BLAUER COMPANY HISTORY

Blauer Company History

1936 – Blauer Mfg. Co. Inc.  - The Beginning

Blauer Manufacturing was founded in 1936 by Louis Blauer as a contract sewing company garments for department stores in the Boston area. The early products included exclusive dress raincoats, jackets and sport coats. As the business grew, so did the factory in Lechmere square area of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The workforce in the original factory was diverse. The first and second generation Blauer family, including Louis and his son Aaron worked alongside employees from Portugal, Poland and Greece to create high quality functional apparel.

1950-1970 – The Development of the Blauer Brand

In 1950, Maurice completed Graduate School and returned to Blauer to become a Sales Manager. Upon Maurice’s return to the business Blauer began to develop its own label and garments. With frequent sales trips to New York City the Blauer brand line of civilian rainwear was expanded reaching department stores across the country.

While Blauer was working with department stores, Maurice was also serving as a Reserve Army Officer in the Supply Division. Through this position, Maurice spent time developing a lightweight, military raincoat – taupe in color, double-breasted, and made with lightweight nylon coated with a Butadiene synthetic rubber compound. The raincoat was utilized by military personnel across the country including the Commanding General of the 26 th National Guard Division of Massachusetts who also served as the Head of the Massachusetts State Police. When he found out that the rain coat was made in Massachusetts, he visited the factory in Cambridge and asked if the coat could be made in navy blue for the State Police. After some revisions, including removal of the original belt and extension of the pocket welt from 6 inches to 10 inches to properly access a weapon, we made our first garment for law enforcement – a navy blue rain coat for the Massachusetts State style number 732. 

Charles Blauer, the youngest son of Louis, joined the company in 1958.   Demand for the new lightweight waterproof raincoats continued to grow and the US Military adopted the technology for the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force.   In order to keep up with demand in 1965, the company opened a second factory, LB Manufacturing Company in Missouri, that still operates today producing chemical and biological protective gear.

After the creation of our first law enforcement raincoat, experimenting with fluorescent orange that were being used for down-sea survival suits. Blauer created the first hi-vis orange police raincoat with a detachable cape that went over the coat waterproofed with liquid hand glued seams, called the 633V. The coat was adopted by the New York State Police and the Connecticut State Police for their troopers to keep officers visible in low-light conditions. This garment slowly evolved into the classic Blauer reversible raincoat, the 733, made with a black and orange side to adapt to different occasions that an officer may need a functional outerwear garment.   There was even a 631MT version for mounted police units who patrolled large cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia on horseback. Blauer extended the use of Fluorescent orange nylon fabrics into a line of lifeguard bathing suits and jackets.  A lifeguard could now be spotted easily on a crowded beach or pool. Blauer developed the first waterproof insulated with quilted foam winter coat the style 375 reefer which was designed to replace the old heavy woolen coats.  The 375 featured glued and strapped waterproof shoulder seams and cut through pockets for easy access to the equipment belt and sidearm.         

1970-2000 – A New Generation and Increased Focus on Public Safety

The company began producing police jackets Balmacaan style military raincoats and lightweight military jackets out of Dacron(polyester) and cotton.   Blauer developed a new line of  public safety outwear with features creating a waist-length jacket with an elastic waistband, zip-out liner, belt hooks, and detachable pile collar.  The initial styles were the 270,265, 255 and 258.  The 265 was made from military flight satin.  A major innovation was Blauer’s development of Tufnly fabric.  The fabric as used on car convertible tops was a Antron nylon/rayon blend very strong and durable with a shiny slick surface and a skim coating of urethane on the inside.  The strength, light weight and durability were unsurpassed.  Agencies across the country replaced their heavy leather non water and wind resistant jackets with the famous Blauer 255 Tac Jacket.

With demand steadily increasing the Charles opened two more factories CAM Corp in Alabama and Rosewood in Mississippi.  In 1976, Michael Blauer (Charles’s eldest son)  joined Blauer and gradually assumed  responsibility for production.  The company was slowly transitioning away from supplying the Armed Forces (due to military forces downsizing) to focus exclusively on the public safety market.  The company continued to add new innovative products to the line.

