Marinus Thomsen had big plans when in 1893 he bought one of the oldest and most well-regarded companies in Randers from the Mattat family.


Marinus Thomsen (1858-1927) was a glove maker from Copenhagen born in Djursland. After learning the trade and gathering experience both at home and abroad, he chose to buy the glove factory. Marinus Thomsen's wife, Alma, and children remained in Copenhagen, as the wife did not want to leave life in Copenhagen, and Thomsen, therefore, divided his work between Randers and Copenhagen.



Thomsen prioritised modernising the factory and rebuilt it into a modern three-storey building which, among other things, housed a large warehouse and a steam engine that both provided electric light and was capable of powering the factory's sewing machines. Thomsen also incorporated, as the only glove factory, his own tannery and dyehouse at Vestergrave, and could therefore control all the processes in the manufacturing of gloves.




Although gloves were still a popular commodity, Thomsen expanded the collection to include hats, bags, belts, scarves, perfumes and even car interiors.


Thomsen was a visionary and had the sense to spread knowledge of the special gloves from Randers. He introduced "Yvette - the Randers girl" in 1895, which has since become a trademark icon for Randers Handskefabrik. The subject was a colour drawing of a young girl with red cheeks and dark curly hair, wearing a white high-necked dress and long, black gloves. The Randers girl was the 'muse' of the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the French cabaret singer Yvette Guilbert (1896-1944), who was known for always wearing long, black gloves during her performances.


Since 1894, a majestic granite-clad building has been located in Torvegade, in the middle of historic Randers. In this building, Thomsen opened a shop under the name “M. Thomsen Handskefabrik" in Torvegade 12 in the 1890s. The store was located at the same address until 1971 and in 2022 RHANDERS reopened in the historic premises.




Marinus Thomsen had an international outlook, which was reflected in the expansion of Randers Handskefabrik. In just 10 years, the factory employed more than 140 employees with the production of several thousand gloves. In the same short time, Thomsen opened stores in Randers, Aalborg, Aarhus, Silkeborg, Copenhagen, London and New York, and exported to Germany, Norway, Sweden, England & America.



Thomsen ensured that "Randers Handskefabrik" became a trademark in 1896, as one of the first trademark registrations in Denmark. He also made "Yvette" the face of the brand.


Picture: Thomsens store in New York



A time borne of success and progress with businesses in Copenhagen, London and New York, but the lack of raw materials and the limited trade with foreign countries threatened Randers Handskefabrik and the other glove manufacturers' right to exist towards the beginning of the First World War. Thomsen, therefore, experienced that production became more difficult and that he had to close many of his shops again and sell the tannery from production.

After declining sales and accompanying bankruptcy, Thomsen died in 1927, and his widow, Alma Thomsen, sold Randers Handskefabrik to the banking graduate Ejnar Vejrum.



Gloves in deer leather with chevrette thumb
(particularly slim model where the upper part of the thumb is shaped like a heart). Pay attention to the special buttons with the M.T. logo.





In the 1890s, Denmark was in the midst of an industrial revolution and many manufacturers, such as Marinus Thomsen at Randers Handskefabrik, reorganized production so that it was optimized and largely based on the use of machines and electricity from steam engines.

Transport across the North Sea and the Atlantic was also made easier by the founding of DFDS (Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab), which with its steamships and later ships with diesel-powered engines opened up the world to enterprising businessmen like Marinus Thomsen.

Everything heralded progress and innovation until the First World War broke out in 1914, which suddenly made all trade and expansion outside the country's borders a dangerous affair.

After the end of the war, Europe was characterized by economic instability, and in 1918 the flu disease "The Spanish Flu" broke out, killing millions of people in just 2 years. And this especially in war-torn Europe, where the population was malnourished and susceptible to the disease due to the lack of food and necessities that had arisen in the wake of the war.

The most important protective device during the Spanish Flu was actually gloves, and this is very similar to the Corona pandemic, where RHANDERS introduced anti-bacterial gloves.

In the 1920s, it was not possible to straighten out the economy, and previously enterprising companies had to see turnover dwindle.



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