Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Hats' started by Dakota Ellison, Jan 25, 2004.
the model is Driasti
Thanks! I'll add it to the database. Preliminary findings very soon!
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Here's one I picked up recently. Borsalino Suprema in the colour Sider. Size 60 (6 1/2) with the bound brim at 5,5cm and the crown at 10,5cm at the center dent. Nice shark gill or box pleat bow on this one, My guess is early seventies.
The Borsalino Recap updated
Some weeks ago I posted an overview of the information there is on the lounge on all things Borsalino. Apart from an updated version of this information, with several colours added for instance, there’s also a first overview of the findings on the link between the model name and code numbers on the labels.
I’ve put all the available and readable labels in a database along with the other information that could be referenced to on the label, like felt, weight, brim width. Conclusion in general is that the dataset and useable information is unfortunately very limited. I’ve managed to collect data of a good 300 hats, which is not a lot to be honest. A large number of pictures is lost and in a lot of cases where the pictures are still there, the information is incomplete or the label was not photographed. This is most obvious with the older, pre-war hats, where the number of available hats is very small indeed.
Here’s an update of the recap. But we need more of these hats, guys!
But what cán we say? Well, from the information that is there it seems that the general concensus about dating the hats on the basis of the type of label is accurate to a very large extent. There is however an intermediate period between the cerrated labels of the mid to later sixties and the rounded labels with the hyphenated numbers, where information is more scarce and less clear than we’d like to think.
So, to put that in an overview we get this:
borsalino cell type (two different types) 1920 - 1936
borsalino sideways (sometimes in colour or with separate size sticker) 1936 - 1953
The cerrated labels come in two variations. @alanfgag noticed that there was a difference in these, where one type was cerrated on at least three sides, so they must have come from a sheet. These are earlier and still have the model name in the lower right corner. below we see an example with the cerration on the left side, dated 1958.
borsalino cerrated sheet 1954 - 1960
Then we get the cerrated labels with straight edges left and right (like they were on a roll of one label wide) and the model name no longer appears in the lower right. Below an example dating from as early as 1960.
borsalino cerrated roll 1961 - 1965
After that the labels start to appear in straight edged shape with rounded corners. These comes in different shapes; more square looking, which I believe to be earlier and more elongated, which seem to appear in the early seventies. The colour name is still on the label.
borsalino rounded with colour name 1966 - 1975
For the next information I need a new post (because of the picture limit).
Then we come to the labels we love, because they are dated. It is stated here (by @besdor - and he should know) that this was in the period 1974-1984. The earliest and latest examples of this period I could find here, however, are from 1976 and 1981. If there are earlier and later examples out there, please post pics of these.
dated labels (recognizable by the use of the hyphen between the first two and the rest of the digits. 1976 - 1981
Then we have the "modern" labels, where the colour names no longer appear, but just the codes. The code in the upper right corner doesn't relate to the production year anymore. The code on the label relates to numbers in catalogues, of which @Daniele Tanto found one for autumn-winter 1988-1989. Two of those hats I've had in my collection just to illustrate.
borsalino elongated no colour name 1982 - 2019
and this one:
One of the problem of later period hats is that it’s unclear for how long models were in production. The catalogue for the year 1988-1989 makes it clear that the code numbers of that period where sequential. In theory higher numbers would be of a later year and lower numbers of an earlier year. But you’d still need the other catalogues to find out which numbers belong to which year. And to make it more complicated: were certain models just discontinued after one season, continued for longer or continued under a new catalogue number? Not enough information available to answer that question.
More of the update and recap in the next post.
From the general overview of colours and models we already know that there are huge numbers of both. That is true for both the situation from the twenties until the late fifties, when the models were named in what I believe to be phonetic notation of the Alessandrian dialect, and the later production when the models just had numbers related to catalogues.
We don’t have a wide sampling of all the models and there are plenty of examples of models of which there is just one known specimen. It is certain that what I call code 1 (in the upper left corner of the label) is related to the model name when that was noted in the lower right corner of the label. I’ll get to the examples in just a moment.
