One of the Last American Baseball-Glove Makers is In This Small Town in Texas
This Southern company has been producing high-quality mitts since the 1930s.
Football may be Southerners’ passion, but baseball is still America’s pastime. Many kids remember their first baseball mitt and summer nights spent tossing the ball with friends or parents. Like many goods that are now mass-produced, most baseball gloves are no longer made in the United States. But one of the few American-Made manufacturers left is Texas-based Nokona.
Founded in 1934 in a small town about 100 miles outside of Dallas, Nokona started out making leather wallets and purses, but soon got into the business of baseball gloves once persuaded by a former Rice University player. The company has been individually making each glove it produces with the same craftsmanship ever since.
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Making each glove requires 40 thorough steps and can take 4 hours to complete. That does equate to a higher price tag than the mitt you could buy at your local big box store, but the quality is going to far exceed anything that comes wrapped in plastic. And buying a Nokona glove means you’re supporting a local Texas company and its employees.
There are about 35 people in the company’s headquarters and manufacturing center in the town of Nocona (yes, just one letter off from the brand’s name; when the company applied for its trademark in the 1930s, it was told it couldn’t trademark the name of a city), producing around 40,000 gloves a year—from simple gloves for kids to custom ones used by the pros. When asked why he hasn’t given in and moved manufacturing overseas to lower costs, Nokona’s vice president Rob Storey told Bloomberg: “Because I’m crazy. This is all I know how to do.”