Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

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Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby mikesglove » August 1st, 2010, 5:20 pm

Burt and Leroy Rogers were instrumental in the establishment of Victor Sporting Goods and its rise to prominence. The company was founded in 1898 by Charles Whitney and Leroy Rogers in Chicopee Falls, MA. Burt Rogers was hired as superintendent and he brought with him extensive glove making abilities. Burt learned the craft at an early age and perfected his skills in Johnstown, NY., one of the famous "glove cities". Burt and Leroy were the primary inventors for Victor Sporting Goods and if there philosophy could be summed up it would be to make a glove with a pre-formed and deep set pocket. Catcher's mitts figure prominently in their plans because of the need to protect the catcher from repeated injury.
The mitt presented from the glovecrazy.com website is a great example of the features introduced by the Rogers brothers. The patented adjustable thumb strap angled the thumb and body of the mitt toward one another, thus"pre-forming" the pocket. The so-called "double face" stitching reinforcement kept slack leather central in the pocket. This eliminated an air layer between the padding and the pocket leather and stopped bounce-back of a caught ball.
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A high quality mitt, possibly the Victor or Cleveland model. Note the good condition of the thumb strap. The first thing to break on a well played mitt.
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Note the worn cloth patch in the wrist opening. A common place for Victor to put their patch.
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Patented 1895 thumb strap
The previous mitt does not show the heel lacing very well so another mitt from my collection identifies the patented adjustable heel lacing which enabled the catcher to add to or move the padding to suit his needs.
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patented 1894 heel lacing
Last edited by mikesglove on April 13th, 2012, 3:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby softball66 » August 1st, 2010, 6:20 pm

GREAT INFORMATIVE POSTINGS! Keep it up! Love the patent pictures in combination with the gloves, and this adds a lot to our historic information on our favorite topic!
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Re: The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby mikesglove » August 2nd, 2010, 2:44 am

Thanks Joe, It is fun to find the patent drawing for a particular glove pictured on someone's website or even my own collection, especially if it is a rare model. There is a lot of historical information available on-line. I remember 10-12 years ago writing to different libraries across the country researching glove info that now can be done on a keyboard and mouse. I suspected Burt and Elroy Rogers were brothers and linked to Charles Whitney and found the proof in an old Massachusetts Genealogy book available to read on-line.
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Re: The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby mikesglove » September 29th, 2010, 1:52 am

1896 victor display.jpg
Victor Sporting Goods retail display circa 1896
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Re: The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby mikesglove » October 1st, 2010, 1:17 am

Victor Athletic Goods was originally a branch of the Overman Wheel Co of Chicopee Falls, MA. In the early 1890"s Overman was one of the most popular bicycle makers in the U.S. with their flagship model called "The Victor". Overman bicycles were sold through A.G. Spalding"s western sales division in Denver CO. Charles Whitney was an executive for Spalding at the Denver headquarters. Spalding decided to enter the booming bicycle market as a manufacturer and dumped their inventory of "Victor" bicycles and opened a plant in Chicopee Falls. Charles Whitney moved to the new Spalding factory. Overman countered this direct assault by Spalding by creating a Sporting Goods Division featuring baseball equipment. Spalding countered by creating a nation-wide bicycle manufacturers association. Because of the bad blood, Overman refused to join the associaltion. Charles Whitney left the Spalding Co. in the late 1890's as the death knell was sounding for the Overman Wheel Co. Whitney bought the sporting goods division from Overman and in 1898 Victor Sporting Goods was formed.
overman1.jpg
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby mikesglove » October 11th, 2010, 11:10 pm

Victor Sporting Goods got some measure of payback with Spalding from the Sears, Roebuck & Co. The mail order business was booming in the late 1800's and Sears was a major player. Spalding sold baseball goods through the Sears Catalog until 1899. At that point A.G.Spalding instituted a "one price" policy to thwart the discounting the mail order supply house offered. Sears built their business on discounting and switched accounts to the Victor Sporting Goods line of baseball equipment.

