had become importers of French made 
goods. At Hereford, York and Ludlow the industry 
was being driven out of existence. Ludlow, indeed, 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 127 

which formerly employed some 900 hands, at the time 
Hull was writing could only find employment for 163. 
At Yeovil and the other west country centres much the 
same experience was recorded. 

However, debates in Parliament, and petition- to 
Ministers were unavailing ; the government persisted 
in their policy, and the industry continued to suffer. 
By the early forties, it would seem, the distress had 
reached its acutest pitch, and public funds were raised 
for the relief of distress. By that time, however, 
realising that they must rely upon themselves to dis- 
cover the means for their own salvation, the more 
resourceful and enterprising manufacturers were con- 
centrating their energies upon special lines, and by paying 
increased attention to the quality and excellence of their 
merchandise they succeeded in building a reputation 
which enabled the industry to embark upon more 
certain paths of progress. 

In I860, the last vestiges of protection for the home 
trade were removed, the small import duties upon 
gloves of foreign manufacture being repealed in that 
.year. But by that time, the British leather glove trade 
had established itself again upon a firm and sound 
basis. In several respects its position was unassailable, 
particularly in regard to the making of men's and the 
heavier types of gloves. The withdrawal of the duty 
had, therefore, comparatively little effect upon this 
branch of the trade, which has since continued to 
make steady progress. 

To-day the British industry is chiefly centred in the 
Worcester and Yeovil districts where gloving has been 
carried on for centuries. In addition to this the industry 
is scattered in many ^mall hamlets of Somersetshire, 
Dorsetshire, Devon and Wiltshire. Gloving is also 
carried on to some extent in Oxfordshire, another 



128 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

ancient seat of the trade, at Woodstock, and at Abingdon 
in Berkshire. London, formerly one of the largest 
British centres, now produces but few gloves. The 
Parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, was at one time noted for 
its glovers, but like the silk weavers of Spitalfields, these 
have long since disappeared. 

The making of fabric gloves in England is carried on 
largely in the same centres where leather gloves are 
made ; but during the war small factories have sprung 
up all over the country. The making of the fabric 
itself, however, is almost entirely confined to the 
Nottingham (Ilkeston and Melbourne) and Leicester 
districts. Nottingham produces the finer fabrics, and 
Leicester the heavier cloths. 

At the present time the home industry supports 
between 15,000 and 20,000 workers, the majority of 
them women, but this number tends to increase with 
the development of fabric-glove making. The short- 
age of suitable trained labour is not the least of the 
difficulties which hamper progress. 

Very large quantities of gloves were imported into the 
United Kingdom in pre-war days, nearly all coming from 
Europe, chiefly from France, Germany, Austria, Italy, 
and Belgium. The table shown on the following page 
gives the quantities of the Board of Trade returns for 
the three years prior to the outbreak of war. 

The extent to which the international trade has been 
disturbed by the war is shown by the Board of Trade 
returns for last year (1919), according to which British 
imports of leather gloves only aggregated 243,254 dozen 
pairs. The detailed returns showing the origin of these 
are not available at the time of writing, but it may be 
taken for granted that the majority of the leather 
gloves imported last year came from France and smaller 
quantities from Italy and the United States. Prior to 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 129 

the war, Germany and Austria-Hungary sent us the bulk 

of the cheaper classes of gloves sold, whilst France 

concentrated upon the higher grades of women's dress 

gloves. 

Pre-war Imports of Leather Gloves into the 
United Kingdom 
(Dozens of Pairs) 





1911. 


1912. 


1913. 


France 


470,686 


493,067 


466,688 


Germany l 


304,160 


376,492 


343,009 


Austria-Hungary 


303,193 


304,701 


369,886 


Belgium 


222,236 


232,745 


278,926 


Italy 


23,316 


24,152 


11,379 


Other Foreign 








Countries 


1,707 


2,658 


3,933 




1,325,307 


1,433,815 


1,473,871 



Pre-war, the exports of gloves from Great Britain were 
of considerable value. The following figures show the 
quantities sent abroad in the three years prior to the 
outbreak of war with their destinations — 

British Pre-War Exports of Leather Gloves 





(Dozens of Pairs) 








1911. 


1912. 


1913. 


Germany 


15,351 


17,026 


16,291 


France 


29,824 


31,276 


33,307 


United States 


75,402 


75,907 


67,239 


Other Foreign 








Countries 


17,167 


17,128 


19,277 


British Possessions . 


