Glove: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pair of gloves, 1603-1625 V&A Museum no.1506&A-1882
Leather gloves

A glove (Middle English from Old English glof) is a garment covering the hand. Gloves have separate sheaths or openings for each finger and the thumb; if there is an opening but no covering sheath for each finger they are called "fingerless gloves". Fingerless gloves with one large opening rather than individual openings for each finger are sometimes called gauntlets. Gloves which cover the entire hand but do not have separate finger openings or sheaths are called mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves made of the same material because fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other. Reduced surface area reduces heat loss.

A hybrid of glove and mitten which contains open-ended sheaths for the four fingers (as in a fingerless glove, but not the thumb) and also an additional compartment encapsulating the four fingers as a mitten would. This compartment can be lifted off the fingers and folded back to allow the individual fingers ease of movement and access while the hand remains covered. The usual design is for the mitten cavity to be stitched onto the back of the fingerless glove only, allowing it to be flipped over (normally held back by Velcro or a button) to transform the garment from a mitten to a glove. These hybrids are called convertible mittens or glittens, a combination of "glove" and "mittens".

Gloves protect and comfort hands against cold or heat, damage by friction, abrasion or chemicals, and disease; or in turn to provide a guard for what a bare hand should not touch. Latex, nitrile rubber or vinyl disposable gloves are often worn by health care professionals as hygiene and contamination protection measures. Police officers often wear them to work in crime scenes to prevent destroying evidence in the scene. Many criminals wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints, which makes the crime investigation more difficult. However, not all gloves prevent fingerprints from being left on the crime scene, depending on the material from which the glove is made.[1]

Fingerless gloves are useful where dexterity is required that gloves would restrict. Cigarette smokers and church organists use fingerless gloves. Some gloves include a gauntlet that extends partway up the arm. Cycling gloves for road racing or touring are usually fingerless, as are sailing gloves.

Gloves are made of materials including cloth, knitted or felted wool, leather, rubber, latex, neoprene, and metal (as in mail). Gloves of kevlar protect the wearer from cuts. Gloves and gauntlets are integral components of pressure suits and spacesuits such as the Apollo/Skylab A7L which went to the moon. Spacesuit gloves combine toughness and environmental protection with a degree of sensitivity and flexibility.

Expensive women's fashion gloves are made in France, Canada and other countries. For cheaper male gloves New York State, especially Gloversville, New York is a center of glove manufacturing. More and more glove manufacturing is being done in East Asia, however.



A disposable nitrile glove

Gloves appear to be of great antiquity. According to some translations of Homer's The Odyssey, Laërtes is described as wearing gloves while walking in his garden so as to avoid the brambles.[2] (Other translations, however, insist that Laertes pulled his long sleeves over his hands.) Herodotus, in The History of Herodotus (440 BC), tells how Leotychides was incriminated by a glove (gauntlet) full of silver that he received as a bribe.[3] Among the Romans also there are occasional references to the use of gloves. According to Pliny the Younger (ca. 100), his uncle's shorthand writer wore gloves during the winter so as not to impede the elder Pliny's work.[4]

During the 13th century, gloves began to be worn by ladies as a fashion ornament.[2] They were made of linen and silk, and sometimes reached to the elbow.[2] Such worldly accoutrements were not for holy women, according to the early thirteenth-century Ancrene Wisse, written for their guidance.[5] Sumptuary laws were promulgated to restrain this vanity: against samite gloves in Bologna, 1294, against perfumed gloves in Rome, 1560.[6]

A Paris corporation or guild of glovers (gantiers) existed from the thirteenth century. They made them in skin or in fur.[7]

It was not until the 16th century that they reached their greatest elaboration, however, when Queen Elizabeth I set the fashion for wearing them richly embroidered and jewelled,[2] and for putting them on and taking them off during audiences, to draw attention to her beautiful hands.[8] In Paris, the gantiers became gantiers parfumeurs, for the scented oils, musk, ambergris and civet, that perfumed leather gloves, but their trade, which was an introduction at the court of Catherine de' Medici,[9] was not specifically recognised until 1656, in a royal brevet. Makers of knitted gloves, which did not retain perfume and had less social cachet, were organised in a separate guild, of bonnetiers[10] who might knit silk as well as wool. Such workers were already organised in the fourteenth century. Knitted gloves were a refined handiwork that required five years of apprenticeship; defective work was subject to confiscation and burning.[11]

Embroidered and jewelled gloves also formed part of the insignia of emperors and kings. Thus Matthew of Paris, in recording the burial of Henry II of England in 1189, mentions that he was buried in his coronation robes with a golden crown on his head and gloves on his hands.[2] Gloves were also found on the hands of King John when his tomb was opened in 1797 and on those of King Edward I when his tomb was opened in 1774.[2]

