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Books About 20th Century Men's Hats?

Messages
17,194
Location
Maryland
Karl Schulpig, THE HAT, Ten Original Woodcuts, Introduction By Walter F. Schubert, Autumn 1925. I was very lucky to find this back in 2016. "The images of this solution are from studies one of the largest hat factories "Berlin - Carl Goldfchmidt Hat Factory AG in Luckenwalde" of famous painter and graphic artist Karl Schulpig, - has drawn and later cut himself in wood."

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Hair Hat Fabrication (One of the the signed original Woodcut Prints)

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Karl Schulpig, THE HAT, Ten Original Woodcuts, Introduction By Walter F. Schubert, Autumn 1925. The translated text plus original Woodcut prints.
 
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Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
Hatless Jack
Neil Steinberg (Author)

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Paperback – 368 pages
Plume November 30, 2004

I'm sure many of you are familiar with this book but I'll add it to this thread anyway. Steinberg uses the myth of Kennedy not wearing a hat to his inauguration as a starting point for a well researched and documented overview of the hat industry, it's modern history and its sociological meaning in the 20th century. It's a wonderful book and deserves a place on the shelf of any hat collector. Not many illustrations or pictures, but a great read. Still in print and highly recommended.
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
Mr. Lock of St. James's Street: His continuing life and changing times
Frank Whitbourn

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Hardcover 194 pages
Heinemann 1971

Very much a family history and a history of the St James's Street location as it is a history of the famous hatter. The book is well informed, which is no surprise really, becaue Whitbourn is in fact a descendant of the original Lock. Lock&Co have a very long history, so there is plenty to tell, so if you can get your hands on a copy it's well worth it.
Recommended.
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
I thought I had posted this one on here, but apparently I haven't, so here it is.

Borsalino
Guido Barberis (author)

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Hardcover 528 pages
iGrafismi Boccassi Editore 2007

For those interested in everything Borsalino, this is your book. It follows the history of the company in great detail from its founding in 1857 up until its relocation in 1983. The emphasis is not in the product itself, but on the compnay and the men who were in charge of it: Giuseppe Borsalino, his son Teresio Borsalino and finally their nephew Teresio Usuelli.
I have made a translation of this book (well, google did), because it is in Italian. It is a very interesting read and I will freely admit I have gained a considerable amount of admiration for Teresio Borsalino, who provided the rock solid basis for a company that likely has survived to this day because of that. Barberis is not a very accessible writer. He has a tendency to string sentences together with sidetracks and asides into a long and winding maze of words in which he himself sometimes gets lost. And it also seems he starts every other sentence with “In ogni caso..”, “In fatto...” or “Tuttavia..” The photo's and illustration help a good deal to alleviate that.
That being said, Barberis knows his subject very well and has spent some serious amount of time getting to know the company inside and out (if that is even possible, because much of its archives are still scattered). What emerges is a clear picture of what we already knew, namely that Borsalino is a company dedicated both to quality (to a fault) and domination of the hat market(s). A running thread which we also already knew from other books is the more or less constant battle between the workers and the company (not just Borsalino, but all of the manufacturers) about wages and working conditions. Another thread in the history of the company is the constant battles it faced dealing with trade restrictions, import tariffs and the like, which made business extremely difficult for them, relying on exports for half to two thirds of their trade.
The battle between the two Borsalinos gets a good deal of attention as well.
There is a vast amount of detail in this book on how the company and its people operated. It is kind of remarkable though that both this book and the “Omaggio al cappello – La Borsalino di Teresio Usuelli” both concentrate on the company and the family and not on the hats, so the riddle of the model names doesn't get solved;)
Highly recommended. The book is findable at decent prices.
If you're interested in the translation, just let me know in a PM.
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
I mentioned the other Borsalino book in the posting above and I think I listed it here before without knowing much of its contents. Having done a translation of the Barberis book I did this one as well, just to see if there was anything new of interest to be found.

