The R. J. Liebe Athletic Lettering Company began in 1923 in the basement
of a modest St. Louis home. Robert Liebe and his wife
started out with a pair of Singer sewing machines embroidering
letters and sewing them onto athletic jerseys. By 1935
the small business had attracted so much attention that
he signed a contract with Rawlings Sporting Goods to
handle lettering for their uniforms.
The R J. Liebe Athletic Lettering Company did more than just sew letters and
numbers on jerseys. Robert Liebe Sr. created uniform designs
for the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, and for
many colleges and universities as well as for most of
the American Basketball Association. The Liebe Company
now manufactures lettering for nearly all types of sports. Professional basketball, football,
and hockey organizations as well as collegiate, high
school and community teams all proudly wear uniforms
emblazoned with the R. J. Liebe Athletic Lettering Company quality.
Robert Liebe’s son Robert Jr. (Jim) took the reigns
of the company and continued the long-standing tradition
of invention and innovation. He developed and patented
the first fusible high gloss vinyl film (Vinflex) used
for team identity, names and numbers. In layman’s
terms, he made the names and numbers easier to read
on television. The Webster Fabric division of the R. J. Liebe
Athletic Lettering Company invented Poly-Pro Twill, also known as tacklet twill in the industry, which has been the sport
garment industry’s standard of excellence for
more than 35 years.
Jim’s children are Robert III (Jim), Bill, Tracy,
Katie and Tim. Jim III has been involved in the company
since he was in grade school. He worked alongside his
dad and other employees learning the business and how
to manage employees. It was during college that he began
working full time. Bill joined the company after graduating
from college. Bill runs the Webster Fabric division.
Tracey began working part time in the mid 80’s
and started full time in the early 90’s. Tracey
has since quit working to be a stay at home mom. Katy
and Tim are not involved with the company on a regular
Jim (III) and Bill have continued the tradition
that their father and grandfather started. Jim headed
the lettering division until 2015. Bill has taken over for Jim.
Utilizing propietary technology in the operation Lasers and computers
are now used to design and cut lettering instead of
pencils and scissors. The R. J. Liebe Athletic Lettering Company now has well in excess
of 700 employees worldwide. Bill Liebe heads both the R.J. Liebe Athletic Lettering and the Webster Fabric
division. Bill has developed several new fabrics and colors as well as improved on the adhesives used
on the various fabrics. R.J Liebe has the same goal, to make the best lettering, bar none.