Lee Union-Alls : Union-Made in Trenton

Lee Union-Alls Building, E. State Street, Trenton, NJ. Source: TCM

The H.D. Lee Mercantile company was founded in Salinas, Kansas, in 1889, but by the early twentieth century, it was focused on making clothes and had factories in several cities, including Trenton, New Jersey. Lee Union-Alls, a jumpsuit for mechanics and other blue-collar workers, were created in 1913 and became their signature product. The name touted the fact that they were union-made.

H.D. Lee Mercantile Company Factories, 1920s. Source: H.D. Lee/www.union-made.blogspot.com

The Trenton factory on East State Street was reportedly built in 1920, although the advertisement below indicates that the company was operating in Trenton by 1917. Lee employed as many as 600 people at the factory before closing in 1967. Two years after that, the Lee company, now known for its denim jeans, was purchased by Vanity Fair Mills. That company later became the VF Corporation and also owns the Wrangler, Timberland, and The North Face brands. The New Jersey building, just a short walk from the Trenton Transit Center, has been vacant for many years.

Source: chadsdrygoods.blogspot.com
Source: Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen’s Magazine, November 1, 1917.

Lee Union-Alls Building, E. State Street, Trenton, NJ. Source: TCM
Lee jeans and bell-bottoms may have been sold at local stores like the Ewing Bazaar. Ad from the Rider News (Rider College), 1974.


  1. Lee jeans and jackets were sold at a reasonable price at a place, possible distribution center, off or near Spruce Street in Ewing, NJ, around the 1980’s. What was the name and address of the company?

    1. Was the Ewing Bazaar where the MedExpress Building is now on North Olden Ave.? I added a copy of an 1974 advertisement for that store to the post.

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