Rudolf Dassler (26 March 1898 in Herzogenaurach, (Germany) - 27 October 1974 in Herzogenaurach) was the German founder of the sportswear company Puma and the older brother of Adidas founder, Adolf "Adi" Dassler. The brothers were partners in a shoe company Adi started, Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). Rudi joined in 1924, however the brothers became rivals following World War II and started their own companies in 1948.
Christoph von Wilhelm Dassler was a worker in a shoe factory, while his wife Pauline ran a small laundry in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, 20 km (12.4 mi) from the city of Nuremberg. After leaving school, their son, Rudolf Dassler, joined his father at the shoe factory.
Rudolf went to Herzogenaurach in 1924 to join his younger brother, Adolf, nicknamed "Adi", who had founded his own shoe factory. The pair started their venture in their mother's laundry. At the time, electricity supplies in the town were unreliable, and the brothers sometimes had to use pedal power from a stationary bicycle to run their equipment.
Adolf Dassler started to produce sports shoes in his mother's wash kitchen after his return from World War I. His father, Christoph, who worked in a shoe factory, and the brothers Zehlein, who produced the handmade spikes for track shoes in their blacksmith's shop, supported Adolf in starting his own business. In 1924, Rudolf joined the business, which became the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). Rudolf was affectionately known as 'Bobby' due to the fact that this was the only sound that he could make for the first three years of his life
Adi drove from Bavaria to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin with a suitcase full of spikes and persuaded United States sprinter Jesse Owens to use them, the first sponsorship for an African American. Owens won four gold medals. Business boomed; the Dasslers were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes annually before World War II.
Puma SE (officially branded as PUMA) is a major German multinational company that produces athletic and casual footwear, as well as sportswear, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, Germany. The company was formed in 1924 as Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik by Adolf and Rudolf Dassler. The relationship between the two brothers deteriorated until the two agreed to split in 1948, forming two separate entities, Adidas and Puma. Both companies are currently based in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
Puma makes football shoes and has sponsored a number of footballers, including Pelé, Eusébio, Johan Cruijff, Enzo Francescoli, Diego Maradona,Lothar Matthäus, Kenny Dalglish, Didier Deschamps, Robert Pires, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Radamel Falcao, Sergio Agüero, Cesc Fàbregas, Marco Reus, and Gianluigi Buffon. Puma is the sponsor of the Jamaican track athlete Usain Bolt. In the United States, the company is known for the suede basketball shoe it introduced in 1968, which eventually bore the name of New York Knicks basketball star Walt "Clyde" Frazier, and for its endorsement partnership with Joe Namath.
Following the split from his brother, Rudolf Dassler originally registered the new-established company as Ruda, but later changed to Puma. Puma's earliest logo consisted of a square and beast jumping through a D, which was registered, along with the company's name, in 1948. Puma's shoe designs feature the distinctive "Formstrip", with clothing and other products having the logo printed on them.
The company offers lines of shoes and sports clothing designed by Lamine Kouyate, Amy Garbers, and others. Since 1996 Puma has intensified its activities in the United States. Puma owns 25% of American brand sports clothing maker Logo Athletic, which is licensed by American professional basketball and association football leagues.
After the split; Adolf started his own sportswear company using a name he formed using his nickname—Adi—and the first three letters of his last name—Das—to establish Adidas. Rudolf created a new firm that he called "Ruda", from "Ru" in Rudolf and "Da" in Dassler. Rudolf's company changed its name to Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler in 1948.
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