History of: New Era – Gatsby to 59Fifty
Family owned for over four generations, Ehrhardt Koch the companies founder was one of the great pioneers of mens fashion creating and revolutionising the mens casual hat creating the New Era company known internationally for its quality and style.
1920 – 1940
Starting in 1920 after 18 years of service for the John Miller Cap Company, Ehrhardt Koch saw an oppertunity to take his skills to the next level, borrowing $1000 to start the E Koch Cap Company under the name New Era Cap Company they began sales in 1920 selling around 60,000 Gatsby Caps per year.
1932 was the year the company set itself on the road to true worldwide fame, with Ehrhardt’s only child Harold entering the business he saw the demand for the fashion cap fade, and with baseball quickly becoming the national sport he set himself up to capitalise on it, by producing the worlds first ‘Baseball cap, and the first professional grade cap for the Cleveland Indians uniforms in 1934.
With WW2 on the horizon fabric became scarce with this worsening throughout the war years, during this time the Kochs were resourceful, acquiring uncoloured fabric through several different means and colouring the fabric at home in the washing machine, the elastic adjustable cap made its debut in the 1940s.
win the 50s New Era were the only independent make supplying big league baseball teams, with its clientele including the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and Detroit tigers, this was the decade sadly that the genius that founded the company passed at the age of 68, with his ingenuity and originality living on through the brands iconic head wear, in 1954 Harold created the first 59FIFTY
nDuring the 60s New Era founded its first manufacturing facility in Derby New York, this location became the first and sole producer of the iconic 59fifty cap in 61 the company attended the Winter Baseball Meetings for the first time, being the first time the company supplied Major and Minor baseball teams the company converted motel rooms into small showrooms to promote their line of head wear.
Elected CEO of New Era in 1972 and his son the President (David Koche) the company saw rapid growth through the decade signing many major and minor professional teams totalling 20 out of the 24 teams that made up the Major league baseball association
With the 1980s becoming the decade of growth for the company, the firm introduced a wide range of new products including tennis and golf head wear the death of Harold lead to David being the sole owner commuting the company to protecting its history of innovation and quality.
In 1996 a major deal was signed that shaped the future and ensured the legacy of the company, signing as the Major league baseball this was its first brush with fame outside the sport scene, with a special request from Spike Lee for a custom red New York Yankees cap Lee went on to direct their first commercial in 1997
Globalisation of the Brand began in the early 00s with company opening stores in Europe, Japan and Australia within 2 years, thin 2006 David passed away and the company relocated it’s head office to Buffalo New York, where it all started in 1920.
After 10 years the National Football League and New Era once again partnered with them in a game changing moment that saw the company become the exclusive on field head wear, since then the brand has reinforced its reputation for quality, style and innovation .