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New Member with a New Hat

Dave Keller

New in Town
Messages
8
Location
Orlando, FL
I am a brand-new member and was steered to this forum by Robert Weber (Panamabob) on his website to get feedback from customers who purchased his Panama hats. I’m sorry this is a bit long-winded, and future posts will be much shorter, I promise, but I would like to give you a little background about my hat experience and say something about Robert.

I am a hat lover and have been ever since I was a kid. I wore caps as a child and teenager and hats as an older teenager and young man and still do today.

I was never much for baseball caps, and still don’t think much of them, with the exception of my reproduction 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers cap, a replica of an original I had as a child when the Dodgers were still playing in Brooklyn.

I started an interest in dress hats, by borrowing my father’s felt porkpie hat when I was about 14 and we went to visit relatives. Back then, hats were becoming unpopular and only older men wore them as that was the style to which they had been accustomed and brought up.

I gave up borrowing the porkpie hat when I found a brand-spanking-new dark gray fedora at the local Salvation Army store. It had a small brim but it was one sharp hat for a teenager. I can’t remember the manufacturer.

From there I wanted something with a wider brim so I trekked into NY City and made a round of the numerous hat shops that were there and I picked up a lighter grey fedora, a Stetson this time, and the felt was as soft as could be. I gave my father my Salvation Army fedora as his porkpie was just about ready to bite the dust.

After several years my “collection” of well-worn hats included a black derby (bowler), a straw boater, and a brand-new, charcoal gray Stetson center dent fedora with wider brim and straighter crown . . . . very much the 1930s look for which I was searching. Recently I’ve acquired a biretta as I’m a sub-deacon in my church and am in training to become a priest in the Traditional Anglican Church (NOT Episcopal).

Back then I also picked up a genuine Stetson Panama c-crown fedora and, as an adult leader of the Boy Scouts at the time, also picked up a genuine Stetson “Scoutmaster” campaign hat (yeah . . . Smokey the Bear!).

I like soft caps, especially on rainy days and have two styles of newsboy caps, one of which is a Hanna 8-piece wool tweed (for winter, of course!)

Over the years I moved from Long Island to sunny (and hot) Florida and the Panama had, through stupidity, been given away so I went in search of a replacement Panama, now quite a bit more costly than the $16.95 I spent for my first one!

Hence my happening onto Panamabob’s website.

I wrote to Robert and had a nice conversation with him. He was very friendly and took the time to provide me answers to my pesty questions. I ordered a 300 wpi Montecristi center-dent fedora.

After waiting patiently, the hat arrived. I tried it on and it fit like a glove. Lovely wide black band as I requested (also 1930s again!) and leather sweatband, finished off with the old-fashioned style of a little bow sewn onto it to designate the back of the hat! The weave was beautiful and the blocking was great. I was told that hats blocked in Ecuador were a bit on the “rustic” side as the skill and equipment just aren’t there.

Well . . . .I’ve got to say, the Ecuadorian who blocked this hat knew his stuff.

Unfortunately, there were split straws in one part of the hat and, reluctantly, I contacted Robert and had to return the hat for a replacement.

Robert was such a friendly hat seller and was so helpful and courteous and apologetic in his customer service with me that I promised him that when all was said and done, I’d join the Fedora Lounge forum and tell EVERYBODY what a terrific purchasing experience I had and what terrific hat quality I received for the money spent.

A promise is a promise and I want all to know that, if you’re in the market for a Panama hat and want great customer service as well as top-notch communication throughout the purchase and delivery process, (as well as one terrific quality hat!) Robert Weber is the way to go.

Thanks Robert! My next one will be an Optimo! Shades of Charlie Chan! :)

Dave Keller

P.S. Oh . . . the replacement hat was blocked even BETTER than the previous one! Guess I was lucky to find the only two Ecuadorian artists with top-notch skills! ;)
 

WEEGEE

Practically Family
Messages
996
Location
Albany , New York
2nd the Welcome

Dave Keller,


Your on the right Panama (Ecuador) hat trail ... Panama Bob is a good man. Its a pleasure to welcome you to this fold.
 

thunderw21

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,044
Location
Iowa
Welcome aboard! I second what RBH said: post some pictures of the hat when it comes.
Regards
 

HamletJSD

A-List Customer
Messages
472
Location
Birmingham, AL
Welcome Dave ...
And glad to hear of other hat wearers from Central Florida! (BTW if you find any hat stores or locations around here please share the info!!!)

