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June 2, 2021

Inside a German Boxing Glove Factory From the 1930s

These vintage photographs captured inside the WEHA sporting good factory from the second half of the 1930s.

The company, focusing initially on fencing equipment, was founded in 1907 by German master saddler Wilhelm Heinrich, hence the name “WEHA.” It was based in Berlin. After World War I, the company began to create more sporting equipment - in particular for boxing.

In Germany, boxing had been banned until 1919. With no previous market, there were no other German companies making boxing equipment. Thus, WEHA became the first German company to manufacture boxing gloves.

WEHA boxing gloves soon grew in popularity, worn by amateurs and professionals alike. They were used in many national and world championships. German champion boxer Max Schmeling was among those using WEHA boxing gloves.

In addition to boxing equipment, WEHA produced sporting goods for land and roller skate hockey, ice hockey, fencing, rugby and jiu jitsu.

In 1936, WEHA won a contract to supply equipment to the 1936 Olympic Games being held in Berlin. Organised by Nazi Germany, these games were controversial due to being used as a propaganda tool by Adolf Hitler.

They supplied boxing equipment, as well as items for hockey. India’s hockey team were the champions of the 1936 Olympics, declaring WEHA’s equipment to be the best in the world.

(Photos: Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum, via Europeana)


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