Discussion in 'Hats' started by rlk, Apr 23, 2012.
Note correct historical use of "Fedora"
RLK, I can't see the scan very well, but at the bottom right of the second page, is that a sewn hat; i.e. made of cloth, like what we can find today at Wal-Mart? Or is that truly fur felt? It seems like $0.69 for a fur felt hat, even in '38, would be considerably cheap. Compared to the other hats, this is the cheapest of the "fedora" styles. Any info on this?
Also, I find it quite interesting that the hats we Loungers call "fedoras" are labeled as "Snap Brims", while a Fedora is shown as a hat with a rolled edge and stiff brim similar (if not identical) to a Homburg. Great scans!
Same here, I found that very surprising. It would also be nice to know when the terminology changed for fedora to mean the snap brim styles next to it.
RLK (Robert) did some great research on the exact topic.
Can you locate the thread? I'd be very interested to read more about it, and it's difficult to find the threads related to such info.
Not fur, but I suspect somewhat better than Wal-Marts current offerings:
Go here: Fedoras19thCentury
I have to say, this ad is REALLY interesting. It dates from 1938, but I was really surprised to see the dimensions of the hats. On the top row, all the snap brim hats had a 5 5/8 inch crown (fifth ave crown, whatever that means). The "Wide" brim only measured at 2 1/2, the "short" brim measured at 2 1/8 and "America's standard" was the 2 1/4 inch brim. These dimensions seem to nod to the earlier part of the 30's and late 20's. The homburg has a 5 3/4 full crown and a 2 1/2 inch brim. I always thought that by 38/39, the hat styles had already started to look like the hats from the 40's. I thought that by 38/39 the brim were already anywhere from 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 and the crowns were about 5 1/2 inches tall.
I wouldn't expect Sears to be cutting edge but rather a more average view of what was being worn. However, I find the dimensions consistent with those in The American Hatter of '38, which in fact featured Alpine Styles. Remember those late 30's Air-Light Whippets and Playboys had narrower brims than the 40's models.
Thanks, man! Great info!
That's VERY true, Robert. I didn't even think of it that way. I do have a late 30's Playboy with a 2 1/4 inch brim. I would imagine even when Stetson was starting to introduce the cutting edge stuff with wider brims and more shaped/lower crowns, they were still producing the hats that people were used to and probably liked with the 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 inch brims. As we have discussed before, its pretty remarkable how quickly those alpine styles died out at the end of 39'. Possibly due to the fact that alpine styles used shorter brims and taller crowns, people took to the larger brims in general after 39 because of the anti-german sentiment in this country at that time. Maybe they just wanted something so dramatically different from alpine styles.
If the Alpine styles went it away it was only temporary (due to import problems) because you see them in the late 40s early 1950s.
I can most definitely imagine there were import problems for the German/Austrian made hat bodies, but if Stetson was making their own felt bodies for Alpine styled hats, wouldn't the halt on production imply another factor besides supply?
The Rich "Ramie" hair mixture?
If Alpine hats were associated with Germany it's no wonder they went out of fashion during the war.
As for changing styles.. maybe the reason Sears could offer such bargains is that they bought a large lot of hats cheap as they were going out of fashion. The hat makers wanted to clear out obsolete stock while it was still saleable.
Yep, sorry, my work computer is quite inconsistent with which pictures it shows and which ones it blocks, haha. Just saw the close up of the sewn hat.
Perhaps this should put to rest the argument of "those nasty Wal-Mart trilbies these darn kids keep wearing"?
I agree this appears to be a much higher quality than what is now offered at department stores. Current hats are typically cotton or cotton/poly blends with cloth sweatbands. This has a liner, leather sweatband and is a wool/cotton blend. It's very similar to those wool trilbies Sears was selling in the 70's (of which I can't seem to find a good picture). Honestly, I kinda like these little guys - and they were cheap!
Sears was a huge retailer(+ mail order) that had products made specifically for them by major manufacturers not a reseller of seasonal leftovers like some of today's stores.
Wartime simplified the range of offerings because of material shortages and production capacity diverted for military requirements in addition to any cultural associations.
Sears Hats Fall/Winter 1929-30
Note the high inflation of the mid-late 20's.
More on the early radio station WLS-still on the air: http://www.wlshistory.com/WLS20/
Josh, I should have added "also" but they were sporting hats so not sure of the overall style impact.
I do like that "Columbia" style quite a bit.
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