Samuel Gelber and Robert Lane had worked together for several years prior to forming Dobbs Industries in 1957. Gelber was the accountant for Lane’s other businesses and Lane admired Gelber’s financial and organizational skills. Together they started Dobbs Industries in June 1957. Company operations were based in Knoxville, TN, where they were able to lease factory space and sewing machines and hire skilled operators who had experience working on government contracts.
Dobbs Industries’ initial work was as a subcontractor on several Department of Defense contracts making MA-1 flight jackets, N-2B parkas, and Army raincoats. In 1958, Dobbs was awarded its first U.S. government contract to manufacture Army raincoats, and contracts for raincoat liners and Air Force flight jackets and hoods soon followed. The company quickly grew and went on to lease a larger space from the Levi Strauss Company in downtown Knoxville, TN.
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