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Questions about bowlers (hats, that is...)

Johnnysan

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
Location
Central Illinois
I recently picked up what appears a be a vintage derby in outstanding condition.

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If the liner is any indication, it appears to have been made in St. Louis as it is marked: "Custom Made Beaver Blend Twenty" and lists a St. Louis address. There is a plastic liner band between the sweatband and the felt.

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Anyone have any ideas as to the maker and/or possible vintage of this hat? I'm also wondering what to do with this hat now that I bought it! It seems a bit too stuffy for everyday wear, so I'm thinking about reserving it for formal occassions only. Any fashion rules regarding a bowler with a tux?
 

SHARPETOYS

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,425
Location
Titusville, Florida
Beaver Brand Hats

I'd say its a Beaver Brand. In 1860, the Beaver Brand line of hats was established in St. Louis, Missouri, the fur felt capital of America. That was a $20.00 hat in its day!
 
Go ahead and wear that bowler!

I already wrote a post about my bowler adventure of late. To summarize: I had a bowler twenty years ago and no one paid attention. The bowler got stolen sometime around '91. I finally got around to getting another a few months back. I wore the bowler and found people looking at me as though I were a terrorist. They covered their children's eyes, crossed the street, called their doctors, lawyers, and clergymen.

Here in NYC I go out in my bowler about once a week now. I have since seen two other men wearing one, and a few weeks back I got stopped by a guard at the courthouse who told me he has a white one that he wears around. I said, I fear I'm appearing to be quite crazy to most people, and he says, 'No, you look confident.' I really haven't thought about the looks since.

As to whether it's a day hat or night hat, I don't believe that has any bearing in today's world where no one knows anything about hat etiquette. I do know, though, that in German films from the twenties, I've seen characters in bowlers out at night. If I correctly recall, Mackie Messer from Three Penny Opera (in the original film) wore his at night.

To tell you the truth, I think bowlers are going to be popular along with fedoras this year to next. You should wear yours before everyone thinks you're jumping the bandwagon.

Regards,

Senator Jack
 

Johnnysan

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
Location
Central Illinois
LOL...

Biltmore Bob said:

Yup...that's the one all right. But to give credit where credit is due, Stymie looks a LOT better in his than I do in mine!

Doh! said:
Levine Hats in St. Louis is currently at 1416 Washington Ave. -- this hat is apparently from its previous, original location:

http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2002/05/20/smallb1.html

Great detective work, Doh! I posted a similar thread on Levine's Forum and the owner contacted me with the same information. They're going to try to narrow down the date for me as to when this hat might have been made. They were apparently at this location for ~75 years. They are fairly certain however, that this one was produced in house by one of their hatters. Again, thanks for the fast & accurate response!

As for this particular hat, I'm starting to wonder what it is that I have...a derby/bowler or an unbashed Homburg? The crown is certainly not solid or stiff, but rather pliable...it takes a center dent very readily. It just came out of the box looking like a derby, so I assumed that was what it was. :)
 

Johnnysan

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
Location
Central Illinois
Senator Jack said:
Go ahead and wear that bowler!

Here in NYC I go out in my bowler about once a week now. I have since seen two other men wearing one, and a few weeks back I got stopped by a guard at the courthouse who told me he has a white one that he wears around. I said, I fear I'm appearing to be quite crazy to most people, and he says, 'No, you look confident.' I really haven't thought about the looks since.

Great advice, Senator and thanks. A tip of the newly donned bowler to you! :cheers1:
 
Senator Jack said:
As to whether it's a day hat or night hat, I don't believe that has any bearing in today's world where no one knows anything about hat etiquette. I do know, though, that in German films from the twenties, I've seen characters in bowlers out at night. If I correctly recall, Mackie Messer from Three Penny Opera (in the original film) wore his at night.

True, but remember that MacHeath/Mackie Messer/Mack the Knife was London's principal crime lord. For guidance as to hat etiquette, I think I'll stick with Emily Post and suchlike!

Sardou
 

Doh!