Omaggio al cappello - La Borsalino di Teresio Usuelli
Vanni Scheiwiller/Giovanna Usuelli-Raisini

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There isn't. The book isn't exactly clear about who wrote it, but basically it is the same as the "Borsalino" book by Guido Barberis, posted above, except that it just focuses on the the period when Teresio Usuelli was in charge of the factory (and brand). So it is more or less a copy/paste exercise of the chapters concerning him from the previous book. That being said it does have a lot of pictures that were not in the other book.
Have I found out anything new? No. If you're interested in the full story of Borsalino up until 1983, go for the other book. Is this still worthwhile? Sure.
Shoot me a PM if you're interested in the translation (flawed as it may be).
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
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I’ve posted this book before, but had to admit I had not read it, since it’s written in Italian. After finishing the translations of both Borsalino books, I decided to have a go at this one as well. Quite a bit of text and quite a few pages with only some pictures in the appendix, so it took me quite a while. It is an interesting read fors ome aspects of the history of Italian hat manufacture. As seems to be the case with most books about the Italian hatters a good deal of the story revolves around the role the hatters, more specifically the workers in the hat facturies, played in the history of the unions and the modernisation of relations between employers and employees and also between employees among themselves. This book especially dedicates a good deal of its pages relating that story in an overkill of detail.

Where it does add to the canon though is in telling the story of the mechanisation and industrialisation of the hat industry, gradually pushing out the skilled artisanal and journeyman hatters of old and replacing them with unskilled (and much cheaper) unskilled machine operators.
Noteworthy too is the scale of the woolfelt hat factories compared to the Italian hat Royalty Borsalino that factories like Cambiaghi, Albertini, Grosso&Valtz and quite a few others, predominantly in the Monza area, which is more or less lost in time. More entrepeneurs than hatters, they jumped on the bandwagon of seemingly unlimited growth for the hat industry at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. They produced numbers that massively exceeded the production of the “antica casa”, no small factory in itself, flooding the market with cheap hats and cloches, few of which survive. Interesting to note that the factories that concentrated on high end fur felt hats; Panizza, Barbisio, Borsalino, survived far longer than any of the woolfelt giants of the day.

In the post below Daniele @Daniele Tanto already pointed out the basics of the book.
https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/books-about-20th-century-mens-hats.107455/post-2911327

PM me if you're interested in the translation.
 

GHT

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,252
Location
New Forest
Hatless Jack
Neil Steinberg (Author)

View attachment 420690
Paperback – 368 pages
Plume November 30, 2004

I'm sure many of you are familiar with this book but I'll add it to this thread anyway. Steinberg uses the myth of Kennedy not wearing a hat to his inauguration as a starting point for a well researched and documented overview of the hat industry, it's modern history and its sociological meaning in the 20th century. It's a wonderful book and deserves a place on the shelf of any hat collector. Not many illustrations or pictures, but a great read. Still in print and highly recommended.
Hatless Jack was a book on the book trolley when I was in hospital undergoing hip replacement surgery about a year before the Covid lockdown. The book's precis reads:

Just a generation or two ago, a man's social status, if not his very masculinity, was defined by his hat. For centuries, men owned hats for all seasons and occasions. But in the 1960s, the male hat became obsolete. Just as women shed their white gloves for the sexual revolution, men cast aside centuries of tradition and stopped wearing hats.
The hat's demise has over time been credited to President Kennedy, or "Hatless Jack," due to his reluctance to be photographed wearing a hat for fear it made him look old.

JFK got a bad press with regards to hats, even if he was somewhat vein. Like you say Stefan there's few photos but the president certainly wore a hat to his inauguration.
jfk top hat.jpg
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
Hatless Jack was a book on the book trolley when I was in hospital undergoing hip replacement surgery about a year before the Covid lockdown. The book's precis reads:

Just a generation or two ago, a man's social status, if not his very masculinity, was defined by his hat. For centuries, men owned hats for all seasons and occasions. But in the 1960s, the male hat became obsolete. Just as women shed their white gloves for the sexual revolution, men cast aside centuries of tradition and stopped wearing hats.
The hat's demise has over time been credited to President Kennedy, or "Hatless Jack," due to his reluctance to be photographed wearing a hat for fear it made him look old.

