Converse Rubber Shoe Company (Signed by Marquis Mill Converse)

Converse Rubber Shoe Company (Signed by Marquis Mill Converse)
Item# 4659

In 1908, Marquis Mill Converse (who has signed this piece as the company President), 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. 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 wasn't 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 1923 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"), basketball's first all black pro basketball team.

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Converse shifted production to manufacturing footwear, apparel, boots, parkas, rubber protective suits, and ponchos for pilots and troops. Widely popular during the 1950s and 1960s, Converse promoted a distinctly American image with its Converse Yearbook. Artist Charles Kerins created cover art that celebrated Converse's role in the lives of High School and College athletes, as the essential sports shoe. In the 1970's, Converse purchased the trademark rights to Jack Purcell sneakers from B.F. Goodrich.

Converse lost much of its apparent near-monopoly from the 1970s onward, with the surge of new competitors, including Puma and Adidas, then Nike, then a decade later Reebok, who introduced radical new designs to the market. Converse found themselves no longer the official shoe of the National Basketball Association, a title they had relished for many years.

The loss of market share, combined with poor business decisions, forced Converse to file for bankruptcy on January 22, 2001. Footwear Acquisitions led by Mardsen Cason and Bill Simon purchased the brand from bankruptcy in April, 2001 and added industry partners Jack Boys, Jim Stroesser, Lisa Kempa and David Maddocks to lead the turnaround of America's Original Sports Company. The new team drove Converse from the 16th largest footwear company to number 7 in three years which led to a buyout by Nike Inc. for $305 million, qualifying as the merger and acquisition of the year in 2003.

NBA players who wear (or have worn) Converse include Kirk Hinrich, Kyle Korver, Alando Tucker, Maurice Evans, Acie Law, Udonis Haslem, and Elton Brand.

Probably the most famous product the company has ever produced is the afeorementioned Chuck Taylor All Star shoe. It garnered a number of nicknames over the years, such as: "Cons", "Connies", "Convics", "Convos", "Verses", "Chuckers", "Chucks", "Converse", "Chuckies", "Chuckie Ts", or "Chucker Boots" or "Chuck Taylors" for the higher styles. For decades the Chuck Taylor All Star basketball shoe only came in black, with a white variant released in 1947. Under pressure from basketball teams Converse decided in 1966 to manufacture other colors. Different materials also began to be used, starting in the 1970s, including leather, suede and vinyl, and even hemp, rather than just canvas. Besides high-tops, low-cuts and later knee-high versions were produced. After Converse was bought by Nike, operations were moved from the United States to overseas, although the design has had few alterations. The fabric is no longer 2-ply cotton canvas but 1-ply "textile" and many wearers have noticed different patterns of wear. Types include neon, clear plastic, words, etc. and remains popular for children and adults all over.

Certificate: Preferred Stock Certificate, issued in the 1920's

Printer: Geo. H. Ellis Company, Boston

Dimensions: 8 3/4 (h) x 10 3/4 (w)

State: MA-Massachusetts

Subject Matter: Famous Companies | Sports and Entertainment | Clothing and Accessories | Shoe Companies | Autographed Pieces

Vignette Topic(s): None

Condition: Vertical fold lines, no cancels, and some toning and edge faults from age.

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