Info about G.R. Dunn & Co. hat

Discussion in 'Hats' started by andy richards, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Hello Gentlemen,
    Does any of you know the brand "G.R. Dunn & Co." Piccadilly Circus, England? Someone is offering me a 80 - 100 year old hat and I would like to do some research before buying.
    Thanks,
    Andy
     
  2. Hal

    Hal Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    UK
    G.A.Dunn (not G.R.) was a long-established British firm, in existence before the second world war, selling ready-made clothes, middle-of-the-road (some would say boring) and with hardly-changing styles as time proceeded (some would say in a time-warp, but it was a pleasant time-warp). Many of their products, often in very good condition (they were well-made), appear on eBay.uk. Thefirm kept selling hats even when these had long lost their popularity. They were taken over by Hodges (who sold very similar merchandise) but both firms were defunct by 1990.
     
  3. The Elizans

    The Elizans Familiar Face

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Southcoast, UK
    G. A. Dunn (George Aurthur Dunn) & Co.

    I am a BIG Dunn & Co collector, in my opinion, THE quinessential 1930's Britsh hat. Style, across all their quality ranges at this time was apparent. Here are some pictures of some G. A. Dunn's in my collection... enjoy! Any questions, ask me. Photos of the hat you are looking to buy, even better.

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  4. Wow,

    Nice collection Elizans!
     
  5. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Gentlemen,
    I just bought a G.R. Dunn & Co. hat on Dutch Marketplace ( www.marktplaats.nl ) , which, according to the seller, was in a good shape and about 80 - 100 years old... I hope it was a wise decision to buy it. When I recieve the hat I will post some pics.
    Andy
     
  6. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,166
    Location:
    Upper Michigan
    I have 3 Dunn & Co. hats, two bowlers and a homburg. All very fine hats. Elizans, love the collection :eusa_clap
     
  7. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Today my Dunn & Co hat arrived! It's in great shape (should be 80 + years old), but, unfortunately it don't fit me...:( It is a size 7, and I could do a size 7,5 or so. Tomorrow during daylight I will make some pics and post them.
    Andy
     
  8. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Gentlemen,
    Here some pictures of my G.R. Dunn & Co. Hat.
    Unfortunately for me it is size 7.
    If anyone has interest in this hat, please let me know in a pm.
    Andy

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  9. Mobile Vulgus

    Mobile Vulgus One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,144
    Location:
    Chicago
    $$?

    I can't PM, yet. How much ya looking for, Andy?
     
  10. The crown liner and the label sticking out from the sweatband, along with the depth and colour of the sweatband, would suggest to me that this is closer to 50-60 years old than 80-100. [huh]

    Maybe the Dunn & Co. collectors can give better info.

    Nice hat.

    bk
     
  11. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Thanks for your reply,
    Well, I've paid 35 euro's for the hat. Don't know if that's too much for it, but I would be happy to sell for $ 45 + shipping.
    Andy
     
  12. billyspew

    billyspew One Too Many

    That's size 7 UK, so that will be size 7 1/8 US.
     
  13. andy richards

    andy richards Practically Family

    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Thanks for this information! I did not know there was a difference in US and UK hat sizing. Highly appreciated.
    Andy
     
  14. The Elizans

    The Elizans Familiar Face

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Southcoast, UK
    Dating your hat!

    Hello!

    Unfortunately, it would seem that in the UK, no one really cares about the historical preservation of information about hatters and tailors; even big names like Montague Burton and George Arthur Dunn are relatively obscure in archives and exhibitions. The British Hat Museum in Stockport concentrates more on the political and social aspects of the hatting community in Northern England and I can report having seen their private archive, that much work needs to be done to make the resources searchable.

    Here is what I know about Dunn & Co and the method I use to date my hats:

    George Arthur Dunn, born [March] 1865 was a Quaker and lived in Birmingham where he founded a millinery business in 1886. By 1901, I believe he was living in Hampstead, London listed in the census with the occupation “hatter” although this is a tenuous link. By 1911 I believe the same George Arthur Dunn he was living back in the countyside in St Albans Hertfordshire, so presumably, by this time he had ‘made his fortune’ in London and G. A. Dunn had become the major retailer we are so familiar with. He died in 1939 aged approx. 74.

