Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds
  • The Fedora Lounge is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

Difference between the Stetson Stratoliner and The Open Road

budward

One of the Regulars
Messages
153
Location
Dallas, TX
Anyone in the know care to hold forth on the difference between a stratoliner & an open road? I know the open road is often blocked in a sort of western style, but the ones that are c-blocked I can't tell a difference from a stratoliner. Thanks for your views.

Budrich
 
Last edited by a moderator:

aliados

One of the Regulars
The stratoliner is a true fedora -- soft enough to be rolled, with a brim of about 2-5/8". The open road is similarly shaped, but with a slightly wider brim (2-3/4, if memory serves -- I can measure 'em when I get home if you need to know) and hard, cowboy-hat felt.
Charlie
 

ScottFree

Suspended
Messages
29
Location
USA
Hi Budward, I have both Stratoliners and Open Roads. The Stratoliners are considerably older and softer hats but shaped similarly.

I think I have one that is called a Stratoliner Aeroplane. Supposedly it belonged to Howard Hughes at one point. No proof of this but my father was quite a collector and knew a lot of people.

I do not think the brims differ much in width on mine.

There are minor differences at best in the hats besides the quality of the felt and suppleness of it. The Strats seems to be pure beaver or at least the older ones.

Cheers

Scott
 

Matt Deckard

Man of Action
Messages
10,045
Location
A devout capitalist in Los Angeles CA.
If you go back to the original open road, they were marketed as a fedora and were sold as a soft dress hat with ano open crown. Later Open Road's became more of a western hat that comes pre creased with the Truman look.

I believe fedoralover found that the Stratoliner has more curl to the back of the brim.
 

fedoralover

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Great Northwest
They are so much alike that Stetson discontinued the Stratoliner. Which to me is too bad because now the Open Road is pretty much a hard felt western hat and can't readily be reshaped to a fedora style hat. The old ones were soft and could be as Matt pointed out. At least on mine I have noticed the brim flanging to be different between the two.
But other than the sweatband having a different name, they aren't much different. Most Stratoliners were Royal Stetsons, only occasionally have I seen one to be a Royal Deluxe. Some had the wind trolley others did not. Open Roads seemed to have a wider range of quality levels, going though all the different X ratings and also ran the gammet from Royal Stetson to Royal Deluxe to Imperial Stetson. I believe it is the longest running hat line they have. Keep in mind too that Stetson made Open Road "style" hats that were also under the Soverign name, they looked exactly the same but had a different name on the sweatband. Most likely a marketing ploy to get you to buy the exact same hat but since it has a different name, by golly you better get that one too. Others didn't say anything but just Royal Steton or Royal Deluxe and looked exactly like the "Open Road".

Someone on ebay just made a killer buy and got a 7X clear beaver Open Road for 22.00. You could tell it was soft felt the way it was misshaped. If I didn't have so many already I would have bid but I promised my wife my collection is full.

regards fedoralover
 

K.D. Lightner

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,354
Location
Des Moines, IA
I don't have a spouse who is monitoring my hat collection, but I have to say that, for the past year or so, I keep saying, well that's it, no more hats. I have every hat and every color I need, no more hats.....

Unlike you, James, I cannot hide them from anyone, as I haven't found a way to hide them from myself.

Well, back to the hataholics thread.

I have a Dobbs that was styled as an Open Road, which I don't like (too LBJish for me), but had it cleaned and styled as a traditional fedora. It looks really nice and does sort of resemble the Stratoliners I have seen.

karol
 

Victor

One of the Regulars
Messages
187
I have an Open Road that I bought open crowned in an antique store. It is th softest felt hat that I own, a far cry from a stiff cowboy hat. The brim is also soft without much curl in the back and fairly wide so that may be the difference.
 

K.D. Lightner

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,354
Location
Des Moines, IA
James -- If I remember correctly from some other threads, LadyPowers has some pretty nice hats of her own.

A friend of mine remarked that if I keep on, I will have to rent two places -- one for me and one for my hats. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.....

My lovely, soft silverbelly Dobbs fedora, which is sitting on my head as I type this at 4:20 in the morning, is a Dobbs 15. When I got it off ebay, someone had styled it as an Open Road and I had it changed back to a Fedora crown. One side of the leather sweatband states it is a Dobbs 15, the other side says "Meyer and Meyer, "The Man's Store" 4th & Central.

Wonder where that is?

karol
 

MattC

A-List Customer
Messages
424
Location
San Francisco and New York City
Brim, Crown, Quality

It seems to me that Stratoliners have slightly narrower brims (about 2.5" compared to 2.75" for the Open Road), and, as Fedoralover says, brims flanged to curve up more in the back and down in the front (more like a classic snap brim than the Open Road, which is flanged with a pretty flat brim). It looks to me like Stratoliners have a slightly lower crown, about 5" unblocked (to 5.25 on an Open Road). As Fedoralover says, until recently when they were all blocked with a lot of stiffener, Open Roads came with open blocks and could be styled any way. I think that used to be true of Stratoliners as well. Like the others, I've only seen Stratoliners that were Royal, while Open Roads ran the full line from 3x to Imperial.

