Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

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Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » April 11th, 2011, 11:39 pm

A particular glove sold on ebay that piqued my interest about the Draper-Maynard Co. of Plymouth, NH. The glove was a "Roy Cullenbine" model that had attributes of the Goldsmith brand gloves of the era.
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After referring to Joe Phillips "Vintage Baseball Glove Catalog Source Book", I read that after the death of John Maynard in 1937 the Draper-Maynard Co. was sold to P.Goldsmith Co. of Cincinnati. The D&M line was carried on for a few years by Goldsmith as evidenced by the 1944 "Cullenbine" glove but it was effectively the end of an era of one of the most storied Sporting Goods Manufacturers in the first half of the 20th century. A 1930's ad for D&M boasted that 7 of the starting players for the 1935 World Series champion Detroit Tigers used D&M gloves. Earlier ads in the 1920's depicted the superstars of the era endorsing D&M gloves. A lot had been written about D&M during the glory days, but I was curious about the beginnings of Jason Draper and John Maynard's company before their rise to prominence.
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The area between the towns of Ashland and Plymouth, New Hampshire was mostly farmland in the 19th century, irrigated by natural brooks and tributaries that fed the Baker and Pemigewasset Rivers. The land was rich with game and in some areas deeply forested. Small manufacturing concerns such as wood product saw mills. textile and sewing goods flourished. Plymouth born, Alvah McQuesten developed a way of tanning buckskin in 1835 that led to the areas dominant industry, glove making. Through trial and error, McQuesten found a process to boil off the hair, remove the grain, filling the skins with oil which produced a soft and pliable leather. Near the village of Lower Intervale, McQuesten found the ideal natural conditions of a suitable water source and abundance of hemlock bark to build a tannery. Other merchants followed his lead either in the tanning or manufacture of hand and work gloves. The area became known as Glove Hollow. Image

Nathaniel Draper was a local retail merchant who saw the potential in Glove Hollow and became associated with McQuesten in the manufacture of gloves. From 1850 till his death in 1871, Nathaniel Draper became a prominent manufacturer of what made the area famous, the "Plymouth Buck Glove". Jason Draper grew up in the glove making industry and at the young age of 21, took over the business after his father's death. At the time, the factory at Glove Hollow was so small that there was room only to prepare and cut the skins which were then sent out to the local farmers wives to sew together as gloves.
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In 1881 John Maynard joined the Draper family when he married Jason Draper's sister. John Maynard was a financially successful builder and persuaded Jason Draper to move to Ashland. Maynard would build a larger factory in exchange for a partnership. The company became known as J.F. Draper & Co.
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the roof advertising of the Ashland plant reads, J.F. Draper & Co. Factory "Plymouth Buck Gloves"
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Workers sorting buckskin hides with iron glove stamps in the foreground
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » April 12th, 2011, 12:14 am

By 1881 the glove making industry had become highly competitive with areas such as Gloversville, NY. taking away a lot of business from J.F. Draper & Co. and other New Hampshire glove makers. Quicker tanning processes, lower quality and cheaper gloves from other ares eroded the market share of the "Plymouth Buck Gloves".
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With this tense climate of a newly built factory in Ashland and declining sales, in walked Arthur Irwin, professional baseball player of the Providence Grays. As the story goes, Irwin had broken the ring and pinky finger of his left hand during a game in 1882. instead of missing a game, Irwin bought a large size driving glove (as in driving a team of horses), inserted palm padding and sewed the ring and pinky finger of the glove together to protect his broken fingers. He played the next game and his fellow ball players were curious and intrigued with the glove. Irwin sensed a real opportunity here and so dispatched himself to Ashland to propose the manufacture of his glove design to Draper & Maynard. Because of the prevailing economic climate, Draper & Maynard jumped on the idea and immediately sent out their salesmen with samples of the Irwin glove to the different retailers they serviced. The Irwin glove was successful because it was made from the high quality Plymouth buckskin and featured a smooth pocket with the padding inside and a flexible thumb.
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Other sporting goods manufacturers eventually brought out their own line of baseball gloves but the Irwin glove was better built and somewhat more sophisticated than what was available at the time. Jason Draper patented a fielders mitt in 1891 to compliment the Irwin glove. The mitt featured a rigid perimeter band to protect the finger tips along with the inner padding and flexible thumb.
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By 1895 Irwin and Draper & Maynard parted ways but the die had already been cast and in 1897 Jason Draper and John Maynard officially incorporated as a sporting goods manufacturer. Draper-Maynard Co. moved to their larger and final factory in Plymouth in 1900. The dog illustrated as part of the D&M logo was a stroke of marketing genius in personalizing the brand among many competing manufacturers. The dog in question was John Maynard's beloved bird dog "Nick".
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Sewing room at the Plymouth factory
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby Mr. Mitt » April 12th, 2011, 1:24 pm

That's great sleuthing, Mike... thanks for sharing that!
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » April 13th, 2011, 12:21 am

