BLUFFTON — “There’s a perfect Boss glove for every job,” the sales literature boasts.And this may be one case where the boasting is backed by truth.The Boss glove company, which had a main factory in Bluffton, was based in Kewanee, Ill. The company had its start in farming. H.H. Perkins, an Illinois farmer, invented and patented a corn husking tool and a wagon tailgate, of sorts, in the late 1800s. It soon branched out into sewing overalls and work gloves. Company materials explain:“The first sewing operation of the company was in the manufacture of overalls, followed by work gloves and mittens. The addition of flannel gloves and mittens to the Boss line came in a simple way. W.H. Lyman (one of the original backers), who also operated a retail mercantile establishment in Kewanee was interested in the amount of Canton flannel bought by farm wives every fall and winter. He learned that farm women cut flannel mittens out by hand and sewed them on the family machine. It occurred to Lyman that this offered a field worth developing.”The Boss company quickly expanded to have factories in several places in Illinois and Fort Wayne, Ind., Findlay, Van Wert and Bluffton. The glove business was booming, with several glove manufacturing companies starting in the Lima area at the turn of the century. One classifed ad from Sept. 22, 1909: “Wanted — two stout, industrious young men; about 17 or 18 years of age, turning and backing gloves. Call at HB Lima Manufacturing Co., 322 N. West St.”A story from Jan. 2, 1919, explained: “C.L. Dunn, manager of the Boss Manufacturing Co., makers of working men’s gloves, states that a big supply of material has arrived and that the plant is taking on many women employees. A carload of flannel goods has just been received and the present year is expedited to eclipse their present rate of output. They will cater to the local trade and are assured of a ready market among Lima’s large industrial plants.”Most of the glove companies came and went in a little glove-making bubble. But Boss kept chugging away, even expanding through the years to open small plants in Tiffin and Ottawa.So what went into making gloves? It’s trickier than it first appears. Yards of material were laid out, many layers thick. A press cut out the fingers, palm, gauntlet and other pieces necessary. Then it all went to the sewers, who had to get them together in a serviceable way — and a way that would last. Boss came up with its “Norip” thumb, a reinforced thumb that was attached in a kind of wing to give it more stability.In 1948, the first signals of trouble rang. The Tiffin plant was to close, and the Ottawa plant was quickly in line to close behind it.Bluffton’s plant seemed to do enough business to hold its own, though, and was financially stable enough to throw a grand party for a cornerstone of its operation. In 1954, the company held a retirement party for Miss Ella Geiger, who had started at the plant in 1907 — when it started in Bluffton. That was 47 years at the same job.But in 1956, the announcement of closure was made. Less than a year later, a buyer was secured, and the glove company became Peerless Ohio Glove — with the main difference being the gloves were to go directly to the auto industry instead of retail.The Boss glove company itself went under in 1977, citing foreign competition.