Simpson's Gloves Collection




The Simpson's Gloves Collection comprises over 1200 items acquired in 1989 from the factory and head office of Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd at 488-496 Victoria Street, Richmond. A few additional items were acquired in 1993.

Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd was formed in 1924 and produced leather gloves and coats, handbags, helmets and associated leather goods. The company first operated in Smith Street, and subsequently Alexandra Parade, Collingwood, relocating to Victoria Street, Richmond in 1928. Simpson's Gloves initially manufactured leather jackets, coats and gloves of a high quality, particularly for an up-market local clientele in Victoria and interstate. Leather handbags were introduced as a new production line in 1930, which eventually became the largest part of the business. The company also manufactured wallets, purses, sporting accessories, industrial gloves, caps and helmets. During World War II, the company concentrated on wartime production of jackets, gloves and helmets for the military services, including the United States Air Force. It continued to make dress gloves for the military academy at Duntroon into the 1970s. By the late 1970s the company was primarily manufacturing industrial and safety gloves. Due to tariff protection, Simpson's Gloves did not face major overseas competition. Products were sold through agents in all states as well as by commercial travellers, who worked on a 10% commission. A showroom at the factory displayed the products, and the company also employed two salesmen. Handbags were exported to South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. The company's fortunes shrank with the reduction in tariff protection in the 1970s and 1980s. The company's history is a typical case study of local leather goods manufacturing in Melbourne from the 1920s to the 1980s. The collection consists of machinery, tools of trade, workbenches and furniture, product samples, trade literature, photographs and signs. It also includes interviews with former managers and workers: Arthur Atkins (1989), Ernie Jordan (1989), Nell Marks (1989), Hazel Eddy ; Gwen Simons (1990). The University of Melbourne Archives holds business records relating to the company, including ledgers, journals, wages books, time books and catalogues.

Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre


1924-1989; Advertising; Clothing accessories; Glovemaking; Great Depression, 1929-1939; Leather Industry; Leather Products; Leatherworking; Manufacturing; Occupational health & safety; Protective clothing; Protective Clothing & Safety Wear; Sewing Machines; Smoking Accessories; Tools; Trade unions; Trades; Working life; World War II, 1939-1945

Coverage Spatial

Richmond, Victoria, Australia; Collingwood, Victoria, Australia

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