View Full Version : Hats off to Optimo....
05-14-2004, 09:33 AM
literally...to be cleaned and reconditioned...except the Optimo...it is fine, fine, fine.
The Borsalino I picked up off of eBay a few months ago. It is the softest felt I've ever seen and is as light as a cloud. From the '30s or '40s.
Mac Lachlan on eBay (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4146173609&category=52369&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBWN%3AIT&rd=1)
I just got this off of ebay and I'd guess it is 1930s or 1940s and I'm guessing it is pure beaver. I'm going to have Optimo style it as a Widmark if possible.
For you Western Fans...the Charlie One Horse was purchased in the 1970s before he was sold to DP. The hat has been on many of hunting trips and the liner has been gone for many years. The hat needs to be resized, lined, and cleaned. When I bought it it was styled to look old with sweat marks, etc. It is an original.
This is my Indiana Jones Optimo from the 2000s. It is my favorite hat of the modern felts. It may not be a pure beaver FEDORA, but my head is GLAD when I have it on.
05-14-2004, 09:43 AM
and I'm guessing it is pure beaver.
Probably not. From what I can tell, "pure beaver"(or something comparable) would be noted on the hat-somewhere, as it was always a selling point. Bragging rights, you might say. In fact, if there was beaver in the hat at all, it would probably say so. Just like the gold content on a piece of jewelry. :D Fedora
05-14-2004, 09:50 AM
You are the expert...any other opinions out there?
05-14-2004, 10:42 AM
Andykev has two Maclaughlins, one is a Silver Beaver 50, and he says they're the finest felts he's ever held. He may know more about your hat.
05-14-2004, 01:41 PM
My MacLaughlan's are both Silver Beaver 50's. One Gray, the other buttery Chocolate brown. One has bound edge (gray) and the other welted (brown).
Zohar is correct, I have NOT seen better tighter felt. These are considered "heavy weight", but thinner than Optimo's version.
05-14-2004, 01:57 PM
Does your Mac Lachlan say pure beaver anywhere inside??
05-14-2004, 02:12 PM
My MacLaughlan's are both Silver Beaver 50's. One Gray, the other buttery Chocolate brown.
Andykev, do you know what the "50" means? I can think of two meanings, using other vintage hats as a reference. It could mean 50 per cent beaver, or it may refer to the cost of the hat, i.e., 50 bucks(a high dollar hat back in the day). As we all know, the original Stetson "X" system denoted beaver content, along with price. 3x equaled 30 bucks.......ending in the 10 x which was 100 per cent beaver felt and cost 100 bucks. I am assuming that the 3 x was roughly 30 per cent beaver fur in the blend, and the 5x being 50 per cent. That may not be the case, as the Stetson book is not really clear on this point. It alludes to it, I think. I do know from shopping for vintage hats, that other companies used the "x" system as well, although I do not know if it ran parallel with the meaning that Stetson gave it. Stetson and others used the term "Clear Beaver" and Clear Nutria" to denote a pure felt. I don't know if this preceded the "x" system, or was used at the same time. I look forward to some more info on all of this. Interesting stuff. Fedora
05-14-2004, 08:53 PM
Been round and round with this one...and I am SURE it is the price $50....and these are late 30 or early 40's. So Steve is right, a whopping sum in those days (what, $1000 in todays' dollars?)
It COULD, but how do I know, mean that the "silver beaver" is 50% and regular beaver the balance. Silver beaver was supposed to be the finest part. Choice fur.
All I know, is the hats are extremely tight, smooth, and spectacular. I in all sincerity have not seen better felt. I have seen nicer hats, better finished and lighter weight. Art had a beautiful Borasalino...so I must say my Silver Beaver's are not necessarily the best. And I would love to see the beaver Charlie made and sent Fedora. Sure would be nice. Unfortunately, the felt available today vs vintage is like comparing modern quality furniture to antique masterpieces....
05-15-2004, 01:24 AM
That Borsalino is a real beauty. Not that this means anything...but I have a Borsalino, same color, same liner...looks like the same hat. And it's definitely the finest felt of any hat I've ever examined, Optimo included.
By the way, a related question: Knox and Stetson both had their "Knox Twenty" and "Stetson Twenty" lines; I have one of each. I also have a "Mallory Twenty." On all of my "Twenty" hats, the logo on the liner is the same as each company's regular logo, except that it's all in gold. Is this a trend amongst "Twenty" hats, and, if so, does it mean our Borsalinos are "Borsalino Twenty" hats? You would think it would say...but I have four or five vintage Borsalinos, and only one with a gold logo...and that's the nicest felt you could ask for.
05-15-2004, 09:25 PM
A few years back when I bought my Cavanagh 100, I e-mailed Peters Bros. and asked Joe Jr. what the 100 stood for, the beaver content or the price. His answer was the original price of the hat. I recently bought a Stetson 25 and sure enough, under the sweatband was the price tag of $25.00. If you think about it this would make more sense than it being the beaver content. I would think that back in the 30s and 40s the beaver content would be higher than 20% in most of the nice fedora's. A number of the vintage Royal Stetson's I've bought still had a price of $10.00 under the sweatband. So one that was $20.00 or higher would be considered quite an upgrade. This is just speculation, of course, but most of the vintage Stetson hat ads that I bought from 1937 said that they started at $5.00 for the air-light, and the lined ones started at $7.50 and went up to $40.00. How much is $40.00 from 1937 amount to in today's money?
05-16-2004, 05:58 AM
Paying $40 in 1937 is akin paying $511 for a hat today. according to NASA's inflation calculator here:
The $5 hat would be $63 today, and the $7.50 hat would be around $100 today.
That is a great link. Thanks for sharing that one.
05-16-2004, 06:30 AM
Gosh. Going by that table, the 500 bucks I paid for the belly beaver hat turns out to be the best bargain that I have ever got! The 100 bucks paid for a 10x Stetson back then is equal to over 1300 bucks in todays money. Wow. Fedora
Hey SHARPETOYS. I just saw the photo that you posted at COW wearing your Optimo. You should share it here with the guys. You did a fine job bashing it.
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