Pontifical gloves are liturgical ornaments used primarily by the pope, the cardinals, and bishops.[2] They may be worn only at the celebration of mass.[2] The liturgical use of gloves has not been traced beyond the beginning of the 10th century, and their introduction may have been due to a simple desire to keep the hands clean for the holy mysteries, but others suggest that they were adopted as part of the increasing pomp with which the Carolingian bishops were surrounding themselves.[2] From the Frankish kingdom the custom spread to Rome, where liturgical gloves are first heard of in the earlier half of the 11th century.[2]

Latex gloves, ubiquitous in surgery and forensics, were developed by the Australian Ansell company. It is also widely believed that vanilla essence can preserve gardening gloves during winter (and spring) months. The fabrics include: rubber, cotton, wool and plastic.


There are a number of different European standards that relate to gloves. These include:

  • BS EN388- Mechanical hazards including Abrasion, cut, tear and puncture.
  • BS EN388:2003 - Protective Against Mechanical Rist (Abrasion/Blade Cut Resistance/Tear Resistance/Abrasion Resistance)
  • BS EN374-1:2003 Protective Against Chemical And Micro-Organisms
  • BS EN374-2- Micro-organisms
  • BS EN374-3- Chemicals
  • BS EN420- General requirements for gloves includes sizing and a number of health and safety aspects including latex protein and chromium levels.
  • BS EN60903- Electric shock
  • BS EN407- Heat resistance
  • BS EN511- Cold resistance
  • BS EN1149- Antistatic

These exist to fulfil the PPE requirements.

PPE places gloves into three categories:

  • Minimal risk - End user can easily identify risk. Risk is low.
  • Complex design- Used situations that can cause serious injury or death.
  • Intermediate - Gloves that don't fit into minimal risk or complex design categories.
A Goalkeeper glove from different angles

Fingerless gloves

Fingerless gloves or "glovelettes" are garments worn on the hands which resemble regular gloves in most ways, except that the finger columns are half-length and opened, allowing the tops of the wearer's fingers to emerge through.

These type of gloves can also be known as "hobo gloves" or "bum-gloves" due to their popularity among Hollywood stereotypical homeless people.[citation needed]

Design and use

Fingerless gloves are often padded in the palm area, to provide protection to the hand, and the exposed fingers do not interfere with sensation or gripping. In contrast to traditional gloves, often worn for warmth, fingerless gloves will often have a ventilated back to allow the hands to cool; this is commonly seen in weightlifting gloves.

Fingerless gloves are also worn by bikers as a means to better grip the handlebars, as well as by skateboarders and rollerbladers, to protect the palms of the hands and add grip in the event of a fall. Some anglers, particularly fly fishermen, favour fingerless gloves to allow manipulation of line and tackle in cooler conditions.


Fingerless gloves are usually leather and have a distinct appearance. Much like rocker jackets, they are sometimes worn by people who wish to display a certain sense of rebellion, recklessness, "toughness" or general disregard for the standards of society (such as John Bender in The Breakfast Club). This is why they are quite common in heavy metal and punk fashion, for example Billy Idol, and are sometimes decorated with metal studs or spikes. Some non-conformist individuals, notably Michael Jackson, would wear a single glove on one hand leaving the other hand glove-less.

A woolen variety became popular in the early 1980s, largely due to the example of English pop star Nik Kershaw.

Types of glove

Tear in space glove during STS-118

Commercial and industrial

Type of gloves and category

  • Knitted Seamless Gloves (Made With Various Types Of Yarns i.e., Cotton/Polyested/Polycotton/Polyamide/Para-Aramid/Dynema/Basofil)
  • Knitted Gloves Can Be Used For Dipping/Dotting & Coating - Done With Various Types Of Polymers
  • Cut & Sewn Gloves (Used For Dipping/Coating & Drill Dotting)
  • Polymer Based Dipped Gloves (Nitrile/Neoprene/Latex/PVC/PY\U Based)
  • Leather Gloves

Sport and recreational

Minoan youths boxing, Knossos fresco. One of the earliest documented use of gloves.


Western lady's gloves for formal and semi-formal wear come in three lengths: wrist ("matinee"), elbow, and opera or full-length (over the elbow, reaching to the biceps). Some expensive gloves are made of kid leather. Satin and stretch satin are popular and mass-produced. Some women wear gloves as part of "dressy" outfits, such as for church and weddings. Long white gloves are common accessories for teenage girls attending formal events such as prom, cotillion, or formal ceremonies at church such as confirmation.


