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The Bowler or Derby Hat

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The Use of Specialized Hydraulic Presses in Stiff Felt Production

This excerpt is from "25 Berlin - Gubener Hutfabrik (Hat Factory), Actiengesellschaft (Public or Private Company) vorm. A. Cohn, Guben, 1913". It explains the use of special Hydraulic presses in Stiff Felt Production. This very important specialized process is no longer used in Stiff Felt production.

53505085287_6a50102489_h.jpg


53506398980_7d4f5d459a_h.jpg


Up to this point, the felt stumps have traveled in closed batches from the spinning mill with a card containing all the necessary information through the raw manufacturing process. From the warehouses, they move on, separated according to individual commissions and divided up for the final shape. The felt stumps for Stiff Hats go to the Stiff Hat department, those for Soft Hats to the Soft Hat department.

If we first follow the former, we see how the felt stumps are soaked with a solution of shellac and spirit, then dried and later subjected to a washing process which is intended to remove the superfluous stiffness from the surface so that only the stiffness remains inside the felt. This washing process, called panning, is of utmost importance, because if the shellac is not completely removed from the surface of the stump, it will show up as mold-like stains when the hat is worn and even when it is stored.

The stiffened felt stumps are now fitted to the head shape for which they are intended, "plated", the edge is stretched flat and the hat is then pressed after its surface has been finely cleaned and brushed (see first photo below).

During the plating process, the felt stump is given the head shape that it should have in the finished hat - at least approximately. The stiff hat is only given its exact shape in the hydraulic press (see second photo below).

The hydraulic press consists of an iron frame, the lower part of which holds an iron mold, the cavity of which resembles the shape of a hat. This mold is polished smooth on the inside and holds the hat. The upper part of the press is fitted with an elastic rubber body which fits into the iron mold.

After the stiffened felt hat body has been heated in a box heated by steam or gas - which makes the shellac stiffness supple - the upper part of the press is lowered and the elastic rubber body is inserted into the hat. The press is then hermetically sealed and water pressure of 25-30 atmospheres generated by accumulators is let into the interior of the press through a pipe. The water fills the hat bag with this enormous pressure, expands it and this forces the supple lump to fit smoothly against the walls of the iron mold.


53505070842_726d411dfa_h.jpg


PLATING THE STIFF HATS

53506272599_d69ad66726_h.jpg


PRESSING THE STIFF HATS (WITH HYDRAULIC PRESSES)
 
Last edited:

Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,657
Location
Central Texas
A very interesting process, Steve.

The Use of Specialized Hydraulic Presses in Stiff Felt Production

This excerpt is from "25 Berlin - Gubener Hutfabrik (Hat Factory), Actiengesellschaft (Public or Private Company) vorm. A. Cohn, Guben, 1913". It explains the use of special Hydraulic presses in Stiff Felt Production. This very important specialized process is no longer used in Stiff Felt production.

53505085287_6a50102489_h.jpg


53506398980_7d4f5d459a_h.jpg


Up to this point, the felt stumps have traveled in closed batches from the spinning mill with a card containing all the necessary information through the raw manufacturing process. From the warehouses, they move on, separated according to individual commissions and divided up for the final shape. The felt stumps for Stiff Hats go to the Stiff Hat department, those for Soft Hats to the Soft Hat department.

If we first follow the former, we see how the felt stumps are soaked with a solution of shellac and spirit, then dried and later subjected to a washing process which is intended to remove the superfluous stiffness from the surface so that only the stiffness remains inside the felt. This washing process, called panning, is of utmost importance, because if the shellac is not completely removed from the surface of the stump, it will show up as mold-like stains when the hat is worn and even when it is stored.

The stiffened felt stumps are now fitted to the head shape for which they are intended, "plated", the edge is stretched flat and the hat is then pressed after its surface has been finely cleaned and brushed (see first photo below).

During the plating process, the felt stump is given the head shape that it should have in the finished hat - at least approximately. The stiff hat is only given its exact shape in the hydraulic press (see second photo below).

The hydraulic press consists of an iron frame, the lower part of which holds an iron mold, the cavity of which resembles the shape of a hat. This mold is polished smooth on the inside and holds the hat. The upper part of the press is fitted with an elastic rubber body which fits into the iron mold.

After the stiffened felt hat body has been heated in a box heated by steam or gas - which makes the shellac stiffness supple - the upper part of the press is lowered and the elastic rubber body is inserted into the hat. The press is then hermetically sealed and water pressure of 25-30 atmospheres generated by accumulators is let into the interior of the press through a pipe. The water fills the hat bag with this enormous pressure, expands it and this forces the supple lump to fit smoothly against the walls of the iron mold.


53505070842_726d411dfa_h.jpg


PLATING THE STIFF HATS

53506272599_d69ad66726_h.jpg


PRESSING THE STIFF HATS (WITH HYDRAULIC PRESSES)
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
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Denmark
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I’m not a fan of how a derby looks on me, but I couldn’t pass up one in 7 ¾!

Edit: the marks on the binding and felt were from brushing a tree.

View attachment 596221 View attachment 596222 View attachment 596223 View attachment 596224 View attachment 596225 View attachment 596226 View attachment 596227 View attachment 596228 View attachment 596229
That nice Knox find just proves you look good in a Bowler, Brent.
Cool find, Brent and I totally agree with Steve that you make this work for you very well.
 
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10,474
Location
Boston area
I’m not a fan of how a derby looks on me, but I couldn’t pass up one in 7 ¾!

Edit: the marks on the binding and felt were from brushing a tree.

View attachment 596221 View attachment 596222 View attachment 596223 View attachment 596224 View attachment 596225 View attachment 596226 View attachment 596227 View attachment 596228 View attachment 596229
I must share your excitement, Brent. With as many hats as have passed through your hands, you deserve a properly fitting derby. Mazel Tov, sir!!
 
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17,898
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Nederland

Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
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5,657
Location
Central Texas
That would be my best guess if we had to label it. The wide brim might lean it toward a Gambler, but the crown does not match well in that case. Cambridge bowlers tend to have smooth edges on the crown and don't have the negative taper or "bell" shape associated with top hats and coach hats.

20231023_084609.jpg 20210609_180204.jpg 20210609_180233.jpg

I've most often seen that style referred to as a "Coachman" hat, because the coach drivers in Europe wore them.
 

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