L. B. Icely died in 1950, but the company continued to expand. In 1989, WSGC merged with Bogey Acquisitions Company, which is affiliated with the Finnish group Amer Sports. As consumers, we often take for granted all the hard work that goes into building a great company. Although Thomas E. Wilson left the company in 1918, no interruption occurred in either the manufacture of its products or the growth of its revenues. in. In 1967, the company was acquired by Ling-Temco-Vought. [8], Wilson manufactures and commercializes a variety of products for several sports. During World War II it introduced the Wilson Duke football, featuring high-quality leather, ends that were hand-sewn, lock-stitch seams, and triple lining, which was adopted as the official ball of the National Football League. Reach, both rival sporting goods companies.. He served as President and Chairman of the Board of Wilson & Co for 35 years. “For consumers, the performance is … It is not just about performance, but the culture of tennis itself,” says Jason Collins, Wilson head of product for racket sports and hard goods. The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is an American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois. 1913. Contents 1914–1962: 1962–1994: 1994–present: 1914–1962. The company transformed the custom-mold section to make protective equipment for American football and baseball, such as face masks for football helmets and leg guards for baseball catchers. St. James Press, 1999. That year alone, Wilson sold over 50,000 of the sand wedge clubs. In 1979, Wilson tennis balls were first used in the US Open,[9] and still are used to this day. Amusements Armed Forces -- Equipment Beverage industry Biochemical engineering Biotechnology Butchers Chemicals Clocks and watches Clothing and dress During the decade, the Wilson brands were chosen as the official basketball of the National Basketball Association, and the official football of the National Football League. By the end of the year, sales reached the $1 million mark, an enormous amount of money for a company that had been in existence for only a short time. This strategy paid off handsomely in sales as golf club professionals and tennis club professionals used and promoted Wilson products. Early History. Under Amer Group's direction, Wilson opened subsidiaries in Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Canada. An investigation is underway after fire destroyed the old Wilson Sporting Goods building in Cookeville Tuesday morning. With this kind of savvy marketing behind its high-quality products, Wilson Sporting Goods could be expected to retain the largest share of the sporting goods market for years to come. Clearly, the international manufacturing and distribution network Wilson was building owed much of its success to the contacts and resources provided by its parent company, the Amer Group. Wilson Sporting Goods and Tennis Icon Serena Williams Debut New Blade SW102 Autograph Racket CHICAGO, Aug. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilson Advisory Staff Member and global tennis icon Serena Williams and Wilson Sporting Goods Co., revealed today the new Blade SW102 Autograph racket. At the same time, Wilson entered into contractual agreements with national and regional retailers across the United States to sell its products. [1], In 1918, Wilson left to concentrate on the beef-packing business, changing the Sulzberger company to Wilson & Co. (which would ultimately become Iowa Beef Packers and then be taken over by Tyson Foods). In 1957, the company constructed its own administrative office facility in River Grove, Illinois, a short distance from Chicago's downtown area. Officials say the front of the building collapsed during the fire. Through a comprehensive marketing and distribution network Wilson was soon able to sell sporting equipment and uniforms in over 100 countries worldwide. The most influential member of the advisory staff, however, was the football coach of Notre Dame, Knute Rockne. Hetzinger was purchased for the purpose of producing high-quality athletic uniforms, while the caddie bag company's extensive line of luggage products was reduced to the manufacture of golf bags alone. Rockne worked with Wilson to develop a new double-lined leather football, and the first football that was valve inflated. Wilson was also making a major impact in other areas of sports as well, such as the cardboard tube containers for tennis balls that soon became the standard packaging for the industry. As a result, management at Wilson decided to concentrate on fostering an increased participation of the nation's youth in sports, and through a rather sophisticated marketing campaign the company continued its high profile in the sporting goods industry. Wilson Sporting Goods parent to be acquired for $5.2 billion A Chinese investor group led by Anta Sports Products reached a deal to acquire … A plane ride inspired Sarazen to design a club that would “glide through the sand.” [1], Horween Leather Company has supplied Wilson with pebbled cowhide since 1941 for use in the manufacture of footballs and basketballs. Early History. The A2000, made from Wilson’s Pro Stock leather is the oldest glove series Wilson offers. Of all the company's products, it was the sale of golf equipment that catapulted Wilson Sporting Goods into a place of prominence within the industry during the 1980s and 1990s. During the same year, the company began manufacturing golf clubs and football helmets. 