64,482 


99,100 


93,123 




202,336 


240,437 


229,237 



It may be added that the total number of leather 

gloves exported from Great Britain in 1919 only amounted 

to 51,207 dozen pairs. 

1 Probably not all these were of German manufacture. 
Many gloves made in the Prague district of Bohemia would be 
shipped via German ports and would figure in the returns among 
the quantities credited to Germany. 



130 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

Dealing with fabric gloves, the import figures for the 
1911-13 period were — 

Pre- War Imports of Fabric Gloves 





(Dozens of 


Pairs) 






1911. 


1912. 


1913. 


Germany 


1,819,480 


2,051,379 


2,511,009 


United States 


20,677 


24,183 


17,162 


Belgium 


1,483 


1,021 


30 


France 


— 


75 


60 


Other Countries 


3,443 


2,849 


3,537 




1,245,083 


2,079,507 


2,531,798 



The monopolistic character held by the German 
fabric glove industry in pre-war years is apparent from 
the foregoing table. During the war no German gloves 
were imported into this country, and few came in last 
year, but they are again beginning to enter the market. 
The total number of fabric gloves imported during 
1919 amounted to 964,944 dozen pairs. The majority 
of these came from Japan, but the imports from that 
source have since fallen away considerably. 

Pre-war the British exports of fabric gloves were 
comparatively small in volume, but even then they 
were expanding year by year. Even so, few of these 
would be of British manufacture, and should be really 
classed as re-exports. The figures were 1911 — 25,021 
dozen pairs ; 1912 — 33,034 dozen pairs ; and 1913 — 
65,456 dozen pairs. Last year (1919), however, no fewer 
than 129,259 dozen pairs were exported. These 
figures represent real and substantial progress which all 
who have the interests of the home industry at heart 
desire to see continued. 

Looking forward, it may be said the British industry 
is now entering upon a new stage in its history. The 
war has brought many changes, and the years 



THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 131 

immediately ahead are full of possibilities. There is 
undoubtedly immense scope for expanding the industry, 
and it is to be hoped that the utmost advantage will be 
taken of the opportunities for development as they 
become available. Fortunately, there is evidence of a 
new spirit of enterprise at work in the glove trade which 
augurs well for the future. The trade is better organised, 
now than in former years, and there is more co-operation 
among the various sections of the industry and between 
individual manufacturers. These signs are encouraging, 
and coupled with a vigorous and progressive policy on 
the part of individual makers, aiming at the production 
of sound and reliable merchandise, should do much to 
promote the healthy development of the trade in the 
Kingdom. 

The French Trade. The glove industry of France, 
like that of Great Britain, is of considerable antiquity. 
It is in fact safe to assume that gloving, as an industry, 
was flourishing in France by the twelfth century. Records 
are extant of a French Company of Glovers reaching 
back at least to a.d. 1190. By that time the industry 
was administered under a settled code of regulations. 
These had for their object (1) the control of the conditions 
of manufacture and sale of gloves, (2) the adjustment 
of differences between masters, journeymen and 
apprentices, and (3) the provision of aid and succour to 
old and necessitous members of the craft. So far as 
leather gloves are concerned, there can be no doubt that 
France stands as the leading seat of the industry. Just 
prior to the war some 25,000 workers were employed in 
the making of gloves, and the French trade has always 
enjoyed a special reputation for the production of high 
grade gloves, particularly in the finer qualities of ladies' 
hand-wear. Grenoble, the chief centre, is probably the 
largest gloving town in the world. The town contains 



132 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

over 60 factories and afforded employment in pre-war 
days to over 17,000 employees. Several English makers 
have factories in the town. Grenoble kid gloves are 
famed the world over. Millau is the next French 
centre in order of importance and is noted for its choice 
lamb skin gloves. Next comes St. Junien and Niort 
employing about 2,000 workers, whilst there is also a 
good deal of gloving done at Paris and Chaumont. It 
is not possible to give any reliable figures bearing upon 
the present production of gloves in France, but in 1913, 
the output was valued at 120,000,000 francs. France 
also manufactured several thousand dozens of fabric 
gloves — largely from German fabric, be it said — in pre- 
war days. Fairly large numbers of such gloves are now 
being made in the Lyons district from English and 
French-made fabrics. The French industry is well 
organised, and there are Chambers of manufacturers 
at Grenoble and all the big centres. During the war 
the industry suffered severely from one cause and 
another ; but it is now making good progress, although 
the post-war difficulties of supply and labour troubles 
common to the trade all over the world are considerable. 
Czecho- Slovakia. Formerly, Austria-Hungary pro- 
duced immense numbers of leather gloves annually, 
many of which found their way (largely via Germany) 
into the markets of the United Kingdom, Russia, the 
Northern European countries, and also into South 
America. A great proportion of the output was repre- 
sented by cheap " nappa " gloves. Many thousand 
dozen pairs of so-called Mocha and of wash leather 
gloves were also exported. The bulk of these, however, 
were produced in Bohemia, which under the peace 
treaty is now incorporated in the new State of Czecho- 
slovakia, which means that Austria loses quite 80 per 
cent, of the industry. The chief seat of the Bohemian 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 133 