One Too Many
Messages
1,079
Location
Tinsel Town
Johnny:

I used to live in St. Louis so as soon as I saw the Washington address on that derby -- and I knew Levine is on Washington -- I had to look it up! I haven't bought anything there since the '80s, but it's this great haberdasher's one could spend hours in. Their current website is really limited by comparison (unless, of course, they don't carry the stock they used to).

I'll have to go back next time I'm in town.
 

Johnnysan

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
Location
Central Illinois
Doh! said:
Johnny:

I used to live in St. Louis so as soon as I saw the Washington address on that derby -- and I knew Levine is on Washington -- I had to look it up! I haven't bought anything there since the '80s, but it's this great haberdasher's one could spend hours in. Their current website is really limited by comparison (unless, of course, they don't carry the stock they used to).

I'll have to go back next time I'm in town.

You won't be disappointed, although their inventory may be a bit less than it once was. As a follow up to my inquiry to Levine's, Lance Levine - the current owner of the shop (4th generation, I believe) sent me the following response:

"I showed the picture around the store, and I got a few interesting responses. My father saw the pic and let out an immediate, "Ooh, that's Bob's hat," referring to a man who worked for his father (or my grandfather).

So, Bob Krostic is the name of the man who made this hat. The Beaver Blends were custom jobs and the age of the hat is at least fifty years.

Hang onto that one, it's a true collector's item!"

Needless to say, I'm in awe that I not only know where this hat was made, but actually, by whom it was made! This is why I think that Levine's has been so successful through the years...they have a great history and continue to work hard to preserve it!

A lift of the dreamy mix to Mr. Krostic whose work will be well taken care of for hopefully, many decades to come! :cheers1:
 

Johnnysan

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
Location
Central Illinois
Homburg it is then...

Joseph,

Thanks for compiling and sharing this info. Given the descriptions that you have provided, I have to assume that I actually have an unblocked Homburg. It is not rigid and is quite flexible in the crown. If I attempted to replicate Mr. Coke's experiment, I would have an oddly shaped beret!

Many thanks!
 

Willybob

A-List Customer
Messages
368
Question for bowler efficienados. Is this an actual Stetson or did someone sneak a replacement sweat in it? I've never seen a Stetson with someone else's liner.And the sweat shows signs of "re attachment."

IMG_3375.JPG IMG_3377.JPG IMG_3376.JPG IMG_3374.JPG
 

TheOldFashioned

One Too Many
Messages
1,568
Location
The Great Lakes
Question for bowler efficienados. Is this an actual Stetson or did someone sneak a replacement sweat in it? I've never seen a Stetson with someone else's liner.And the sweat shows signs of "re attachment."

View attachment 190751 View attachment 190750 View attachment 190749 View attachment 190748

Did you check behind the sweat for the factory and reorder tags? I'm guessing you'll find the red and brown/orange which to me would all but confirm it's Stetson made.
 

Thomas Browne

New in Town
Messages
5
Hello everybody,
Thankyou for the acceptance into the group, I have a few questions about a newly inherited Bowler hat I have. I do not know the age and it is made by Lock & Co. Was my Great Grandfathers he was a Freemason as well as me, it has a box from the Knox New York hat Co., the hatbox does have the Inserts and fits for it. I did a bunch of research on Lock & Co., but have exhausted all efforts to nail down a age. The hat itself is a size 7 5/8 almost mint fits me perfectly and I want to wear it when I am installed in the East (hoping their are a few brethren here)the crown is hard as a steel helmet!!!, let me know what you think about this?. Cheers
 

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Messages
16,330
Location
Central California
Hello everybody,
Thankyou for the acceptance into the group, I have a few questions about a newly inherited Bowler hat I have. I do not know the age and it is made by Lock & Co. Was my Great Grandfathers he was a Freemason as well as me, it has a box from the Knox New York hat Co., the hatbox does have the Inserts and fits for it. I did a bunch of research on Lock & Co., but have exhausted all efforts to nail down a age. The hat itself is a size 7 5/8 almost mint fits me perfectly and I want to wear it when I am installed in the East (hoping their are a few brethren here)the crown is hard as a steel helmet!!!, let me know what you think about this?. Cheers


Nice hat and in a great size! Those are hard to find. There are details on the hat that make me think it’s quite old, but I don’t know much about Lock & Co. hats.
 

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