1897: Twenty-year-old C.C. Hudson leaves Spring Hill Farm in
Williamson County, Tennessee, and makes his way to Greensboro, North
Carolina, seeking his fortune in the emerging textile industry. He finds
work in a factory making overalls, where he earns 25 cents a day sewing
1904; Hudson's workplace closes. He and a few others buy several of
the sewing machines, lease space above a downtown grocery store and
incorporate as the Hudson Overall Company.
1919: The business builds its first factory on South Elm Street in
Greensboro and changes its name to Blue Bell Overall Company. Legend has
it that a group of railroad workers who bought overalls at the Hudson
store gave C.C. Hudson a bell, and after spending time in the factory,
the bell — like everything else — became covered in blue denim dust,
hence "Blue Bell."
1936: Blue Bell launches Super Big Ben Overalls made out of 100%
Sanforized Fabric that reduces shrinkage after washing to less than 1%.
This sets a new standard for the industry.
1943: Blue Bell acquires the Casey Jones Work-Clothes Company and the
rights to a rarely used Casey Jones brand name: Wrangler.
1946: Blue Bell starts to develop a jeans line for cowboys, hiring
famous tailor Rodeo Ben. Blue Bell workers take part in a contest to
give the jeans a brand name. The winning name is Wrangler, synonymous
with the name for a working cowboy.
1947: After designing and testing 13 pairs of prototype jeans, Blue
Bell introduces the Wrangler 11MWZ to American consumers. The Wrangler
Jeans featured several innovations aimed particularly at cowboys: Felled
outseams and inseams, rear pockets positioned for comfort in the saddle,
'no scratch' rivet pocket reinforcement, a zipper fly, and use of a
strong tack in the crotch instead of a metal rivet. A promotional
campaign is launched featuring 11MWZ test riders and rodeo legends
Freckles Brown, Bill Linderman, and Jim Shoulders.
1952: Lot number 11MWZ is renamed 13MWZ to conform to the 13 oz. per
yard denim weight being used to manufacture the style.
1962: Blue Bell opens a factory in Belgium and the Wrangler brand
name enjoys a successful launch in Europe.
1973: Wrangler jeans become an icon of youth culture, synonymous with
teenagers the world over.
1974: The Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association of America (PRCA) officially
endorses Wrangler Jeans.
1983: Wrangler sponsor European Football champions Nottingham Forest
1986: Blue Bell merges with the VF Corporation of Pennsylvania,
preparing the ground for the global success of the Wrangler brand.
1996: One of every five pairs of jeans sold in America is a Wrangler.
1997: The 50th anniversary of the 13MWZ. A Special Collectors Edition
of the 13MWZ is created to celebrate this event.
2000: "Whatever You Ride" television ad campaign is launched,
focusing on core brand values.
2001: Wrangler commences making its jeans in Mexico.
2002: "There's a bit of the West in all of us" TV and print ad
campaign is launched, staying true to Wrangler's unique heritage while
shifting it to a modern European setting.
2004: A new Wrangler European print campaign is launched, "Wanted,"
representing a powerful modern expression of Wrangler's roots. Wrangler
also celebrates 100 years of manufacturing quality denim by producing
Blue Bell by Wrangler, a limited edition collection that reproduces the
first Wrangler jeans right down to the last detail and is only available
at selected premium stores. Wrangler also reworks the mainstream
collection, producing new fits using icons inspired by the very first
jeans designed by Rodeo Ben. The Wrangler brand is now recognized in 22
2005: Wrangler's last U.S. sewing plant is closed.
2011: Wrangler conducts consumer design competition to find the next
thing in jeans. The winner, Song Anh Nguyen of Greensboro, had her
design produced by Wrangler and made available for sale.
The list of accomplishments goes on and on.