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Classic Hat Makers List

mingoslim

Practically Family
Messages
858
Location
Southern Ohio
So . . . Picking up wher the previous thread left off, here is where my research has led, so far . . .

Now the question is, can any of our Hat Aficionados help fill in the details and correct any errors on this myriad of manufacturers? When were they in business? Where did they operate? What kind of quality did they produce? What styles or innovations were they famous for? . . . Are they still making hats!?!?!

Ideally we should distinguish between Hat Makers and Hat Sellers . . . For example, house Brands such as Penney's Marathon should be identified as such, and when possible, the actual manufacturer should be noted . . . For example, in the case of J.C. Penneys’ Marathon, Lee was the manufacturer.

I think we should also distinguish "classic" hat makers from their modern counterparts . . .

Are you all up to the challenge?


Classic Manufacturers:

Adams
The budget brand of the day, Adam none-the-less made a dependable hat, and made sure that they copied the styles of the most popular hat makers . . .

Artel Hats

Bailey
Founded in 1922 by George Bailey, and still in production.

Barbisio
A classic Italian manufacturer, and a competitor of Borsalino. Closed in the 80s.

Bates
Edward Bates Ltd of London was founded on Jermyn Street at the turn of the last century, and remains in business today.

Beaver Brand
Founded in 1860 in St. Louis, Missouri, and based in New Haven, Missouri since 1928, this manufacturer, Formerly known as Gauss-Hunicke and Langenburg Hat Co is still in operation today.

Bee Hats
Originally located on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, but no longer in production as of 2000.

Biltmore
Founded in 1917 and still in operation

Boldt
Washington D.C.

Bond

Borsalino
A classic Italian manufacturer, still doing business today. The company began in 1857, in Alessandria Italy; when Giuseppe Borsalino set up the first artisan workshop for the production of felt hats.
When Giuseppe Borsalino died in 1900, his business employed almost a thousand workers and boasted an annual production of one million hats. By 1913 the company employed more than 2500 workers and reached an annual production of more than 2 million hats with its products reaching every corner of the world.

Bradford

Brent
The “house” brand for Montgomery Wards stores . . .

Brooks Brothers

Buckley

Cavalier

Cavanagh
One of the premiere hat-makers in the 1920s and 30s, Cavanagh remained a premier hat maker through the 1950s, and made excellent hats into the 60s.

The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located: Knox, Crofut & Knapp, and Dobbs.

Dobbs and Cavanagh formed Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1928, and added Crofut & Knapp to the fold in 1929. Hat Corporation of America took over the company in 1932.

Caxton

Cervo
Cervo is fine Italian hatter, and has from time to time been contracted by Borsalino to make their felts and hats.

Champ
Considered a budget to mid-quality brand by many, Champ made a really nice quality hat, and though they were certainly not top-of-the-line, they had a lot of style!

Christy's of London
Founded by Miller Christy in a small courtyard shop off Gracechurch Street in the city of London in 1773, Christy’s is still manufacturing fine quality hats today.

Churchill
A line of fine quality hats, the Churchill line was bought out by Resistol in the 1950s, though Resistol continued to produce hats under that name for quite some time.

Citation

Courtney

Crofut & Knapp
The makers of Knapp Felt Hats in New York City. The company was actually located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Knox, Cavanagh, and Dobbs.

The company merged with Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1929, which was, in turn, taken over by Hat Corporation of America in 1932.

Disney
Founded in 1885 in New York City

Dobbs
One of the premiere hat-makers in the 1930s and 1940s, and still around today. The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Knox, Crofut & Knapp, and Cavanagh.

Dobbs and Cavanagh formed Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1928, and added Crofut & Knapp to the fold in 1929. Hat Corporation of America took over the company in 1932.

Duff

Dunlap
Merged with Knox in 1918, though they continued to make hats under this brand name.

Elis

Empire State

Etchinson
This small North Carolina company traced its origins to 1866 but by the 1940s, they were probably getting their hats made through Lee and finished them out with their liners and sweatbands.

Francato Cappello

Flechet
France.

Foreman & Clark

Gage

Gelot

Guerra
Another very good Italian hat.

P. & C. Habig
Austria.

Hat Corporation of America (HatCo)
Founded in the 1930s by John Cavanagh, whose Park Avenue hat shop was among the most prestigious in the United States.

Hatters Guild

Imperial

Hardeman

Herbert Johnson
British

Knox
One of the premiere hat-makers in the day, along with Dobbs and Cavanagh, Knox positioned their hats as being the best money could buy, and had a knack for exploiting a market with slick advertising.

The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Cavanagh, Crofut & Knapp, and Dobbs.

Knox was bought out by Byer-Rolnick (Resistol) and eventually became part of HatCo in the 1960s.

Kristall

Lamson-Hubbard Co.
Boston.

Langenburg (Lion Hats)
Founded in 1860 Gauss-Hunicke in St. Louis, the Langenburg Hat Co is the forerunner of Beaver Brand hats.

Largomarsino
A South American manufacturer in Argentina, the company, still in business today.

Lee
Located in the hat-making center at Danbury, CT, Lee was probably the most prolific producer of hats for private labelling . . . such as the economic JC Penney (Marathon) line and such; while their own brand ran from mid-grade to fine quality.

