Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Along with apple pie, Converse and its shoes are as much a part of America as Coca-Cola. On the face of it, its hard to see why Converse misses the Big Players Chapter, but you need to remember that is is a global tale. This is not to say that Converse is not a vitally important company in sneaker history. Its most famous shoes can be seen all over the world, and the All Star (the biggest selling sneaker of all time) and the Jack Purcell were the first sneakers to pass into the leisure and fashion worlds.
The story of this grand old company begins back in 1908 in the State of Massachusetts. It was in this year that the New Hamsphire-born Marquis Mills Converse founded the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. Mr Converse was quick to latch onto the potential of the rapidly growing rubber shoe industry after having worked at the local Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe store. Wthin two years of establishment, Converse had 350 employees producing tough, rubber-sole, protective footwear under brand names including 'Tuff-e-nuff rubbers'. It was at about this time that the company made the fatal mistake of diversifying into other rubber markets, when it branched into making rubber tryes.
Contrary to popular legend, Converse was not the founding father of the sneaker/trainer industry, even though it was involved in its infancy. The Converse company was launched at a time when baskeetball was, alghough a minority interest, growing in popularity at an astonishing rate. Basketball players were beginning to ultize rubber-soled leisure or deck shoes, and so Converse diversified away form its main interest in industrial shoes and began to produce shoes for this relatively new sport.
t was in 1917 that a vital decision was taken when Converse ssued a icut shoe designed specifially for basketball. This shoe was intended to mantain productivity in the plant when sales of industrial shoes traditionally fell in the summer. The result was the legendary Converse All Star basketball shoe, which is still sold in a familiar form today.
It was in 1971 that ex-basketball player 'Chuck' Taylor joined the company and began selling the new basketball shoes at classes he hell all over the country. Sales boomed, Taylor suggested some additions, such as cushioned heel soles and padding on the ankles, and his signature was added to the shoe - the Chuck Taylor was born. Sales rose again, and Converse as we knnow the company today became a reality.
However, in these early days Converse was more involved in the tyremarket, which proved less than successful. In 1928 the crippling losses of this division took the company into receivership and Marquis Converse left his 'baby'. In 1930, the Stone family became the new owners and stayed in control over the next 40 years, during time Converse survived and grew by buying many other 'rubber compaies, including tyre and footwear firms such as B.F. Goodrich.
By the 1970s Converse had slipped, falling behind firms such as adidas, who were growing on the back of the running-shoe boom. Converse fought back with semi-successful celebrity endorsements by baasketball players like Julius 'Dr J.' Erving, but by the 1980sthere had been many plant closures and Converse had become a small part of larger conglomerate.
However, in 1983 there was a manement buy-out and Converse Inc. came into being. Converse has continued its fight back since that time, developing new shoes. But they will forever be associated with their giant twin classics - the All Star and the Jack Purcell.
In the early 2000s, the multi billion giant company NIKE took over the controlling stage of Converse Inc., and putting it as their subsidiary company..
By : Ray - http://www.miniseen.blogspot.com