E.C. Cook & Bro. was founded in Chicago c.1867 by E.C. Cook (b.1845) and his brother F.W. Cook. They were manufacturers of awnings, tents, waterproof wagon,horse and truck covers, flags, banners and canvas signs. Later they expanded range to include hunters’ and tourists’ outfits, including jackets, cartridge vests, leggings, hats, gun and rifle covers, holsters, belts, cartridge belts, rod cases, and boots.
The Red Head brand name first used 1908. In 1915, a half million dollar contract for boots for the British Army was rejected and the company was forced into bankruptcy. Former employee S. Theodore Anderson, who had been with Cook since 1885 became president of the new Alward Anderson Southard Co, formed along with Charles H. Southard and Edward Hendrickson (with Cook since 1897). The new company took over the closed factory, located at 925 W. Chicago Ave, hired 100 new workers, and resumed production of the defunct Cook’s lines.
In 1931, Theodore Anderson died and the company was taken over by his widow, Alma Anderson. The company grew and flourished under her ownership and management, opening a new factory in 1940 at 4300 Belmont Ave. and expanding employment to over 500.
Anderson died in 1956 and the company was taken over by Clarke F. Hine. Red Head was purchased by the Brunswick Blake Collender Co, of bowling ball fame, in December 1959. Brunswick purchased the DryBak company several years later, selling both company’s similar hunting lines for a time in the 1960s.
In 1970, Red Head Brand was again sold and operations relocated to 4949 Joseph Hardin Dr Dallas, Texas.
The brand is currently owned by Bass Pro shops. They have been marketing Red Head as a “heritage brand”, though they do no market any vintage style products, and put the company’s origin in 1856, a date which has no relation anything.