industry was at Prague, where from 850,000 to 1,000,000 
dozen pairs used to be produced annually. Production 
is now on a much lower scale owing largely to the 
shortage of raw materials, labour and other difficulties ; 
but the situation at Prague is said to be more promising 
than at many other centres of Middle Europe. The 
Erz-Gebirge district (now also part of Czecho-Slovakia) 
used to produce some 200,000 to 300,000 dozen pairs 
annually, but the industry was severely affected during 
the war and the output is now much diminished. Moravia 
and Silesia (which also must now be included in Czecho- 
slovakia) used to yield about 100,000 dozen pairs 
annually, but here again, production has decreased 
considerably. At Caarden, also, there are a number of 
factories mainly producing washable leather gloves. 
There again the industry shows little sign of re covering 
from the serious set-back caused by the war. In addition 
to the shortage of suitable skins, the materials used 
for making washable leather have been practically 
unobtainable. 

The Bavarian Industry. The leather glove industry 
of Germany is chiefly carried on in Bavaria, Munich 
being the principal centre. In pre-war days large 
quantities of cheap but inferior gloves were produced, 
the main proportion of them being exported to England, 
Russia, Scandinavia and the United States. Cheap 
fur gloves were a speciality — rabbit and hare-lined 
gloves being sent in large quantities to Russia and 
Scandinavia. So far as export trade is concerned, the 
industry has been practically at a standstill since the 
outbreak of war. There is little prospect at present 
that production can be resumed on the old scale for some 
considerable time to come. 

Other Centres. Belgium before the war produced 
large quantities of gloves, Brussels being the seat of the 



134 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

industry, and one or two British firms had dressing 
yards and factories in the neighbourhood. A consider- 
able amount of gloving was also carried on formerly 
in Luxembourg. Both in Belgium and Luxembourg 
progress towards recovery promises to be fairly rapid. 

Italy produces considerable numbers of gloves 
annually. Naples is the largest centre, but the gloves 
produced there are on the whole of the cheaper variety. 
Better quality gloves, but in much smaller quantities, 
are made at Turin, Milan and Genoa. 

Denmark had formerly a prosperous gloving industry 
centred at Copenhagen, but not so much has been heard 
of it in latter years. 

Just as some of the European centres have been almost 
crippled by the war, so the American and Canadian 
glove industries, in the absence of competition, have 
been able to make a great deal of headway. This is 
particularly true of the American trade. The industry 
there is practically confined to the States of New York 
and Jersey. One town, Gloversville, derived its name 
from the industry. America is known throughout the 
world for the production of high-class silk gloves, the 
making of which is restricted more or less to the State 
of New York. 

Several British and French firms have in recent years 
opened factories in Canada, whilst the establishments 
controlled by Canadian glovers have also been con- 
siderably extended and added to. A recent report issued 
by the Census Bureau at Ottawa for the year 1918, 
reveals the extent of the Dominion's progress in this 
respect. In 1915 the industry was evidently declining. 
At that time the output for the year was valued at 
1,877,964 dollars, as compared with 2,995,356 dollars in 
1910. In 1918, however, the output is stated to have 
totalled 8,307,677 dollars, and even allowing for the higher 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE INDUSTRY 135 

values obtaining, it is clear that substantial expansion 
has taken place. 

Taking quantitative figures, over 776,706 dozen pairs 
are officially reported to have been manufactured in 
Canada during 1918. Of these 516,760 dozen were 
leather gloves (other than kid), 7,583 dozen were kid, 
whilst cotton gloves accounted for 138,434 dozen, 
woollen, 63,505 dozen, and silk, 50,424 dozen. About 
one-half of these were dress or fashion articles, the other 
half representing men's and boys' lined and unlined 
working gloves. Of the dress gloves rather less than 
one-third were women's. The capital invested in the 
industry in 1918 is placed at 6,291,269 dollars, which is 
exactly ten times the amount invested eight years 
previously. Further proof is afforded of the rapid 
progress of the Canadian industry by the growing volume 
of gloving materials imported. On the other hand the 
imports of gloves for 1918-1919 fiscal year declined 
64 per cent, in value (notwithstanding the higher 
prices ruling) as compared with the last fiscal year 
before the outbreak of war. This, of course, was due 
largely to the restrictions on exports from Europe. 