James Locke & Co.
British

Lincoln Bennett & Co.
British

Look & Johnson

MacLachlan

Mallory
Owned by the E. A. Mallory Company, Mallory Hats was one of the oldest hat-makers in the United States when the brand was sold to Stetson in 1946.
The Mallory Factory in Danbury, Conneticut, was in production from 1860 until 1969, when it was sold to the Danbury Hat Company which filed for bankruptcy in 1987.

Mayser
Germany.

Kevin McAndrew

Manhattan

Marathon
Made by Lee for J.C. Penney’s.

Melton

Meyer

Montecristi

Monterray

Morfelt

Mossant
The Mossant factory was in Bourg-de-Péage, France, and manufactured some of the finest hats in the early decades of the 20th century. The brand was considered the pinaacle in France and but was also well-known in the United States for most of the twentieth century. The company was founded by Charles Mossant in the nineteenth century, and by 1929 more than 2,000 hats a day were being produced; half of them were directly shipped to the U.S. Hat production ended in 1998.

Optimo

Palco

Panizza
The Panizza Headwear Company is among the oldest companies in Italy, having been manufacturing headwear since 1898.

Peschel

Pedigree

Perfect Hats

Pilgrim

Portis

Puerto Fino
Founded 50 years ago, this South American manufacturer is in Columbia and is still in business today.

Resistol
Founded in Dallas Texas by financier E.R. Byer and hat maker Harry Rolnick in 1927 the firm of Byer-Rolnick produced men's felt hats in Western and Dress stylings, under the newly created brand name "Resistol Hats," meaning to resist-all weather.

Distribution was limited to Texas and Oklahoma early on, but by the late 1930s was nation-wide. Byer-Rolnick was eventually bought by Hatco in the 1960s.

Robert Hall

Rothschild

Royston

Rundle & White
Established in the mid-1800s in Danbury, Conneticut.

Sarnoff

Scala
The brand is now owned by Dorfman-Pacific.

Schoble
Frank Schoble & Co was founded in Pennsylvania in the 1880s.

Scott

Selco
Founded in 1898 in Brooklyn, New York, Selco traced its root back to 1799 and the Italian and Czech firm of Selentino. They manufactured hats into the 1950s, and there is still a Selco store in Brooklyn today.

Stetson, John B.
John Batterson Stetson was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1830. His father, Stephen Stetson, was a successful hatter and taught his children the trade. Stetson developed tuberculosis as a young man, and moved west hoping to recover. He first settled in St. Joseph, Missouri, and later moved west following the Gold Rush to California, before finally returning to Philadelphia to try his hand at the hat manufacturing trade.

Stetson found the eastern hat market difficult, and so turned his attention to the Westerners . . . marketing hats based upon styles he had seen and developed during his own travels. By 1872, he was also marketing dress hats in his own catalog, and by the turn of the twentieth century he had the world's largest hat factory.

Although John Stetson died in 1906, his company followed men's fashions into the twentieth century, manufacturing top hats, bowlers, homburgs, fedoras, and trilbys, as well as straw hats in both western and dress styles.

By the early 1950s, there were fewer dress hat wearers, and Stetson has since focused primarily on their western hats.

Stetson, Stephen
Of New York.

Stevens

Supernatural

Swann

Tilly

Trimble
Located in Orange, New Jersey, the Trimble Hat Company was a popular hat manufacturing company during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Wasicka's
of Cudahy, Wisconsin.

Willoughby

Wormser
Wormser was considered a mid-range hat, though several were just as good as any vintage Stetson or Mallory. They had different levels of quality.
Worth and Worth Founded in 1922.
 

Brad Bowers

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,187
I have some updates/corrections to add:

Dobbs Hats started in 1908 by John Cavanagh. Unable to get Crofut & Knapp products sold in towns around the country due to franchise restrictions, Cavanagh created the Dobbs brand and hired H. Dewitt Dobbs, manager of the Dunlap store, who lent his name to the new line of hats.

Cavanagh Hats started by John Cavanagh in 1928, with an exclusive store at 247 Park Avenue in NYC.

Cavanagh-Dobbs, Inc. formed in 1928 to merge Dobbs, Cavanagh, and Crofut & Knapp. Cavanagh-Dobbs acquired Sunfast Hats, of Danbury, CT in 1928. Acquired F. Berg & Company of Norwalk, CT in 1929.

Knox and Dunlap were merged with Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1932. Originally to be called the General Hat Company, it quickly became the Hat Corporation of America. Hat Corp. was second in size only to John B. Stetson.

The Knox factory was located in Brooklyn, NY, with a store on Fifth Avenue.

Champ was bought out by Hat Corp. in 1956.

By the mid-1950s, Hat Corp. sold their lines in a similarly-tiered manner as the structure of General Motors’ vehicles, with Cavanagh being the Cadillac line, Knox being the Oldsmobile, Dobbs, representing the Buick level, and Champ, the Chevrolet line.


Brad
 

carter

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,921
Location
Corsicana, TX
One more update regarding HATCO:

HATCO currently manufactures the following: Cavanagh, Dobbs, Knox, Mallory, Stetson, and Resistol. Their production facility is located in Garland, TX.
 

Brad Bowers

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,187
mingoslim said:
Hat Corporation of America (HatCo)
Founded in the 1930s by John Cavanagh, whose Park Avenue hat shop was among the most prestigious in the United States.