Saami mittens

Gloves which cover the entire hand but do not have separate finger openings or sheaths are called mittens. Generally, mittens still separate the thumb from the other four fingers. They are mostly woollen, and many of them have different colours and designs. Mittens may also be be called "fingerless gloves" because of the lack of separate fingers when the user wears them, not to be confused with gloves that are cut so that the fingers are not covered.

The earliest mittens known to archeologists date to around 1000AD[12] in Latvia. Mittens continue to be part of Latvian national costume today.[13] Wool biodegrades quickly, so it is likely that earlier mittens, possibly in other countries, may have existed but were not preserved. Many people around the Arctic circle have used mittens, including other Baltic peoples, Native Americans[14] and Vikings.[15]

Idiot mittens describes two mittens connected by a length of yarn, string or lace, threaded through the sleeves of a coat. This arrangement is typically provided for small children to prevent the mittens becoming discarded and lost; when removed, the mittens simply dangle from the cuffs.[16][17]

Scratch mitts refers to mittens which do not separate the thumb, and are designed to prevent babies who do not yet have fine motor control from scratching their face.[18][19]


  1. ^ CSI Experience Forensic Science Service: Fingerprinting
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Gloves." Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  3. ^ "The History of Herodotus by Herodotus, Volume VI, at". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Pliny the Younger: Selected Letters". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  5. ^ J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Ancrene Wisse, 8. The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle: Ancrene Wisse (Early English Text Society, CCXLIX) London 1962, noted by Diane Bornstein, The Lady in the Tower (Hamden, Connecticut) 1983:25 note 4.
  6. ^ Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, "Coquette at the Cross? Magdalen in the Master of the Bartholomew Altar's Deposition at the Louvre" Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 59.4 (1996:573-577) assembles numerous historical references to gloves, with bibliography.
  7. ^ Etienne-Martin Saint-Léon, Histoire des corporation de métiers depuis leurs origines jusqu'àleur suppression en 1791 (Paris) 1922, noted by Boyle 1996:174:10.
  8. ^ Roy C. Strong, Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I (Oxford) 1963:18f.
  9. ^ Charles VIII of France received some gloves that were scented with powder of violet, but they were not of French making (Boyle 1996:174).
  10. ^ In the earliest usage, bonnet was the woollen thread worked by hand with the needle or a spindle (Boyle 1996:174).
  11. ^ Boyle 1996:174
  12. ^ "NATO Summit 2006". 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  13. ^ "Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia: National Costume". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  14. ^ "Native American Mittens & Gloves". NativeTech. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  15. ^ "Viking Garment Construction". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  16. ^ "idiot mittens definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  17. ^ "Victorian trading Co. - - Idiot Mittens". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  18. ^ "Baby Scratch Mitts pattern - Crochet 'N' More". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  19. ^ "Baby Scratch Mitts". John Lewis. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Glove article)

From Wikisource

The Glove
by Robert Browning

(Peter Ronsard, loquitur)

"Heigho!" yawned one day King Francis,
"Distance all value enhances.
When a man's busy, why, leisure
Strikes him as wonderful pleasure:
Faith, and at leisure once is he?
Straightway he wants to be busy.
Here we've got peace; and aghast I'm
Caught thinking war the true pastime.
Is there a reason in metre?
Give us your speech, master Peter!"
I who, if mortal dare say so,
Ne'er am at loss with my Naso
"Sire," I replied, "joys prove cloudlets:
"Men are the merest Ixions"--
Here the King whistled aloud, "Let's
--Heigho--go look at our lions."
Such are the sorrowful chances
If you talk fine to King Francis.

And so, to the courtyard proceeding,
Our company, Francis was leading,
Increased by new followers tenfold
Before he arrived at the penfold;
Lords, ladies, like clouds which bedizen
At sunset the western horizon.
And Sir De Lorge pressed 'mid the foremost
With the dame he professed to adore most.
Oh, what a face! One by fits eyed
Her, and the horrible pitside;
For the penfold surrounded a hollow
Which led where the eye scarce dared follow
And shelved to the chamber secluded
Where Bluebeard, the great lion, brooded.

