1908-1918: In the beginning
In 1908 a young man named Marquis Mills Converse opens his own rubber manufacturing company. The company is called Converse Rubber Shoe Company. His company was initially based in Malden, Massachusetts. In the early days Converse did not make the traditional sneakers that they sell today. Originally they made a wide assortment of generic footwear for both men and women such as dress shoes, work shoes, and winterized shoes. Wasn’t uncommon for footwear manufactures early in the 20th century. Around this time shoes were just a necessity, people usually bought shoes for practical reasons and not for looks. Converse was a follower and not really an innovator at this time. Their shoes were stored in wooden crates to be delivered to their respective dealers to be sold to the public. One of their first mottos was “Look for the big C.” Their first logo was a capital C with an x within the C itself. At some point Converse expanded by making tires and sporting footwear such as tennis. In 1917 the Converse All Star was introduced as the company decided to expand into basketball. The All Star was a precursor to the Chuck Taylor All Star and it was marketed as a performance shoe for basketball athletes. The first ten years of Converse were quite hazy, but the most important thing to happen to Converse was their creation of the Converse All Star.
The Converse factory based in Malden, Massachusetts. Wooden crates stored Converse’s various shoes that they produced for stores. Production hit a milestone of making 4,000 shoes a day.
Look for the Big C.
A vintage ad for Converse’s line of tires.
Converse All Star circa 1917.