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Rudolf Dassler

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Rudolf Dassler
Born(1898-03-26)26 March 1898
Died27 October 1974(1974-10-27) (aged 76)
OccupationFounder of Puma
Political partyNazi Party (former member)
PartnerFriedl Dassler
RelativesAdolf Dassler (brother)

Rudolf "Rudi" Dassler (26 March 1898 – 27 October 1974) was a German cobbler, inventor, member of the Nazi party, businessman and founder of sportswear company Puma.

He was the older brother of Adidas founder, Adolf "Adi" Dassler. The brothers were partners in a shoe company Adolf started, "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" (German for 'Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory'). Rudolf joined in 1924. However, after a feud developed between them following World War II, the brothers went separate ways and started their respective companies in 1948.[1]

Initially calling the new company "Ruda" (a portmanteau for Rudolf Dassler), it was soon changed to its present name of Puma.[2] Puma is the Quechua word for cougar; from there, it went into German as well as other languages.[3][4]


After his return from World War I, Adolf Dassler, Rudolf's younger brother, started to produce sports shoes in his mother's kitchen. 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).

With the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, both Dassler brothers joined the Nazi Party, with Rudolf reputed as being the more ardent Nazi.[5]

During the war, a growing rift between the pair reached a breaking point after an Allied bomb attack in 1943 when Adi and his wife climbed into a bomb shelter that Rudolf and his family were already in: "The dirty bastards are back again," Adi said, apparently referring to the Allied war planes, but Rudolf was convinced his brother meant him and his family.[6] Rudolf, upon his capture by American troops, was suspected of being a member of the SS, information Rudolf assumed was allegedly supplied by Adolf.[7]

Under his direction, Puma remained a small provincial company. Only under the direction of his son, Armin Dassler, did it become the worldwide known company it remains today.[8][9]


Rudi Dassler died on 27 October 1974 of lung cancer at the age of 76.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carbone, Nick (2011-08-23). "Adidas vs. Puma – Top 10 Family Feuds – TIME". Content.time.com. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  2. ^ John Underwood (1969-03-10). "The leading sports shoemakers in the world are the German – 03.10.69 – SI Vault". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  3. ^ "Adidas versus Puma: Origins of a rivalry between brothers". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  4. ^ Esterl, Mike (2008-03-21). "A Run for Their Money - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  5. ^ Kirschbaum, Erik (2005-11-08). "How Adidas and Puma were born". The Journal. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  6. ^ Akhtar, Omar (2013-03-22). "The hatred and bitterness behind two of the world's most popular brands". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  7. ^ James, Kyle (2006-07-03). "The town that sibling rivalry built, and divided". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  8. ^ Tagliabue, John (1984-09-03). "ADIDAS, THE SPORT SHOE GIANT, IS ADAPTING TO NEW DEMANDS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  9. ^ Tagliabue, John (1981-02-15). "ADIDAS, PUMA: THE BAVARIAN SHOEMAKERS; HERZOGENAURACH, West Germany". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
  10. ^ Adidas and Puma bury the hatchet by Alan Hall on The Telegraph, 21 Sep 2009

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