Red Kap History
Established 1923 by Harlin Brothers & Williams with bib overalls.
1927 – 1929: Name changes to Red Kap, inspired by the Red Cap Smoking Tobacco.
1929: Red Kap Overalls Sell for $11.75 each – only $6 less than in 2003
1930: First manufacturing facility opens, Red Kap work shirts sell for 49 and 69 cents.
1931: Founding partner Claude Williams becomes Red Kap’s first president.
1932: A heavier winter line of cotton suede shirts are added to Red Kap’s popular basic line.
1933: Second manufacturing plant opens, producing dress shirts, in Clarksville, TN. After 10 years of business, Red Kap headquarters move to Nashville’s newest skyscraper.
1937: Red Kap’s core business is men’s and boy’s fashion for mail order and retail markets. Red Kap increases capacity while other companies cut back.
1939: Company name changes to Red Kap Garment Company
The United States Needs Unforms: Red Kap Answers the Call
1940: Red Kap answers the call for shirts, pants, field jackets and more for the US army and navy.
1941: Elkton, KY plant opens to produce gas mask carriers
1947: Red Kap first enters into rental laundry market. Company develops first laundry-friendly industrial pant
1950: Red Kap leaves retail market to focus exclusively on rental industry.
1960: Company’s first testing laboratory established
1963: Red Kap goes public with name change to Red Kap, Inc. Introduce the first laundry-friendly, durable press garments. RK launches coverall and shop coat after acquiring Covco Garment Co.
1964: Red Kap expands to markets, manufacturing, distribution and technology. White twill “zipper fly” pants replace button fly versions. Instructions included on how to use the zipper.
1965: RK’s 65% Poly 35% Cotton blends becomes the industry standard.
1966: Frank Evans becomes RK’s third president, and Jack Wyatt, RK’s second president, becomes Chairman of the board.
1970-71: RK builds new hq and central distribution center in Nashville, TN.
Computerized Distribution Revolutionizes Red Kap Delivery
1971: Computerized distribution and operating systems redefine the concept of “Fast Service.”
1973: RK meets $50 million in sales for 50th Anniversary.
1975: RK enters the women’s uniform business. RK is the first to commercialize ammonia cure process for FR cotton.
1976: Red-E-Service concept is introduced with opening of “make-up” center.
1982: Construction begins on the ROCK, the heart of the industry’s largest distribution network.
1986: RK introduces the industry’s first industrial laundry-friendly knit shirt.
1996: RK acquires Bulwark, solidifying a leadership position in FR apparel.
1999: In a single year, RK adds more products to their line than in the past 25 years.
2001: VF Workwear carries on the legacy of innovation with the introduction of Horizon Technologies.
2013: RK celebrates 90 years of quality workwear
2014: RK releases first ever Performance Shop Pant and Shorts made specifically for the automotive industry with one-of-a-kind features.