History

Styles and technology may change, but our principles have never wavered. Today, we still stand by the same core values we were founded on in 1907.

  • Conduct your business with the utmost integrity.
  • Do what your competitors cannot do.
  • The customer is your top priority.
  • There is no substitute for quality products.

wl-picWilson Orson Wells (known as W.O.) launched the Wells Glove Company in 1907 with $500, five sewing machines and a handful of cotton cloth in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He initially decided to make buggy whips as well, but wisely observed that those might have a limited future. By 1910, his company was focusing exclusively on high quality gloves. The lesson has stuck with us, and ever since our brief foray into buggy whips, we’ve always believed in looking ahead and focusing on being the best at what we do.

In the early years of the company, W.O. Wells met an enterprising young man named Maurice Lamont. The two became close friends, spending hours talking about business and the future of Aberdeen. In 1914, Wells asked Lamont to join him as a partner in the glove company. The corporation’s name was immediately changed to Wells Lamont, but tragically, Maurice Lamont was killed in a hunting accident six months later. The name was kept to honor W.O.’s fallen friend.

white-mule-logoBy 1916, the Wells Lamont Corporation had outgrown Aberdeen, and the decision was made to move the company to Minneapolis, which was closer to leather supplies and other raw materials. As he expanded his business, W.O. developed dozens of trade brands for every class of Wells Lamont work gloves.

Our most famous glove brand originated in the 1930s. As much of America suffered through the difficult Depression years, W.O. continued to innovate. While traveling by train from St. Louis to New Orleans, W.O. was considering what to call his top quality leather-palm gloves when something caught his attention outside of his window. He noticed a herd of a dozen white mules. While one white mule was a rare enough sighting at that time, seeing a dozen gathered together was unheard of. Inspiration hit, and W.O. would develop a leather-palm glove under the brand name White Mule. These would become the most prominent, best selling leather palm gloves in the United States. The mule image would eventually be added to the Wells Lamont logo with the tag line, “Stubborn about Quality.” We’re proud of our history, which is why we still stand by the line today.

Throughout the Depression, and the rest of the 20th century, Wells Lamont continued to prosper, eventually relocating to the Chicago suburb of Niles. In the 1960s, Wells Lamont merged with the Hammond Organ Company, which was later purchased by the Marmon Group of Companies. Through it all, we’ve held to our founder’s values.

W.O. Wells passed away in 1976, and we still work every day to uphold his legacy of quality, reliability and always putting the customer first. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in our first century, but we’re always looking to the future.

A history of achievement & innovation

a brief timeline of the past 100+ years of Wells Lamont History

100+ years is a major achievement in any business. From humble beginnings in 1907, Wells Lamont has seen some big firsts for the glove industry, and yet, Wells Lamont has introduced more innovation and products in the last 25 years than all the previous 75 years.

1907

W.O. Wells establishes The Wells Glove Company in Aberdeen, SD.  The company’s initial product was buggy whips, as well as gloves. He also introduces his first glove, a canvas work glove.

1914

W.O. Wells asks friend, Maurice Lamont, to join him as a partner in his glove company.  The company’s name is changed to Wells Lamont Corporation.

1928

W.O. Wells decides to develop a leather-palm glove with the brand name White Mule® after seeing a herd of rare, white mules.

1930-1940

Seven factories are opened in this time frame to handle the growing need for Wells Lamont gloves.  The Wells Lamont office is relocated from Minneapolis to Chicago.

1951

Wells Lamont is the first to introduce gloves specifically for garden use with the introduction of Handy Ann garden gloves.

1953

Wells Lamont becomes the #1 glove manufacturer in the industry.

1955

Merchandising displays are introduced; a first for the glove industry.  Another first; tagged gloves with a unique triangle die cut for display hanging.

1979

Wearpower® blended canvas and jersey gloves for longer wear are first introduced by Wells Lamont.

1980s

Paul Harvey advertised Wells Lamont and the catch-phrase “Stubborn about Quality”. James Earl Jones was also a spokesperson for Wells Lamont in the 1980s.

1982

Wells Lamont introduces Grips® patented pre-curved leather gloves; still recognized by consumers today.

1983

Wells Lamont introduces the patented PermaHook method of tagging gloves; still in use today.

1984

Our first disposable gloves for retail are introduced.

1990

Just Like Dad’s kids work gloves are introduced.

1993

Wells Lamont is first to introduce Work Gloves for Women, designed specifically for women’s hands.

2000

Machine washable leather gloves are introduced to the work glove industry.

2003

MechPro™ affordable, dependable mechanic’s gloves of synthetic leather arrive.  Within three years they become a major product category.

2004

SUG® Sport Utility Gloves are introduced; the first major change to basic work glove design in 50 years.

2005

StormZone™ reflective winter casual gloves are introduced.  Be Seen!  Be Safe!

2006

Wells Lamont launches High Visibility Gloves and Gear in safety green.

2007

Berkshire Hathaway purchases 60% of Marmon Holdings and thereby Wells Lamont.  Over the next four years Berkshire Hathaway will acquire the remaining shares of Marmon.

2010

Wells Lamont launches Blister Armor featuring Liquicell® blister-free technology, a new technology that greatly reduces blisters and next day soreness.

2011

ULTIMATE WORK SOCKS INTRODUCED

Better quality work socks with  patented Airstrip ™ venting,  arch support,  and cushioned comfort.  Available in cotton or wool blends,  both with anti-microbial and moisture wicking  knitting technology.  

2012

Wells Lamont introduces FR, flame retardant, leather work gloves for the oil & mining fields.

2014

HYDRAHYDE® LEATHER INTRODUCED

Exclusive patent pending leather tannage that makes leather waterproof and more breathable than standard leathers.  Gloves stay dry,  but stay soft as well!

2015

HydraHyde Leather for Cold Weather – Dry hands are warmer hands!