Converse (shoe company)
Type: Subsidiary of Nike
Industry: sporting goods
Founded: 1908 in Malden, Massachusetts
Headquarters: North Andover, Massachusetts
Products: shoes, apparel
In his late 30s, Marquis Mill Converse, who was previously a respected manager at a footwear manufacturing firm, opened the Converse Rubber Shoe Company (completely unrelated to the Boston Rubber Shoe Company founded by fourth cousin Elisha Converse) in Malden, Massachusetts in 1908. The company was a rubber shoe manufacturer, providing winterized rubber soled footwear for men, women, and children. By 1910, Converse was producing 4,000 shoes daily, but it was not until 1915 that the company began manufacturing athletic shoes for tennis. The company’s main turning point came in 1917 when the Converse All-Star basketball shoe was introduced. Then in 1921, a basketball player named Charles H. “Chuck” Taylor walked into Converse complaining of sore feet. Converse gave him a job. He worked as a salesman and ambassador, promoting the shoes around the United States, and in 1930 his signature was added to the All Star patch. He tirelessly continued this work until shortly before his death in 1969. Converse also customized shoes for the New York Renaissance (the “Rens”), the first all-African American professional basketball team.