The New Era Cap Company is a headwear company that was founded in Buffalo, New York, in 1920. New Era has over 500 different licenses in its portfolio. The Company is headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., and its products are sold in more than 80 countries.
Ehrhardt Koch borrowed $5000 from his aunt and started his own cap company, the “E. Koch Cap Company.” Joe Amerien left the Miller Company and became Ehrhardt’s first employee. Production started on the third floor of 1830 Genesee Street in Buffalo, N.Y. The company started with 14 employees, including Ehrhardt’s sister Rose, Ehrhardt’s son, Harold, and Rose’s son Wally Domas. In 1920, the company produced 60,000 caps.
1922: “E. Koch Cap Co.” was renamed the “New Era Cap Company”. New Era would produce a full line of men’s casual and uniform caps, but few sporting goods products. New Era’s line in the 1920s included caps like the “newsboy”, an eight panel wool new era snapbacks cap with a short bill and a loose fitting crown top, as well as fedoras.
1932: Baseball enjoying massive popularity. Harold Koch decides that the time is right to get into the sport cap business and convinces Ehrhardt to design New Era’s version of the baseball cap.
1934: New Era’s first Major League Baseball (MLB) caps are produced: the Cleveland Indians Home and Away caps. There was no such thing as exclusive licensing back then, so each year the various companies would compete for each individual team’s business, as well as for minor league, international league, college teams and local league teams – which made up the bulk of the industry back then. New Era’s motto in those days was “Quality First, Quantity Will Follow”.
Early 1940s: New Era provides caps to a long list of local minor league, college and Canadian baseball teams, as well as blank caps that local outfits around the country would sew lettering or patches on as needed. New Era also makes more major and minor league baseball caps now, but the majority of these were “private labels” for Wilson and Spaulding. New Era manufactured the finished, unlabeled caps, and Wilson and Spaulding would add their own labels and sell them directly to the teams.
Mid 1940s: Honus Wagner, then coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, requested a special custom New Era Pittsburgh wholesale new era caps, as he was having trouble finding a cap that fit his unusually large head. New Era was happy to oblige the legend’s request.