1994–present. Current Wilson Staff players include British Open and PGA Championship champion Pádraig Harrington, and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland. When Wilson Became a Golf Industry Leader. The A2K, The A2000, and the A1K, as well as many other models for younger children. L. B. Icely, who replaced Thomas E. Wilson in 1918, and had guided the company through what many business historians regard as its most creative period, died in 1950. It started out in 1914, making tennis racket strings, violin strings, and surgical sutures, but soon expanded into baseball shoes and tennis racquets. The new Conform baseball glove was brought out in 1993, which allowed ballplayers to customize a glove to the contours of their hand. In 1922, Wilson introduced the Ray Schalk catcher's mitt, which from that time onward set the standard for design, comfort, and padding within the baseball industry. In the mid-1990s, a strategic plan was in its initial implementation phase to increase the company's profile and, in turn, its sales in high-growth areas such as Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Australia, and Singapore. By the end of the decade, it was evident Wilson had managed its product development so well, and had marketed its items so successfully, that even through the worst years of the Great Depression the company not only survived but prospered. Add a photo to this gallery Wilson Sporting Goods Company is a sports equipment manufacturer headquartered in Chicago, IL. But the company's most important growth opportunities were still in the United States. As a result, company management decided to focus on the game of golf. In those days, the company manufactured and commercialized the official balls of both, NBA and NFL, and provided most of the uniforms of teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) and the United States Summer Olympics teams. The publicity garnered from these agreements was unprecedented--the Wilson brand name was not only known throughout the United States but around the world. This Chicago-based manufacturer of athletic gear began in 1913 as Ashland Manufacturing, which was as a subsidiary of the Wilson & Co. meat company. The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is an American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 2019 Company-Histories.com. At the heart of sports history for over a century, no other company has been as influential and intimately involved in shaping the games of tennis, golf, baseball and American football as Wilson.As the originator of breakthrough technologies, Wilson has produced legendary classics and earned world-wide legitimacy in each sport it participates in. During the 1990s, Wilson renewed its commitment to manufacture innovative designs for sporting equipment. It worked with Knute Rockne to introduce the double-lined leather football and first valve football and the first waist-line football pants with pads. In 1994, the company introduced the Jet basketball, a leather version made specifically for the outdoor market. When Knute Rockne died in a plane crash in 1931, Wilson was able to form a close collaboration with Dana X. Bible, the football coach at the University of Nebraska, in an attempt to continue its development of innovative football products. As the 1940s drew to a close, the company owned 15 factories, and 31 sales offices and warehouses throughout the United States. One of the strategies Wilson employed over the years to increase sales and enhance its product image was to pursue the endorsement of professional athletes. History of Wilson Golf Clubs. Perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, continued to promote his own line of Wilson signature basketballs, selling over one million annually for nearly 14 consecutive years. 2005:Wilson Sporting Goods becomes the official distributor of Luxilon string in the United States. In 2005 Wilson Staff claims to be the first golf company to utilize nanotechnology in golf equipment. The company makes and markets the gear used to tear it up on courts, courses, and athletic fields worldwide. 1962–1994. Among the major retail chain customers were Target Stores, Sportmart, Kmart, Herman's Sporting Goods, and Sears, Roebuck & Company. And, although Bible was able to help Wilson develop helmets and shoulder pads, the company was unable to match the degree of influence on the game achieved with Rockne during the 1920s. In 1892, Spalding acquired Wright & Ditson and A. J. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, est. Wilson not only established its first plant overseas, a baseball manufacturing facility in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, but also opened sales and marketing offices in Wimbledon, Wiesbaden, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Museum Artifact: Wilson Success Mid-Iron Golf Club, c. 1920s. International expansion also figured into management's strategy at this time. The original kevlar Pro Staff model racket, known for its use by Pete Sampras, was heavy (more than 350g strung) and small-headed (85 sq. [7] Wilson became the official NBA ball supplier in 1946, in a partnership that would last 37 years.