ADA — There’s a man in East Granberry, Connecticut, who has been zeroed in on a distinct part of Ada, Ohio, history for the past 15 years.

Brett Lowman is a bona-fide “collector” of baseball mitts from the now defunct Ada O-K Manufacturing Plant.

O-K (short for Ohio-Kentucky) manufactured baseball mitts, boxing gloves, boxing speed bags, footballs, basketballs, and more.

Lowman said that, as far as he knows, – and he moves in a lot of baseball mitt collecting circles – he is the only “serious” collector of mitts from the old Ada company.

He has some 160 O-K items, a majority of them mitts. Lowman said he is particularly drawn to these particular mitts because of the high-quality workmanship and just as high-quality leather.

Lowman said he has paid as much as $400 for one of these mitts.

He explained he gets a lot of them at “auction” on e-bay. But he will also occasionally find one at a flea market, or a garage sale. For him, it’s like finding a “diamond in the rough.”

And speaking of diamonds, Lowman said he grew up playing baseball on the diamonds of nearby Barkensted, Connecticut. And at age 12, his father, who was also a baseball mitt collector, started taking his son with him to sports shows, and such.

What was a bonding experience with father and son, turned into a lifelong “hobby” for Brett. That hobby, incidentally, also includes collecting old baseball mitts manufactured in the New England states.

Lowman said that while he doesn’t sell the O-K items, he does, indeed, sell some of the New England mitts. He said those sales help pay for his overall hobby.

When not engaged in his hobby, Lowman is a Library Media Technologist in the East Granberry School System. He’s also married.

On a trip back to Illinois — Lowman’s wife’s home state — in the summer of 2007, Lowman “swung down and stopped in Ada.” He went directly to the Wilson Factory (which was formerly the O-K Manufacturing Plant), but it was Sunday and the plant was closed.

Lowman, nonetheless, then went into downtown Ada to take in the sights. He said that he experienced Ada as your typical, “old-school,” quintessential American town.

Not unlike, coincidentally, how he sees the old Ada O-K Manufacturing mitts.