Thanks to carter's post above, I just noticed this one and need to correct it. Hat Corporation of America and HatCo/HATCO are not one and the same. HATCO is the corporate descendant of Hat Corp., but there is a convoluted history in between the two companies.

Brad
 

carter

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,921
Location
Corsicana, TX
I have taken the liberty of putting all the information we have so far in this thread into an Excel Spreadsheet. This makes it easier to make additions/corrections as they come-up. Here's the first pass.

Classic Manufacturers:

Adams
The budget brand of the day, Adam none-the-less made a dependable hat, and made sure that they copied the styles of the most popular hat makers . . .

Akubra
Australia

Artel Hats

Bailey
Founded in 1922 by George Bailey, and still in production.

Barbisio
A classic Italian manufacturer, and a competitor of Borsalino. Barbisio also was contracted to make Borsalino hats occasionally.Closed in the 80s.

Bates
Edward Bates Ltd of London was founded on Jermyn Street at the turn of the last century, and remains in business today.

Beaver Brand
Founded in 1860 in St. Louis, Missouri, and based in New Haven, Missouri since 1928, this manufacturer, Formerly known as Gauss-Hunicke and Langenburg Hat Co is still in operation today.

Bee Hats
Originally located on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, but no longer in production as of 2000.

Biltmore
Canadaian Company founded in 1917 and still in operation

Boldt
Washington D.C.

Bond

Borsalino
A classic Italian manufacturer, still doing business today. The company began in 1857, in Alessandria Italy; when Giuseppe Borsalino set up the first artisan workshop for the production of felt hats.
When Giuseppe Borsalino died in 1900, his business employed almost a thousand workers and boasted an annual production of one million hats. By 1913 the company employed more than 2500 workers and reached an annual production of more than 2 million hats with its products reaching every corner of the world.

Bradford

Brent
The “house” brand for Montgomery Wards stores . . .

Brooks Brothers

Buckley

Cavalier

Cavanagh
Cavanagh Hats was started by John Cavanagh in 1928, with an exclusive store at 247 Park Avenue in NYC.
One of the premiere hat-makers in the 1920s and 30s, Cavanagh remained a premier hat maker through the 1950s, and made excellent hats into the 60s.
The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located: Knox, Crofut & Knapp, and Dobbs.
Cavanagh introduced the Cavanagh Edge patented 25 February 1913. A second patent, for an improved version of the Cavanagh Edge was granted on May 19, 1931.

Cavanagh-Dobbs, Inc. formed in 1928 to merge Dobbs and Cavanagh. Cavanagh-Dobbs acquired Sunfast Hats, of Danbury, CT in 1928, Crofut & Knapp in 1929 and F. Berg & Company of Norwalk, CT in 1929. Hat Corporation of America bought the company in 1932.

Caxton

Cervo
Cervo is fine Italian hatter, and has from time to time been contracted by Borsalino to make their felts and hats.

Champ
Considered a budget to mid-quality brand by many, Champ made a really nice quality hat, and though they were certainly not top-of-the-line, they had a lot of style! Champ was bought out by Hat Corp. in 1956.

Christy's of London
Founded by Miller Christy in a small courtyard shop off Gracechurch Street in the city of London in 1773, Christy’s is still manufacturing fine quality hats today.

Churchill
A line of fine quality hats, the Churchill line was bought out by Resistol in the 1950s, though Resistol continued to produce hats under that name for quite some time.

Citation

Courtney

Crofut & Knapp
The makers of Knapp Felt Hats in New York City. The company was actually located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Knox, Cavanagh, and Dobbs.
The company merged with Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1929, which was, in turn, taken over by Hat Corporation of America in 1932.

Disney
Founded in 1885 in New York City

Dobbs
Dobbs Hats started in 1908 by John Cavanagh. Unable to get Crofut & Knapp products sold in towns around the country due to franchise restrictions, Cavanagh created the Dobbs brand and hired H. Dewitt Dobbs, manager of the Dunlap store, who lent his name to the new line of hats.
One of the premiere hat-makers in the 1930s and 1940s, and still around today. The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Knox, Crofut & Knapp, and Cavanagh.
Dobbs and Cavanagh formed Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1928, and added Crofut & Knapp to the fold in 1929. Hat Corporation of America took over the company in 1932.

Duff

Dunlap
Merged with Knox in 1918, though they continued to make hats under this brand name.

Elis

Empire State

Etchinson
This small North Carolina company traced its origins to 1866 but by the 1940s, they were probably getting their hats made through Lee and finished them out with their liners and sweatbands.

Francato Cappello

Flechet
France.

Foreman & Clark

Gage

Gelot

Guerra
Another very good Italian hat.

P. & C. Habig
Austria.

Hat Corporation of America (HatCo)
Founded in the 1930s by John Cavanagh, whose Park Avenue hat shop was among the most prestigious in the United States.
Knox and Dunlap were merged with Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1932. Originally to be called the General Hat Company, it quickly became the Hat Corporation of America. Hat Corp. was second in size only to John B. Stetson.
By the mid-1950s, Hat Corp. sold their lines in a similarly-tiered manner as the structure of General Motors’ vehicles, with Cavanagh being the Cadillac line, Knox being the Oldsmobile, Dobbs, representing the Buick level, and Champ, the Chevrolet line.

