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Hitler's fedora

Marc Chevalier

Gone Home
Messages
18,192
Location
Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
Hitler tended to wear velour felt fedoras. Here's the reason: velour hats (made from beaver or, more expensively, seal felt) originated in a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which later became Czechoslovakia. Velour hats have been around for more than two centuries, but they first gained popularity among the Austrian aristocracy in the 19th century. Velour felt is very water resistant and warm: perfect for hunting and other country sports.


By the early part of the 20th century, velour fedoras and homburgs were the most expensive felt hats available, and were exported worldwide. Hitler liked velour hats because he was an Austrian who had a certain nostalgia for the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its trappings.


Velour felt looks and feels a lot like plush velvet. The sheen can be bright or dull. I've seen olive, forest green, grey, tan, brown and black velour fedoras -- all of them vintage. Today, velour is most commonly used for German/Austrian alpine hats.

.
 

Marc Chevalier

Gone Home
Messages
18,192
Location
Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
Sefton said:
Beautiful. Does anyone still make that type of felt or is it one of those lost hat tricks of the ages?

It's still made -- in the Czech Republic. At the end of WWII, the Soviets took over the factory, but retained its (very skilled) workers. Quality velour fedoras and homburgs continued to be produced, and were even exported to mainstream U.S. hat stores until the Cold War heated up.


After that, the U.S. market for Czech-made velour fedoras went "underground" -- Hasidic Jews continued to buy them, but few other Americans did. American hat manufacturers tried to fill the void with "kitten finish" fedoras, but IMO they ever quite reached the quality level of the Czech versions.

.
 

Sefton

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,132
Location
Somewhere among the owls in Maryland
Marc Chevalier said:
It's still made -- in the Czech Republic. At the end of WWII, the Soviets took over the factory, but retained its (very skilled) workers. Quality velour fedoras and homburgs continued to be produced, and were even exported to mainstream U.S. hat stores until the Cold War heated up.


After that, the U.S. market for Czech-made velour fedoras went "underground" -- Hasidic Jews continued to buy them, but few other Americans did. American hat manufacturers tried to fill the void with "kitten finish" fedoras, but IMO they ever quite reached the quality level of the Czech versions.

.

I never liked Kitten finish fedoras myself. Too smelly.
 
Messages
17,194
Location
Maryland
Marc Chevalier said:
It's still made -- in the Czech Republic. At the end of WWII, the Soviets took over the factory, but retained its (very skilled) workers. Quality velour fedoras and homburgs continued to be produced, and were even exported to mainstream U.S. hat stores until the Cold War heated up.


After that, the U.S. market for Czech-made velour fedoras went "underground" -- Hasidic Jews continued to buy them, but few other Americans did. American hat manufacturers tried to fill the void with "kitten finish" fedoras, but IMO they ever quite reached the quality level of the Czech versions.

.

I just bought this Mayser velour and was told the felt was made by Mayser. It has a totally different feel from the current Tonak velour. IMO much nicer look and feel.

3242142042_08ea3174a0.jpg


3242142348_68ffb324ee.jpg
 

avedwards

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,425
Location
London and Midlands, UK
Baron Kurtz said:
I'm willing to gamble that every style of headwear ever fashioned has been worn by some despot or nasty person somewhere at some time. So why wear a hat at all?

bk

OK I agree. My previous post was idiotic, looking back. It's just that my mother is German (though her family had nothing to do with the war having emigrated to Argentina in the 1920s) and that I hate the assossiation Hitler has with Germany. I prefer Germany from the Cold War era, when it was ruled by humane people.

Well, enough :eek:fftopic: politics. Is it possible that the hat may have been made by Wegener Headwear, another old German Hutmacher (although Mayser is more likely)? I quite like these styles of hat, as they are formal enough for a suit but earthtone and durable enough for adventure wear.
 
Messages
17,194
Location
Maryland
avedwards said:
OK I agree. My previous post was idiotic, looking back. It's just that my mother is German (though her family had nothing to do with the war having emigrated to Argentina in the 1920s) and that I hate the assossiation Hitler has with Germany. I prefer Germany from the Cold War era, when it was ruled by humane people.

Well, enough :eek:fftopic: politics. Is it possible that the hat may have been made by Wegener Headwear, another old German Hutmacher (although Mayser is more likely)? I quite like these styles of hat, as they are formal enough for a suit but earthtone and durable enough for adventure wear.

Also Austrian hutmachers like Habig, Bittner and Zapf. They could also be Italian.
 

DOUGLAS

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,777
Location
NYC
Those are beautiful hats Marc. You had a most enviable collection and most likely still do. I think one needs a certain type of face to pull the velour hats off properly. I have had a few and they just never quite looked correct for me.
 

Sargon

Familiar Face
Messages
97
Location
Rochester NY
I remember seeing several movies and still pictures of him in a green fedora in color. There are not many color photos or movies from the 40's and every time I see them I'm reminded that people tended to wear whatever color hat totally without regard to matching with clothing.
Often, seeing others in non matching colors, I consider that folks back then usually had only one or two hats and did this out of necessity. I'm guessing Hitler could have afforded warehouses of hats and still did not bother matching. Maybe he was color blind and nobody was brave enough to point this out to him? Or maybe there just was no regard for matching at all. It just seems a little jarring to my sensibilities. But then again we're talking about Hitler here.
 

Jabos

A-List Customer
Messages
441
Location
Oklahoma
Wow guys, I've learned a lot. The film I saw was the same as the stills posted by Dixon and donCarlos. I would imagine these hats from 30s and 40s Europe are pretty hard to come by. I was just struck when I noticed that brown velour (I'd seen that film many times in the past and never noticed). Perhaps we can talk Art into a special velour model, though we wouldn't ask him to call it the AH model or anything like that! Maybe the V-E Day model.
 
Messages
10,536
Location
My mother's basement
As I recall, every velour-finish hat I've come across had very little stiffener in the felt. The one I still have, a brown Peschel, is so soft that a stiff breeze can alter its crown shape.

This is typical of the breed, then?
 

Tango Yankee

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,433
Location
Lucasville, OH
Baron Kurtz said:
I'm willing to gamble that every style of headwear ever fashioned has been worn by some despot or nasty person somewhere at some time. So why wear a hat at all?

bk


It's just an excuse not to wear a fez! :p
 

BellyTank

I'll Lock Up
Just for the record, this hat is a peculiar shade of grey...
a warm grey with a violet hue, which is more apparent on the inside of the hat.
The ribbon is a mid brown.

I would estimate the hat's vintage as 1920s-ish.
Labeled "Gompertz".

I also have a "furry" Borsalino from the '40s, labeled as "The Angora".
It's a different kind of "fuzzy", though.


B
T


BellyTank said:
Quite similar-

DSCN4593.jpg



My favourite hat.

B
T
 

mineral

One of the Regulars
Messages
136
Location
Boston, MA
mayserwegener said:
I just bought this Mayser velour and was told the felt was made by Mayser. It has a totally different feel from the current Tonak velour. IMO much nicer look and feel.

3242142042_08ea3174a0.jpg


3242142348_68ffb324ee.jpg

Mayserwegener, is that a modern production hat? Interesting design on the ribbon!

Speaking of Mayser, maybe someone can translate this ad?

http://cgi.ebay.de/Reklamemarke-Mir...temQQimsxZ20090117?IMSfp=TL090117129001r14083

As I posted earlier, Hitler wore a tophat made by this company (or individual). And the ad seems to suggest that he gets his felt from Mayser? (My German is totally rubbish so any help is welcome.)
 

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