In 1777 John Dent established a company manufacturing fine leather gloves in Worcester. Since then the company has been synonymous with quality leather gloves and accessories.
Worcester’s gloving industry was at its peak between 1790 and 1820 when 150 manufacturers of gloves employed over 30,000 people in and around Worcester. At this time, nearly half of all glovers in Britain were based in and around Worcester. Trade was strictly regulated by the government to protect home industries from foreign competition by placing large taxes on goods. Under this system the Worcester glove industry prospered greatly.
Dent & Co. continued to grow under the guidance of Dent’s two sons, John and William.
In 1801 Jeremiah Macklin Allcroft became apprenticed to John Dent and by 1822 he had become a partner in the firm. By 1833 the company was employing 133 craftsmen at its factories in Worcester and London.
From its earliest days the company was an active exporter, successfully selling to the finest shops in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
In 1855 the business became known as Dent, Allcroft & Co. By this time Jeremiah and the Dent brothers had retired, and Jeremiah’s son, John Derby Allcroft, was running the company.
During the 19th Century the government encouraged free trade, eventually lifting taxes on foreign gloves in 1826. This happened at a time when French gloves had increased in popularity and caused a huge reduction in trade, which led to mass unemployment in Worcester . While many of the smaller businesses did not survive this period, Dents survived by reorganising its workforce, introducing a factory system and improving the overall quality of its products. The company went on to become a leading glove manufacturer in Europe.
Today, Dents continue to sell gloves as well as a number of fashion accessories such as scarves, hats, bags, umbrellas, raincoats and handkerchiefs.
Dents were one of the first companies to begin commercial overprinting, starting with the 1d Draft stamp. There are at least 4 overprint types on the 1d lilac (SG 172).