HATCO is the corporate descendant of HatCo. There is a somewhat convoluted history between the two companies.
HATCO currently manufactures the following: Cavanagh, Dobbs, Knox, Mallory, Stetson, and Resistol. Their production facility is located in Garland, TX.

Hatters Guild

Imperial

Hardeman

Herbert Johnson
British

Huckel
Germany

Knox
One of the premiere hat-makers in the day, along with Dobbs and Cavanagh, Knox positioned their hats as being the best money could buy, and had a knack for exploiting a market with slick advertising.
The Knox factory was located in Brooklyn, NY, with a store on Fifth Avenue.
The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Cavanagh, Crofut & Knapp, and Dobbs.
Knox was bought out by Byer-Rolnick (Resistol) and eventually became part of HatCo in the 1960s.

Kristall

Lamson-Hubbard Co.
Boston.

Langenburg (Lion Hats)
Founded in 1860 Gauss-Hunicke in St. Louis, the Langenburg Hat Co is the forerunner of Beaver Brand hats.

Largomarsino
A South American manufacturer in Argentina, the company, still in business today.

Lee
Located in the hat-making center at Danbury, CT, Lee was probably the most prolific producer of hats for private labelling . . . such as the economic JC Penney (Marathon) line and such; while their own brand ran from mid-grade to fine quality.

James Locke & Co.
British

Lincoln Bennett & Co.
British

Look & Johnson

MacLachlan

Mallory
Owned by the E. A. Mallory Company, Mallory Hats was one of the oldest hat-makers in the United States when the brand was sold to Stetson in 1946.
The Mallory Factory in Danbury, Conneticut, was in production from 1860 until 1969, when it was sold to the Danbury Hat Company which filed for bankruptcy in 1987.

Mayser
Germany.

Kevin McAndrew

Manhattan

Marathon
Made by Lee for J.C. Penney’s.

Melton

Meyer

Montecristi

Monterray

Morfelt

Mossant
The Mossant factory was in Bourg-de-Péage, France, and manufactured some of the finest hats in the early decades of the 20th century. The brand was considered the pinaacle in France and but was also well-known in the United States for most of the twentieth century. The company was founded by Charles Mossant in the nineteenth century, and by 1929 more than 2,000 hats a day were being produced; half of them were directly shipped to the U.S. Mossant produced some hats for Mallory. Hat production ended in 1998.

Optimo

Palco

Panizza
The Panizza Headwear Company is among the oldest companies in Italy, having been manufacturing headwear since 1898.

Peschel

Pedigree

Perfect Hats

Pilgrim

Portis

Puerto Fino
Founded 50 years ago, this South American manufacturer is in Columbia and is still in business today.

Resistol
Founded in Dallas Texas by financier E.R. Byer and hat maker Harry Rolnick in 1927 the firm of Byer-Rolnick produced men's felt hats in Western and Dress stylings, under the newly created brand name "Resistol Hats," meaning to resist-all weather.

Distribution was limited to Texas and Oklahoma early on, but by the late 1930s was nation-wide. Byer-Rolnick was eventually bought by Hatco in the 1960s.

Robert Hall

Rothschild

Royston

Rundle & White
Established in the mid-1800s in Danbury, Conneticut.

Sarnoff

Scala
The brand is now owned by Dorfman-Pacific.

Schoble
Frank Schoble & Co was founded in Pennsylvania in the 1880s.

Scott

Selco
Founded in 1898 in Brooklyn, New York, Selco traced its root back to 1799 and the Italian and Czech firm of Selentino. They manufactured hats into the 1950s, and there is still a Selco store in Brooklyn today.

Stetson, John B.
John Batterson Stetson was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1830. His father, Stephen Stetson, was a successful hatter and taught his children the trade. Stetson developed tuberculosis as a young man, and moved west hoping to recover. He first settled in St. Joseph, Missouri, and later moved west following the Gold Rush to California, before finally returning to Philadelphia to try his hand at the hat manufacturing trade.

Stetson found the eastern hat market difficult, and so turned his attention to the Westerners . . . marketing hats based upon styles he had seen and developed during his own travels. By 1872, he was also marketing dress hats in his own catalog, and by the turn of the twentieth century he had the world's largest hat factory.

Although John Stetson died in 1906, his company followed men's fashions into the twentieth century, manufacturing top hats, bowlers, homburgs, fedoras, and trilbys, as well as straw hats in both western and dress styles.

By the early 1950s, there were fewer dress hat wearers, and Stetson has since focused primarily on their western hats.

Stetson, Stephen
Of New York.

Stevens

Supernatural

Swann

Tilly

Trimble
Located in Orange, New Jersey, the Trimble Hat Company was a popular hat manufacturing company during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Wasicka's
of Cudahy, Wisconsin.

Willoughby

Wormser
Wormser was considered a mid-range hat, though several were just as good as any vintage Stetson or Mallory. They had different levels of quality.

Worth and Worth Founded in 1922.

.
 

Damon Falzone

One of the Regulars
Messages
129
Location
New Jersey, Metro NYC
Here's one that I don't see on your list:

I have a Dalton, New York, fedora, maybe from the '40s, made of "Genuine Beaver".

I know nothing about this company, but this hat is very high quality.