The King hailed his keeper, an Arab
As glossy and black as a scarab,
And bade him make sport and at once stir
Up and out of his den the old monster.
They opened a hole in the wire-work
Across it, and dropped there a firework,
And fled: one's heart's beating redoubled;
A pause, while the pit's mouth was troubled,
The blackness and silence so utter,
By the firework's slow sparkling and sputter;
Then earth in a sudden contortion
Gave out to our gaze her abortion.
Such a brute! Were I friend Clement Marot
(Whose experience of nature's but narrow
And whose faculties move in no small mist
When he versifies David the Psalmist)
I should study that brute to describe you
Illum Juda Leonem de Tribu.
One's whole blood grew curdling and creepy
To see the black mane, vast and heapy,
The tail in the air stiff and straining
The wide eyes, nor waxing nor waning,
As over the barrier which bounded
His platform, and us who surrounded
The barrier, they reached and they rested
On space that might stand him in best stead:
For who knew, he thought, what the amazement,
The eruption of clatter and blaze meant,
And if, in this minute of wonder,
No outlet, 'mid lightning and thunder,
Lay broad, and, his shackles all shivered,
The lion at last was delivered?
Ay, that was the open sky o'erhead!
And you saw by the flash on his forehead,
By the hope in those eyes wide and steady,
He was leagues in the desert already
Driving the flocks up the mountain
Or catlike couched hard by the fountain
To waylay the date-gathering negress:
So guarded he entrance or egress.
"How he stands!" quoth the King: "we may well swear,
(No novice, we've won our spurs elsewhere
And so can afford the confession)
We exercise wholesome discretion
In keeping aloof from his threshold;
Once hold you, those jaws want no fresh hold,
Their first would too pleasantly purloin
The visitor's brisket or surloin:
But who's he would prove so fool-hardy?
Not the best man of Marignan, pardie!"

The sentence no sooner was uttered,
Than over the rails a glove fluttered,
Fell close to the lion, and rested:
The dame 'twas, who flung it and jested
With life so, De Lorge had been wooing
For months past; he sat there pursuing
His suit, weighing out with nonchalance
Fine speeches like gold from a balance.

Sound the trumpet, no true knight's a tarrier!
De Lorge made one leap at the barrier,
Walked straight to the glove--while the lion
Ne'er moved, kept his far-reaching eye on
The palm-tree-edged desert-spring's sapphire,
And the musky oiled skin of the Kaffir--
Picked it up, and as calmly retreated,
Leaped back where the lady was seated,
And full in the face of its owner
Flung the glove.

"Your heart's queen, you dethrone her?
So should I!"--cried the King--"'twas mere vanity
Not love set that task to humanity!"
Lords and ladies alike turned with loathing
From such a proved wolf in sheep's clothing.

Not so, I; for I caught an expression
In her brow's undisturbed self-possession
Amid the Court's scoffing and merriment,
As if from no pleasing experiment
She rose, yet of pain not much heedful
So long as the process was needful,--
As if she had tried in a crucible,
To what "speeches like gold" were reducible,
And, finding the finest prove copper,
Felt the smoke in her face was but proper;
To know what she had not to trust to,
Was worth all the ashes and dust too.
She went out 'mid hooting and laughter;
Clement Marot stayed; I followed after,
And asked, as a grace, what it all meant?
If she wished not the rash deed's recalment?
For I"--so I spoke--"am a poet:
Human nature,--behoves that I know it!"

She told me, "Too long had I heard
Of the deed proved alone by the word:
For my love--what De Lorge would not dare!
With my scorn--what De Lorge could compare!
And the endless descriptions of death
He would brave when my lip formed a breath,
I must reckon as braved, or, of course,
Doubt his word--and moreover, perforce,
For such gifts as no lady could spurn,
Must offer my love in return.
When I looked on your lion, it brought
All the dangers at once to my thought,
Encountered by all sorts of men,
Before he was lodged in his den--
From the poor slave whose club or bare hands
Dug the trap, set the snare on the sands,
With no King and no Court to applaud,
By no shame, should he shrink, overawed,
Yet to capture the creature made shift,
That his rude boys might laugh at the gift
--To the page who last leaped o'er the fence
Of the pit, on no greater pretence
Than to get back the bonnet he dropped,
Lest his pay for a week should be stopped.
So, wiser I judged it to make
One trial what 'death for my sake'
Really meant, while the power was yet mine,

Than to wait until time should define
Such a phrase not so simply as I,
Who took it to mean just 'to die.'
The blow a glove gives is but weak:
Does the mark yet discolour my cheek?
But when the heart suffers a blow,
Will the pain pass so soon, do you know?"

I looked, as away she was sweeping. And saw a youth eagerly keeping
As close as he dared to the doorway.
No doubt that a noble should more weigh
His life than befits a plebeian;
And yet, had our brute been Nemean--
(I judge by a certain calm fervour
The youth stepped with, forward to serve her)
--He'd have scarce thought you did him the worst turn
If you whispered "Friend, what you'd get, first earn!"
And when, shortly after, she carried
Her shame from the Court, and they married,
To that marriage some happiness, maugre
The voice of the Court, I dared augur.