10— (1463 j) 12 pp. 



CHAPTER XIII 

BRITISH GLOVE TRADE ORGANISATIONS 

Although the old Glovers' Guilds of earlier centuries 
are no longer in existence to exercise an influence over 
the affairs of the glove trade, there are now several 
organisations connected with the industry both on the 
employers' and employees' sides. In the first half of 
the nineteenth century, in common with the general 
spirit of the times, there was little or no attempt at 
combination, either on the part of the masters or of 
the men. During the critical times through which the 
English trade passed, firstly subsequent to the repeal of 
the prohibitory import laws in 1826, and again after the 
repeal of the import duties in 1860, we hear of sporadic 
attempts at combination, but apparently nothing came 
of them. In those days, it is necessary to remember, 
the actual master glovers, although often men of sub- 
stance, frequently lived among their workers, and the 
community of interest between employers and employees 
was far more apparent than it is to-day. Troublesome 
periods were experienced, and differences arose from 
time to time, but actual labour disputes were remarkably 
few. 

In the latter half of last century, however, a new 
movement towards combination and organisation 
definitely set in. The initial efforts, it is true, were 
anything but promising. In the early eighties the 
first recorded instance of any real attempt to launch a 
glovers' trade union occurred at Worcester. There the 
Glovers' Trade Society was formed in 1884. It was a 
workers' society and its policy followed the usual lines 

136 



BRITISH GLOVE TRADE ORGANISATIONS 137 

of nineteenth century trade unionism. Contributions 
were levied upon the members for a benevolent fund 
for the relief of necessitous members in times of sickness 
or periods of unemployment due to slack trade. Inter- 
mittent employment was the great bugbear of the 
industry and, with a view to mitigating this evil, the 
society aimed at the restriction of the number of 
apprentices to be indentured to the trade, in the hope 
that by thus thinning the ranks of recruits, employment 
for those already engaged in the industry would be made 
more secure. The society was, happily, far too weak to 
push so short-sighted a policy to a conclusion. Neither 
were the offices of the organisation ever called for in 
more serious matters, and there is no recorded instance 
of a strike in the trade. Throughout its history the 
Glovers' Trade Society, membership of which was 
confined strictly to male operatives, received but 
inadequate support, and after languishing for some 
twenty years it was dissolved in 1904. 

In 1917, however, another attempt was made to organ- 
ise the workers of the Worcester area, as a result of 
which the Worcester Glove and Leather Workers' 
Society was formed. This organisation admits female 
workers, and boasts probably the largest membership 
of any glovers' trade union. During the last two years 
special efforts have been made to attract the women 
home-workers into membership, and the position of the 
Society has been strengthened by affiliation with the 
Amalgamated Society of Gas, Municipal and General 
Workers. 

About six years before the first Worcester Society came 
to its untoward end, the operatives in the Yeovil district 
succeeded in founding the United Glovers' Mutual Aid 
Society. In this case, again, the apathy of the operatives 
for a long period prevented any real progress, but since 



138 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

the war the membership has been very largely extended, 
although it is still confined to male operatives. 

Another trade union, the Amalgamated Society of 
Glovers, was formed some twenty years, ago at Stoke- 
under-Ham for male operatives, and now embraces 
workers engaged in the industry in North Devon and 
Dorsetshire. 

Strangely enough the organisation of the women 
operatives, who comprise a majority of the workers in 
the industry, has been largely left to unions not directly 
associated with the gloving industry, and the National 
Federation of Women Workers, the Dock Wharf and 
Riverside Workers' Union, and the General Workers' 
Union each claim a number of gloveresses among their 
members. 