I look on ebay for them, but they are listed very rarely. Anyone have any info on Dalton?
 

johnnyphi

Sponsoring Affiliate
Messages
899
Location
God Bless Texas!
Additional Brand Names...

I have hats with the following brand names that aren't listed above.

- Chesterfield
- Royalist (Hat lining and sweatband say the hats were made in England.)
- MacLane (I'm 99% sure of the spelling, but I'll double check when I start my inventory, next week. It's definitely not MacLachlan.)

Also, the owner of the store told me that Royalist hats were on par with Stetson. He said Lee hats were better than Adam. He didn't really tell me anything about Chesterfield, but the boxes look to be rather old. I noticed that the Chesterfields don't have the high-quality lining that I find in the higher-end hats.

I've got another brand of Italian hats that I don't see listed above, but I can't remember the name off the top of my head.

I'll post photos of each type of hat, as soon as I can... Probably sometime in the next couple of weeks.
 

KObalto

One of the Regulars
Messages
221
Location
Baltimore, MD USA
Tango Yankee said:
I believe he means "Commies" as in Communists, but have no idea as to the connection.

Cheers,
Tom

Retired Cold War Warrior
I believe Matt is saying this with tongue in cheek as they sold to the masses and stole the more elite designs. On the other hand, maybe he's just drinking.;)
 

Duck

Practically Family
Messages
751
Location
Arkansas
Great job, Carter!!:eusa_clap
Yes, this would make a GREAT sticky for the top. Wealth of info for all..
 

mingoslim

Practically Family
Messages
858
Location
Southern Ohio
Great to see the renewed interest . . .

I have been adding to my little database all year, so there are a number of minor additions to the original post from a year ago . . . Particularly I noteced that I have more info on Adam, Champ, Meyser, Habig, Portis and Stephen Stetson, to name a few.

I have also incorporated the new information supplied in the last couple of days, and tried to make sense of the cases where we have conflicting info . . .

There are still a number of "blanks" next to some companies.

In my original post I had noted some of the areas of interest we might look into, such as when were these companies in business? Where did they operate? What kind of quality did they produce? What styles or innovations were they famous for? . . . Are they still making hats!?!?!

Ideally we should distinguish between Hat Makers and Hat Sellers . . . For example, house Brands such as Penney's Marathon should be identified as such, and when possible, the actual manufacturer should be noted . . . in the case of J.C. Penneys’ Marathon, Lee was the manufacturer through much of that line's history.

This is where I currently stand . . .

Adam
Adam Hats of Fifth Avenue were produced by Miller Brothers as the budget brand of the day. None-the-less, the brand was very popular in the 1940s and 50s. One reason for that popularity was that Adam made a dependable hat afor considerably less the the “big name” makers. They also made sure that they copied the styles of the most popular hat makers . . . and the “elite” models of the company, the Executive and the Aristocrat, were of a quality that could compete with Stetson, Knox and company..

They had a famous radio slogan "I love my man who wears an Adam Hat".

F. Agnew Jr. Hat Com.
Huntington, WV.

Artel Hats

Bailey

Founded in 1922 by George Bailey, and still in production.

Barbisio
Founded in 1862, Barbisio was a classic Italian manufacturer in the Cervo Valley, and a competitor of Borsalino. The company began exporting worldwide in the 1930s and continued to produce quality hats today.

Bates
Edward Bates Ltd of London was founded on Jermyn Street at the turn of the last century, and remains in business today.

Beaver Brand
Founded in 1860 in St. Louis, Missouri, and based in New Haven, Missouri since 1928, this manufacturer, Formerly known as Gauss-Hunicke and Langenburg Hat Co is still in operation today.

Bee Hats
A small family run firm, founded in 1926 and originally located on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, the company is no longer producing fine hats as of 2000.

F. Berg and Co.
At the turn of the last century, the F. Berg hat factory complex was the most productive of the 34 firms manufacturing hats in Essex County New Jersey, which was the hat-making capital of the world between 1870 and World War I. The area had 21 hat-making companies by 1892, and 35 by 1900. Hat making began to decline in the 1920s, and the Berg company moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, where it was primarily a finisher, producing hats for high-end retailers such as Finchley’s in New York.

Biltmore
Founded in 1917 and still in operation

Boldt
of Washington D.C.

Bond

Borsalino

A classic Italian manufacturer, still doing business today. The company began in 1857, in Alessandria Italy; when Giuseppe Borsalino set up the first artisan workshop for the production of felt hats.
When Giuseppe Borsalino died in 1900, his business employed almost a thousand workers and boasted an annual production of one million hats. By 1913 the company employed more than 2500 workers and reached an annual production of more than 2 million hats with its products reaching every corner of the world.

Bradford

Brent

The “house” brand for Montgomery Wards stores . . .

Brooks Brothers

Buckley

Cavalier

Cavanagh

Cavanagh Hats started by John Cavanagh in the 1920s, with an exclusive store at 247 Park Avenue in New York City. The company was one of the premiere hat-makers in the 1920s and 30s, and Cavanagh remained a premier hat maker through the 1950s, and made excellent hats into the 60s.

The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located: Knox, Crofut & Knapp, and Dobbs.

Dobbs and Cavanagh formed Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1928, and Cavanagh-Dobbs acquired Sunfast Hats, of Danbury, CT later that year. The company added F. Berg & Company of Norwalk, CT and Crofut & Knapp to the fold in 1929. Hat Corporation of America took over the company in 1932.