For De Lorge, he made women with men vie,
Those in wonder and praise, these in envy;
And in short stood so plain a head taller.
That he wooed and won . . . how do you call her?
The beauty, that rose in the sequel
To the King's love, who loved her a week well.
And 'twas noticed he never would honour
De Lorge (who looked daggers upon her)
With the easy commission of stretching
His legs in the service, and fetching
His wife, from her chamber, those straying
Sad gloves she was always mislaying,
While the King took the closet to chat in,--
But of course this adventure came pat in.
And never the King told the story,
How bringing a glove brought such glory,
But the wife smiled--"His nerves are grown firmer:
Mine he brings now and utters no murmur."

Venienti occurrite morbo!
With which moral I drop my theorbo.


"The Glove" gives a transcript from Court life, in Paris, under Francis I. In making Ronsard the mouthpiece for a deeper observation of the meaning of the incident he is supposed to witness and describe than Marot and the rest saw, characteristic differences between these two poets of the time are brought out, the genuineness of courtly love and chivalry is tested, and to the original story of the glove is added a new view of the lady's character; a sketch of her humbler and truer lover, and their happiness; and a pendent scene showing the courtier De Lorges, having won a beauty for his wife, in the ignominious position of assisting the king to enjoy her favors and of submitting to pleasantries upon his discomfiture. The original story as told by Poullain de St. Croix in his Essais Historiques sur Paris ran thus: "One day whilst Francis I amused himself with looking at a combat between his lions, a lady, having let her glove drop, said to De Lorges, 'If you would have me believe that you love me as much as you swear you do, go and bring back my glove.' De Lorges went down, picked up the glove from amidst the ferocious beasts, returned, and threw it in the lady's face; and in spite of all her advances and cajoleries would never look at her again. Schiller running across this anecdote of St. Croix, in 1797, as he writes Goethe, wrote a poem on it which adds nothing to the story. Leigh Hunt's 'The Glove and the Lions' adds some traits. It characterizes the lady as shallow and vain, with smiles and eyes which always seem'd the same. She calculates since "king, ladies, lovers, all look on," that "the occasion is divine" to drop her glove and "prove his love, then look at him and smile"; and after De Lorges has returned and thrown the glove, "but not with love, right in the lady's face, Hunt makes the king rise and swear "rightly done! No love, quoth he, but vanity, sets love a task like that! This is the material Browning worked on; he makes use of this speech of the king's, but remodels the lady's character wholly, and gives her an appreciative lover, and also a keen-eyed young poet to tell her story afresh and to reveal through his criticism the narrowness of the Court and the Court poets.

12. Naso: Ovid. Love of the classics and curiosity as to human nature were both characteristic of Peter Ronsard (1524-1585), at one time page to Francis I, the most erudite and original of French medieval poets.

45. Clement Marot: (1496-1544), Court poet to Francis I. His nature and verse were simpler than Ronsard's, and he belonged more peculiarly to his own day.

48. Versifies David: Marot was suspected of Protestant leanings which occasioned his imprisonment twice, and put him in need of the protection Francis and his sister gave him. Among his works were sixty-five epistles addressed to grandees, attesting his courtiership, and the paraphrase of forty-nine of the Psalms to which Ronsard alludes.

50. Illum Juda, etc.: that lion of the tribe of Judah.

89. Venienti, etc.: Meet the coming disease; that is, if evil be anticipated, don't wait till it seizes you, but dare to assure yourself and then forestall it as the lady did.

190. Theorbo: an old Italian stringed instrument such as pages used.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GLOVE (0. Eng. glof, perhaps connected with Gothic lofa, the palm of the hand), a covering for the hand, commonly with a separate sheath for each finger.

The use of gloves is of high antiquity, and apparently was known even to the pre-historic cave dwellers. In Homer Laertes is described as wearing gloves (xerpSas E7ri xepai) while walking in his garden (Od. xxiv. 230). Herodotus (vi. 72) tells how Leotychides filled a glove (x€ipis) with the money he received as a bribe, and Xenophon (Cyrop. viii. 8.17) records that the Persians wore fur gloves having separate sheaths for the fingers (xetpTas Saa€ias cal Sax-rvX7 7 0pas). Among the Romans also there are occasional references to the use of gloves. According to the younger Pliny (Ep. iii. 5.15) the secretary whom his uncle had with him when ascending Vesuvius wore gloves (manicae) so that he might not be impeded in his work by the cold, and Varro (R. R. i. 55.1) remarks that olives gathered with the bare fingers are better than those gathered with gloves (digitabula or digitalia). In the northern countries the general use of gloves would be more natural than in the south, and it is not without significance that the most common medieval Latin word for glove (guantus or wantus, Mod. Fr. gant) is of Teutonic origin (0. H. Ger. want). Thus in the life of Columbanus by Jonas, abbot of Bobbio (d. c. 665), gloves for protecting the hands in doing manual labour are spoken of as tegumenta manuum quae Galli wantos vocant. Among the Germans and Scandinavians, in the 8th and 9th centuries, the use of gloves, fingerless at first, would seem to have been all but universal; and in the case of kings, prelates and nobles they were often elaborately embroidered and bejewelled. This was more particularly the case with the gloves which formed part of the pontifical vestments(see below). In war and in the chase gloves of leather, or with the backs armoured with articulated iron plates, were early worn; yet in the Bayeux tapestry the warriors on either side fight ungloved. The fact that gloves are not represented by contemporary artists does not prove their non-existence, since this might easily be an omission due to lack of observation or of skill; but, so far as the records go, there is no evidence to prove that gloves were in general use in England until the 13th century. It was in this century that ladies began to wear gloves as ornaments; they were of linen and sometimes reached to the elbow. It was, however, not till the 16th century that they reached their greatest elaboration, when Queen Elizabeth set the fashion for wearing them richly embroidered and jewelled.

