The revolutionary Hammer 2.7si tennis racquet, introduced in 1990, soon became one of the industry's top-selling racquets. During the 1960s Wilson continued its strategy, originally conceived and formulated in the 1930s, of vertical integration through the acquisition of highly specialized firms. This line directly replaces their previous K-Factor series with all new technologies. During the same year, the company began manufacturing golf clubs and football helmets. This Chicago-based manufacturer of athletic gear began in 1913 as Ashland Manufacturing, which was as a subsidiary of the Wilson & Co. meat company. The decades-old company specializes in golfing equipment and has been producing top-of-the-line golf clubs since 1914. In Japan, golf balls and clubs accounted for the majority of sales, while in the United Kingdom tennis rackets and balls sold as briskly as golf balls and clubs. Add a photo to this gallery 1994–present. 1919 - A distribution agreement with Western Sporting Goods boosts the Wilson reputation as a premier supplier of uniforms, and Wilson becomes the official supplier of the Chicago Cubs. [4], Sulzberger & Son's founded the "Ashland Manufacturing Company" in 1913 to use animal by-products from its slaughterhouses. Aside from tennis rackets, the Wilson sporting goods company also makes tennis balls (including the official balls of the US Open and starting in 2020, the French Open major championships), shoes, balls, strings, clothes, and racquet bags. 2005:Wilson Sporting Goods becomes the official distributor of Luxilon string in the United States. In an era when a golf ball was a golf ball, Wilson Golf was the first company to push the limits of what a golf ball could be. In 1964, Wilson acquired "Wonder Products Company", which made toys and custom-molded items. Hiring Turner was prophetic since his innovative designs for the leather football had a profound influence on the development of the game. In March 1989, WSGC Holdings merged with Bogey Acquisitions Company. A subsidiary of Finland's Amer Sports, Wilson Sporting Goods Company produces equipment for sports such as tennis, golf, volleyball, squash, basketball, racquetball, football, badminton and baseball. Wilson Sporting Goods Company has the largest market share in the sporting and athletic goods industry, with its strongest competitors such as Anthony Industries, Inc., Johnson Worldwide Associates, and Spalding & Evenflo far behind. As a result, company management decided to focus on the game of golf. In 1994, the company introduced the Jet basketball, a leather version made specifically for the outdoor market. [1], In May 2020, it was announced that Wilson became the NBA official ball supplier, starting with the 2021 season. It started out in 1914, making tennis racket strings, violin strings, and surgical sutures, but soon expanded into baseball shoes and tennis racquets. During the decade, the Wilson brands were chosen as the official basketball of the National Basketball Association, and the official football of the National Football League. The fire started at about … In 1939, Wilson achieved a major innovation in the design and manufacture of golf clubs with its ability to bond different layers and types of wood together to produce a criss-cross pattern that resulted in more power, better direction, and a longer period of use than previous designs which employed other wood. [5][6], In 1941, Wilson became official provider of game balls for the National Football League (American football), a partnership that continues to this day. ); Roger Federer also used the same racket model. With this kind of savvy marketing behind its high-quality products, Wilson Sporting Goods could be expected to retain the largest share of the sporting goods market for years to come. By Matthew Fortuna. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, 2037 N. Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL [Logan Square] Today, a typical set of Wilson golf clubs includes “woods” made of titanium and “irons” machined from flexible steel alloys. St. James Press, 1999. During the 1990s, Wilson renewed its commitment to manufacture innovative designs for sporting equipment. Yet the war effort seriously affected Wilson's manufacture of athletic equipment and uniforms, since almost all of the company's production facilities were retooled to make war material such as duffel bags, tents, and helmets to be used by American soldiers fighting overseas. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Wilson Athletic Equipment, 1930. The History of Wilson Sporting Goods A Glove Affair, Noah Lieberman Fascinating History of the Baseball Glove, The Post Game 7/12/2011 The Glove that Changed the Game, The Atlantic 4/15/2012 A2000 Enter Fifth Decade, UPI Archives 6/6/1990 Wilson Baseball Catalog, baseballglovecollector.com By 1976, Wilson opened a manufacturing plant in Galway, Ireland, to enter the rapidly growing market for tennis products. As the decade drew to a close, Wilson was also expanding its production facilities overseas, including new plants in Haiti, St. Vincent, Canada, and Scotland. Some of Wilson’s most famous patterns include the Dp15, 1787, 1776, 1788, 1799, 2800, M1, 1791 Pudge, and many others. But soon the purchase of this company was made evident when management began to use its facility to custom-mold parts for protective equipment in football and baseball, such as face masks for football helmets and leg guards for baseball catchers. [10] In 1985, Wilson was acquired by Westray Capital Corporation through subsidiary WSGC Holdings. Stronger and lighter than wood, it became a top seller, and Jimmy Connors became its most famous user, playing at the top of men's professional tennis for much of the 1970's using the long-throated, small-headed steel frame. [11], Many teams of the NFL have worn uniforms provided by Wilson, such as:[13]. Wilson Sporting Goods. Soon after its entry on the market, the Wilson Duke football was adopted by the National Football League as the official ball. Reach, both rival sporting goods companies.. Hetzinger was purchased for the purpose of producing high-quality athletic uniforms, while the caddie bag company's extensive line of luggage products was reduced to the manufacture of golf bags alone. The company transformed the custom-mold section to make protective equipment for American football and baseball, such as face masks for football helmets and leg guards for baseball catchers. In 1957, the company constructed its own administrative office facility in River Grove, Illinois, a short distance from Chicago's downtown area. In the mid-1990s, a strategic plan was in its initial implementation phase to increase the company's profile and, in turn, its sales in high-growth areas such as Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Australia, and Singapore. Perhaps well-known for supplying "Wilson," the volleyball in the movie Cast Away, Wilson Sporting Goods has earned the title as the world's top maker of sports balls. Clearly, the international manufacturing and distribution network Wilson was building owed much of its success to the contacts and resources provided by its parent company, the Amer Group. 1962–1994. [1], In 1931, it renamed itself "Wilson Sporting Goods Company". In September 1985, Wilson Sporting Goods was acquired by Westray Capital Corporation through one of its affiliates, WSGC Holdings, Inc. As a result of the purchase, Wilson became a wholly owned subsidiary of WSGC Holdings. His tenure was distinguished by one achievement after another, one of the most important (and perhaps the most overlooked) being the introduction--the first such in the sporting goods industry--of the computer for inventory control. The A2K, The A2000, and the A1K, as well as many other models for younger children. Copyright (c) 2019 Company-Histories.com. [1], Horween Leather Company has supplied Wilson with pebbled cowhide since 1941 for use in the manufacture of footballs and basketballs. Made By: Thos. In 1892, Spalding acquired Wright & Ditson and A. J. L. B. Icely died in 1950, but the company continued to expand. in. Although Thomas E. Wilson left the company in 1918, no interruption occurred in either the manufacture of its products or the growth of its revenues. Due to its position in the marketplace, and its growing presence overseas, Wilson Sporting Goods was purchased by WSGC Holdings, Inc. in 1985. The company traces its roots to the "Schwarzschild & Sulzberger" meatpacking company (later changed to "Sulzberger & Son's") based in New York, that operated meat packing slaughterhouses. These two developments were instrumental in helping Rockne to develop the modern passing game in college football. In 1932, the company developed the R-90, a sand wedge golf club inspired by Gene Sarazen's victory in the 1932 British Open. Contents 1914–1962: 1962–1994: 1994–present: 1914–1962. The company makes and markets the gear used to tear it up on courts, courses, and athletic fields worldwide. In addition, Rockne and Wilson developed the first waist-line football pants with pads that could be removed, thus providing the player with the ability to move more freely. The a2000 retails for US $260. As the 1940s drew to a close, the company owned 15 factories, and 31 sales offices and warehouses throughout the United States. After the success of the film, Wilson Sporting Goods actually created and marketed