Caxton

Cervo

Founded in 1897, Cappellificio Cervo is fine Italian hatter, located in Sagliano Micca, Italy, at the foot of the Alps. During the late nineteenth century, the Cervo valley was home to more than 30 hat factories.

The company is still in business, making fine quality hats, has from time to time been contracted by Borsalino to make their felts and hats.

Champ

Champ was originally from Sunbury, PA, and were distributed nationally from at least the 1940s.

Considered a budget to mid-quality brand, Champ made a really nice quality hat, and they had a lot of style! Champ hats sold for about $7.50 in the 1940s and 50s, on par with the products of Adam and Lee, while Knox, Mallory and Stetson started in the $10 range.

In the 1950s Champ used celebrities in advertising, such as Guy Williams. They also sponsored fights and had radio ads with Walter Winchell.

In the 1956 Resistol acquired Champ, and had it under its collection of labels when it merged with the Hat Corporation of America.

Chesterfield

Christy's of London

Founded by Miller Christy in a small courtyard shop off Gracechurch Street in the city of London in 1773, Christy’s is still manufacturing fine quality hats today.

The modern Christys' has absorbed or merged with many old hatters firms;. including Lincoln Bennett, Henry Heath, The Chestergate Hat Manufacturing Co., Scott's Ltd., Battersby's, T&W Lee's of Stockport, Moore's and Wilson's of Denton, and, of course, the original Christys'.

Churchill
A line of fine quality hats, the Churchill line was bought out by Resistol in the 1950s, though Resistol continued to produce hats under that name for quite some time.

Citation

Courtney

Crofut & Knapp

Founded by James Henry Knapp in Stamford, Conneticut, and the makers of Knapp Felt Hats in New York City. The company was actually located in Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Knox, Cavanagh, and Dobbs.

The company merged with Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1929, which was, in turn, taken over by Hat Corporation of America in 1932.

Dalton
New York City.

Disney
Founded in 1885 in New York City, during the 1930s and 1940s the Disney Hat Co. was a known for excellent quality and styles that appealed to the younger man, with different colors and ribbon combinations.

Dobbs
One of the premiere hat-makers from the 1920s into the 1940s, and still around today, the Dobbs Hat Company was formed in 1908 by advertising executive Robert Holmes in partnership with John Cavanagh.

The impetus seems to have been that, unable to get Crofut & Knapp products sold in towns around the country due to franchise restrictions, Cavanagh created the Dobbs brand and hired H. Dewitt Dobbs, manager of the Dunlap store, to design a new line. It was Dobbs who lent his name to the new line of hats.

The company was located in Norwalk, CT, where many of high-end hatters were located, including Knox, Crofut & Knapp, and Cavanagh.

Dobbs and Cavanagh Hats merged in 1928 to form Cavanagh-Dobbs Inc., and added Crofut & Knapp to the fold in 1929. Hat Corporation of America took over the company in 1932.

Duff

Dunlap

Robert Dunlap received his first job at the age of 12 in 1857 as a general office boy for Charles Knox of Knox Hats in New York. Soon the boy graduated to the ranks of the hat salesmen, and several years later was still selling Knox hats, his salary having risen to $12 weekly. Ambitious, he asked for $15, and when Knox refused the raise the angry, Dunlap left to start his own business. Thus began the famed Dunlap hat company, founded by a onetime Knox errand boy.

By the late 1890s Dunlap Hats was known for the quality of its high end “formal” hats, such as top hats and bowlers. In deed, Dunlap succeeded in turning out the blackest derbies ever known, the Dunlap hat eventually outsold the Knox in Manhattan. For many a year small hat-makers held up their spring lines until they could see and imitate the Dunlap derby and the Knox felt.

As for Knox-Dunlap competition, both the Knox and the Dunlap businesses declined in the second decade of the 20th century and in 1918 Dunlap was acquired by Knox, though hats under the Dunlap name continued to be produced.

Elis

Empire State

Etchinson

This small North Carolina company traced its origins to 1866 but by the 1940s, they were probably getting their hats made through Lee and finished them out with their liners and sweatbands.

Francato Cappello
A quality hat-maker with product comparable to Borsalino.

Flechet
France.

Foreman & Clark
Foreman & Clark is a chain of men’s clothing stores based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

GH

Gage

Gelot

Guerra

Another very good Italian hat.

P. & C. Habig.

Austrian hat-maker founded by Peter and Carl Habig in Vienna in 1862 and still in production.

Hat Corporation of America
Founded as the General Hat Company in the early 1930s by John Cavanagh, whose Park Avenue hat shop was among the most prestigious in the United States.

In 1932 the company aquired Cavanagh-Dobbs and merged with Knox and Dunlap, becoming the Hat Corporation of America, and one of the leading manufacturers of high-end hats, and second in size only to John B. Stetson.

In the 1950s the Hat Corporation of America merged Byer-Rolnick (Resistol), and through that merger gained ownership to the rights for such brands Kevin McAndrew, Bradford, Churchill, and Champ, as well as its original brands, Knox, Dunlap, Dobbs and Cavanagh.