1897 Sears Catalog with Spalding equipment
1897 sears_catalog_baseballa.JPG
1897 sears_catalog_baseballa.jpg

1902 Sears Catalog with Victor equipment
1902 sears-victora.JPG
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby mikesglove » November 22nd, 2010, 3:49 pm

This 1900 Victor catalog illustration shows the model 11X Combination mitt. It has an interesting pieced together face with reinforced pocket in addition to the two key Victor patented features, the adjustable strap web and adjustable heel lacing.
1900 victor1a.jpg
1900 victor 11X.jpg
The beautiful Victor mitt below was not an expensive mitt in its day but was still made with a great deal of attention to detail and quality construction. from http://www.baseballglovecollector.com
Buckle Web Hook and Eye Back Catchers Mitt Front.JPG
Buckle Web Hook and Eye Back Catchers Mitt Back.JPG
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Fabulous Rogers Boys

Postby mikesglove » January 25th, 2011, 3:12 am

Advertisement from a Physical Education booklet printed in 1892
overman1.jpg

An early Victor baseball equipment logo circa 1892 while Victor was still part of the Overman Wheel Co. A glove with that stamping would be a great find!
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circa 1897 after Victor broke away from Overman
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circa 1918 when Victor merged with Wright & Ditson
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Below is a pretty decent cloth patch. The winged logo section is unfortunately somewhat worn away but "Victor" above and "Sporting Goods" below is still very readable.
Image
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby mikesglove » April 13th, 2012, 5:07 am

Here are some pretty clear images from a 1905 Victor advertisement. Interesting that the top model(12L) was a webless buckle back model. The second model(17F) was a crescent buckle web glove.

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The base mitt features a buckle web
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The mitt below has an identical style to the Victor illustration. From the location and color of the cloth patch, I'm certain this is a Victor mitt.
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It looks like the "Victor" catchers mitt features a double buckle web
Image
Image
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby vintagebrett » April 13th, 2012, 10:11 am

Love seeing all the victor stuff - they were making lots of unique, quality goods. I live about 20 minutes from Springfield and the building where they made the items still stands today. A friend of mine who collects Springfield items says we should ask to search the building - he's sure there is stuff buried in the walls. :)
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby mikesglove » April 13th, 2012, 9:54 pm

The Overman Wheel Co. was one of the largest and best of the bicycle manufacturers in the 1890's. The "Victor" bicycles were sought after world wide due to the quality and ease of repairing with interchangeable parts. 1897 brought intense price competition and resulted in a cheapening of Overman bicycles to stay competitive. Overman almost immediately lost a lot of their former credibility and customer loyalty. Overman survived bankruptcy proceedings in 1898 by a restructuring of their debt with major banks. The athletic sporting goods division of Overman Wheel Co., started in 1893 was never much of a money maker. Overman was more than glad to sell the Athletic Goods side of the business to Charles Whitney in 1898 as he formed Victor Sporting Goods. Whitney used the Overman factory in Chicopee to manufacture his equipment until 1900 when Overman Wheel Co. closed for good and Whitney moved Victor Sporting Goods to Springfield MA.

Below is a nice vintage ad for The Overman factory in Chicopee Falls, MA. from the 1890's
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Below is the shuttered Victor factory building in Springfield, MA. as it looks today. I did some research for the correct location in Springfield. Brett may know if this is it.
Image
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby vintagebrett » April 14th, 2012, 11:19 am

They do use the building now so I'll take so pictures next time I'm in that area. A couple weeks ago when we were in Boston, I talked to William about taking pictures of all the buildings where the companies were located. There are quite a few in New England so I'll add it to my to do list. 8)
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby mikesglove » April 16th, 2012, 12:55 pm

The building shown Is not the first factory of Victor Sporting Goods in Springfield. Charles Whitney expanded his operation around 1912 and purchased the building of the defunct Atlas Motor Co. He continued to use this building after the merger with Wright & Ditson circa 1918.
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby vintagebrett » March 16th, 2013, 1:52 pm