Here is an updated overview of colours and models:
The "colours unseen" is related to @mayserwegener 's fantastic picture he took when visiting the factory with Daniele of the colours of the windcords, with the colour names on the boxes. Just to be complete:
The list doesn't include the felts, because there's some uncertainty about these refer to either the felt itself or to the finish of the hat. But for completists: I've found these felts:
We know from the folders that have been found that there is a relation between some designations and felt content, but we only know this of these designations:
trionfo (=rabbit felt)
extra superior (=rabbit felt)
castoro (=beaver felt)
Finishes are named specifically as well on a good number of hats. These names I've found so far:
Quality designations are availbale in abundance too:
qualitá extra extra superiore
qualitá extra superiore
qualitá extra finissima
qualitá augusta (on sweatband)
The preliminary findings of the research of the labels in the next post.
From the overview of named models in the previous posting we already know there are a lot of them. From the 1988-1989 catalogue with just the codes we know that there are a vast number of models without names.
The models of which we know the names from the labels are however not fixed, but have quite a few variations as we’ll see with the popular “Gorasgu” model.
From the very early samples of the hats, posted mainly by @carouselvic, we found that the number in the upper left corner was in fact the model code. We'll call that code 1. The code in the upper right corder of the label is code 2.
The idea of this exercise was to determine if we could to find a formula where we could relate code 2 (upper right corner on the label) with the year of production. That is only the case with the hyphenated notation believed to be in the period 1974-1984, where the first two numbers, before the hyphen, denote the production year.
Other than that there could be a relation between code 2 and the production year, but you won’t be able to deduct it from the code alone. No formula or any of the numbers seem to refer to a production year and it’s not clear to me exactly what it does refer to. And it might very well be that the code has different meanings in different time periods. Could be a catalogue number or an order number; the data doesn’t give enough information one way or the other.
Let’s look at a few of the models and the codes.
Let’s pick an easy one to start with: the Gulaela model. Because it’s a homburg/lobbia model there’s no variation in brim finish or width.
This model in black has the code: 10K07 and the one in Amiata has the code 10K06 and the one in Dattero 10K02. Looks like a system, right? First three numbers for the model and the last two for the colour. Wrong. There is an example in Mirtillo with the same number as the black one: 10K07. And there’s one in Bronzo with the same number as the Dattero coloured one: 10K02. Looking further however we find that all three 10K02 coded ones are Echter Borsalinos (for the German market).
The letter in between seems to refer to the felt: most of the known examples are numbered with the K in between, but the two known examples with the “castoro” designation are coded: 10S07, even though one is in Amiata and the other Plumbeo. So we have some indication about how these codes work but nothing definitive (yet).
Another example of which several specimens are known: Ludoela. This one seems to be easier. Out of 17 known specimens, 15 carry the code 31 or 31P. As we can deduct from the Gulaela example the letter most likely denotes the type of felt. Which letter stand for which mix can’t be established however because the hats rarely give any information on that. The other two Ludoela hats have a different code; one has the number B791, which is combined however with the designation “Aquila” (only known example of this designation). The other one is coded 179P, but doesn’t seem to have a clear or obvious feature to explain the different code. Almost all examples of this hat were specifically made for the American market (American sizing). There is very little variation in this model: all of them have bound brims and the only variation seems to be the presence or absence of a windcord.
One more example: the Gorasgu. The hats of which the labels are known number 18 in total. Very much a model for the American market with its full crown and larger brim: almost all known examples have American sizing. The code 1 numbers show much more variety than we saw with the Ludoela model. Not really a surprise: the Gorasgu models come in different variations. Usually with a felted edge, but not always: bound, raw and overwelt variations have been posted. Misto felts are used as are longhair finishes (“angora”). Most common number is 763P. All misto felts have the letter M in the code. So as we’ve seen with the Gulaela, where the letter S signifies a “castoro” felt, here the letter M signifies a “misto” felt.