[8]. Wilson, a hard-headed businessman who saw the potential of a sporting goods company, broke away from the parent firm of Sulzberger and Schwarzchild, began to focus exclusively on the manufacture of sporting and athletic equipment, and then named the company after himself in 1916. Jim Courier and Stefan Edberg also used the Pro Staff Original, Edberg later switching to the Pro Staff Classic in 1991, which was the same racket (85 sq. These two developments were instrumental in helping Rockne to develop the modern passing game in college football. Incorporated in 1913, the company was originally established to find unique ways of using slaughterhouse byproducts of a nearby meat-packing firm. During the 1960s Wilson continued its strategy, originally conceived and formulated in the 1930s, of vertical integration through the acquisition of highly specialized firms. Following up on its acquisition in 1955 of the Ohio-Kentucky Manufacturing plant located in Ada, Ohio, one of the most innovative design firms for footballs in the United States, in 1963 the company purchased Masters Golf Bag Company in Collierville, Tennessee, a firm that focused exclusively on the manufacture of golf bags, and Cortland Tennis Company, a firm specializing in the manufacture of tennis racquets in Cortland, New York. Wilson Sporting Goods History The Wilson sporting goods company was originally named Thomas E. Wilson & Co. in 1916. But once upon a time, these … Wilson Staff is the golf division of Wilson Sporting Goods. Not only were the 1950s years of continued technological innovation and high-quality product introduction for the company, but administrative changes and new organizational developments also marked the decade. In March 1989, WSGC Holdings merged with Bogey Acquisitions Company. List by sport include only. Wilson Staff is the popular golf division of Wilson Sporting Goods. Many of the worlds top professional golfers have used Wilson equipment including Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw; the latter two of whom used Wilson 8802 putters. In 1926, he created one of the most recognizable sports brand names in the world, known as Wilson Sporting Goods. 1925 - The name Thomas E. Wilson Co. is replaced with Wilson-Western Sporting Goods Company. [22], Some of the Wilson products, fltr: American football, basketball, tennis racquet, volleyball, baseball bats and baseball glove, This list includes companies that produce sports equipment. Wilson was soon producing leather caddie bags, baseball mitts, and sports balls. In 1893, A.G. Spalding & Brothers purchased the … With growth opportunities seemingly endless, PepsiCo management decided to divide the company into three divisions: Golf, Racquet Sports, and Team Sports, each with its own marketing and sales teams. The History of Wilson Sporting Goods A Glove Affair, Noah Lieberman Fascinating History of the Baseball Glove, The Post Game 7/12/2011 The Glove that Changed the Game, The Atlantic 4/15/2012 A2000 Enter Fifth Decade, UPI Archives 6/6/1990 Wilson Baseball Catalog, baseballglovecollector.com This line directly replaces their previous K-Factor series with all new technologies. In an era when a golf ball was a golf ball, Wilson Golf was the first company to push the limits of what a golf ball could be. His tenure was distinguished by one achievement after another, one of the most important (and perhaps the most overlooked) being the introduction--the first such in the sporting goods industry--of the computer for inventory control. The decades-old company specializes in golfing equipment and has been producing top-of-the-line golf clubs since 1914. Crenshaw's even received the moniker Little Ben due to his proficiency with it[citation needed]. Basketballs and footballs were also added to the company's rapidly growing list of items for sale. A stock A2k retails for US $360. Hanks' character named the ball, to which he became deeply attached to, "Wilson" in the film. Due to its position in the marketplace, and its growing presence overseas, Wilson Sporting Goods was purchased by WSGC Holdings, Inc. in 1985. Finally, we can read about how these great companies came about with Company Histories.. Wilson continued its focus on the development of innovative products during the war years, including the introduction of the Wilson Duke football, featuring the best leather, ends that were hand-sewn, lock-stitch seams, and triple lining. Crews had the blaze contained right before sunrise this morning. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Wilson Athletic Equipment, 1930. Thomas E. Wilson (July 11, 1868 – August 4, 1958) was a Canadian-born American businessman. Since Bogey was affiliated with the Amer Group Ltd., a multinational corporation located in Helsinki, Finland, Wilson ultimately was owned and operated by the management team at Amer Group. The company acquired the Hetzinger Knitting Mills to produce athletic uniforms and a caddie bag company which produced golf balls but soon expanded into footballs and basketballs. In the field of golf, in 1995 Wilson introduced the Invex driver, a uniquely designed head made from stainless steel and titanium, which almost overnight became the largest selling of all the firm's golf clubs to date. The deal became the longest running endorsement deal in the history of sports. Before beginning the design of Wilson