" The Great British Hat Makers "

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Chepstow, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. M Hatman

    M Hatman My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Made me think of my trial and tribulations.....sometimes those brims take coaxing...(if indeed the hat is a brim up camber style). I got a German camber hat last year that someone forced into a snap brim, and it did not look right at all.o_O It did not go right back immediately, BUT, a little steam and working of the brim then "BAM" the hat remembered and then restored nicely..;)...I am always amazed how often I find hats "remember" their original flange.....even after a great deal of time. I have done this with more than a few.....that is once I realized they did not quite like with MY idea of what their brim should look like......HATs often have an opinion too!!!:eek::rolleyes:;):D
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  2. steur

    steur

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    Howlison&Co "Hygienic Hat" bowler in grey. Sold to me as a size 7 1/8, but fits me perfectly, so a size 7 (no readable label inside the hat). Brim at 5cm and crown 12,5cm. Two vents on top and a vented liner. Came with the box as well (no pic of that, sorry), which contained a note to take care of the hat after use, so likely a theater hat. Quite lightweight at 118 grams and not very stiff for a bowler. The felt is very dense and thin with a great hand. Only downside: the sweatband is toast and needs to be replaced (I'm not counting the light scuffmark on the front of crown).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Love the liner.

     
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  4. steur

    steur

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    Thanks, Randy. There's some interesting additional information to be found about this hat. The Wreesman family had been hatters in Groningen for a very long time. The adres they were located was Tussen Beide Markten 2 and Vismarkt 6 in Groningen.
    It starts off with Derk Wreesman who gets mentioned because of his marriage in 1798 as a hatter. His son was Antonius Warnerus Wreesman, fabrijkant in hoeden (hat manufacturer), who died 14-6-1839, 62 years old. Then we get another Antonius Wreesman, also hat manufacturer, born 22-10-1802. His son was Warnerus Antonius Theodorus Wreesman, born Groningen 14-1-1841. His name is the "W.A. Wreesman" on the liner. His son was Joannes Antonius Wreesman (born 1867), who ran the business untill he died in 1929, 62 years old.
    It's not clear if the last Wreesman ran the business under his own initials or continued under his father's "W.A.". The hat is certainly before 1929 and possibly even before 1905. This is because the English manufacturer Howlison gets mentioned in the London Gazette of november 1905 dissolving the partnership of Howlison, Andrews and Ferguson. James Howlison could have continued under his own name, but I cannot find any more information about him. It's not unlikely however that the "Howlison & Co" of the liner actually refers to the partnership of "Howlison, Andrews and Ferguson", which would date the hat before 1905. That would tie in with the retailers name.
    Notice that the London Gazette mentions in one of the messages above about the Hat Manufacturers Moores, Birkby and Brown that one of the partners will continue "said business on his own account". That is not mentioned in the Howlison announcement. That would also support Howlison&Co ceasing to exist in 1905.
    How cool is that?


    The Wreesman shop around 1885-1895
    wreesman 1885-1895.jpg

    From around the corner around 1915
    wreesman 2 1910-1925.jpg
    Portait of the last Wreesman: Joannes Antonius Wreesman (died 1929). Wreesman JA 1910-1925.jpg

    The London Gazette of 1905 mentioning the dissolving of the Howlison partnership (lower left).
    howlison 1905.jpg
     
  5. Steve1857

    Steve1857 I'll Lock Up

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    That is so cool, Stefan. Really interesting information both from a Dutch and English perpective.

     
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  6. steur

    steur

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    Thanks, Steve. It is! I usually check if I can find anything about the retailer (or manufacturer if unknown to me), but most of the time there's nothing. So quite a surprise to find all this information.
     
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  7. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    That is a fascinating story, Stafan, and just another reason you are the Master. You have inspired me to dig into more of the history of some of my own hats.

