History: 120 Years of American Made Jeans and Overalls
Above: Downtown railroad hub Shawnee, OK at the turn of the 20th century.
Above: Santa Fe Depot, Shawnee, OK at the turn of the 20th century.
1803 :: The Louisiana Purchase forges America's westward expansion.
1891 :: The legacy of the first century is one of change. Towns, farms and homesteads rose from forests, prairies, land runs and Indian territories. Among them was the settlement of Shawnee, OK. Founded along the banks of the Northern Canadian River, Shawnee was an ideal settling point on the route to the West.
1895 :: Booming railroad route enters and transforms the town of Shawnee into a bustling transport freight/cattle hub between the east and midwest territories.
1903 THE BEGINNING OF ROUND HOUSE
Above: Original Round House factory building in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1903.
The year was 1903. The Spanish-American War recently ended and Teddy Roosevelt was president. The Wright brothers would be making their flights at Kitty Hawk before the year was out and Henry Ford was designing his first automobile.
The average American worker labored 10 hours a day, six days a week for $12 per week.
Oklahoma was still Indian Territory, 4 years before statehood. Over 100 trains roared through the town of Shawnee each day as thousands of railroad workers built towards America's westward expansion.
ROUND HOUSE® workwear was born.
Named for the "round house" railroad repair station, ROUND HOUSE® brand jeans and overalls quickly became a favorite among rail workers, becoming known for their ruggedness and affordability.
Over 100 years later, Round House Mfg. is the oldest operating manufacturing company in Oklahoma, and still builds ROUND HOUSE® workwear according to the "Fit Best, Wear Longest" standard:
Tough. Affordable. MADE IN THE U.S.A.
THE LEGEND OF ROUND HOUSE
According to a 1910 article in the Shawnee Daily Herald about the earliest days of the town, ROUND HOUSE began when an itinerant tailor wandered into town one day with four sewing machines.
The mayor put him and his sewing machines to work making bib overalls.
Business took off... and so did the tailor, who ran away with his landlord's daughter, never to be heard from again.
Other men took over manufacturing operations, and the rest is history.
Above: Round House company picnic in 1908.
1909 :: The 320-324 East Main St. Shawnee, OK Round House factory employed 70 workers to produce a variety of denim products ranging from jackets, shirts, jeans, overalls, sacks, and aprons. Around this time, an average of 42 passenger trains and 65 freight trains passed through Shawnee daily.
John W. Walker - President
R.M. Harris - Vice-President
Alvin S. Nuckolls - Secretary
1910 :: Round House factory relocates to larger facility located at 113-117 N. Bell St. Shawnee, OK with double capacity. The thriving business remains the most well-known denim jeans and overalls brand in the region.
Above: Round House building, Downtown Shawnee, OK.
1912 :: Under the leadership of Alvin S. Nuckolls, business flourishes as Round House® brand builds a reputation for the finest, best-fitting, longest-wearing American made jeans and overalls in the United States.
Above: Round House workers in a pair of overalls.
1938 :: Shawnee Garment Mfg. Co. bought by J.J. & Gene Truscott. Factory man, J.J. Truscott worked for the company as general manager and was their star salesman for 25 years before purchasing the plant. Truscott took control from the Nuckolls family by converting some of his outside financial interests to become 75% owner. He continued as a corporation but in order to simplify operations the charter was surrendered January 1, 1940.
1942 :: In World War II Round House® makes khakis for the U.S. Army. Round House has a tradition of serving the military.
1950's :: Round House receives national notoriety for the design and production of the largest pair of bib overalls in the world -- size 80" prepared for the funeral of a Round House loyalist! (This foreshadows Round House in 2003 producing the Guinness World Record World's largest pair.)
1960's :: The "jeans boom" amongst youth and counter culture markets popularizes the denim market. Once a work fabric, denim becomes the casual wear item of choice by teenagers across America. Round House expands to 2 factories and international accounts begin. Germany, England, and France begin merchandizing Round House® brand American Made jeans, overalls, and workwear.
1964 :: Edward Antosh purchases Round House and becomes president. He will go on to increase Round House retail and private label accounts at retail chains such as CR Anthony's, Target, and over 400 independent stores throughout the southern and southwest regions. Round House® thrives as demand for denim products increase.
