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Side By Side/ Hat Comparisons

Discussion in 'Hats' started by alanfgag, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    We all know that two hats are better than one. Here is a thread for comparisons... please add yours.

    I would like to begin this thread with Josh's excellent comparison of two vintage homburgs that span several decades... definitely worth a reread.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  2. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    The Stetson Playboy and the Dobbs Cross Country

    Here are two modest lightweight hats of a similar vintage - a year or so on either side of 1940 is my guess. Simple unlined construction, elegant and stylish hats for travel or warm weather.

    [​IMG]

    The Playboy is the cooler colored gray with thinner ribbon on the bottom in this photo.

    [​IMG]

    the felt is very similar... soft, dense and moldable. The slightly stiffer Dobbs may be the result of the years rather than manufacture.

    [​IMG]

    Inside, both hats use a very thin and supple unreeded sweatbands. The Dobbs has a polished finish, the Playboy, a natural finish. Both use inkless logo embossments and silkscreened crown imprints.

    [​IMG]

    Without their ribbons and logos, the hats might be twins in their blocking, flange and 2 1/4" raw edged brim. The Stetson is finished with a 7/8" ribbon, the Dobbs, a 1" ribbon and jaunty raked bow.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
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  3. bond

    bond My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Thank you for the great comparison of those fine hats Alan .
     
  4. Chepstow

    Chepstow I'll Lock Up

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    Alan, great Idea. Both Hats are very nice and very good documented!
     
  5. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

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    Nice comparison, Alan. How does the open crown height compare between the Stetson and the Dobbs?

    Brad
     
  6. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    I'll have to go back and measure the Playboy. It uses the late 1930s manufacture label, but shows block style only. (Though it does't show in this photo, the Stetson size tag is metallic gold ink.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

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    Thanks for those extra photos, Alan. I knew the crowns had to be a bit shorter to keep the hats looking proportional with the narrower ribbons, but didn't know how much shorter.

    Brad
     
  8. Joshbru3

    Joshbru3 I'll Lock Up

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    According to my research of Stetson block numbers, the number 123 block used on Alan's Playboy equates to a open crown height of 5 1/2. It was a block number that I have seen used on pretty much every playboy from the late 30's-early 50's. I'm sure several others were used from time to time, but 123 was "THE" playboy block. As far as profile, its fairly straight with very little taper and a rounder top. Its interesting that Dobbs used a 5 3/8 inch block. Even though its only 1/8 of an inch shorter, I can't imagine the profile is any less straight than the Stetson.
     
  9. randooch

    randooch I'll Lock Up

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    Good thread idea. :)
     
  10. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Thank you for that info, Josh... 5 1/2" was my guess on the Playboy.

    A tale of two hats can be a good way to spin an interesting yarn... hope to see/read more!
     
  11. jlee562

    jlee562 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I posted these pics in the Open Road Guild, but they fit here too for those who might not have seen them:
    Here's 3 for 1:
    [​IMG]
    On the left is my ca. 1960's Resistol OR clone, in the middle is my ca. 1950's 3x Stetson Open Road, and on the right is the ca. 1963 Stetson 100 Open Road.
    [​IMG]
    Resistol on the left, 100 in the middle, 3x on the right, showing the subtle color differences. I don't know that the Resistol is actually supposed to be silverbelly or not, but it's very close.

    Just the Stetsons:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ribbon/felt closeup comparison, top pic is the 3x, bottom is the 100:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. DJH

    DJH I'll Lock Up

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    This is a great idea for a thread.

    Here are three hats that might seem a little random at first glance. The connection is that they are all from Hat Corporation of America brands, so have a family relationship.

    [​IMG]

    From Left to right:
    Knox 20 with sharkgill bow and bound edge to the brim

    Cavanagh with Cav Edge to the brim

    Dobbs 20 with Cav Edge

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The three hats have very different felt. The Knox is thin and rather stiff - I'd say the lowest quality of the three. The Dobbs and the Cavanagh on the other hand, have really soft, smooth felt. That of the Cavanagh is very thin and dense, while the Dobbs is thicker and quite luxurious.

    Of course, the main thing is that each is very pleasurable to wear :)
     
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  13. Joshbru3

    Joshbru3 I'll Lock Up

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    David, that's very interesting that you feel that the Knox is the lowest quality of the three. I have held several Knox 20's from the late 40's/Early 50's with Cav edges and they all had thicker felt and were quite dense. To be honest, when I put them up against my Dobbs 20 from the same time period, I couldn't distinguish any difference between the two in feel, pouncing, denseness of the felt, or amount of shellac that was used. I had just assumed that Knox and Dobbs were kind of like Chevrolet and Pontiac. Sure the Pontiacs were a little nicer, but many of the models used the same parts and underpinnings as the Chevy's (ex. The Camaro and The Firebird). Usually just the trim and such was different. I kind of felt that way between Dobbs and Knox. Since both were owned by HCA by the time both of your hats were made, I always felt the major differences when comparing a Dobbs 20 and a Knox 20 from the same 2-3 years span were the trimmings and price point. Obviously we have to compare apples to apples here, because a 1940's Knox is in NO way the same as a 1960's Dobbs and vice versa.

    Its interesting that your Knox isn't a Cav edge. I wonder if that particular 20 was made with a lighter weight felt and possibly more shellac. The Cav edge would have been a more expensive option than the brim binding, so I wonder what options made your hat a 20? I'm intrigued with the differences between these models. I will say though, even though I love my 20's, some of the best 1950's HCA felt that I have ever laid my hands on was my mid 50's Dobbs 40. It had the softest, most finely pounced felt I have seen from that time period in HCA's history and it molded like clay. The only 1950's HCA hat to beat that one was of course the Knox 100 that I sold this year. In my opinion, that one had better felt than the Stetson 100's.
     
