Sears Roebucks of Chicago partnered with Western Sporting Goods in 1908 to supply Sears new line of J.C. Higgins brand gloves and mitts. Sears still continued to sell Victor and non-branded equipment along with the Higgins brand. Below are some 1908 catalog ads.
There are some distinguishing characteristics to identify different brands. Beyond the manufacturers cloth patch, I find the buckle strap the most telling identifier. Below are three common buckle strap designs circa 1908 of J.C. Higgins brand. The first two are pretty easily found with the third somewhat harder.
So are these all Western Sporting Goods gloves with three different buckle strap designs? hmm.
Last edited by mikesglove on December 29th, 2016, 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
It's possible Western Sporting Goods altered the wrist strap design over time. The Higgins glove below has the wrist strap pattern that can be traced back to some very early gloves and mitts.
I was hoping to find a manufacturers identification on one of the earlier models below but no luck so far.
The cloth tagged Higgins fielders gloves above all have a one piece forefinger stall. The model below has the forefinger stall in three seamed pieces. That is an interesting variation and only found on a very few early gloves. The same wrist strap pattern prevails.
Some J.C. Higgins mitts licensed patent designs from other companies. Below is an example. The ad is from the Sears 1908 catalog. It is dubbed the "Sullivan" model. Billy Sullivan was a popular Chicago White Sox catcher of the day.
The mitt looks to have licensed the Victor buckle web patent. Notice also the cool triple stitched pocket reinforcement, another feature found on some Higgins mitts.
The mitt has a common laced heel and Higgins wrist strap. The curve of the wrist opening is distinctive as is the double stitching and became something of a trademark of the Higgins mitts.
The Sears ad below is from 1902 and before the J.C. Higgins branding began. The mitt has a wrap around crescent pad and ornate crotch reinforcement. It was marketed for about 4 years in the Sears catalog under various model names.
The example below matches the ad closely. It looks like the Victor patent web was licensed again.
The back of the mitt has the same distinctive features as the other Higgins mitts.