At Hood Rubber Company, Circa 1905

click to enlarge

Back in the winter I wrote about Hood Rubber. The company made all sorts of products that incorporated rubber, but the most interesting to me were the canvas and rubber leisure shoes.  After making the post, my friend Lynn of AmericanAgeFashion wrote to remind me that she had also written about the company because she had a wonderful old photo that showed some workers in one of the Hood factories. When I met Lynn in Charlotte a few weeks ago, she gave the photo to me to add to my archive.

The only person identified in the photo is the older woman who is standing between two men. She was identified as Grandmother King. In another pen was added “Hood Rubber Watertown”, and in pencil someone wrote “c 1910”. These identifications were added much later, as the pens used were ballpoints, which did not come into common use until the 1940s. My point is that the circa 1910 seems to be a bit off, as I’d put this at least five years earlier.

My guess is this is a cutting room. At the time, athletic shoes were either black or white, and that’s what we can see in the bolts stacked behind the workers. Even though this area has electric lights, the factory still makes use of the natural light by placing the work tables near the windows. And look carefully at the tables. They appear to be spread with the canvas, and you can see the bolts on the floor on the backs of the tables.

Old industrial photos of this sort provide a lot of information about everything from the types of clothing workers wore to the way factories were set up. They are hard to find, so I’m really happy to have this one and to add it to my records. Thanks Lynn!

10 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Made in the USA, manufacturing, Shoes, Vintage Photographs

10 responses to “At Hood Rubber Company, Circa 1905

  1. So the men appear dressed for hot weather while those poor women have to wear high necked, long sleeved blouses and voluminous skirts. I hope they weren’t wearing corsets too.

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  2. You are welcome! And I see I should have discussed the date with you first before believing the added date on the back.

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  3. Sarah Correia

    Love this. It’s Watertown, Massachusetts, where I grew up. By the time I came along Hood was BF Goodrich and our sneakers came from there. In the 70’s they left and went south as most manufacturing here did. Great to see it. Thank you!

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  4. Bob Duncan

    My wife’s grandfather, Joseph Basile worked there as a cutter. He came to the US in 1906 from Italy. His entire work history was rubber. I estimate he worked there for about 40 years.

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  5. Christina

    I think 1910 would be accurtae for identifying the factory employees clothing in the photos. The women may also be wearing protective skirt/aprons.

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  6. Christina

    Unlike my spelling which wasn’t accurate!

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