The symbolic sense of the middle ages early gave to the use of gloves a special significance. Their liturgical use by the Church is dealt with below (Pontifical gloves); this was imitated from the usage of civil life. Embroidered and jewelled gloves formed part of the insignia of the emperors, and also, and that quite early, of the kings of England. Thus Matthew of Paris, in recording the burial of Henry II. in 1189, mentions that he was buried in his coronation robes, with a golden crown on his head and gloves on his hands. Gloves were also found on the hands of King John when his tomb was opened in 1797, and on those of King Edward I. when his tomb was opened in 1774.

See W. B. Redfern, Royal and Historic Gloves and Shoes, with numerous examples.

Table of contents


Of the symbolical uses of the glove one of the most widespread and important during the middle ages was the practice of tendering a folded glove as a gage for waging one's law. The origin of this custom is probably not far to seek. The promise to fulfil a judgment of a court of law, a promise secured by the delivery of a wed or gage, is one of the oldest, if not the very oldest, of all enforceable contracts. This gage was originally a chattel of value, which had to be deposited at once by the defendant as security into his adversary's hand; and that the glove became the formal symbol of such deposit is doubtless due to its being the most convenient loose object for the purpose. The custom survived after the contract with the vadium, wed or gage had been superseded by the contract with pledges (personal sureties). In the rules of procedure of a baronial court of the 14th century we find: " He shall wage his law with his folded glove (de son gaunt plyee) and shall deliver it into the hand of the other, and then take his glove back and find pledges for his law." The delivery of the glove had, in fact, become a mere ceremony, because the defendant had his sureties close at hand.' Associated with this custom was the use of the glove in the wager of battle (vadium in duello). The glove here was thrown down by the defendant in open court as security that he would defend his cause in arms; the accuser by picking it up accepted the challenge (see Wager). This form is still prescribed for the challenge of the king's champion at the coronation of English sovereigns, and was actually followed at that of George IV. (see Champion). The phrase " to throw down the gauntlet " is still in common use of any challenge.

Pledges of Service

The use of the glove as a pledge of fulfilment is exemplified also by the not infrequent practice of enfeoffing vassals by investing them with the glove; similarly the emperors symbolized by the bestowal of a glove the concession of the right to found a town or to establish markets, mints and the like; the " hands " in the armorial bearings of certain German towns are really gloves, reminiscent of this investiture. Conversely, fiefs were held by the render of presenting gloves to the sovereign. Thus the manor of Little Holland in Essex was held in Queen Elizabeth's time by the service of one knight's fee and the rent of a pair of gloves turned up with hare's skin (Blount's Tenures, ed. Beckwith, p. 130). The most notable instance in England, however, is the grand serjeanty of finding for the king a glove for his right hand on coronation day, and supporting his right arm as long as he holds the sceptre. The right to perform this " honourable service " was originally granted by William the Conqueror to Bertram de Verdun, together with the manor of Fernham (Farnham Royal) in Buckinghamshire. The male descendants of Bertram performed this serjeanty at the coronations until the death of Theobald de Verdun in 1316, when the right passed, with the manor of Farnham, to Thomas Lord Furnival by his marriage with the heiress Joan. His son William Lord Furnival performed the ceremony at the coronation of Richard II. He died in 1383, and his daughter and heiress Jean de Furnival having married Sir Thomas Nevill, Lord Furnival in her right, the latter performed the ceremony at the coronation of Henry IV. His heiress Maud married Sir John Talbot (1st earl of Shrewsbury) who, as Lord Furnival, presented the glove embroidered with the arms of Verdun at the coronation of Henry V. When in 1541 Francis earl of Shrewsbury exchanged the manor of Farnham with King Henry VIII. for the site and precincts of the priory of Worksop in Nottinghamshire he stipulated that the right to perform this serjeanty should be reserved to him, and the king accordingly transferred the obligation from Farnham to Worksop. On the 3rd of April 1838 the manor of Worksop was sold to the duke of Newcastle and with it the right to perform the service, which had hitherto always been carried out by a descendant of Bertram de Verdun. At the coronation of King Edward VII. the earl of Shrewsbury disputed the duke of Newcastle's right, on the ground that the serjeanty was attached not to the manor but to the priory lands at Worksop, and that the latter had been subdivided by sale so that no single person was entitled to perform the ceremony and the right had therefore lapsed. His petition for a regrant to himself as lineal heir of Bertram de Verdun, however, was ' F. W. Maitland and W. P. Baildon, The Court Baron (Selden Society, London, 1891), p. 17. Maitland wrongly translates gaunt plyee as " twisted " glove, adding " why it should be twisted I cannot say." An earlier instance of the delivery of a folded glove as gage is quoted from the 13th-century Anglo-Norman poem known as The Song of Dermott and the Earl (ed. G. H. Orpen, Oxford, 1892) in J. H. Round's Commune of London, p. 153.