Whatever the differences, they were great hats.
 

hatflick1

Practically Family
Messages
623
STETSON OPEN ROAD AND STRATOLINER

In the past there have been several questions asking the difference between the classics Open Road and Stratoliner. Now I see ebay has listed an advertising poster which features both hats. I can't read the body copy. But it may contain the answer. Might also be a nice hat collectible. It's listed under Stetson Open Road.
 
Hmmm.... You mean this one:
1952OpenroadStratoliner.jpg


Looks pretty interesting but I can make out only a little bit of it. "Many good things have come out of the west. And some of the finest won the repution for" and that is all I could read. The ad might be worth buying just to check out what Stetson had on its mind. I might just add it to the collection. Thanks for drawing attention to it.

Regards to all,

J
 

scotrace

Head Bartender
Staff member
Messages
14,376
Location
Small Town Ohio, USA
Enlarging

From what I can make out, the copy is pretty much "Stetson makes great hats, here are two examples," not much in the way of "here's why we make these two."
 

hatflick1

Practically Family
Messages
623
Yeah, I thought it might be of some interest. I don't always pass similar finds along. Perhaps I should more often. If I had 'the hat place' in the house, I would probably buy this myself. I have thought of taking what is now an office and making part of it my fedora lounge, arranging a display of hats, framing a few posters, stacking a few old classic boxes. Maybe as gas prices continue to soar, I will actually do it in my new found staying home time.
 

Uncle Vern

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Stetson Open Raod and Stratoliner

I spoke to Joe Peters at Peter brothers Hats in Fort Worth. He seems to know his hat history. He said the Stratoliner was made from a much thinner, softer felt than the Open Road, much like a model called the Zephyr. he thinks the Statoliner and the Zephyr were both meant to be pinch-front fedoras, and were probably shipped with open, unshaped crowns and then hand-shaped in the store. Open Roads were and are made from a heavier-duty felt and shaped in the factory.
I had also called to find out something about my old Stetson 25, an Open Road type with softer felt and a 2.5 inch brim. He dates the hat to the 50's and confirmed the then-current marketing ploy of the hat number also being the price. He suggested that, if I wanted a very soft Open Road style hat that I try the Borsalino Silverbelly.
 

K.D. Lightner

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,354
Location
Des Moines, IA
I always thought the Open Road style was actually a modern "cowboy hat," and probably thought that because LBJ wore the style plus a lot of men in cow country back in the 60's.

It seems to be popular again, but as a fedora.

Never liked them, I don't think women look so good in them; had the one Knox 15 I won off Ebay that had been styled as a Open Road, made back into a classic fedora. Now it looks somewhat like a Stratoliner....

I love the look of the Stratoliner. I have some Borsalinos that have that look, too.

karol
 

Dusty Rhodes

Suspended
Messages
240
Location
Panama City, Florida
Zephyr Weight Stratoliner

Uncle Vern said:
I spoke to Joe Peters at Peter brothers Hats in Fort Worth. He seems to know his hat history. He said the Stratoliner was made from a much thinner, softer felt than the Open Road, much like a model called the Zephyr. he thinks the Statoliner and the Zephyr were both meant to be pinch-front fedoras, and were probably shipped with open, unshaped crowns and then hand-shaped in the store. Open Roads were and are made from a heavier-duty felt and shaped in the factory.

I had also called to find out something about my old Stetson 25, an Open Road type with softer felt and a 2.5 inch brim. He dates the hat to the 50's and confirmed the then-current marketing ploy of the hat number also being the price. He suggested that, if I wanted a very soft Open Road style hat that I try the Borsalino Silverbelly.

I have one of these Zephyrs in Tan. As a matter of fact, it's called a Zephyr-Weight Royal Stetson Deluxe Stratoliner. It's my favorite hat, mainly BECAUSE OF it's very light weight.
http://public.fotki.com/formerblueangel/felt_fedoras/royalstetsondleuxes.html
http://public.fotki.com/formerblueangel/felt_fedoras/royalstetsondleuxes-1.html
Dusty
 

jimmy the lid

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,647
Location
USA
Open Road/Stratoliner Comparison

Happy Holidays, all!

I am trying to figure out how the vintage OR and Stratoliner compare in terms of specs. I have never had the opportunity to personally examine either hat in a vintage version, but I notice that photos posted by FL members of reblocked Open Roads seem virtually identical to photos posted of the Strat.

So, were these essentially the same hat, but blocked differently? (I assume that the original OR had a cattleman's bash, but perhaps I am wrong on this).

Was the Open Road more of a western hat, in terms of quality/stiffnes of felt, whereas the Strat was more fedora oriented?

What about brim width or crown dimensions? Looks like both hats had a 2 3/4 brim, true? How about the crown? Other blocking details?

Any input on this greatly appreciated.
:)
 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,263
Messages
3,032,527
Members
52,727
Latest member
j2points
Top