New Hampshire Baseball Quiz
QUESTION 4: Name two New Hampshire companies that gained national reputations for the manufacture of quality baseball equipment.
ANSWER: Draper-Maynard Company and B. H. Piper Company
Draper-Maynard Company, Plymouth, NH
The partnership of Jason F. Draper (1850-1913) and John Maynard (1846-1937) began in Ashland, NH, in 1881 with the production of buckskin gloves, an industry which was already well established in the Ashland-Plymouth area. Just one year later, the firm became a pioneer in the manufacture of baseball gloves when it produced a padded model at the suggestion of a baseball player. It is said to be the first company to design gloves for specific fielding positions.
Upon moving to a new factory in Plymouth in 1900, the Draper-Maynard Company became a major supplier of baseball equipment for both amateur and professional teams, and was also widely known for its other lines of sporting goods. A new trademark was soon adopted, depicting Maynard's bird dog, Nick (the "Lucky Dog").
Production of baseball equipment reached a peak in the 1920s, when the company claimed that over 90% of major league players used Draper-Maynard gloves. The firm supplied all types of baseball products, including uniforms. An increasing variety of sporting goods was offered in the 1930s, but the business closed in Plymouth in 1937 after the death of John Maynard, who had survived his partner by 24 years. In that same year, P. Goldsmith Sons Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, purchased the rights to produce sporting goods bearing the Draper-Maynard name and Lucky Dog trademark. Goldsmith stopped manufacturing Draper-Maynard products in 1962 when they merged with MacGregor Sporting Goods.
The D&M Company, Ltd., of Tokyo, Japan, which acquired rights to the D&M name in 1902 when they started importing Draper-Maynard products, continues to manufacture protective athletic equipment under that name. Because their records were lost during World War II, the company was not aware of its connection with Plymouth, New Hampshire, until they did research for their centennial celebration in 2001.
B.H. Piper Company, Manchester, NH
The Benjamin H. Piper Company was originally a manufacturer of ash axe handles and wheel spokes, but began producing baseball bats in great numbers around 1890. By 1891, Piper bats had gained a wide reputation for quality, and the company was making 60,000 per year, including several models used by major leaguers.