  14. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Thanks for adding to this discussion, David and Jared.

    Like Josh, I was also intrigued with your bound brimmed Knox 20. It would be interesting to add Bond's Dobbs in the classified to this mix. I guess we all have enough 50s HCA hats. Do you have a sense of the dating on these David? Great collection!
     
  15. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Here are a couple of mine.

    [​IMG]


    A Knox Vagabond and a Mallory 'The Dallas'.
    Both hats have thin moldable felt but the ribbon is way wider on the Vagabond.
    The 'Dallas' has an unique bow.. As I have stated before the bow is stitched high. [Borosalinos {Alessandria] are somewhat the same]
    The Vagabond has what I call an 'everyman' bow.
    The brim on the 'Dallas' is 2 3\4 while the Vagabond is 2 3\8... the shortest brim I have.
    Also the 'Dallas' has a wind trolly, the Vagabond does not. You would think a hat used by a vagabond would need a trolly????

    [​IMG]

    All in all ... both hats fit me.
     
  16. Rabbit

    Rabbit Call Me a Cab

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    Felts and their finishes - VS Custom, better vintage & modern production hats

    Here's a slightly different kind of comparison - I hope it fits in this cool thread.

    Pictures from this series have been posted before in the Borsalino Brotherhood.
    The connection between these hats is that they are among the higher quality range of their times. While the vintage hats clearly stand out in terms of felt quality and finish (each hat in its own way), the VS comes very close while the modern production Borsalino drags behind. The felts/ finishes on the three vintage hats in these comparison shots are quite different from each other; I chose them to show at least some of the variation found in better quality hats of that era, the 1950s. Considering the vast range of felt qualities and finishes, this comparison is an oversimplification by nature.

    Please see the full resolution images for a closer look at the felt finshes.


    Details of the different felts/ finishes:

    Borsalino Film, production hat made in 2011:
    The felt on this model is not as smoothly pounced as one might expect from a top-of-the-line hat.

    VS Blue Smoke, dress weight, suede finish:
    A fine finish, as close as it gets to vintage felts.

    Resistol Melorol, ca. mid-50s:
    Even though this one is not a Kitten Finish (of which I have two, a Beaver Twenty from the late 40s to early 50s and a Beaver Fifteen from the 50s), the felt is very dense and very smoothly pounced.

    Borsalino Gorasgu/ Palladio con Nero, 1950s:
    A thin felt with a fine finish; the surface is ever so slightly more porous than on the Resistol Melorol.

    Borsalino Natalsca/ Bismuto con Nero, 1950s:
    An equally thin felt, but with a slightly rougher finish.


    L to R and top to bottom: Borsalino Film, VS, Resistol Melorol, Borsalino Gorasgu:

    [​IMG]

    Full resolution image


    Borsalino Film, with three other hats on top:
    Upper felt corner - Borsalino Natalsca
    Lower left corner - VS Blue Smoke
    Lower right corner - Resistol Melorol

    [​IMG]

    Full resolution image


    VS to the left, Borsalino Natalsca atop Borsalino Film in the middle, and Resistol Melorol to the right:

    [​IMG]

    Full resolution image


    Borsalino Film (left) and Borsalino Gorasgu (right) - closeup below:

    [​IMG]

    Full resolution image


    [​IMG]

    Full resolution image
     
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  17. DJH

    DJH I'll Lock Up

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    Josh and Alan, thanks for the comments.

    Josh - I'd say you are right about the felt on the Knox being thin and a lot of shellac - it does have the feel of a hat with a little more stiffener. Not that I'm saying there is anything bad with the felt - this is just relative to the other two hats, which feel as though they would have been more expensive. Probably wouldn't even notice this without the opportunity to check out all the hats at the same time.

    It is interesting that Alan mentioned the Dobbs that Bond has in the Classifieds. Other than the ribbon treatment, it looks to be practically identical to my Knox. I've often thought that HCA was like GM, making basic bodies and turning them into the different brands with the appropriate trimmings. I have a sample hat with a Hat Corporation of America card attached showing it was a sample for 3 different models - Dobbs 4 Seasons, Knox Flying Cloud and a Cavanagh #50168.

    Alan, I know that the Cavanagh was made in the 40's or very early 50's, I'm not so sure about the two grey hats, I guess 50's (I'm sure this is accurate within +/- 1 decade :) )

    Hey Rabbit, thanks for posting the felt examples. It is always nice to see how the VS felt stands up compared to the vintage versions. You actually had me going around feeling the felt on my custom hats to see which I like best. At the moment, it is a tie for nicest felt between Art's ArtLite Silvermist and TonyB's Tumwater Silverbelly.
     
  18. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    Wonderful post Rabbit... it's always a pleasure to see your finely crafted photo essays. The contrast of the elegant asymetrical ribbon edge on the Natalsca and Melorol is a great comparison on its own.

    Rusty, I don't recall seeing you in that Vagabond. Great hat that is missing from my collection of lightweights. Thanks for sharing your impressions.
     
  19. EggHead

    EggHead Practically Family

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    Enjoying this thread gentlemen. Rabbit, those close-ups of different felts are very enlightening.
     
  20. Rabbit

    Rabbit Call Me a Cab

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    David, it's interesting to know about Tony B's finishes. I had often wondered how it would compare to Art's.
    How about a side-by-side close-up? :)

    Alan and EggHead, thank you very much. The brim binding of the Natalsca and the Melorol really is an eye-catcher. For lack of a better word, I call it the backfolded bound brim, and I'm nuts about it.
    On the Natalsca, the binding on the top side of the brim is very narrow, harmonizing with the thin felt. On the Melorol, the binding is less narrow, which seems to work better with the more substantial felt.
     

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