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Stetson Quality Experiment "Think Tank"

Discussion in 'Hats' started by GWD, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

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    I've been looking at my Stetsons and others here in the lounge and doing some searching also. I can't find the definitive list of quality designations for Stetson.

    As far as I can tell, there are at least three types of designations from different time periods for DRESS HATS. I think this one is the easiest to figure out, $10.00, $15.00, $20.00 etc.

    The next two aren't so simple and I have no idea when one started and the next picked up.

    The first four I think came from the same period are " Select Quality", "Standard Quality", "Superior Quality" and "Number 1 Quality". What leads me to this conclusion is the word "Quality" my guess is these were from the 20's and 30's.

    The next line I'm guessing came in the 40's and 50's and they are Royal, Royal DeLuxe, Sovereign, Medalist, Premier, and Imperial. What order of quality is not clear to me due to some advertising I've run across.

    I've seen one other, and the liner looked newer and it was a "Royal Stetson DeLuxe" maybe 60's or 70's.

    What I'm asking is if you have any other Stetsons in your collections that have another quality designation please post them here. If you post pictures please post pictures of Liners and Sweatbands.

    If anyone "KNOWS" the ranking of these hats please elaborate.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Colby Jack

    Colby Jack Call Me a Cab

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    This should turn out to be a great thread GWD...Hopefully Hatco can chime in with some historical info, along with some of the other great minds here. If we can put to together a timeline of styles/qualities...that may make it easier to date a Stetson...
     
  3. HarpPlayerGene

    HarpPlayerGene I'll Lock Up

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    Hey GWD, good luck with this one!

    I'm a veteran advertising man, always in the art/creative departments - AND, oddly enough, I'm a very logic-driven, organized type of person.

    I tend to think that something like Stetson's quality designations MUST have a linear progression to them, a hierarchical kind of ranking that can be ordered like from 'Private' to 'Five Star General'.

    I'm afraid though that the reality is that many of these designations were pure marketing hype and that the names assigned to them developed organically and without much regard to how these whims related to one another over decade after decade of trying to differentiate their product from others.

    I would welcome being proven wrong about that notion because then I would lear the answer to your question along with you. There are probably some that go in a sensible order and some that are just confusing. Let's see what the others say...
     
  4. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

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    Thanks again Dinerman! I failed to mention in my original post, but I don't think we need the "X" factor in this thread. That's pretty self explanatory also.
     
  5. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Messages:
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    I'm going to try to organize these a little. Excuse the editing, moving and deleting.

    I really like the deep, detailed pressings on the earlier hats. So much nicer than the stamped on, blurry logos on later ones.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Entirely Different Crest! This is a pretty early hat. Also, look at the fineness of the stitching on the sweatband, and how the stitching is attached. Any idea as to when they switched the logo crest to the one with the beaver?

    John B. Stetson Co. / American Manufacture
    ------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Select - very fine felt, though it is a derby, so it is difficult to compare to the felt qualities on soft hats. Look at the way the sweatband is attached.

    John B. Stetson Company / American Manufacture
    -------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    No. 1 - The felt is thick and heavy, a very durable hat. Reeded textured leather sweatband.

    John B. Stetson Company / Philadelphia / Trade Mark
    -------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Standard - I like the pressing at the top of the sweatband, as well as the detail and lack of gold on the logo.

    John B. Stetson Company / American Manufacture
    -------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Air-light - the lightest hat I have ever owned or handled. Makes all other light weight hats feel like lead weights. The felt is alarmingly thin, as is the leather used on the sweatband, and yet that deep logo pressing is still found. A spectacular felt.

    John B. Stetson Company / Philadelphia / American Manufacture
    -------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    5X (not 7x) for clear beaver quality. Interesting to note. Hat is dated 1942.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Royal Stetson Deluxe - on a flagship

    note - no "Philadelphia", no "John B. Stetson Company", no "American Manufacture", simplified logo
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Vita-Felt Stratoliner
    no "Philadelphia", no "John B. Stetson Company", no "American Manufacture", simplified logo
     
  6. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

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    [​IMG]
    Royal Stetson


    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Royal DeLuxe Stetson


    [​IMG]
    Royal Stetson

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

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    Dinerman,

    Are these two picture of the same hat?

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  8. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

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    [​IMG]

    This is from a Stetsonian, maybe it's simply a Royal DeLuxe like Dinermans
     
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  9. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

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    yes, they are both the same hat. One label says Royal De Luxe Stetson, one says Royal Stetson Deluxe.
     
  10. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

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    Royal Stetson DeLuxe "Stetsonian"

    [​IMG]

    This is a Stetsonian from Johnnyphi's Collection
     
  11. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

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    Here's the picture from the link

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

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    Thanks Carter!
     
  13. PabloElFlamenco

    PabloElFlamenco Practically Family

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    Dinerman,
    This hat (I hope I edited the right one out of the series) with the red/fuchsia liner. What kind of hat is it? What period in time?

    I have +exactly+ the same color of liner in a (very large cowboy) hat, said to date from around 1940, with exactly the same logo, except for being marked "Real Nutria Quality". This hat, BTW, is simply the very best hat I have (and that includes a Stetson 100).

    I'm very curious to know...thanks.
    Paul
     
  14. HarpPlayerGene

    HarpPlayerGene I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    A different take still in my Stetsonian:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Also, note that on my "No. 1 Quality" labeled Stetson, the felt is not thick as Dinerman's is, instead it is dress weight, even thinner maybe - which is all the more strange because it is a very western style hat.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Lefty

    Lefty I'll Lock Up

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    I applaud the effort on this one, which I think is just about the most muddled part of an already confusing history. Doing some patent searches could help.
    3x has been used by Stetson since at least 1920 (when they registered that particular mark). Go here, and run a search for Stetson (and maybe one of the quality terms). You won't find nearly everything, but it's a start.
     
  16. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

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    \

    Not entirely sure, that was just a pic I took from an old auction because it was unusual, but I'd say late '30s or early 40s. Very detailed imprint of the logo. Notice it has the New York, Paris, London text, as well as the "American Manufacture", both of which later disappeared.
     
  17. Brad Bowers

    Brad Bowers I'll Lock Up

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  18. Lefty

    Lefty I'll Lock Up

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    Wow. That is much older than I expected as well. I'd be curious to know how the meaning of that designation has changed over time.

    I've got to get myself that Stetson book. I've read on several threads that it's not that great, but it's got to have some of this stuff in there -right?
     
  19. HarpPlayerGene

    HarpPlayerGene I'll Lock Up

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    Man, I tell you, if we ever get some of this sorted out - thanks to inquiring minds like GWD and thorough searchers like Dinerman, Brad and Lefty - WE ought to write the book!
     
  20. Lefty

    Lefty I'll Lock Up

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    and sell it to Hatco.
     

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