In 1979 Blauer introduced the first Kevlar bullet proof vest with an 100% cotton carrier and 360 degree coverage.  The body armor was quickly adopted by agencies and Blauer patented the first body armor vest that could be worn as a liner zipped into a Blauer Duty jacket.  In 1981 the cost of liability insurance zoomed and with limited availability Blauer exited the body armor business. 

Blauer’s product line grew including men’s and women’s options in multiple lengths and fabrics. In the mid 1980’s, Blauer created a new line of lightweight rainwear made with TECH-LITE material which was a revolutionary urethane coated nylon  waterproof fabric. The urethane coating was lighter and more durable than the Butadiene.   Blauer was the first company to use ultrasonic seam sealing equipment to apply the first tapes to urethane coatings eliminating the need to hand glue.  In 1988, Blauer introduced public safety outerwear garments with lighter fabrics and a Gore-Tex® waterproof breathable membrane.  Gore-Tex fabrics were the first waterproof and breathable membranes setting a new milestone of innovation again with taped seams using hot air machines an improvement over the sonic equipment. 

By the mid 1980’s Blauer was being acknowledged as the premier public safety outerwear uniform company.  In 1985, Stephen joined the family business, initially involved with sales.  Shortly thereafter Maurice retired and Charles assumed 100% leadership.   In the early 1990’s Blauer extended their offerings to include trousers and shirts.  Michael opened three more factories - Claireson in Arkansas producing Trousers, SWM in Mississippi producing shirts, and in 1999 Operadora Ganso Azul located in Mexico to produce trousers and shirts.   Utilizing team sewing concepts the facilities were early adopters of TQM, statistical quality control and just-in-time manufacturing. 

In the 1990’s following the success of Blauer’s florescent orange high visibility raincoats like the industry standard Style 733 reversible, the company introduced the first flourescent yellow raincoats. Studies had found that Yellow is less prevalent than Orange in the environment.  Today, led by Blauer, Flourescent Yellow rainwear, knit shirts, jackets and safety vests are industry standards.

2000s – Expansion and Technological Advancement

Following the turn of the 21st century, Blauer began further innovating manufacturing practices and product development including diverting production offshore to lower costs and remain competitive in a shrinking world.   SWM Company was transformed into the flagship customization and distribution center, with the Rosewood building serving as an ancillary warehouse.

In 2000, Blauer signed an exclusive partnership with FGF, a fashion house in Italy, licensing them to use the Blauer authentic designs for fashion garments in Europe. Blauer’s Canadian licensee, Martin and Levesque, has been building the Blauer uniform brand in Canada for over 10 years.

In 2008, Blauer initiated their Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear/Hazardous Materials Personal Protective Equipment (CBRN/HAZMAT PPE) market with the launch of three protective ensembles made with a revolutionary fabric technology CHEMPAK, from W.L. Gore & Associates. Blauer’s commercialization of Gore’s CHEMPAK fabrics propelled it to a leading position in in the marketplace.  The segment targets U.S. Public safety and UASI regions as well as the Defense Department’s CBRN Response Enterprise (CRE). Blauer has been awarded multiple R&D grants from the federal government’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office - Technical Support Working Group (CTTSO-TSWG). The products are 100% made in USA and are the most advanced technology in the world commercially available.  The CRBN/HAZMAT program continues to grow, with constant progression and technological advancement.  LB Mfg. Co. in Missouri was revamped to produce the 100% USA made Haz/Mat suits.

In 2009 Stephen’s daughter Alexandra, representing the fourth generation of the Blauer family, joined Blauer as the Director of Marketing.  Ali is expanding Blauer’s presence through digital marketing, social media and online ordering.

In May of 2011 Blauer received a serious setback. The SWM distribution center was struck in the late evening by a devastating Tornado.  The entire building was taken down to the concrete floor.   The entire operation was moved 50 miles and was up and running within one week.   After a rebuild and expansion, the company moved back into SWM.  In 2016 Blauer opened another warehouse in Mississippi – CCB – to hold additional inventory.