volleyballs with Wilson's "face" printed on. Early History. [22], Some of the Wilson products, fltr: American football, basketball, tennis racquet, volleyball, baseball bats and baseball glove, This list includes companies that produce sports equipment. Jack Kramer, regarded as the "Father of Modern Tennis," also became a member of the company's advisory board and a close collaborator with Wilson in the design of innovative tennis equipment. Amer acquires Wilson. The company acquired the Hetzinger Knitting Mills to produce athletic uniforms and a caddie bag company which produced golf balls but soon expanded into footballs and basketballs. In 1931, the increasingly far-flung business was consolidated as Wilson Sporting Goods. Finally, we can read about how these great companies came about with Company Histories.. It is not just about performance, but the culture of tennis itself,” says Jason Collins, Wilson head of product for racket sports and hard goods. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. manufactures and sells sporting equipment. To safeguard its future business and growth potential, Amer acquires Wilson Sporting Goods Co. based in Chicago, Illinois. And few other sporting goods companies in the world have garnered high-powered endorsements as Wilson has. [1], In 1918, Wilson left to concentrate on the beef-packing business, changing the Sulzberger company to Wilson & Co. (which would ultimately become Iowa Beef Packers and then be taken over by Tyson Foods). The publicity garnered from these agreements was unprecedented--the Wilson brand name was not only known throughout the United States but around the world. When Wilson Became a Golf Industry Leader. in. It also hired Arch Turner, a leather designer who would design the leather football.[1]. More than 10 million autographed Jack Kramer tennis racquets would be sold during the next 30 years. At the heart of sports history for over a century, no other company has been as influential and intimately involved in shaping the games of tennis, golf, baseball and American football as Wilson.As the originator of breakthrough technologies, Wilson has produced legendary classics and earned world-wide legitimacy in each sport it participates in. In 1922, pro golfer Gene Sarazen became the first member of the Wilson Advisory Staff and his contract with Wilson Sporting Goods lasted for 75 years! From 1989, it has been a subsidiary of the Finnish group Amer Sports, since 2019 itself a subsidiary of the Chinese group ANTA Sports. Museum Artifact: Wilson Success Mid-Iron Golf Club, c. 1920s. The deal became the longest running endorsement deal in the history of sports. The original kevlar Pro Staff model racket, known for its use by Pete Sampras, was heavy (more than 350g strung) and small-headed (85 sq. The packing company continued to have control in the company until 1967 when it was sold to Ling-Temco-Vought. In 1989, WSGC merged with Bogey Acquisitions Company, which is affiliated with the Finnish group Amer Sports. “For consumers, the performance is … The Wilson Sporting Goods Company is an American sports equipment manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois. They produced racket strings, footballs, basketballs and baseball shoes. Having remained at the forefront of sports equipment and uniform manufacturers, after the war ended in 1945 the company began to expand and grow dramatically. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, est. It worked with Knute Rockne to introduce the double-lined leather football and first valve football and the first waist-line football pants with pads. We see them around but we don't know what goes on behind the scenes. The name Wilson has remained synonymous with sporting equipment: from young boys who play basketball on asphalt courts in the inner city of Chicago to professional athletes who play baseball in enormous stadiums with manicured fields across the United States, the product of choice is a Wilson basketball, baseball, glove, or uniform. As of 2015, he uses the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph model that is heavy (340 g/12 oz unstrung) and larger (97 sq. But the company's most important growth opportunities were still in the United States. During the 1980s, Wilson products were endorsed by over 100 of America's most famous and well-respected athletes, including Sam Sneed in golf, Walter Payton in football, Michael Jordan in basketball, and Roger Clemens in baseball. [1], Under new president Lawrence Blaine Icely, it acquired the "Chicago Sporting Goods Company" and struck a deal to supply the Chicago Cubs. In 1893, A.G. Spalding & Brothers purchased the …

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