I started with more colorful photos and changed to the sepia tones as the article went on to give a feeling of going back in time. Some of the images were a bear to track down from 19th century historical encyclopedias and obscure sports publications. I didn't have room for both sides of this early J.F. Draper & Co. envelope. It is from the Mike Ellis collection. It is a great looking and historic collectible
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After Irwin left D&M in 1895 he signed on with A.G. Spalding as sole distributor of the Irwin glove. The glove and mitt were still more expensive than the comparable Spalding model.
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Here is another photo of Arthur Irwin, all 5'8" and 150 lbs. of him as capt. of the Philadelphia ball club.(seated, third for right). He had an .800 fielding percentage which in that day was pretty spectacular.
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Here is a view of downtown Plymouth, NH. in the 1890's right before Darper & Maynard built their factory
plymouth 1890a.GIF
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby vintagebrett » April 13th, 2011, 6:29 pm

Great information. Thanks for sharing! As I'm going through a 1911 D&M catalog, I can see they made gloves for everything - baseball, driving, fishing, hunting, golf. The line of automobile gauntlets is impressive.
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby bing » April 13th, 2011, 9:53 pm

Thanks for all the great info!
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » April 14th, 2011, 12:30 am

Clint, from the net54baseball forum http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=135133, had a few great D&M pictures. One in particular was a closeup of the J.F. Draper Factory in Ashland. I edited the first section of my article to include his picture since it was so much better than the one I found.
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » April 14th, 2011, 12:49 am

vintagebrett wrote: As I'm going through a 1911 D&M catalog, I can see they made gloves for everything - baseball, driving, fishing, hunting, golf. The line of automobile gauntlets is impressive.

My research showed that Draper & Maynard were the last Co. in the area to make the "Plymouth Buck Gloves" All the other manufacturers went out of business due to the stiff competition and limitations of making one type of glove. Brett's reading of the 1911 D&M catalog shows that D&M survived and flourished by expanding their product line to a broad range of interests and not just basesball.
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » April 14th, 2011, 3:55 am

The original Nathaniel & Jason Draper Factory in Glove Hollow, NH. that is pictured in the undated photo as a dilapidated structure on the verge of collapse, eventually was leveled and only the foundation remains today. The owners of a 435 acre Christmas Tree Farm in Glove Hollow now include the old foundation on the edge of their property by Glove Hollow Brook.
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I asked Michael Ahern, the owner of the farm to take pictures of the ruins and he was nice enough to send some cool images of the remaning field stone foundation of the original Jason Draper Factory.
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby vintagebrett » April 14th, 2011, 6:42 am

Now I know where I'm getting my Christmas tree next year!
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » June 30th, 2011, 10:55 pm

Albert Burtt was an employee or sub-contractor of The Draper Maynard Co. through all its early history. An 1880 census of the Glove Hollow region in New Hampshire listed both Jason Draper and Albert Burtt among the 150 residents. A bookkeeping journal was sold on ebay in 2008 that listed the expenses and payments to Albert Burtt from the period 1893-98. Supplies for the manufacture of gloves were prominent of course but also miscellaneous items such as candy were also included. An entry in 1895 for a "Patent" fee probably makes this journal historically valuable and something I imagine the Draper-Maynard museum would love to have.
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The $20 patent fee was related to this 1895 patent by Albert Burtt for the Draper Maynard Co.
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The mitt below show the belt-like heel lacing of the Burtt patent
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The front of the mitt features the riveted strap joining the thumb section to the body of the mitt. This was patented by Jason Draper in 1899.
crescent-pad-laced-perimeter-catchers-mitt-front-popovich_800.jpg
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » May 23rd, 2012, 12:55 pm

Here is a nice 1896 ad for a D&M catchers mitt. The ad shows some features related to the patent drawing above. I like the leather pull tab on the wrist lacing. The 1891 grommet web patent is well illustrated as is the heel lacing.

Image
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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby cbrandis » May 23rd, 2012, 2:35 pm

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one of the items (dust covered) that i dug up from a box is a "History of Draper-Maynard Company"
written by Mrs. Erma T. Ahern, August 7, 1970

The paper i have is a copy of a copy of a copy. It was written for a class (and got an "A") and has a decent bibliography.
an interesting take of the company from a local.
copies can be made available (or tell me where and how to post- I do not have a scanner and the copy quality sucks)

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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby ebbets55 » May 23rd, 2012, 7:13 pm

Great stuff Carmi. If you send me a copy, I can post it in the Library as a PDF so everyone can read it.

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Re: Arthur Irwin and the Draper-Maynard Co.

Postby mikesglove » May 24th, 2012, 12:55 am

In an interesting coincidence, the author of the D&M aticle, Erma T. Ahern, was an aunt of Michael Ahern. He is the owner of the Glove Hollow Christmas Tree Farm in New Hampshire. The original Jason Draper factory is located in a corner of that property. There are some pictures of the Draper factory stone foundation in some earlier posts. Erma Ahern was involved in city government and was a member of the Plymouth Historical Society.
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