J.C. Higgins brand origin story:
From 1908 until 1962, Sears, Roebuck & Company sold a wide variety of sporting goods and recreational equipment, including bicycles, golf clubs, guns, fishing gear, baseballs, gloves and bats, boxing gear, and even a line of luggage under the brand name “J. C. Higgins.” These products were well made and were popular with the company’s historical core of rural and working-class consumers.
I find a fair number of J.C. Higgins irons while salvaging vintage golf clubs. I like the retro styling and sleek, “butter knife” design. I did some research because I hadn’t heard of a pro golfer called JC Higgins. Turns out, he was a Sears employee and they decided to use his name for the brand.
From the Sears website:
John Higgins began working for Sears in 1898 as the manager of the headquarters’ office bookkeepers and retired as company comptroller in 1930. “John Higgins” the employee became “J.C. Higgins” the brand name during a discussion in 1908 among Sears’ executives of possible names for a new line of sporting goods.
That’s the fun part of the story for me. It seems like a fairly random decision was made to name the sports equipment line after him. I picture some guys sitting around the boardroom at Sears in 1908 like, “hey, what shall we call the new sporting goods line?” “I don’t know, how ’bout we name it after John, in bookkeeping, he’s a swell guy.” “Sure, sounds good, but let’s fancy him up and add a middle initial- J C Higgins, waddya think?” “Perfect!”
And so it was, 54 years of Sears sports equipment named after a bookkeeper from Ireland!
The J.C. Higgins brand was phased out in favor of the Ted Williams name in 1962.