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In 1923 Albert Messmer, a young German shoemaker watched a football match in the pouring rain. He envisaged a shoe that would help combat the slippery conditions under foot and set about designing one of the first, pioneering Football cleats (boots with studded soles). Thus Messmer and Co. was formed with his brother, Michael in the Hamburg suburb of Eppendorf.
When the company went bankrupt in the 1930's, the firm was taken over by their lawyer Hermann Christian Knibbe and his business parteners, Jurgensen and Tigges. Afer suffering extensive bombing by the allies in the 1940's the companies premises and indeed street in which they were located was literally wiped off the map. In 1946 the new Hummel factory opened just outside Hamburg making football boots and skates.
In the 1950's (1956 to be precise), Hummel once again changed ownership, this time acquired by Bernhard Weckenbrock from kevelaar in Southern Germany near the border with Holland. 1964 and 1968 repectively saw Hummel venture into sports sponsorship for the first time. Handball team Grun Weiss Dankersen began their association with Hummel in 1964 Called GW Minden today, they are still sponsored by Hummel, thus making it one of the most enduring partnerships in sports history. The first football team to link up with Hummel was MSV Duisburg in the German Bundesliga 2. The following year Hummel unveiled their first Sports Clothing range to massive success and the prototype bumble bee logo was born. With it's meteoric rise in popularity, the Seventies saw Hummel expand their market to incorporate most European Countries and some unlikely link ups too - most notably with Bahrain. 1972 saw Hummel sign it's first major sponsorship deal with German Football giants Werder Bremen. In 1974 VN Sport ApS was founded by Jorgen Vodsgaard and Max Nielsen to cover distribution and marketing of Hummel in Denmark. By 1977 and with the burgeoning Hummel brand still growing, they signed a deal with rising Danish Football star Henning Jensen. Jensen had just engineered a deal taking hime from Borussia Munchengladbach in Germany to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
In 1979 Hummel signed their first kit deal with the danish Football Association. As the 1980's arrived Hummel was again changing hands with Jorgen Vodsgaard, the Danish distributor acquiring the brand. The company is now 100% Danish owned. The mid Eighties saw Hummel's Danish International kits hit the headlines, voted best kit at the 1984 European Championships and courting contoversy at the 1986 World Cup due to FIFA's intervention. Claiming the shorts should be one colour due to concerns over the visual impact on TV's, demand for Denmark's 'Carnival' kit was huge. Expanding sponsorship deals into other European Countries, Tottenham Hotspur agreed a kit deal with Hummel in 1987. Feyenoord, Sweden and Norway also take to the field in Hummel for the first time. In 1988, Hummel achieved a coup with the announcement that Real Madrid had signed a sponsorship deal. With the likes of Emilio Butragueno waering the kit, sales went sky high. The 1990's was another good decade for Hummel.
In 1992 the Danish Football team lifted the Henri Delaunay Trophy at the European Championships after only gaining entry to the competition at the expense of the former Yugoslavian team. In 1999, Hummel resurrected some old track jacket designs for a new Retro collection. relaunched to huge fan fare the re-launched track tops were a resounding success. Playing on Hummel's vast sporting heritage, the designs were readily accepted by a new contemporary, fashion conscious Indie consumer.
In 2004, Hummel celbrated 25 years of sponsoring the Danish National Football team and Danish Olympic hopefuls in Athens all wear Hummel Clothing and footwear. The event is also made all the more special when members of the Danish Royal Family turn out wearing the iconic Hummel Chevrons. You can buy the current Hummel Range online at Atom Retro, featuring an array of Retro inspired track tops and Retro trainers, plus iconic Mod shoulder bags and Indie T-shirts. Hummel has earned it's place amongst the greats of Sports Apparel and with a vast heritage, history and story to tell, the future looks bright for Hummel.