JFK got a bad press with regards to hats, even if he was somewhat vein. Like you say Stefan there's few photos but the president certainly wore a hat to his inauguration.
View attachment 541220
One could argue that the hatted formality of the presidents before him made them look out of step with their constituents and the declining trend of wearing hats that was already going on for decades by then. Lyndon Johnson and his hats (Resistol I believe) were more for PR than anything else.
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
Mr. Lock: hatter to Lord Nelson and his Norfolk neighbours
Kenneth Cliff

mr lock hatter.jpg


Softcover 84 pages
Wendy Webb Books 2000

Being the oldest still existing hat shop in the world there's quite a bit of history to be found in the Lock ledgers. This little publication concerns itself with the relation it had with one of Englands heroes: Lord Nelson. The book is padded out with some details about other Lock customers with some sort of link to Nelson, because as it turns out there isn't that much to say about this particular subject. Nelson seems to have been a size 58 ("size 7 1/8 Full"). "Full" meaning he was leaning towards a size 59. The ledgers show us how many hats he ordered, when and how much he paid for them. Peculiar is that the size of 7 1/8 isn't consistent for the hats he ordered. He wore the hats "athward" which is side to side for us commoners. He later had an eye-shade added to them, because of problems he had with his eyesight. And that's about it really. Very niche subject and the author runs out of steam rather quickly (hence the addition of the neighbours). You can still find a copy, but to be honest: why bother?
 
Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland
"How hats are made" published by GB Borsalino fu Lazzaro
64 pages

Judging by the logos used it was published in 1926 or later. It is only a small booklet, measuring 16,5cm by 13,5cm (6 1/2 by about 5 1/4 inch) but an interesting piece of hat history nonetheless. Depending on the size of your monitor the pics here are bigger than the actual booklet.

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Messages
17,795
Location
Nederland

L'arte del cappello in Valle Cervo​

Sandro Maria Rosso (editor and publisher)

144 pages
1990

arte cappelli valle ceervo.jpg


I posted about this book before (a few posts up). In the meantime I have worked on the translation of it and can tell a little more about its contents.
The main chapters of the book deal with the subject of the hatindustry in the Biella region, the process of hatmaking and the testimonials of the people who worked there. The first subject is dealt with the best and gives us the most information we did not have before. In a nutshell it's the story of the tortoise and the hare. While the other Italian hatmanufacturing regions, Alessandria and Monza, mechanised early on, the Biella hatters resisted the introduction of machines for the longest time. Several factors were involved, but mainly the hatindustry there was a small scale artisanal affair to add some additional income for what was mainly an agricultural population. Not unlike the English cottage-industry in strawmaking in Luton. Basically the money nor the inclination was there to scale up and invest in machinery. When they gradually did merge and focused their efforts towards the end of the 19th century both Barbisio and Cervo managed to carve out a fair marketshare for themselves. Because they were relatively small scale still, they were more flexible and less susceptible to fluctuations in the market and could go on when the larger factories were in trouble.
In the end though Barbisio had to give up in 1980 when there was no longer anyone from the family to carry on. Cervo took over the brand and is now the only remaining factory in the area. Back to being small scale with about 20 workers left.
The book skips on the usual spun out discussions about labour relations we find in other books and gives a lot more attention to the process of the manufacture itself. This is where I struggled with the translation the most. There are a lot of technical terms that are italianised from the original French; it leaves google translate baffled. The glossary that's there only can do so much.
A worthwhile read, heavily illustrated, that deserved to be more in depth as far as I'm concerned.
PM me if you're interested in the translation.
 

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