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Champ fedora and too many brown hats

K.D. Lightner

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Des Moines, IA
I have too many brown hats and I am about to get another. Next month I want to get the ultimate Indy from Fedora.

Here is what else I have:

a Stetson Weekender, in the color "bronzine." I got it because I thought it looked somewhat like an Indy hat. I like the hat band which is a compressed pheasant feather, kinda looks like a hat you'd take on a hike. Can't tell if the sweat band is leather or faux leather -- looks faux to me. Got it in the Village Hat Shop here in SD.

A 1984 Stetson Indiana Jone fedora, color "nugat," quality "Royal." A 7 1/4, but for some reason, it fits my 7 1/8 head. It doesn't look very Indy to me. It is the one hat that does not have a leather sweat band. Got it in a vintage shop here in SD.

A Jaxon Iconoclast, which is 100% fur felt hand made; got it from Village Hat Shop. It look more Indy to me than most Indy hats. Decent leather sweat band.

And, curiously, my favorite is a modest looking Champ fedora I got off ebay. On one side of the sweat band, it says "Champ, Feel the Felt," on the other side it says "Hunts, McAlster, Okla." In the front, it says "KASMIR Finish." It would be the most perfect off all the hats (I assume it is the oldest, and the sweaband is the nicest of the lot), but the brim is slightly shorter than the others -- 2 1/4 inches. Still I think it looks and feels the best.

What do any of you know about Champ? When did they create fedoras, are they still around? What exactly is Kasmir finish?

Thanks, Karol
 
Champ hats. Hmm... They were not exactly the best hat around but they were a midgrade hat that was priced right for the masses. Champ was originally from Sunbury, PA. They were around for quite a while. I can trace them back to the early 40s with their ads but then it gets sketchy. I am sure someone can give you their start date.
They had celebrities advertising for them like Guy Williams in the 1950s. They were not like Lee and Adams though. They sponsored fights and had radio ads with Walter Winchell. Champ was on its own for a while until the hat companies started consolidating. In the 1960s Resistol acquired Hat Corporation of American and had Champ under its collection of labels. I don't see Champ hats around anymore--at least the felt kind. I guess Hat brands or Hatco still owns the label. I have seen baseball caps with Champ labels but I am not sure if they are made by Hatco. If they are then Champ has been reduced to a baseball cap maker's name. :cry:
Champ hats sold for about $7.50 in the 1940s and 50s so it was a fairly inexpensive hat for the time. Adam and Lee were selling for about the same price while Mallory and Stetson were mostly at the $10 buy in point and higher. There was competiton of course so The other companies had to come out with lower priced models but Champ did a pretty good job with what it had to work with.
I have a Champ Feather weight in Kasmir Finish. The felt does feel good. :p It has a ventilated sweatband, crown and ribbon. Kind of an interesting system. The Kasmir finish is just a name for a smooth finish felt hat. Knox called it their Doe Finish, Stetson--Suede finish and Resistol their Kitten Finish. They all had a name for a soft feeling, very smooth and velvety feeling felt. I think it had something to do with the bodies they started with but I could be wrong.

Regards to all,

J
 

scotrace

Head Bartender
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Small Town Ohio, USA
Good Eye

KD, that's a neat collection of browns. BellyTank and I were just saying the other day how you can never have too many brown hats...
 

K.D. Lightner

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Des Moines, IA
Scotrace -- I agree, especially if you are a guy. However, I perceive that, when I finally get my fedora from Fedora, I won't want to wear any other brown hat.

But, I know from lots of posts on earlier threads that some of you have looked long and hard for that elusive perfect Indy hat. I didn't even realize I was looking until I noticed how many brown hats I had. "OK, what's this about?", I had to say to myself.

One thing: each hat is a somewhat different color brown, ranging from a light kind of coco brown (Iconoclast) to a deep brown (Champ). The 1984 Indy hat is the richest brown of the group.

Thanks, James, for the info on Champ. Interesting that it was, as you said, sort of a midgrade hat and yet it feels better than all those newer hats I have.

karol
 

K.D. Lightner

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2,354
Location
Des Moines, IA
I know, I know, James, the concept of "too many" is more like "too many hats, too little time." Back to the Hataholics thread for me....

Scotrace -- I will try to get photos of all those brown hats now that I have a throwaway digital camera. I will have to use all 27 exposures to get 27 shots of my hats, so will have to choose which to include. They will send me a CD.

Here are a couple of the brown hats I purchased from Village Hat Shop:

http://www.villagehatshop.com/product1830.html

http://www.villagehatshop.com/product1655.html

karol
 

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