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U.S. Originals

Wrangler® History

Only 20-years old C.C. Hudson from Spring Hill Farm in Tennessee leaves his home in 1897 to find work in the growing town of Greenboro, North Carolina.
He got his first job in a textile factory that produces overalls. For 25 cents a day he was sewing on buttons. In 1904 this factory was closing its doors and C.C. Hudson saw his chance to open his own business. He and some colleagues bought a couple of sewing machines from their old employer, rented a small business space and opened their own company: the Hudson Overall Company.


The started out well and soon their company grew steadily. In 1919 the company name was changed to "Blue
Bell Overall Company". Business was booming for the following years and in 1926 the company was sold for 585,000 Dollar to "Big Ben Manufacturing of Kentucky" but the company name "Blue Bell Overall Company" remained and the business had still their headquarter in Greensboro. Of course, it wasn't still the first space they rented in 1904 but a larger factory space to where they had moved in 1919.

New fabric
In 1936 the company introduced a sheer revolutionary new fabric that limited the shrinking after washing to under 1%. It is called 100% Sanforized Fabric. This invention catalyzed the sales again and the company grew. In 1943 they acquired a company named "Casey Jones Work-Clothes" and with it a brand name that shall make them famous in the future: This brand name is "Wrangler".

Wrangler is introduced
It was not until 1947 that they knew what to do with the name Wrangler but eventually the used it for their newly designed Western Wear product line. To push into the Rodeo and Western wear market they hired a star designer and tailor of this particular scene, Rodeo Ben. To build the brand and connect the name with durability and quality the company convinced celebrity rodeo stars like Jim Shoulders, Bill Linderman and Freckles Brown to wear and test the fabric - named 13MWZ -. After the Rodeo Championships in 1949 the success of "Wrangler" was programmed. The Wrangler jeans became clearly the number 1 among all outfitters of the Western Wear Scene.
In 1974 the Wrangler Jeans became 'Official Jeans of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association'.

Going overseas
In 1962 the company states overseas interest and established a first factory in Belgium, Europe. In 1963 the "Newsweek magazine" coined the expression 'Teenager' and shows the cover girl of their magazine issue in a Wrangler Jeans. During the following years, especially during the 70's the Wrangler Jeans reaches cult status among Teenagers and Twens.

Blue Bell's future
The 80's bring changes to Blue Bell. The company still expanded and bought the swim wear manufacturer 'Jantzen' and eventually merges with the VF Corporation of Pennsylvania in 1986.
VF is one of the two leading jeans manufacturers in the world and holds a market share of approximately 25%. In 1996 every fifth sold jeans in the world is a Wrangler. In 1997 the Brand 'Wrangler" had its 50th anniversary - 100 years after C.C. Hudson went to Greensboro, NC.

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Document Information
Source: magazineUSA.com; VF Corp.
Last modified: 20050116
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