Dating 30s/40s Stetsons by manufacturing label

Discussion in 'Hats' started by alanfgag, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Unusual No.1 Quality western

    Newer version of No.1 Quality logotype but earlier features and style 2 manufacturing label - late 1930s? Note sweatband similarity to the later No.1 Quality black western that I posted earlier in this thread. Auction photos:

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  2. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Two early 1940s Stratoliners - vita-felt process example on the left features the earlier 3 panel label.

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    moontheloon likes this.
  3. Joshbru3

    Joshbru3 I'll Lock Up

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    This needs to be on the first page....
     
  4. countryclubjoe

    countryclubjoe Banned

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    This was so educational. Thanks one and all.

    CCJ
     
  5. rlk

    rlk I'll Lock Up

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    Frankly I'm not finding the consistency for useful dating assumptions. Seems as likely the tags were different for unknown reasons. The contradictions seem as frequent as agreements. Many more hats with more precise provable dating,with consistent associations would have to be gathered before I would consider these as a dating tool.
     
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  6. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    I would agree that these labels are not particularly useful as a dating tool. I began this thread before the survey of sweatband LOTXXXX imprints, which show much more variation and present a more compelling timeline over a longer period. The transition of the three labels shown on this thread took less than ten years - perhaps closer to five. It is certainly possible that using up exisiting inventories could cause an overlap of labels during this time. Looked at with the sweatband stamps, they become more interesting. The Imperial Stetson shown on the first page of this thread uses the narrow 3 panel label and is imprinted with LOT 7565. My recently acquired clear nutria has the newer single panel label and is imprinted with LOT 7600. How many months or years around 1940 were represented in 35 sweatband lots is unknown.

    As it is, I believe the LOTXXXX thread provides an accurate timeline of the hats posted, which would be more useful still with the addition of hard dated examples. The transition of manufacturing labels is just one of many features that change over this timeline, with some fudge factor likely along the way. What interests me also is the close of the sweat stamp era about the time of the US entry into WWII. There must have been many significant changes that emerged after the war production years that we can appreciate by comparing late 1940s hats with their 1941 and earlier brothers.
     
  7. rlk

    rlk I'll Lock Up

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    Allowance must also be made for wholesalers and retailers that have options and or specialized sweatbands and liners. Factory refurbs also come into play. There may have been different departments in the factory or different tags going to different resellers. Different quality levels also had different sweatbands and liners and not necessarily without simultaneous variants.

    At a given time one sweatband supplier had over 50 different offerings(not including color variants)and they had machines that could probably connect them at least a half dozen ways in one factory at this same time. We assume too much in terms of a distinct linear timeline. More entertaining than scientific. We might get a closer grip on windows of time during which a label is used as more examples that can be dated within their own limited range recur. We may well find that there are multiples in use over an extended period.

    There clearly wasn't one universal sweatband from one supplier for all hats so what exactly is the Lot No.? One batch from one supplier of one kind, or?

    So far I don't yet see even a clear sequence or range.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  8. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    I certainly share the skepticism of unified theories drawn from a handful of samples. The LOTXXXX thread has very limited set of examples. But from what has been posted up until now, there is no example of a Stetson branded sweatband from c. 1915 - 1941 that does not carry the LOTXXXX imprint. The stamping appears in virtually the same font and appears to be sequential with numbers increasing chronologically. Do you have samples in your collection that contradict this? Do you have reason to believe that sweatbands during this period were not produced in a Stetson factory but sourced from independent third party vendors? Dinerman posted a western hat from a small maker with a LOT stamp, but do we have any hats from this period manufactured by Knox or Dobbs with the same stamping? I haven't looked for this.

    A sequence of numbers is a compelling piece of the puzzle - certainly useful in understanding timeframes when considered with other branding clues such as horizontal and vertical No.1 Quality logos. That said, I have much more limited data than you and would appreciate your poking holes wherever you have hats to poke them. Such is the scientific method! :)
     
  9. rlk

    rlk I'll Lock Up

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    Stetson might have finished off their own bands--I don't think they were processing hides. When we were in Garland they had 10's(not 100's I think) of different sweatbands to reach for different models as they were being ordered, and I doubt it was different earlier. They made over 1 million hats a year with multiple types of sweatbands. I'm sure they stamped them in some sequence, but did it run for the year for one type?-- for a supply of leather?--what exactly is your theory--then what would be a valid test for it.
     
  10. danofarlington

    danofarlington My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    This is definitely on the agenda of the seance with departed Stetson executives.
     
  11. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

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    I haven't seen a HCA hat with anything like that. From all I've uncovered, HCA produced their own sweats in house (at least until maybe the '60s), and they're generally unmarked. The only exceptions I've encountered are Carter sweats, and possibly the Bon Ton sweats. BTs are never marked as such, as HCA waited until the patent expired, but it could be that they sourced them from outside the factory.

    Brad
     
  12. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Thanks Brad.

    My theory (perhaps better termed a pipe dream) is that the numbers are chronological with all the various sweatband types stamped in a date sequence that corresponds not to type but to when they were made. To date, the hats in the LOTXXXX thread have followed a sweat stamp timeline that roughly follows what one would expect by their suspected age. Two interesting ones are the two (1, 2) 7" crown furry nutria westerns which have different sweatband leathers and are stamped within a few hundred numbers of each other in the mid 4000's. I suspect both these hats are mid-late 1920s.

    A good test or hole-poker would be to find a hat that is an anomaly to the timeline as it stands currently... either an early hat (1920s) with a late number (7500+) or a late hat (c.1940) with an early number (5000 or below). It would help if I could prepare a single visual timeline with photos... something I plan to do on an event-free saturday... but the sweatband LOTXXXX thread is a pretty short read currently.

    Thanks Robert. Your critical eye is much appreciated.
     
  13. splintercellsz

    splintercellsz I'll Lock Up

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    Stetson Special Homburg

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  14. Lefty

    Lefty I'll Lock Up

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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  15. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Brother to Lefty's new Playboy:

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    Note block 123 rather than 122 (1). Block 122 was used in the early 1940s Stratoliner.

    Also note the earlier tri-field label, though the LOTXXXX number in mine is 779X compared to 774X in Lefty's hat. These elements work, I think, for a generally useful timeline, but are not for splitting hairs.
     
  16. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Stetson Clear Nutria

    White manufacturing label

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  17. Garrett

    Garrett My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Always love seeing that hat, Alan. My favorite of your collection second only to the Hawes Von Gal
     
  18. It's out of place here (as it's almost certainly pre-30s, but this is the only thread on reorder/production labels! These labels come from a Number 1 Quality Western hat. The sweatband is brown, just covered in an awful lot of grease. I'm in the process of renovation/cleaning. Yukk.


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    This hat has the circa 1900-early 30s information label. Quite faded, but looks to have been orange outer rather than the later red.

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    And this reorder label/sticker that I haven't come across before. Typically the earlier ones are brown surrounding cream central square, and the later ones orange/red surrounding cream central square. This one is a brown or orange central square surrounded by greenish yellow. Anyone know anything about this reorder label?

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    EDIT This one from jimmythelid, that he thinks is 1900-1920 has the same reorder label

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  19. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Not out of place, Baron... expanding this thread to look at a wider timeline of manufacturing tags is a good idea. Assuming you do not have a size label to work with on this hat? Any other marks on the sweatband? The lot number is very hard to make out, even with some Photoshop forensic work. The vertical No.1 quality imprint predates the horizontal one but dating would still be a guess. I would agree with pre 1930s and perhaps c. 1920.
     
  20. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Thanks Garrett... almost time to be giving the velours some head time!
     

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