Sporting Goods’ headquarters, the Gensler team undertook an extensive analysis of the company’s existing workplace, studying the way employees interact, how they feel in their space, and how the work flows. In 1931, the increasingly far-flung business was consolidated as Wilson Sporting Goods. with slightly rounded frame edges) but with different paint work. Print version. In addition, Rockne and Wilson developed the first waist-line football pants with pads that could be removed, thus providing the player with the ability to move more freely. Wilson Sporting Goods was incorporated in 1913 as the Ashland Manufacturing Company, and was originally established to find unique ways of using slaughterhouse byproducts of a nearby meat-packing firm, its parent company owned by Sulzberger and Schwarzchild. By 1976, Wilson opened a manufacturing plant in Galway, Ireland, to enter the rapidly growing market for tennis products. Yet the war effort seriously affected Wilson's manufacture of athletic equipment and uniforms, since almost all of the company's production facilities were retooled to make war material such as duffel bags, tents, and helmets to be used by American soldiers fighting overseas. 2013: ‘4G’ tennis string is launched 2016: ‘Element’ tennis string … A 1989 merger between WSGC Holdings and Bogey Acquisition Company, an affiliate of the Amer Group Ltd., resulted in Wilson Sporting Goods becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the Amer Group, located in Helsinki, Finland. In 1955, it acquired Ohio-Kentucky Manufacturing for making footballs. The company designs and manufactures a full range of golf equipment, accessories and clothing using the Wilson Staff, ProStaff and Ultra brands. History Talk (0) Share. Wilson is Horween Leather Company's largest customer. Wilson will return as NBA ball maker, replacing Spalding, after over 30 years of partnership with the league. In 1967, however, a major change occurred when Wilson Sporting Goods was purchase by the aerospace conglomerate Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV Corporation), located in Dallas, Texas. To safeguard its future business and growth potential, Amer acquires Wilson Sporting Goods Co. based in Chicago, Illinois. Some of Wilson’s most famous patterns include the Dp15, 1787, 1776, 1788, 1799, 2800, M1, 1791 Pudge, and many others. [3] Wilson makes equipment for many sports, among them baseball, badminton, American football, basketball, fastpitch softball, golf, racquetball, soccer, squash, tennis, pickleball and volleyball. More than 10 million autographed Jack Kramer tennis racquets would be sold during the next 30 years. The company owns the brands Atec, DeMarini, EvoShield, Louisville Slugger, and Luxilon to provide sports equipment and protective gear for baseball, lacrosse, softball, and tennis. The name Wilson has remained synonymous with sporting equipment: from young boys who play basketball on asphalt courts in the inner city of Chicago to professional athletes who play baseball in enormous stadiums with manicured fields across the United States, the product of choice is a Wilson basketball, baseball, glove, or uniform. Crews responded to the scene around 1 a.m. on South Depot Street to see the structure engulfed in flames. Spalding actually gets credit for the first use of a leather glove in baseball. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, 2037 N. Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL [Logan Square] Today, a typical set of Wilson golf clubs includes “woods” made of titanium and “irons” machined from flexible steel alloys. Only three years later, PepsiCo became new Wilson's owner. Having remained at the forefront of sports equipment and uniform manufacturers, after the war ended in 1945 the company began to expand and grow dramatically. As the decade drew to a close, Wilson was also expanding its production facilities overseas, including new plants in Haiti, St. Vincent, Canada, and Scotland. By Matthew Fortuna. In 1917, the company was so confident in the quality of its product line that it announced a two-year unconditional guarantee on all of its products. In 1932, the company developed the R-90, a sand wedge golf club inspired by Gene Sarazen's victory in the 1932 British Open. Wilson Sporting Goods has maintained the lion's share of the market throughout its history primarily because of its focus on manufacturing high-quality products in the categories of basketball, football, volleyball, golf, baseball, soccer, racquetball, squash, footwear, team uniforms, and an extensive line of sports apparel. In 1922, pro golfer Gene Sarazen became the first member of the Wilson Advisory Staff and his contract with Wilson Sporting Goods lasted for 75 years! Sporting goods Topic "Laboratories -- Furniture, equipment, etc." The fire started at about … In September 1985, Wilson Sporting Goods was acquired by Westray Capital Corporation through one of its affiliates, WSGC Holdings, Inc. As a result of the purchase, Wilson became a wholly owned subsidiary of WSGC Holdings. The decade of the 1920s was one of the most successful and most innovative periods for the company. When it comes to the history of the Baseball glove – or “mitt” as it was refereed to in the late 19 th century – three iconic sporting goods makers still viable today comes to mind: Spalding, Rawlings and