Tammy Fudge, who works in the research department for the Superior Glove company in Point Leamington, says she's amazed by the range of uses and designs for gloves across history. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)
Since 1988, a factory in the central Newfoundland town of Point Leamington has been manufacturing all types of gloves.
And now, not far from Superior Glove factory is a museum, opened last year, that pays tribute to the hand coverings. The Canadian Glove Museum bills itself as the only museum in Canada entirely dedicated to gloves.
Tammy Fudge, who works in the factory's research department, says she's amazed by all the different uses for gloves and the engineering that goes in making different gloves for different professional fields.
"It's really opened my eyes to what what we can make and engineer here and what gloves mean to us."
A tour of the museum begins with the history of the factory, built by Frank Geng and now owned by his son Tony. On display are the first gloves crafted in the factory, alongside their original prototypes.
The past blends into the present with gloves that the factory makes today, including gloves manufactured for space exploration company says Fudge — and gloves that went to space and came back.
"Can you imagine when the kids come and you can tell them these were actually worn in space?" said Fudge.
These gloves were worn by Roman Romanenko, a Russian astronaut. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)
There are gloves made for chemical scientists, gloves for the oil industry, and gloves that might look ordinary but were worn by famous people — including a pair worn by Elvis Presley when he served in the U.S. army.
Fudge says Presley had a doctor whose family worked and lived with his own family.
"And apparently this little girl of the doctor's family was playing outside in the cold and Elvis saw her and realized she didn't have anything there. So he gave her his army mitts and this girl kept them for years and years. Now they are in a case."
There are old Japanese firefighting gloves, hand-stitched and made with layers of thick cotton from, Fudge believes, from the 19th century.
"You can tell how they're stitched together and knitted together, woven together to hold moisture or to protect — just cotton."
On display in the museum are Elvis Presley's army gloves. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)
Also on display is a set of aboriginal gloves made of different furs.
"I can't imagine the time it took a leather glove with all this beadwork and the needlework furs, real furs, leather needlework, beadwork, so many different furs — the furs of seals and bears and fox and beaver."
Fudge says they have gloves used in the Canadian Army over the years that draw strong reactions from museum visitors who recognize the styles.
"They say, 'Oh, my grandfather, my great uncle, was a gunner and I can remember seeing something like that hung up in their garage.'"
Fudge says she's s excited for the museum's plans for the coming year.
"We are going to introduce some more interactive displays and we're excited to get the kids into make their own gloves or a cap or sleeve."