By  on September 26, 2011

1941: The company is founded in Manhattan as a small, family-run leather goods workshop.

1946: Miles Cahn joins the firm, known as Gail Leather Products.

1950s: Cahn begins running the factory for its owners. Inspired by the soft leather of a baseball glove, he develops a process to make leather supple and flexible yet strong. The Coach brand of sturdy cowhide purses would soon be introduced and become the company’s signature luxury trademark.

1959: The horse-and-carriage logo bows.

1961: Miles and Lillian Cahn buy out the factory’s owners, whose names have been lost with the passage of time.

1961: Coach hires American sportswear pioneer Bonnie Cashin — noted for her use of industrial hardware, leathers and wool — as its first creative director.

1962: Cashin’s first collection of fully coordinated handbags and accessories under the Coach brand, dubbed Cashin-Carry, makes its debut. She innovates with brass toggle hardware on bags, side pockets, colorful leathers and other accessories. She also introduces sportswear pieces under the Coach brand.

1964: The Coach Turnlock is used for the first time on handbags.

1973: The Duffle, which would become a brand hallmark, is introduced.

1974: The Coach lozenge hangtag first appears across the entire line.

1979: Lew Frankfort joins the firm as vice president of business development.

1980: The brand publishes its first catalogue and begins a mail-order business.

1981: Coach opens its first store, a 450-square-foot shop on Madison Avenue and 64th Street in New York.

1985: The Cahns sell Coach to Sara Lee Corp. for a reported $30 million; the brand’s sales are about $19 million at the time. Frankfort takes over as president.

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