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This year, Russell Corp, Atlanta, GA, celebrates the 80th birthday of the sweatshirt. In 1926, Ben Russell developed the first sweatshirt, which was made from a lightweight cotton material. The first sweatshirts were worn by the University of Alabama’s football team, who enjoyed the comfort and freedom the garment offered during long practices compared to the heavy wool sweaters traditionally worn as practice jerseys at the time.

With the introduction of the sweatshirt, sales skyrocketed and sporting-goods dealers began marketing the sweatshirt not only for football use, but for other sporting events as well, such as baseball and track. Russell Corp.’s sweatshirt has evolved beyond athletic wear. Today, the company employs 15,000 people and has reached $1.4 billion in sales. Jerzees, a division of Russell Corp., is a supplier of sweatshirts to the imprinted-garment industry. Jerzees is located at 3330 Cumberland Blvd., Ste. 1000, Atlanta, GA 30339, 678-742-8000, fax: 678-742-8304, Web:

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