So does this mean that an M in code 1 stands for a misto felt? Nope. Apart from the fact that it’s very easy to spot a misto felt, so the letter as a signifier for those felts wouldn’t be much use to us, some of the misto hats have an M in code 1, but a lot don’t. Same thing with the castoro: it doesn’t hold up that the letter S in the code means it’s a castoro felt. Only with the Gulaela model that seems to be the case. Same again with nutria: no common signifying letter in code 1 as an indicator of the felt.
So, what else? Well, there doesn’t seem to be a direct connection between the quality designation on the liners and anything else really. Most of the liners for the American market are of let’s call it the colour medallion type. This one (comes in several colours):
These are all “qualitá superiore”, even though the felt and finishes seem to be much more varied. Seems like the quality designation on the liners has more to do with marketing than anything else and it looks like this liner type was preferred for the American market.
That's it for now. I've limited myself to the findings on the most available models just to see if a conclusion could be drawn. We need more data and especially more of these hats for that. That's your homework
Stefan, Great + informative updates!
borsalino cell type (two different types) 1920 - 1936
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Can't say when the Cell Labels started and when they finished the 1930s. I have an example of Non Cell + Separate Size label Echter Borsalino that is sweatband dated 1938 (see link below). How did you come up with 1936?
What more can you add to your historical research work?
What to say about such a painstaking job?
All you have to do is go to the source in the of Alessandria and visit the Borsalino museum, collect the data you need, take photographs, interview some old workers or managers and write the definitive book on Borsalino production.
A marvelous addition to this thread... thank you for this resource, Stefan!
A monumental effort in this research and documentation Stefan!!
I am in awe of your passion and dedication towards educating us in all things Borsalino!
You are a true gentleman and scholar!
Thank you so much!
Steve, thanks! The earlier period still leaves us with the most uncertainty. The year 1920 as a starting point for the cell type label is completely arbitrary, just because we don't know about the labels of very early Borsalinos. @carouselvic and @Tonio have the largest number of very old Borsalinos and both are understandably apprehensive about peeling away the sweatbands of those to have a look. So you are correct that 1920 is not established as a starting year. Same thing with the transition to the cerrated labels. You have posted the one dated 1938 and it's still the earliest known one. I took 1936 as the transition year because that was the year the company took over GB Borsalino fu Lazzaro, which I thought may have been a natural moment for Borsalino to start with the new labelling. Again: more data is needed to prove it one way or the other. To a lesser extent this is true for the other transitions as well. There's more data there, but these dates are still not exact.
Thank you, Daniele. The suggestion to go to the source and collect the data there, is certainly still an option for me. It's not something I can do in the short term though. It would however require a good deal of planning, but it's not off the table.
Thank you, Alan. Collecting the data was possible largely thanks to your well documented collection.
Thank you, Bowen. High praise for just collecting the available information and putting it in a spreadsheet (but I'll take it anyway). I like to think of it more as a starting point to be added to, expanded and changed to get a better picture of the ins and outs of the hats we like so much.
Stefan, 1936 could be around the time when the Borsalino Giuseppe e Fratello Cell labels are dropped. The original Borsalino fu Lazzaro hats that I have seen have Borsalino fu Lazzaro Celled labels (very similar to Borsalino Giuseppe e Fratello Celled labels). Tonio is the only one I know of with old Borsalino Giuseppe e Fratello hats that might have different labels but I can understand his reluctance to check.
Daniele, Do you know if the museum open to the public again? I can't remember the status.
It is open two afternoon a week
Steve, here there are the time table of the Museo del Cappello Borsalino in Alessandria
Orari di apertura
Sabato 15:30 - 19:30
Domenica 15:30 - 19:30
My new Borsalino. My first blue sweatband
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Max, Looks great! Can you please post photos of the paper label when it arrives? Thanks!
Yes, Steve, I will!
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Borsalino Verdi as received before sending it off for alterations.
5 1/2” open crown. The raw edge brim is between 3 1/8 and 3 1/4” wide. Soft almost to the point of floppy.
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