The company was established first as Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania in October of 1899 by John Barbey and a group of investors. The company was started with only $11,000 and a 320 square foot factory that was leased for $60/month. It was incorporated in Pennsylvania on December 4 of that same year.
In 1912, H.D. Lee Mercantile Company (now Lee Jeans) opens their first apparel plant in Kansas City, Kansas, in order to meet a high demand for work clothing.
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