Converse - Classic Sneakers
Marquis M. Converse started the "Converse Rubber Shoe Company" in 1908. Over a century later, the brand continues as a significant presence in the footwear business.
In the early days, this was the one-time manufacturing plant for "Converse Rubber Shoes." Note the horse-drawn wagon and the antique automobiles.
In the 1950's, Converse marketed their canvas sneakers with the slogan "It's Converse for Comfort."
This 2003 Converse model features a replica of the original 1908 "Converse Rubber Shoe Company" logo.
Converse corporate parentage: from nuke to Nike...
Converse has been part of several different firms over the years. These include:
- 1971: Eltra - diversified manufacturer, probably best known for electrical wiring products (now Prestolite Wire)
- 1980: Allied - Allied became AlliedSignal in 1985, later merged with Honeywell International in 1999 and adopted the Honeywell name - a diversified maker of car parts, aircraft electronics (avionics), and even nuclear weapons.
- 1983: Allied spun off Converse.
- 1986: Interco - Furniture and footwear manufacturer. Later on, Interco changed their name to Furniture Brands International (makers of Broyhill, Lane, and Thomasville).
- 1994: Interco spun off Converse and Florsheim, their footwear businesses, as separate companies.
- 2003: Nike - famous athletic apparel and footwear manufacturer.
- 1908 - The "Converse Rubber Shoe Company" opens for business.
- 1915 - Converse branches out into sneakers.
- 1917 - The first version of the sneaker now known as the "All Star" enters production.
- 1921 - Charles H. Taylor ("Chuck") hires on as a salesman and endorser.
- 1928 - Converse goes into receivership after a disastrous diversification into automobile tires.
- 1929 - Converse acquired by Mitchell Kaufman.
- 1932 - The "Chuck Taylor" signature added to the All Star basketball shoe.
- 1933 - The Stone family acquires Converse.
- 1935 - The "Jack Purcell" sneaker introduced by B. F. Goodrich... later to become a Converse product.
- 1966 - Converse starts adding color choices to the basic black and white "Chuck Taylor" All Star basketball shoe.
- 1970 - The suede "One Star" comes out.
- 1971 - The Stone family (who started the Stone Charitable Fund of Boston as a philanthropic effort) sells the company to Eltra Corporation.
- Eltra acquires the B. F. Goodrich footwear business and merges most of it with Converse; they are required by the U. S. Department of Justice to spin off the PF Flyers brand in the process.
- Charlie buys his first pair of "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers for gym class.
- 1975 - Julius W. Erving ("Dr. J") becomes a Converse endorser.
- 1980 - Converse parent Eltra becomes part of Allied Corporation.
- 1982 - Allied Corporation spins off Converse as a separate company.
- 1984 - Converse boxes proudly proclaim "Official Sponsor of the 1984 Olympic Games" after paying $1,000,000 for the privilege.
- 1986 - Interco acquires Converse.
- 1992 - First use of the "REACT" cushioning technology in Converse athletic shoes.
- 1994 - Interco spins off its footwear businesses (Converse and Florsheim) as separate companies.
- 1996 - Converse:
- Refocuses on their product strengths: basketball, cross training, and "athletic original" shoe lines.
- Produces 5.2 million pairs of sneakers in the United States.
- Jumps the millennium four years early with the All Star 2000.
- 1997 - Converse:
- Announces that over 550 million pairs of "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers produced; believed an industry record.
- Produces 7.5 million pairs of sneakers in the United States.
- Establishes its presence on the World Wide Web.
- 1998 - Converse:
- Announces that over 560 million pairs of "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers produced.
- Produces 8.4 million pairs of sneakers in the United States.
- Celebrates ninety years in business.
- 1999 - Converse:
- Has United States production drop to 5.6 million pairs.
- Introduces helium cushioning to athletic shoes.
- 2000 - Converse:
- Announces that over 570 million pairs of "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers produced.
- Produces 3.9 million pairs of sneakers in the United States.
- 2001 - Converse:
- January - Enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- March - Discontinues manufacturing in the United States.
- April - Changes ownership from public to private hands; $117 million paid to the bankruptcy court towards their debt.
- July - First "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers made in Indonesia arrive in the USA.
- 2002 - Converse:
- July 31 - All the old Converse stock was cancelled. Unlucky stockholders should have taken the write-off for worthless stock in 2002. (You're out of luck now.)
- December - Then-current owners formally propose that Converse return to being a publicly owned company.
- July 9 - Nike announces that they will purchase Converse for $305 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities.
- September 4 - Nike acquisition completed; Converse now part of the Nike collection of "SWOOSH-free" brands (which also includes Hurley International action sports clothing and footwear).
Best-selling sneaker of all time:
Over 1.1 billion shoe laces have been made, just to meet the manufacturing requirements for Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star sneakers.
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Last Updated: 25 February 2017
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