I have only been a member for a few months but I think I can say you have found a good bunch of people on this forum ...
Welcome again!
 

PADDY

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
Messages
7,425
Location
METROPOLIS OF EUROPA
Lovely story.

Dave, I really enjoyed the story of your 'hat life' to date. It made wonderful reading and hope to hear more from you on the Lounge, as time permits.

Welcome to our flock!
 

Dave Keller

New in Town
Messages
8
Location
Orlando, FL
Thanx, folks, for the kind welcome!

As soon as my son comes over for a visit, I'll have him take some shots of the various hats with his digital camera and post them here. I'm also a dinosaur with photography. I'm a film man and still do black and white photography in a darkroom with enlarger and smelly, liquid chemicals.

I'm beginning to wean myself out of there and onto the scanner/printer version of photography, but it will take time. 38 years in the darkroom is a hard habit to break, but unavailability of photo materials is making the transaction happen sooner than expected.

I no longer own the derby, but still have several of the others and will attempt to post images thereof.

I assume I can post images that I've uploaded to a host site using the image icon above?

And Hamlet . . . . sorry. I've yet to find anything as culturally important in Central Florida as:
1. A high-quality hat shop
2. A high-quality pipe and tobacco shop

And nothing as functional as a good-quality photo shop, well-stocked with a wide range of photo supplies.

Having never had a problem years back by simply taking the train into Manhattan and purchasing anything I could possibly want, Orlando was a culture shock. It wasn't until recent years that we got good hot dogs (Nathans, Boar's Head, Hebrew National) and good cold cuts (Boar's Head). The pizza and bagels are still sorely lacking, as are the haberdasheries and tobacconists, neither of which I think exist in Orlando or its neighboring cities.

So, now I buy whatever I need on line, with the exeption of the pizza and bagels . . . . ;)

Dave
 

duggap

Banned
Messages
938
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Don't know what your smoking preferences are, but if it is cigars then you need to visit Ybor city in Tampa and get some of the old Cuban men to:) roll you a box of their best cigars.
 

Dave Keller

New in Town
Messages
8
Location
Orlando, FL
No cigars.

PIpes and pipe tobacco only.

I know about Ybor City. They've had a re-surgence of interest and the area has been built up and a trolley line installed between there and Tampa.

The link to Russ and Daughters just shows that EVERYBODY is selling on-line these days. I'll bet Mamma Leone's has a website, too! :)

And the best part of purchasing on-line and out of state? NO SALES TAX!

Though I did like to walk into a hat store and be able to try on and examine different sizes and styles to see what looked good on me, and what fit best. One maker's 7 3/8 wasn't the same as another maker's 7 3/8!

Can't do that with mail-order. . . . and the shiping can kill you if you have to go back-and-forth with exchanges and the seller doesn't work with you.

Dave
 

HamletJSD

A-List Customer
Messages
472
Location
Birmingham, AL
:eek:fftopic: You've probably been in town long enough to know of it ... but Colonial Photo and Hobby (at Mills and Colonial) is maybe the only shop in town with any selection of photo equipment, paper, and chemicals. Maybe not what you're looking for, but I was a hobbyist photographer and that was the only place for darkroom equipment I knew about
 

Dave Keller

New in Town
Messages
8
Location
Orlando, FL
Thanks, Hamlet.

Not wishing to get too far off topic, I've been using Colonial Photo for years out of desperation. They're OK . . . . but nothing compared to what was in Manhattan.

Anyhow, back to hats: I could never understand why, in sunny AND hot Central Florida of all places, there are NO hat shops that stock REAL hats and not ones with mouse ears or floppy Goofy ears or baseball caps with the Nike logo on the front! :mad:

You have to go to places like Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach to get REAL hat shops.

I guess they think people who live in other parts of the state have no money to spend, therefore they have no taste for the "better" quality hats.

Dave
 

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