1968 :: Industry experiences technological breakthrough with the introduction of synthetic fabrics and permanent press. General belief held that these new methods of fabric construction would take over the industry. As a consequence, many denim manufacturers stop using denim. Round House shies away from these new avenues, deciding to stay true to its cotton/denim roots.
1978 :: Eldest son of Edward, Jim Antosh joins as a manager, having recently graduated from university with a Masters degree in Business Administration and industrial engineering from Oklahoma State University.
A denim surge hits the United States and revitalizes the market. The demand for denim exceeds supply and mills are unprepared to supply manufacturers with enough fabric.
Above: 1980s Round House Bib Overall outside flasher (label)
1980 :: Despite supply chain challenges, Round House responds to the growing demand for jeans, overalls and denim by youth, introducing many color hues, including pink and Hawaiian prints! Production increases to 12,000 pairs/month, 600 pairs/daily. Round House® overalls can be found in stores such as C.R. Anthony and Target, plus 400 independent stores in the Southwest, while national distribution reaches 30+ states, internationally.
The surge in demand prompts the restructuring of the factory, and the addition of 20 new workers, bringing the factory total to around 55, with over a dozen employees who have been on staff for more than 10 years. Round House maintains a legacy of worker loyalty; some, such as 77 year-old Mabel Lower (over 50 years at the factory), have worked there for decades.
1986 :: Jim Antosh becomes president of Round House.
Antosh succeeds in getting Round House® American Made jeans and denim workwear into JCPenney® and Texas department store chain Baskins®.
Above: Round House factory employees in 1992.
1995 :: Round House relocates to new modern plant (current location), modernizes while still maintaining the legacy of "Oklahoma's oldest continuously operating manufacturer".
1998 :: Round House® American Made jeans and overalls are sold in JCPenney®'s workwear catalog. Due to Round House®'s high standard of quality, it became one of the few vendors authorized to ship directly from the factory to the consumer.
Above: 30-40 year longtime Round House factory employees in 2002.
WORLD'S LARGEST OVERALLS :: Round House builds Guiness World Record® setting pair of enormous bib overalls. Read more here.
100th ANNIVERSARY: 2003 :: marks the 100th year anniversary of Round House® brand American Made workwear. Today, Round House® American Made Jeans, Overalls and Workwear remain icons and symbols of American quality and ability. In this special year, Round House celebrates both our own history as the makers of our nation's BEST FITTING, LONGEST WEARING jeans and workwear, as well as the men and women who have made America proud to wear the words "MADE IN THE USA."
Above: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin gives Round House Oklahoma's Exporter of the Year for 2011
2011 :: Round House American Made Jeans wins Oklahoma's Exporter of the Year Award. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin personally presents the award at an international trade conference in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Read more here.
111th ANNIVERSARY: 2014 :: Round House expands factory. New jobs! Read more here.
TODAY :: Round House is the largest manufacturer of American Made jeans and overalls. Round House is the oldest operating manufacturer in Oklahoma, selling almost 300,000 units of Round House® American Made jeans and overalls per year (25,000 pairs monthly/1,250 pairs per day), that's 12 million feet of thread a month. Round House Made in USA Jeans and overalls are available in numerous styles, cuts and colors including The Five Pocket Jean, The Carpenter Jean, The Raw Pure Denim Jean, The Cowboy Jean, The Brown Duck Double Front Dungaree Jean, The Carpenter Double Front Dungaree Jean, The Classic Blues Overall, The Stone Washed Blues Overall, The Vintage Engineer Overall, The Painter Overall, The Carpenter Overall, The Heavy Duty Duck Overall, and the Camouflage Overall.
Thanks to the hundreds of workers who have called the Round House Manufacturing Company their home throughout the years, the Round House® trademark remains an authentic and enduring symbol of superior workmanship and American spirit. Manufactured with the same good quality and high standards that were established decades ago, the Round House® brand means fine quality fabric, triple-stitched seams that hold, bar-tacked strain points, deep, reinforced pockets, proportioned fit, competitive prices, and quick turnaround.