disallowed by the court of claims, and the serjeanty was declared to be attached to the manor of Worksop (G. Woods Wollaston, Coronation Claims, London, 1903, p. 133).


From the ceremonial and symbolic use of gloves the transition was easy to the custom which grew up of presenting them to persons of distinction on special occasions. When Queen Elizabeth visited Cambridge in 1578 the vicechancellor offered her a " paire of gloves, perfumed and garnished with embroiderie and goldsmithe's wourke, price 60s.," and at the visit of James I. there in 1615 the mayor and corporation of the town " delivered His Majesty a fair pair of perfumed gloves with gold laces." It was formerly the custom in England for bishops at their consecrations to make presents of gloves to those who came to their consecration dinners and others, but this gift became such a burden to them that by an order in council in 1678 it was commuted for the payment of a sum of £50 towards the rebuilding of St Paul's. Serjeants at law, on their appointment, were given a pair of gloves containing a sum of money which was termed " regards "; this custom is recorded as early as 1495, when according to the Black Book of Lincoln's Inn each of the new serjeants received £6, 13s. 4d. and a pair of gloves costing 4d., and it persisted to a late period. At one time it was the practice for a prisoner who pleaded the king's pardon on his discharge to present the judges with gloves by way of a fee. Glove-silver, according to Jacob's Law Dictionary, was a name used of extraordinary rewards formerly given to officers of courts, &c., or of money given by the sheriff of a county in which no offenders were left for execution to the clerk of assize and judge's officers; the explanation of the term is that the glove given as a perquisite or fee was in some cases lined with money to increase its value, and thus came to stand for money ostensibly given in lieu of gloves. It is still the custom in the United Kingdom to present a pair of white gloves to a judge or magistrate who when he takes his seat for criminal business at the appointed time finds no cases for trial. By ancient custom judges are not allowed to wear gloves while actually sitting on the bench, and a witness taking the oath must remove the glove from the hand that holds the book. (See J. W. Norton-Kyshe, The Law and Customs relating to Gloves, London, Igo") Pontifical gloves (Lat. chirothecae) are liturgical ornaments peculiar to the Western Church and proper only to the pope, the cardinals and bishops, though the right to wear them is often granted by the Holy See to abbots, cathedral dignitaries and other prelates, as in the case of the other episcopal insignia. According to the present use the gloves are of silk and of the liturgical colour of the day, the edge of the opening ornamented with a narrow band of embroidery or the like, and the middle of the back with a cross. They may be worn only at the celebration of mass (except masses for the dead). In vesting, the gloves are put on the bishop immediately after the dalmatic, the right hand one by the deacon, the other by the subdeacon. They are worn only until the ablution before the canon of the mass, after which they may not again be put on.

At the consecration of a bishop the consecrating prelate puts the gloves on the new bishop immediately after the mitre, with a prayer that his hands may be kept pure, so that the sacrifice he offers may be as acceptable as the gift of venison which Jacob, his hands wrapped in the skin of kids, brought to Isaac. This symbolism (as in the case of the other vestments) is, however, of late growth. The liturgical use of gloves itself cannot, according to Father Braun, be traced beyond the beginning of the 10th century, and their introduction was due, perhaps to the simple desire to keep the hands clean for the holy mysteries, but more probably merely as part of the increasing pomp with which the Carolingian bishops were surrounding themselves. From the Frankish kingdom the custom spread to Rome, where liturgical gloves are first heard of in the earlier half of the it th century. The earliest authentic instance of the right to wear them being granted to a non-bishop is a bull of Alexander IV. in 1070, conceding this to the abbot of S. Pietro in Cielo d'Oro.