On the employers' side, there are two important 
organisations representative of the leather glove trade : 
The Yeovil and District Glove Manufacturers' Associa- 
tion, embracing over 30 firms established at Yeovil, 
Stoke-under-Ham, Milborne Port, Sherborne, Martock, 
Westbury, Taunton and Glastonbury, and the Worcester 
and District Glove Manufacturers' Association, embracing 
practically all the firms engaged at Worcester, and one 
or two drawn from outside that area. In addition to 
these there is a North Devon Glove Manufacturers' 
Association. In 1919, a new organisation came into 
existence embracing practically all makers of fabric 
gloves. The National Association of Fabric Glove 
Manufacturers of Great Britain, as it is called, has a 
membership of about 40 firms representing some 6,000 
employees. With it is affiliated the Glove and Warp 
Fabric Makers' Association of Ilkeston (near Nottingham), 
representing the fabric knitting branch of the trade. 

In 1918 an Interim Industrial Reconstruction 
Committee for the glove industry was set up on the 



BRITISH GLOVE TRADE ORGANISATIONS 139 

lines of the recommendations contained in the report 
of the Whitley Commission. In this body all the 
employers' associations and employees' unions connected 
with the industry are represented, and questions relating 
to wages, hours and conditions of employment through- 
out the industry are referred to the committee for 
discussion. So far the relations of employers and workers 
have been singularly happy. Disputes have fortunately 
been rare, whilst the worst evil — strikes — has been 
conspicuous by its absence. Wage advances during 
the last four years have been made representing about 
150 per cent, above pre-war figures. Latterly, however, 
it has become increasingly apparent that certain fabric 
glove manufacturers do not see eye to eye' with the manu- 
facturers of leather gloves, nor with those firms producing 
both classes of articles. Some of the fabric manu- 
facturers contend, possibly with some justice, that the 
fabric glove being a cheap article in comparison with the 
leather glove, will not admit of the same high standard 
of wages as the latter. Recently, the fabric manufac- 
turers' association even went so far as to reject (by a 
majority vote) a recommendation of the Interim Joint 
Industrial Council for a 17 J per cent, increase of wages-. 
The decision, however, was not unanimous, and many of 
the biggest firms manufacturing fabric gloves decided to 
recognise the award made by the Council. It remains 
to be seen whether the differences between the two 
branches of the industry can be composed, or whether 
the policy of the National Association of Fabric Glove 
Manufacturers will lead to the disruption of the Interim 
Industrial Reconstruction Council, in which case it is 
expected the Government would set up a Trade Board 
whose orders would have Statutory effect. 

This difference of opinion among the manufacturers 
exemplifies the need for a closer, or at least a more 

10a— (1463j) 



140 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

co-ordinated, organisation throughout the industry. 
On the employers' side there are still a number of establish- 
ments unrepresented in any association, while sectional 
differences and petty jealousies sometimes prevent the 
best results accruing from those organisations which do 
exist. It must be remembered, however, that organisa- 
tion (in the modern sense) is in its infancy in the glove 
trade. Possibly the passage of time will show individual 
firms that although membership of a corporate body does 
sometimes involve the subordination of individual 
ideas to the general consensus of opinion, the sacrifices 
called for are far outweighed by the security and 
benefits which combination alone can confer. 

So, too, on the employees' side, the multiplicity of 
trade unions connected with the industry — the glove 
workers in some of them representing but a small 
minority of the total membership of the unions — does 
not make for coherent policy or facilitate smooth 
negotiation. Whether the time will come when the 
industry will enjoy a single organisation on either side 
remains to be seen. Such a development is recognised 
as highly desirable by all progressive leaders of the 
industry and by many of the more alert organisers 
among the workers. The scattered locale of the trade, 
and the strong sectional feelings animating each district 
and branch, unfortunately militate against the recogni- 
tion of that general community of interest which is 
essential if the organisation of the industry is to reach 
a higher pitch of perfection. 



GLOSSARY 

Atlas fabric. — Fabric which has been knitted in an Atlas 
machine. 

Bandalctte. — Another name for the welt or binding sewn 
round the wrist of the glove to finish the edge. Sometimes 
called a Binding or Welting. 

Beaming. — The operation of scraping the skins for the removal 
of hair. 

Boulton thumb. — In gloves fitted with Boulton thumbs, the 
trank or main part of the glove is cut with a strip projecting 
down towards the inner side of the base of the thumb opening. 
No quirk is then required and a stronger glove is obtained. 

Cape. — Originally the name of leather made from Cape sheep 
skins. Now applied indiscriminately to sheep and goat skins 
tanned by the dipping method and given a glace finish. 
--Chamois. — Originally leather made from the skin of the 
Chamois or Swiss mountain goat (now practically extinct) . The 
term is to-day used for leather made by the " shamoying " 
process in which fish-oil is largely used. 
vChewette. — Leather produced from young goats. 
Degrains. — Leather the grain of which has been removed by 
the frizing or freizing process. 