    It is my theory (purely speculative) that after George’s death, approx 1939/40, The G.A. initials were played down by the company more often the brand logo begins to appear as “Dunn & Co” sometime with very small G.A. initials within the ‘D’ of Dunn. By the 1960’s, the brand was firmly identified as Dunn & Co.

    A conflict often occurs between the liners and sweats around the 1940’s; it is common to have a G.A. Dunn Sweat with a Dunn & Co. liner. Pre 1940, it is my belief that the liners and sweats all bear the full G. A. Dunn brand and the London addresses of the flagship stores. As a broad statement then, a 1920’s /1930’s hat is a G. A. Dunn & Co.

    Dunn made hats at a variety of price points some 10+ grades of quality for each style so variation within a particular hat block shape in terms of fur content and finish is vast. For example, c.1935, the same style hat was available for 5/-, that’s £9.25 or 40/- that’s £73.96 in today’s money. Of course, by the 1940’s wartime austerity measures affected civilian clothing and the CC41 directive would certainly have had an influence on quality.

    So, if your hat as a G.A. Dunn sweat and Dunn & Co (or ‘D’) liner, has a lower grade of sweat band (which it looks like your does) I’d say your hat is 1940’s or early 1950's.

    OK?! :eek: :eusa_doh:
     
  15. Doc Average

    Doc Average One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    146
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    This is very useful and interesting information, thanks for posting it. Finding any good information on this company is surprisingly difficult, given how well known they were up until the 1990s. I recently had the good fortune to buy a very nice G. A. Dunn & Co. hat which I'm pretty sure is from the '30s (you can see it in my avatar). If your theory is correct, then you've confirmed this for me. It's in very good condition (a few minor moth nibbles aside), and the quality is great. I hope to be able to post some better pics of it soon (the liner and sweatband are beautiful!)

    By the way You've also helped me to put a date to a G. A. Dunn & Co. orphaned suit jacket which I always thought was early '50s, but now also appears to be '30s. The label inside matches that on the liner of my hat.

    It's interesting that you mention the Stockport Museum of Hatting (a surprisingly nice place to spend a wet afternoon!), since I picked up a very good book on the history of hatting in the Stockport/Manchester area there. It's by Penny McKnight, and is called (funnily enough) Stockport Hatting. According to Ms McKnight, the local firm Lees used to make hats for Dunn & Co. under licence, so it may be that my titfer is one of theirs.
     
  16. billyspew

    billyspew One Too Many

    According to a newpaper article this would be right he was selling hats in Shoreditch.


    According to the afore mentioned artcile "George Arthur, deceased since 1939, left a company called Dunn & Co".



    Great work on the research, I've PM'd you I have some more that might be of use to you.
     
  17. The Elizans

    The Elizans Familiar Face

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Southcoast, UK
    The hat is your Avatar is super! :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
    Great proportions and looks very well on you; I hope you wear it out and about... Moth nibbles = Character!

    I would love to see the inside liner on your hat. I don't want to know the size as it may make me jealous! :D
     
  18. Dreispitz

    Dreispitz One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,164
    I remember them having very good sale deals on Harris Tweed jackets.

    Here is a Dunn "The Perfectus" Bowler. It is a very light and at the same time very well made hat with lots of details like ventilation holes around the crown, web like lining, pierced sweatband for air ventilation. It is also long oval!

    Shame, that Dunn is no longer there :(

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  19. Doc Average

    Doc Average One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    146
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks! :D It's now officially my most treasured possession! It was obviously someone's "Sunday Best Hat", since it looks barely worn. In my opinion, there's something typically British about the style - I think of it as my Bertie Wooster hat! I love those catalogue photos by the way. They show that back in the 20s and 30s, Dunn & Co weren't always "old men's" outfitters. The chaps in those photos are cutting a bit of a dash!

    I spotted it right away among a rack of mediocre '60s jobs - it almost had a halo around it! I really couldn't believe it when I tried it on and it fitted perfectly! It only cost me £30 too.

    I've been tempted to wear it on some big nights out recently, but no doubt someone would have asked to try it on, and I'd never see it again... It will see some action over the winter though, I'm sure!

    I'll do my best to get better pics up on Friday night. You can't tell from my avatar, but the felt is actually camel coloured, and the ribbon is sort of pecan. I'll also take some pics of the jacket for the Suits section too.
     
  20. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

    Messages:
    15,869
    Location:
    Maryland
    Dieter, That is a real beauty! :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap Interesting ventilation system too! Is this a new find?
     

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