During the middle ages the occasions on which pontifical gloves (often wanti, guanti, and sometimes manicae in the inventories) were worn were not so carefully defined as now, the use varying in different churches. Nor were the liturgical colours prescribed. The most characteristic feature of the medieval pontifical glove was the ornament (tasellus, fibula, monile, paratura) set in the middle of the back of the glove. This was usually a small plaque of metal, enamelled or jewelled, generally round, but sometimes square or irregular in shape. Sometimes embroidery was substituted; still more rarely the whole glove was covered, even to the fingers, with elaborate needlework designs.

Liturgical gloves have not been worn by Anglican bishops since the Reformation, though they are occasionally represented as wearing them on their effigies.

See J. Braun,S.J.,Die liturgische Gewandung (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1907), pp. 359-3 82, where many beautiful examples are illustrated.

Manufacture of Gloves

Three countries, according to an old proverb, contribute to the making of a good glove - Spain dressing the leather, France cutting it and England sewing it. But the manufacture of gloves was not introduced into Great Britain till the 10th or 11th century. The incorporation of glovers of Perth was chartered in 1165, and in 1190 a glovemakers' gild was formed in France, with the object of regulating the trade and ensuring good workmanship. The glovers of London in 1349 framed their ordinances and had them approved by the corporation, the city regulations at that time fixing the price of a pair of common sheepskin gloves at id. In 1464, when the gild received armorial bearings, they do not seem to have been very strong, but apparently their position improved subsequently and in 1638 they were incorporated as a new company. In 1580 it is recorded that both French and Spanish gloves were on sale in London shops, and in 1661 a company of glovers was incorporated at Worcester, which still remains an important seat of the English glove industry. In America the manufacture of gloves dates from about 1760, when Sir William Johnson brought over several families of glove makers from Perth; these settled in Fulton county, New York, which is now the largest seat of the glove trade in the United States.

Gloves may be divided into two distinct categories, according as these are made of leather or are woven or knitted from fibres such as silk, wool or cotton. The manufacture of the latter kinds is a branch of the hosiery industry. For leather gloves skins of various animals are employed - deer, calves, sheep and lambs, goats and kids, &c. - but kids have had nothing to do with the production of many of the " kid gloves " of commerce. The skins are prepared and dressed by special processes (see Leather) before going to the glove-maker to be cut. Owing to the elastic character of the material the cutting is a delicate operation, and long practice is required before a man becomes expert at it. Formerly it was done by shears, the workmen following an outline marked on the leather, but now steel dies are universally employed not only for the bodies of the gloves but also for the thumb-pieces and fourchettes or sides of the fingers. When hand sewing is employed the pieces to be sewn together are placed between a pair of jaws, the holding edges of which are serrated with fine saw-teeth, and the sewer by passing the needle forwards and backwards between each of these teeth secures neat uniform stitching. But sewing machines are now widely employed on the work. The labour of making a glove is much subdivided, different operators sewing different pieces, and others again embroidering the back, forming the button-holes, attaching the buttons, &c. After the gloves are completed, they undergo the process of " laying off," in which they are drawn over metal forms, shaped like a hand and heated internally by steam; in this way they are finally smoothed and shaped before being wrapped in paper and packed in boxes.

Gloves made of thin indiarubber or of white cotton are worn by some surgeons while performing operations, on account of the ease with which they can be thoroughly sterilized.

<< Gloucestershire

Sir John Hawley Glover >>

Simple English

A glove is a piece of clothing that covers a hand. There are many different kinds of gloves. Gloves are made of many different fabrics and materials, and gloves are used in many ways.

Gloves worn for protection

People wear thick gloves, usually made of wool or fabric, to keep their hands warm in cold weather. They wear thin gloves (usually made of rubber or plastic) to keep their hands clean. People also wear thin gloves made of rubber or plastic to keep things they touch clean. Some workers wear gloves made of heavy rubber to protect their hands from chemicals. A mitten is a glove which has a separate place for the thumb, but the other four fingers are together. There are also mittens, which are very similar to gloves. Gloves and mittens are usually used to protect people from cold, and chemicals. People use latex gloves during Earth day to clean up.

Gloves worn for fashion

There are also gloves that are worn for fashion, because they look good. These type of gloves are made from leather, fur, or different fabrics.

Gloves worn in sport

Gloves are worn in sports, the most common reason being for extra grip for the competitors hands. Like in golf, baseball and goalkeepers in soccer.

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address