Doeskin. — Formerly deerskin or antelope leather, which is now 
becoming exceedingly rare. Sheep-skins finished as " chamois " 
leather are now sometimes sold under this name. 

Doling. — An alternative process to paring, used for thin skins. 

Drenching. — Skins after liming and puering are immersed in a 

mixture of flour or meal and water. Fermentation ensues, 

which reduces the skins to a gelatinous condition and facilitates 

the reception of tanning ingredients. 

Duplex fabric. — Is produced by causing two separate fabrics to 
adhere together by means of special solutions involving secret 
processes. 

Fleshers. — Sheep-skins are frequently split edgewise, and the 
half nearest the flesh of the animal is known as a flesher. These 
are used largely for suedes, chamois, and washable gloves. 

Fleshing. — A mechanical operation for removing particles 
of flesh from the skins preparatory to tanning. 

Fluffing. — Sometimes called " wheeling," is a mechanical 
process which is rapidly superseding paring. The skins instead 
of being shaved with a knife are ground down on emery or 
carborundum wheels. 

141 



142 GLOVES AND THE GLOVE TRADE 

Frizing or Freizing. — A method of removing the grain of the 
skins used for Mocha, reindeer gloves and other degrains. 

Fourchettes, Forgits or Forks. — The six slender slips of leather 
used to close the fingers of the glove. 

Glace or grain finish. — Gloves finished with the outer side 
of the skin outwards are said to have a glace or grain finish. 

(iiissets. — Small pieces of leather of diamond shape used at the 
junction of the fingers and palm. They are sometimes known as 
" piecettes." 

Heart (or protector). — Stay pieces used under the binding of 
the palm. 

Kid. — The leather made from kid-skins. Lamb-skin leathers, 
however, are now often sold as kid. 

Lisle. — Special fabric knitted from lisle threads made by 
spinning yarns from two separate strands spun in opposite 
directions. 

Milanese. — Fabric knitted in a Milanese machine. 

3Iocha. — Actually the skin of the Arabian haired sheep. 
Other skins are now tanned and finished by special processes 
and sold as Mocha. 

Morts. — The skins of abortive lambs or kids. Sometimes 
known as " slinks." 

Overseam. — See " Roundseam." 

Paring. — The process of planing the flesh side of the skin 
to a uniform thickness. Formerly entirely a hand operation 
it is now largely being displaced by " wheeling " or " fluffing." 

Pique (P. K.) sewing. — A lapped-seam stitch, used for medium 
weight gloves. 

Prix seam (P. R. X. 31. or Prick seam). — A sewing passing 
through the leather, leaving both raw edges exposed. A strong 
sewing, if not neat, used for heavy gloves, more particularly 
those made for driving. 

Points. — The decoration on the back of a glove. 

Puering. — The process by which the skins are softened after 
liming, preparatory to tanning. 

Quirk. — A gusset or gore sometimes used at the base of the 
thumb. 

Roundseam (overseam). — A sewing for light-weight gloves, in 
which the stitching is carried through the leather and over the edges. 

Sac wrist. — Gloves made without a slit at the wrist opening, a 
strip of elastic being usually let into the glove at the wrist in 
order to keep the glove in position on the hand. 

Slinks. — Another name for " Morts." The skins of abortive 
lambs or kids. 

Staking. — A hand or machine process for softening harsh dry 
skins after they have been dried in stoves. 

Strikers. — Chemical' salts used to fix the dyes for colouring 
leather gloves. 



GLOSSARY 143 

Suede. — Is not actually a distinct leather, but is produced 
from " flesher " sheep-skins or lamb-skins and finished on the 
flesh side by means of a wet emery wheel. 

Sueded fabrics. — Glove fabrics are sometimes passed through 
special machines in order to brush up a nap on the surface of the 
cloth to simulate a suede leather effect. 

Tambour. — A crocheted point. 

Tawing. — The term applied to the most common method 
of tanning glove leather with a mixture of alum, salt, flour and 
egg-yolk. 

Trank. — The name of the sections of finished leather stretched 
and cut by the cutters ready to be shaped into gloves. 

Warp fabric. — Glove fabric is knitted from warps of cotton 
or silk, as distinct from weft yarns. 

Wheeling. — Another name for fluffing, the process which is 
superseding " paring." 