Wilson. [1], In May 2020, it was announced that Wilson became the NBA official ball supplier, starting with the 2021 season. Made By: Thos. In late 2009, Wilson unveiled their latest line of rackets, codenamed 20x, which they would later rename BLX. Soon after its entry on the market, the Wilson Duke football was adopted by the National Football League as the official ball. Icely had organized the company in such an efficient manner that, upon his death, there was no interruption in product introduction. Wilson makes a variety of baseball gloves for several different patterns: Wilson has 3 series of baseball gloves. Hiring Turner was prophetic since his innovative designs for the leather football had a profound influence on the development of the game. As of 2015, he uses the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph model that is heavy (340 g/12 oz unstrung) and larger (97 sq. A subsidiary of Finland's Amer Sports, Wilson Sporting Goods Company produces equipment for sports such as tennis, golf, volleyball, squash, basketball, racquetball, football, badminton and baseball. After the success of the film, Wilson Sporting Goods actually created and marketed volleyballs with Wilson's "face" printed on. The company's plant in Humbolt, Tennessee, was manufacturing more than 45,000 golf balls on a daily basis, and had grown to become the third largest golf ball plant in the world. [1], In 1931, it renamed itself "Wilson Sporting Goods Company". During the same year, the company established its advisory staff of athletes, with the famous golfer Gene Sarazen as its first member. From 1989, it has been a subsidiary of the Finnish group Amer Sports, since 2019 itself a subsidiary of the Chinese group ANTA Sports. They produced racket strings, footballs, basketballs and baseball shoes. Thos. After Rockne's death, the company focused on golf, introducing the R-90, a sand wedge golf club inspired by Gene Sarazen's victory in the 1932 British Open. The following chart contains all the product lines by the company. Wilson provided almost all of the uniforms for teams in Major League Baseball, and the company also provided the United States Summer Olympic team with all of its official uniforms and clothing. [1], In 1915, Thomas E. Wilson, former president of meatpacker Morris & Company, was appointed President by the controlling banks and renamed the company "Thomas E. Wilson Company". [11], Many teams of the NFL have worn uniforms provided by Wilson, such as:[13]. From 1989, it has been a subsidiary of the Finnish group Amer Sports, since 2019 itself a subsidiary of the Chinese group ANTA Sports. In 1964, Wilson acquired "Wonder Products Company", which made toys and custom-molded items. Wilson Sporting Goods was incorporated in 1913 as the Ashland Manufacturing Company, and was originally established to find unique ways of using slaughterhouse byproducts of a nearby meat-packing firm, its parent company owned by Sulzberger and Schwarzchild. Wilson is a major manufacturer of tennis rackets. Originally known as the Ashland Manufacturing Company, Wilson Sporting Goods […] In 1922, it introduced the Ray Schalk catcher's mitt which later became the standard. We see them around but we don't know what goes on behind the scenes. [1] In 1925, it was renamed "Wilson-Western Sporting Goods" following a distribution agreement with "Western Sporting Goods". The company was founded in 1876 when Albert Spalding was a pitcher and manager of a baseball team in Chicago, the Chicago White Stockings.The company standardized early baseballs and developed the modern baseball bat with the bulge at its apex. The A2K is made from Wilson’s Pro Stock Select leather, which is made from triple sorting their famous pro stock leather. Ted Williams became a member of the company's advisory staff, and brought an inestimable value to the reputation of Wilson's line of baseball products. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. manufactures and sells sporting equipment. The company closed out the decade by acquiring Chicago Sporting Goods Company, a manufacturer of uniforms, by reaching an agreement to supply all the equipment for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and by hiring Arch Turner, one of the prominent craftsmen in the leather industry. [4], Sulzberger & Son's founded the "Ashland Manufacturing Company" in 1913 to use animal by-products from its slaughterhouses. After the World War II, Wilson focused on tennis and signed Jack Kramer, who developed its line of Jack Kramer signed tennis rackets. [5][6], In 1941, Wilson became official provider of game balls for the National Football League (American football), a partnership that continues to this day. Jack Kramer, regarded as the "Father of Modern Tennis," also became a member of the company's advisory board and a close collaborator with Wilson in the design of innovative tennis equipment. learn how over 7,000 companies got started! Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. Wilson Sporting Goods. Edit. The acquisition is completed at the end of March 1989 for a total consideration of USD 200 million. Aside from tennis rackets, the Wilson sporting goods company also makes tennis balls (including the official balls of the US Open and starting in 2020, the French Open major championships), shoes, balls, strings, clothes, and racquet bags.