By the mid-1950s, Hat Corp. sold their lines in a “tiered” manner that was similar to the sales structure of General Motors’ vehicles, with Cavanagh being the Cadillac line, Knox being the Oldsmobile, Dobbs, representing the Buick level, and Champ, the Chevrolet line.

In 1979 the Hat Corporation of America acquired the Stetson name and in 1985 was bought by ADJ Caps, which owned the Texas, Miller and Adam labels, among others.

The company currently manufactures the following: Cavanagh, Dobbs, Knox, Mallory, Stetson, and Resistol. Their production facility is located in Garland, TX.

Hatters Guild

Henschel Hat Company
The Henschel Hat Company of Saint Louis, MO, USA has founded in 1947. At first, Henschel's niche was the leather hat business, but have since expanded their line to include many varieties including felt, clothe, and straw.

Imperial
Founded in 1916 as the Mid-West Cap Works Company, undergoing several name changes, ultimately becoming Imperial Headwear, Inc.

Hardeman
The J.T. Hardeman Hat Company was established in the early 1900s and was located at 700 Republican Street in Seattle, Washington. Well-known for its fur felt hats.

Herbert Johnson
Herbert Louis Johnson was apprenticed in 1872 for seven years to hat-makers Lincoln Bennett, to learn the trade. He obviously did well and in 1889 on the somewhat unlikely advice of the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII), he went into business with one Edward John Glazier at 45 New Bond Street, London.

Johnson continued to work in the business personally until his retirement in 1928. He had made the name synonymous with quality "a man with a Herbert Johnson hat is a man apart".

Knox
Charles Knox, an Irish immigrant who came to the United States in 1930 at age 12, and apprenticed to Leary & Company Hatters of New York, opened his first hat shop before he was 20.

The company he founded was one of the premiere hat-makers in the day, along with Dobbs and Cavanagh, Knox positioned their hats as being the best money could buy, and had a knack for exploiting a market with slick advertising.

The Knox factory was originally located in Brooklyn, NY, with a store on Fifth Avenue. The company later relocated to Norwalk, CT, where many of the the high end hatters were located, including Cavanagh, Crofut & Knapp, and Dobbs.

Knox merged with Dunlap 1918. Knox and Dunlap were merged with Cavanagh-Dobbs in 1932. Originally called the General Hat Company, it quickly became the Hat Corporation of America. Hat Corp. was second in size only to John B. Stetson.

Kristall

Lamson-Hubbard Co.

Boston.

Langenburg (Lion Hats)
Founded in 1860 as Gauss-Hunicke in St. Louis, the Langenburg Hat Co is the forerunner of Beaver Brand hats.

The company moved its operations to New Haven Missouri in 1928, where it formed and shaped hats from stock materials manufactured at other locations. During peak production, the factory produced and shipped nearly 500,000 hats domestically and around the world each year. The facility closed in the late 1990s and the company was liquidated in 2000.

Largomarsino
Founded in 1891 by Don Carlos and Don Jose Lagomarsino in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this South American manufacturer is still in business today.

LaSalle
Owners of Champ until 1956. . .

Lee
The Frank Lee Hat Company, located in the hat-making center at Danbury, CT, Lee was probably the most prolific producer of hats for private labelling . . . such as the economic JC Penney’s Marathon line and Brent for Montgomery Wards; their own brand ran from mid-grade to fine quality.

Usually the wider the ribbon on a Lee the higher the grade of the hat (but not always as is the case, as is seen in the thin ribbon on the Lee 100). Lee considered its base $5-7.50 hat (depending on the year) a "farmer hat." The farmer hat had a thin ribbon and a thinly bound edge. The sweatband and liner were not as high quality as their expensive models. As the scale went up in price the hat was a better dress hat on up to the 100.

James Locke & Co.
British

Lincoln Bennett & Co.
British hat manufacturer known for top hats.

Look & Johnson

MacLane

MacLachlan

Harry MacLachlan began work as a hatter’s apprentice in 1884 and went into business for himself in 1892 in Danbury, Connecticut, producing rough felt bodies for finishers in the hat trade in that city. He formed the S.A.G. Hat Company in 1904, and in 1909 Mr. McLachlan and Frank H. Lee formed a partnership under the name of the Lee-McLachlan Co., which continued until 1914, when the partnership was dissolved and H. McLachlan & Co.,Inc. was incorporated.

Mallory
Owned by the E. A. Mallory Company, Mallory Hats was one of the oldest hat-makers in the United States when the brand was sold to Stetson in 1946. The Mallory Factory in Danbury, Connecticut, was in production from 1860 until 1969, when it was sold to the Danbury Hat Company which filed for bankruptcy in 1987.

Mayser
Founded in 1800 in Lindenberg, Germany, over the course of 200 years Mayser grows from a small hat-maker into a large hat factory with several production sites in Germany, and a safety technology division which is among industry leaders.

Kevin McAndrew
McAndrew was a high quality hatmaker, originally out of England, and later acquired by the Hat Corporation of America.

Manhattan

Marathon

Made by Lee for J.C. Penney’s.

Melton

Merrimac

Meyer

Montecristi

Monterray

Morfelt
Established around 1879.

Mossant
The Mossant factory was in Bourg-de-P?©age, France, and manufactured some of the finest hats in the early decades of the 20th century. The brand was considered the pinacle in France and but was also well-known in the United States for most of the twentieth century. The company was founded by Charles Mossant in the nineteenth century, and by 1929 more than 2,000 hats a day were being produced; half of them were directly shipped to the U.S. Hat production ended in 1998.

