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Discussion in 'Hats' started by rlk, Jan 8, 2011.
Well, it finally seems to be working.
American Hatter, 1928
I want one of those, and one of those, and, oh, just give me all the homburgs and especially a hat like Jimmy Walker is wearing.
Have any of you seen the bio-pic of Jimmy Walker starring Bob Hope?
Very-very informative. ( There being so little literature of vintage text on hats ) What is especially interesting is the pictures that also illustrate the dimensions of the different hat models.
What is also interesting ( for me anyway ) are the terms and phrases used - long forgotten now. Very educational.
This all goes to show that good hats are where it's at. Especially the felt.
A certain lightweight - heavy felt was available. In shop finishes. The lot.
Basically a guy could walk into the hatter - order his hat from the block - A hat body would be selected and then worked on. A raw or felted edge given - pouncing. The option to have the liner glued or stitched.
This is a very interesting fact that I have learned recently. In the Uk there were a chain of Hatters by the name of Dunn & Co. Who eventually became menswear specialists' also. Some of you may have heard of them, they went bust in the mid-ninties.
They had a model called the hurricane. Which had a standard 2 1/2 brim and 5 1/2 Crown. They mass produced this hat blocked to the store. The customer then picked the hat chose what finishes he wanted in store and then the hat went into the back to be finished. I have a picture of such a room that I will post, called a blocking room - it has a hot bath in the centre with blocking done in various stages around it. The customer would then come back the same day or the morning after and pick up their finished hat.
All of this was of course done by hand as it pre dated the automation of hats in the UK which happened in the late 50's. What I liked abouth this was the walk in aspect of it. The hatter was a real person you spoke to, who had experience and could advise you well face to face. There ARE many members whos knowledge far surpasses mine, but this sort of literature is invaluable.
Well done for posting!!!
Thanks RLK. Very interesting. That tophat looks like the same one pictured in the book, We Crown Them All. Listed as a tophat made by Ezra Mallory in 1823.
I've been reading over these with my morning coffee and find these articles very interesting. I started wearing hats because I got tired of stocking hats for warms and wanted more style (never was a baseball cap wearer).
I like and appreciate the following historic approach regarding the art pieces in the first article:
"Who, for example, would find any asthetic pleasure in looking at the 'Laughing Cavalier' with a bald head, or 'Henry VIII' with a 'brush-back'."
That's a very good point! I would add any of our literary characters that we still read and admired. Since I like detective stories, I might ask, "Who can imagine Poirot without his Homburg or Holmes without his Deerstalker."
Another excellent point:
"To me, there has always been something incongruous about a bearheaded man in cold weather. Clad warmly in fir-trimmed coat, or perhaps entirely in racoon, his head is shrunk and shivering. He needs the ample beaver or the fuzzy felt to give his entire figure symmetry."
A comment which could have been made by Poirot himself.
More on the Rough Finish Hat in NY...
That's fascinating. Finding out about how things were done a long time ago is usually interesting. How pervasive hats were then, and subsequently to be banished from the Earth for a time.
I was encouraged to walk through a Dillard's this Christmas season and see two racks of hats. They were all stingy brims, but I'm pleased to see more young people wearing hats.
Looking-em Over with "Dick"
From page 93:
"'The narrow brim style has already put a hat on many heretofore uncrowned youths.'"
This makes me think of the narrow brims we see on the youth of today.
"'I don't believe a cheap hat will help much.'"
One can hope that the young people wearing narrow brimmed Fedoras today will buy more expensive, quality hats in the future (if they're buying the ones in the discount stores today).
I also found it interesting that they are up against the notion that going hatless is somehow more "healthy." That must have been a very new concept (albeit false) in 1928.
An interesting aspect of these articles is the dating; 1928. Seems that hats were already on the way out long before JFK.
I read on this site that the peak year for hat sales in the United States was 1920. So it was a long slide down to the Kennedy years. But given the ubiquitousness of hats for men for all those years, I think the fashion simply exhausted itself, and I did not mourn the disappearance at the time. It took forty years (I am counting 1965-2005) for hats to be rediscovered in any numbers.