INDEX 



Atlas Fabric, 104 et seq. 
Austria-Hungary, the indus- 
try in, 133 

Bark tanning, 43 

Bavaria, the industry in, 134 

Beaming, 35 

Beck, S. William, quoted, 7, 

10, 12 et seq. 
Belgium, the industry in, 120, 

134 
Brosser point, 74, 75 
Brush-dyeing, 50 51 
Button holing and sewing, 88 

Calibres, cutting, 64, 66 
Canada, industry in, 135 
Capes, 25, 28, 58 
Cestus or Coestus, 2 
Chamois, 28, 43, 58 

process, 43 et seq. 

Clasps, 89 

Corded point, 80 
Cutting (fabric), 109 

(skins), 60 et seq. 

Czecho-Slovakia, industry in, 

133 

D'Artois, Vallet, 67 

D' Israeli, Isaac, quoted, 8 

d'Orsay, Count — rules for 

wearing gloves, 20 
Deliming, 37 

Denmark, industry in, 135 
Depilation, 34 
Doeskins, 29, 43 
Dogskins, 59 
Doling, 55 
Domes, 89 
Drenching, 37 
Drying (stove), 53 
Duplex fabric, 107 



Dyeing (fabric), 106 

(skins), 48 et seq. 

Dyewoods, 51 

Economics of the industry. 

118 et seq. 
Egg yolk, use of, 52 
Elizabeth, Queen, gloves of, 15 
Ethelred, law of, 4 

Fabric gloves, history, 92, 98 

, making, 99-113 

Fashion, influence of, 12-22 
Fleshers, 29, 43 
Fleshing, 36 
Fluffing, 56 

Fourchettes or forks, 64 
France, industry in, 132 
Frizing or friezing, 43, 58 
Fur gloves, 90 

Gazelle skins, 27 
Geographical distribution of 

glove making, 118 
Germany, industry in, 119 
, monopoly of fabric glove 

making, 92, 121 
Glace finish, 56 
Glove, parts of, 63 

, diagrams, 68, 69 

, proportions of, 70 

— — and Warp Fabric Makers' 

Association, 139 
Glovers' guilds, 5, 125, 137 

Trade Society, 137 

Gussets, 64 

Hand sewing, 81 
Henry VI, gloves of, 14 

VIII, gloves of, 15 

History of the glove, 1-7 



144 



INDEX 



145 



Hull, William/quoted, 8, 12 

et seq. 

Imports and exports (statis- 
tics,) 130 et seq. 

Import prohibitions, 5-6, 126 

Interim Industrial Recon- 
struction Council, 138 

Italy, industry in, 135 

Jouvin, Xavier, 67 
Judging gloves, suggestions 
for, 116 

Kasans, 26 
Kid skins, 24 
Kohler point, 110 

Lamb skins, 25, 26 
Lapped seam, 81 
Limericks, 25 
Liming process, 35 
London, Corporation of 
Glovers in, 6 

Mary, Queen of Scots, gloves 

of, 17 
Milanese fabric, 104 et seq. 
Mocha, 26, 28, 45, 58 

process, 45, 58 

Mochas, imitation, 46 

Nappa gloves, 58 

National Association of Fabric 
Glove Manufacturers, 139 

North Devon Glove Manu- 
facturers' Association, 139 

Paring, 54 et seq. 
Paris, Corporation of Glovers 
of, 5 

point, 78 

Perth, Corporation of Glovers 

at, 5 
Pique stitch, 81 
Pointing, 73 et seq. 
Presses, cutting, 64 



Prix seam, 81 
Puering, 37 

Quirks, 64 

Raised points, 80 
Reindeer skins, 27 
Ribbed or beaded points, 80 
Ripening the skins, 48 
Round seam, 81 

Samming process, 44 
Sewing operations, 72, 109 
Shakespeare, gloves of, 19 
Sheep skins, 25 
Silk gloves, 111 
Skin dressing, 31-47 
Skins for leather gloves, 23-30 
, average yield of gloves, 

59 
, variation in size and 

character, 62 

, construction, 63 

Sorting (skins), 48, 59 
Soudans, 26 
Staking, 40-41, 53 
Stocking process (chamois), 44 
Strikers, 51 
Suede leather, 56 
Sueded fabric, 107 
Symbolism, 8-12 

Tambouring, 79, 80 
Tanning processes, 38 et seq. 
Tawing process, 38 
Trade Unions and Organisa- 
tions, 137 
Tranks, 60, 68, 69 