This from the March 1902 Sporting Goods Dealer:

At the Victor Factory:
"The Victor Sporting Goods Co., Springfield, Mass, announce an exceptionally pleasing increase of business over last year and say that the prospects for an unusually brisk summer trade are very bright. The policy of this enterprising firm is guided by men fitted by a long experience to grasp situations as they occur and to foresee impending changes. During the fall months, in anticipation of lively spring business, they have greatly added to the floor space in their factory and have in every possible manner improved their facilities for producing, so that they now stand at the opening of of the base ball season in a position to handle with their usual and commendable promptness the new orders with which they are being daily flooded. They attribute their remarkable success to the fact that their chief aim has been to look at all matters from the viewpoint of the customer. We have already in our columns called attention to their newly patented Twentieth Century Striking Bag apparatus which, in its simplicity and perfect action, is a marvel. The demand for this apparatus has been enormous in all parts of the country and at times it taxed strongly the producing facilities of the Victor Co. As base ball is the all absorbing theme at this time, we might call attention to their now famous base ball masks. In these masks the old style rigid side pads are supplanted by flexible and adjustable bands. These conform immediately to the contour of he face and make the mask a perfect fit. An additional strong feature lies in the fact that a blow from a foul tip is distributed rather than coming all in one spot, as in the former style masks. The frame of the mask does not come in contact with the head at all, so that the force of any blow besides being distributed is greatly minimized. These masks are now worn by leading professionals and are pronounced perfect. There is on the market no line of superior quality than that of this firm. Their prices attract all, from the retail consumer to he largest jobber, while in the matter of quick delivery their resources are the best. Their stock is always large in anticipation of their customers wishes, so that all orders sent to them are promptly cared for. They are situated on the main line of largest railroads in teh East and have freighting facilities hard to duplicate. The largest express companies are all represented in their city so that smaller shipments go through without loss of time. They cater largely to the jobbing trade and are thoroughly represented in all sections of the country. This means that the smaller dealers may buy from their jobbers at close prices and save transportation. The Victor Company manufacture a very complete line of golf and tennis goods and can supply almost any demand. Their goods in these lines for the coming season are reported to be abreast with the times in every particular. Their athletic goods included several new departures and as each year the goods bearing the Victor brand are becoming better know to college and school boy athletes, they will, during 1902, no doubt, be extensively used. Their running shows have a good reputation and are of the proper grade to keep it. The base ball war has attracted considerable attention lately and has, of course, provoked the interest of the Victor Sporting Goods Company. They have their representatives present at all meetings and are close in touch with the entire situation. Their league ball is official in every particular and is guaranteed to conform to the specifications and requirements of the national League. They are to be congratulated on having secured already the very desirable adoptions for their ball, one by the thriving Connecticut State League of eight rattling good clubs, and one by the new Pacific Northwest League, of six promising teams. They are always to be counted on when there is anything doing in the sporting world. Their new catalogue is worth having. It will be mailed upon receipt of a postal card request. If you are a retailer , let them know whether you have a regular jobber tor buy from or if they have one near you. We feel justified in predicting for this company the fullest measure of success. They deserve it.
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Re: Victor Gloves & The Rogers Brothers

Postby mikesglove » May 15th, 2013, 1:32 am

In 1899, The Fancy Goods Co. of Toronto began carrying a Victor line of sporting goods. The new logo was a baseball outline with "Victor" inside, much the same as a Spalding logo. Below is an advertisement from 1902.
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Below is an old mitt with this other Victor logo on the cloth patch.
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Below is a 1903 Fancy Goods Co. ad touting the advantages of the Victor mitt.
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This close-up view of the mitt above shows a "Patent Applied For" stamp for a catchers mitt design that is really "out there". Three bands of chair caning wrap around the perimeter of the mitt. I am not totally sure but It looks like the caning is enclosed in a sheath part way around the mitt but possibly exposed at the top. The caning was meant to protect the catchers fingers and strengthen the top of the mitt from wear and tear.
Image
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