Optimo

Palco

Park Plaza Hats


Panizza
The Panizza Headwear Company is among the oldest companies in Italy, having been manufacturing headwear since 1881 in Griffa.

Peschel

Pedigree


Perfect Hats
The Perfect Hat Company of New York was known for its slogan "Good as the Name".

Pilgrim
The Pilgrim brand had a long and successful life as a brand of Sears clothing for men, first appearing in 1905, and hitting its high point in the 1940s. Most Pilgrim brand hats were made by Lee for Sears, and the product line continued until 1964.

Portis
The Portis Brothers Company was founded by the Portis brothers in 1914, and was based in Chicago its first decade, but later moved manufacturing across the lake to western Michigan.

The company made fine hats, and did a lot of advertising in magazines such as Esquire and Colliers.

Portis lasted until the late 1960's, when the line was taken over by Stevens Hats.

Puerto Fino
Founded 50 years ago, this South American manufacturer is in Columbia and is still in business today.

Resistol
Founded in Dallas Texas by financier E.R. Byer and hat maker Harry Rolnick in 1927 the firm of Byer-Rolnick produced men's felt hats in Western and Dress stylings, under the newly created brand name "Resistol Hats," meaning to resist-all weather.

Distribution was limited to Texas and Oklahoma early on, but by the late 1930s was nation-wide.

Byer-Rolnick eventually merged with the Hat Corporation of America (HatCo) in the 1950s.

Robert Hall

Rothschild

Royalist

High end hats, made in England.

Royston

Rundle & White
Established in the mid-1800s in Danbury, Conneticut.

Sarnoff

Scala
The brand is now owned by Dorfman-Pacific.

Schoble
Frank Schoble & Co was founded in Pennsylvania in the 1880s.

Scott

Selco
Founded in 1898 in Brooklyn, New York, Selco traced its root back to 1799 and the Italian firm of Selentino. They manufactured hats (or had them manufactured under contract) into the 1950s, but are best known for marketing Tonak hats, made in the Czech Republic. There is still a Selco store in Brooklyn today.

Stack
Frank Stack started the company in South Norwalk, CT in 1911. Stack made quality hats, but was primarily a hat finisher; using felt from the large manufacturers in Norwalk, such as Crofut and Knapp. The company lasted at least until 1945.

Stetson, John B.
John Batterson Stetson was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1830. His father, Stephen Stetson, was a successful hatter and taught his children the trade. Stetson developed tuberculosis as a young man, and moved west hoping to recover. He first settled in St. Joseph, Missouri, and later moved west following the Gold Rush to California, before finally returning to Philadelphia to try his hand at the hat manufacturing trade.

Stetson found the eastern hat market difficult, and so turned his attention to the Westerners . . . marketing hats based upon styles he had seen and developed during his own travels. By 1872, he was also marketing dress hats in his own catalog, and by the turn of the twentieth century he had the world's largest hat factory.

Although John Stetson died in 1906, his company followed men's fashions into the twentieth century, manufacturing top hats, bowlers, homburgs, fedoras, and trilbys, as well as straw hats in both western and dress styles.

By the early 1950s, there were fewer dress hat wearers, and Stetson has since focused primarily on their western hats.

In 1971 Stetson sold its machinery to the Stevens Hat Company and ceased production of hats, concentrating instead on marketing, and outsourced its actual manufacturing. In 1979 the Stetson name was acquired by the Hat Corporation of America (HatCo).

Stetson, Stephen
Stephen L. Stetson was a grandnephew of John B. Stetson, and an independent hatter in New York City, during the first half of the 20th century.

The John B. Stetson company eventually sued in January of 1934 and made a case for copyright infringement, from which point you see the notice “In no way related to the Stetson Hat Company of Philadelphia" on the company’s label.

Stevens
A small family-owned firm, the Stevens Hat Company was located in St. Joseph, Missouri. The company merged with HatCo’s Stetson division in 1984, and took over the production of Stetson Hats, most of which were still made in St. Joseph until HatCo moved all of its production to a new factory in Garland, Texas.

Supernatural

Swann

Tilly


Trimble
Located in Orange, New Jersey, the Trimble Hat Company was a popular hat manufacturing company during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The company apparently produced a number of house brands for individual retailers, including the Stafford Club line of hats.

Wasicka's
of Cudahy, Wisconsin.

Willoughby

Wormser
Wormser was considered a mid-range hat, though several were just as good as any vintage Stetson or Mallory. They had different levels of quality.
Worth and Worth Founded in 1922.
 

Brad Bowers

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,187
Nice job on the additions, mingoslim! Now we need to find a way to combine the two databases. I put together the most up-to-date information on Cavanagh, Dobbs, Crofut & Knapp, and some others, which he has in his post, which corrects much of the corporate history that's erroneous. I know, I'm the one that posted it in the first place, but I've finally got it sussed out!

I tried to do a brief history of the evolution from Hat Corporation of America to today's HATCO, since they are not the same company. Hat Corporation of America died in 1972.

I'm going to have to be a stickler about this, since I'm a business historian, and want to make sure that the business changes are perfectly clear.:)

Thanks again,

Brad
 

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