 

2016 – 80 Years of Innovation

In 2016, Blauer celebrated 80 years in business with four generations of family leadership. Charles currently serves as the Chairman, with four of his six children and a granddaughter working in the company. Michael Blauer is President, and Stephen Blauer serves as a Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Bill Blauer is the National Sales Manager, and Sharyn Proia is the Director of Sales Support Services.  

Blauer legacy continues today producing high quality products utilizing many of the very same quality techniques as Louis Blauer used in 1936. We continue to listen to the needs and wants of law enforcement professionals and look for new opportunities to create innovative products – from uniforms to outerwear, boots, and accessory products. Technologically, our apparel, outerwear, and footwear are the acknowledged leader in the industry.  Since 1990, Blauer has been awarded more than a dozen US patents for garment innovation and design. We improved production practices, adding team-manufacturing systems, and also became certified to the international quality standard ISO 9000. We were the first uniform company to be certified to NFPA 1999, 1997 edition standards for outerwear with CROSSTECH fabric and were the first uniform company to utilize GORE-TEX and GORE WINDSTOPPER materials for public safety use. Blauer is the first apparel manufacturer in Mexico to achieve ISO certification.   Blauer has expanded its personnel, manufacturing facilities, and presence into a worldwide organization ready to embrace the challenges of the new millennium.

Throughout our 80-year history, Blauer employees and law enforcement agencies across the country continue to evolve the company from a sewing contractor to a prominent leader  in the uniform industry. Blauer garments are worn by the most prestigious public safety agencies in the US and Canada, including the US Secret Service (White House), US Capitol Police, NYPD, LAPD, Baltimore Police, Chicago Police, DC Police, Philadelphia Police departments, California Highway Patrol, Boston Police Department, and many more across North America.

Over 80 years, the Blauer name has been first in innovation, protection, comfort, style and efficiency. Today, the Blauer’s continue this family commitment to quality with pride and personal involvement in meeting your specific needs. We wish to thank all the personnel the men and women in public safety and military communities for your continued support of our products. 

 

Blauer's major contributions to the concept of functionalism in features and styling include:

 

Pre-1990

• TECHLlTE® a new line of lightweight, breathable rainwear specially coated with tough, protective urethane for unbeatable waterproofed protection.

• The only windbreakers -- reversible and standard -- that feature two pleated patch pockets, two lower slash pockets and shoulder pads for a dressier look.

• The first lightweight uniform raincoats for police departments.

• The first high-visibility fluorescent orange raincoat to make traffic work safer.

• The first reversible police raincoat with one side in fluorescent orange.

• The first lightweight dress reefer coat that made heavy woolen coats a thing of the past.

• The first soft body armor (MagShieldTM .357) capable of stopping bullets fired from a Magnum .357 or 9 mm handgun and offering variable protective thicknesses to meet every requirement.

• The first under-the-shirt soft body armor (the MagShield Under-Cover VestTM), also offering variable protective thicknesses and other unique comfort features.

• Innovative UltraTech seams, which set a new standard for waterproof protection.

Blauer was also first with these revolutionary features that made uniform rainwear more functional, more comfortable and more fashionable.

• Detachable pile collars

• Removable zip-in linings

• Belt Hooks to prevent jackets from riding up

• Exclusive Bi-Swing Back that automatically snaps back to its original shape for more comfort.

 

Years 1990 -2017

•Patented printed breathable back coating 

• Developed StreetGear the first rough duty uniform for police

• 6 Pocket trousers styles into police

• High contrast reflective striping for safety vests and ANSI garments

• Break away safety vests for public safety

• Reversible single ply featherweight rainwear

• Introduced Gore-tex to public safety

• Certified Crosstech blood borne pathogen protective garments

• Certified Chempack CBRN protective garments 

• Patented Armorskin vest cover system

• Suspension system for duty belts

• Modular outerwear styles and fleece soft shells

• Laminated fleece lined Commando sweaters

• Cotton lycra base layers

• Mechanical stretch uniforms

• Non-picking polo shirts for uniform wear 

• Supershirt with stretch lycra panels

• Four way stretch uniform pants

• Reinvented the patrol duty bag for police

• Patented BOA quick release footwear 

• Stretch keeper belts for police

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