Unhairing, 34 

United Glovers' Mutual Aid 

Society, 138 
States, industry in, 135 

Victor point, 75 

Warp knitting, 104 
Warping operation, 103 



146 



index 



Washable leather, making of, 

45 
Washing processes, 32, 49, 50 
Weft fabric, 108 
Wheeling, 56 

Wood, Mrs. Henry, quoted, 52 
Woollen gloves, 111 
Worcester Glove and Leather 

Workers' Society, 138 



Worcester and District Glove 
Makers' Association, 139 

Wykeham, William of, gloves 
of, 13 



Yarns for fabric gloves, 100 
Yeovil and District Glove 
Makers' Association, 139 



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BUSINESS HANDBOOKS AND WORKS OF 
REFERENCE 



BUSINESS MAN'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA AND DICTIONARY OF COMMERCE. Edited 
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COMMERCIAL ARBITRATIONS. By E. J. Parry, B.Sc, F.I.C., F.C.S. In crown 

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MOTOR ROAD TRANSPORT FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. By J. Phillimore. 

In demy 8vo, cloth, 2 1 6 pp. ......... Net 12/6 

THE MONEY AND THE STOCK AND SHARE MARKETS. By Emil Da vies. 

In crown 8vo, cloth, 124 pp. ........ Net 21- 

THE INVESTOR'S MANUAL. By W. W. Wall, F.S.S., F.J.I. In crown 8vo 

cloth, 122 pp. . Ne ^ 3/6 

THE HISTORY, LAW, AND PRACTICE OF THE STOCK EXCHANGE. By A. P 
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DICTIONARY OF THE WORLD'S COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS. By J. A. Slater, 

B.A., LL.B. (Lond.). Second Edition. In demy 8vo, cloth, 170 pp. . Net 3/6 

COMMODITIES OF COMMERCE. By J. A. Slater, B.A. LL.B. In demy 8vo 

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DISCOUNT, COMMISSION, AND BROKERAGE TABLES. By Ernest Heavingham. 

Size 3 in. by 4J in., cloth, 160 pp. ........ Net 1/6 

BUSINESS TERMS, PHRASES, AND ABBREVIATIONS. Fourth Edition, Revised 

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MERCANHLE TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS. Containing over 1,000 terms 
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A COMPLETE GUDDE TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE MEMORY. By the late 

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TRADER'S HANDBOOKS. In crown 8vo, cloth, 260 pp. . . . Each Net 3/6 
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Ironmongery and Ironmongers' Accounts. By S. W. Francis. 

9 



COMMON COMMODITIES OF COMMERCE 
AND INDUSTRIES 

In each of the handbooks in this series a particular product or industry is treated by an 
expert writer and practical man of business. Beginning with the life history of the plant, 
or other natural product, he follows its development until it becomes a commercial commodity, 
and so on through the various phases of its sale in the market and its purchase by the 



Each book in crown 8vo, 
TEA 
COFFEE 
SUGAR 
OILS 

WHEAT AND ITS PRODUCTS 
RUBBER 

IRON AND STEEL 
COPPER 
COAL 
TIMBER 
LEATHER 
COTTON 
SILK 
WOOL 
LINEN 
TOBACCO 

CLAYS AND CLAY PRODUCTS 
PAPER 
SOAP 

GLASS AND GLASS MAKING 
GUMS AND RESINS 
THE MOTOR INDUSTRY 
THE BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY 
CLOTHING INDUSTRY 
ICE AND COLD STORAGE 
ELECTRIC LAMP INDUSTRY 



consumer. 
cloth, with many illustrations, 3s. net. 

TELEGRAPHY, TELEPHONY AND 

WIRELESS 
GAS AND GAS MAKING 
FURNITURE 

COAL TAR AND SOME OF ITS PRODUCTS 
PETROLEUM 

SALT AND THE SALT INDUSTRY 
KNITTED FABRICS 
ZINC 
CORDAGE AND CORDAGE HEMP AND 

FIBRES 
CARPETS 
ASBESTOS 
PHOTOGRAPHY 
ACLDS AND ALKALIS 
SILVER 
GOLD 

PAINTS AND VARNISHES 
ELECTRICITY 
ALUMINIUM 
BUTTER AND CHEESE 
BRITISH CORN TRADE 
ENGRAVING 
LEAD 

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HISTORY OF SHORTHAND. By Sir Isaac Pitman. Fourth Edition, Revised. 

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PITMAN'S TYPEWRITER MANUAL. Can be used with any machine. Sixth 

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