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Vintage Fedoras by Decade

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Dinerman, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    A rough guide for dating vintage fedoras.

    Remember- details varied manufacturer to manufacturer, price point to price point, and country to country.

    Having a hat with stylistic elements that are common from a particular decade does not necessarily mean that your hat is from that decade. For example, a feathered trailing bow edge is common on hats from the '20s and '30s, but you'll see it on Cavanagh hats through the '60s. Unreeded sweatbands were common on earlier manufacture hats, as were taped sweatband seams- but you still see these details show up much much later, again, depending on manufacturer, price point, model, and country of manufacture.

    So don't take anything in this guide as a hard and fast rule, but hopefully it will be useful as a start towards further research.

    THE 1920s

    Sweatbands - You see a lot of variation in the sweatbands found in early hats. Some companies were using reeded sweatbands, others were using unreeded. In general, you see wide embossing at the top of the sweatband. Sweatbands from the 1920s-early 1930s period are generally wider than later sweatbands. Stitching is generally closer spaced than on later hats. Sweatband embossing is usually intricate, deep, and highly detailed, though this is not always the case.

    For reference, here are photos of hats dating from the c.1920s period. There may be some overlap to the early 1930s, as things change gradually and there are generally not industry-wide immediate changes made in materials or processes.

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    Genuine Velour. Note unreeded sweatband and sweatband texture.

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    Marshall Field. Note reeded sweatband and blind embossing.

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    Mallory dated 1923. Unreeded. Blind embossed logo.

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    Stetson. Incredibly detailed embossing. Reeded sweatband.

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    Stetson. Note sweatband texture and high level of quality of embossing.

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    Stetson. Blind embossed. High level of detail.

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    Solferino. Italian hat. Unreeded
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  2. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1920s

    Common Ribbon Styles

    Wider ribbons on soft hats seem to have been dominant, though you do see narrower ribboned hats as well. The intensionally frayed trailing edge of the bow was popular, but not universal. Twisted bow knots were also common, but also, not universal by a long shot.

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  3. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1920s
    You see a mix of reeded and unreeded sweatbands. You see a mix of stitched and taped sweatband seams. You see fancy detailing on some liners- pleats, ruffles, but not across the board (and you do see see these details on later hats as well, depending on manufacturer and price point). As with sweatband imprints, generally on these earlier hats, the quality of the imprint is of higher quality than on later hats.

    Liners
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    Note taped seam of sweatband and sticker size tag. High level of detail to liner logo. Fancy detailing to seams.

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    Sewn sweatband seam. Reeded Sweatband. Gray leather sweatband. High level of detail to liner logo. Pleated detailing.

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    Unreeded sweatband. Sticker size tag. High level of detail to liner logo.

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    Unreeded sweatband, sewn sweatband seam

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    Embroidered.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  4. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1920s

    Exterior Styles. You see a lot of high, straight sided crowns and deep creases, pushing the front and back out, creating a "reverse taper" when viewed from the side. Long napped finishes were common, as was the transitional fedora/homburg hybrid soft hat, with an overwelt brim edge and flanging somewhere between the two as we think of them now.

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  5. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1930s

    Sweatbands
    Sweatbands are still wide. Early in the decade, the widely spaced large or intricate embossing at the top edge of the sweatband is still present, later in the decade the embossed line begins to get smaller. Unreeded sweatbands are more common on 1930s hats than on later ones, though they do still pop up, and some manufacturers or different models were using unreeded sweatbands in this timeframe. It is more common to see a taped back sweatband seam on hats from the 1920s and 1930s hats(no stitching- taped from behind), though many were stitched. Brown is the predominant color of sweatband leather, though there is still variation. Sweatbands are generally not made from leather with as much texture as you see on earlier hats.

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    Out of the ordinary sweatband colors shouldn't throw you, though.
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  6. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1930s

    Brim Flanging and crown shape. Straight sided crowns are a hallmark of 1930s hats. The mostly flat brim was common.

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    But it was not the only style available. This Knox, for instance, has a heavily curled brim, especially in the back
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  7. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    The 1930s

    Ribbons
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  8. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    The 1930s

    Liners

    Liners still had a great level of detail in the logo printing. They did not have the plastic protectors found on later hats.
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  9. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1940s
    Wide brims are more common. The short brim/tall crown combo of the 1930s had all but disappeared. Tall crowns with little taper are still the most common.

    Exterior
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  10. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Sweatbands
    Though unreeded sweatbands are still around, especially on hats made in the early part of the decade, and by smaller makers, reeded sweatbands are the most common.
    Brown is the color of the decade, though, as always, from maker to maker, there is variation in color and texture.

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    Early 1940s Stetson
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  11. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    1940s Liners

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  12. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    The 1950s

    Brims started getting skinnier as the decade progressed. Crowns started becoming more tapered and shorter. Towards the end of the decade, "stingy brim" hats started appearing, which will be discussed more in the 1960s section. Remember that none of these changes occurred with the change in decade, that it was a fluid change over the years. Some manufacturers held on to older styles for longer, and a manufacturer would probably be producing hats for a younger market and a more conservative market at the same time.

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  13. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Sweatbands

    Sweatbands start to narrow. Reeded Sweatbands are found on the majority of hats. Brown is still the color of the decade.
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  14. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    LINERS

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  15. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    THE 1960s

    For the most part, brims shank down to somewhere in the 2 inch region, though in some cases it was much less. You do see hats with brims greater than 2-1/4", but they are not the majority they once were. Ribbons grew proportionately wider. Crowns lowered and tapered.
    The welt edge seems to have overtaken other edge finishes.

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    Extreme Stingy brim
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    More conservative style.
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  16. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Sweatbands

    Black overtook brown as the sweatband color of choice. The leather of the sweatband narrowed.

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  17. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Liners
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  18. Chepstow

    Chepstow I'll Lock Up

    Dinerman, Excellent documentation. Very interesting. Thanks for posting it.
     
  19. Aureliano

    Aureliano I'll Lock Up

    Great thread, Spencer. Thanks for documenting all this information.
     
  20. This is great. Needs to be stickied. Thanks for the hard work in setting it up.
     

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