     
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  8. Steve1857

    Steve1857 I'll Lock Up

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    I've posted this elsewhere, but it truly belongs here. An Oldham and Fogg Bowler ca. 1940's plus trade catalogue.
    Stefan kindly sold it to me knowing my penchant for English hats.
    While doing some research on the company, I came across this ca.1920's Oldham and Fogg trade catalogue for sale via a well established London antiquarian bookseller. I just had to have it, so bought it. Over 30 pages with countless plates. Here are just some of them.
    It's one of my best buys :)
     

    Attached Files:

  9. steur

    steur

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    It is truly an epic find, Steve. I've found that it's very hard to dig up good information and objects relating to hatting and hatters, but you've uncovered a real gem. Now it will be interesting to see if we can find any of these labels or emblems on unbranded hats somewhere.
     
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  10. Steve1857

    Steve1857 I'll Lock Up

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    Indeed, Stefan. I'm already on the look out.

     
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  11. steur

    steur

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    Joseph E Ward fedora in Dark Olive. Size 7 (7 1/8 American), but it runs a bit small, so a perfect fit. Bound brim at a near 6cm and crown 10,5cm at the center dent. Liner sewn in. Generic English style label, but handwritten. Joseph E. Ward was a hat company based in Bredbury, England and didn't make hat bodies itself. It just did the finishing. In 1958 it merged with the hat factory Battersby&Co of Stockport England, which places this hat somewhere in the late fifties or early sixties, because the sweatband mentions Stockport (where Battersby was located). The factory merged together with some others into Associated British Hat Manufacturers in 1966.
    ward olive_01.jpg ward olive_02.jpg ward olive_03.jpg ward olive_04.jpg ward olive_05.jpg ward olive_06.jpg ward olive_07.jpg ward olive_08.jpg ward olive_09.jpg ward olive_10.jpg
     
  12. Steve1857

    Steve1857 I'll Lock Up

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    Another great English hat find, Stefan. That olive green colour is so cool. How's the felt? It looks smooth to the touch.
     
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  13. steur

    steur

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    Thanks, Steve. Very nice hand to the felt; not entirely smooth, but with a very short nap to it. Almost, but not quite, like a chamois finish.
    I don't see Joseph E Ward hats that often and the other one I had made its way to you, so when I saw this one I jumped on it.
     
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  14. steur

    steur

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    You could debate if this is British: Battersby hat made under license in New-Zealand. Anyway here it is: Battersby fedora in Tasman Blue. Size 56 with the brim at 5cm and the crown at 11cm at the center dent. Nice shape and style and the colour is really unlike anything I've seen before; more teal than blue to my eye. Feather weight means 93 grams for this one.
    Looks like the brim was cut at some point (using scissors), so likely the brim was wider originally. Seller now lived in England but took it with her from New Zealand. Apparently it was used as a prop for the movie King Kong by Peter Jackson (her mother owned a prop business) although you'd be hard pressed to spot it in the movie. It's not why I bought it. It is known Battersby used manfacturers under license, but I haven't found out which ones and when. This hat has a date on the label: 1958.

    battersby tasman_01.jpg battersby tasman_02.jpg battersby tasman_04.jpg battersby tasman_06.jpg battersby tasman_07.jpg battersby tasman_09.jpg battersby tasman_10.jpg battersby tasman_11.jpg battersby tasman_12.jpg battersby tasman_13.jpg
     
  15. steur

    steur

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    Part II
    Some other shots.
    Weather proofing was done with "stearato chromic chloride"; I'm not sure if that's meant to reassure me!

    battersby tasman_03.jpg battersby tasman_05.jpg battersby tasman_08.jpg
    BP2B4130a.jpg
    battersby quilon.jpg
     
  16. the_imperialist

    the_imperialist One of the Regulars

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    Remarkable Stefan! The colour is beautiful and the proportions are very ideal.
    As a New Zealander - I still don't have a locally produced pre-60s hat in my wardrobe; I am green with envy.
     
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  17. steur

    steur

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    Thanks, Wayne. It is quite a find; Battersby was a large producer, but I don't see their hats very often. Let alone one made under license. As a consolation: it had left New Zealand behind a while ago.
     
  18. Steve1857

    Steve1857 I'll Lock Up

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    Gorgeous colour, Stefan. Great overall look to it, too. Not exactly British, but it's a Battersby made under license in a part of the Empire, now the Commonwealth, so it counts :)


     
  19. steur

    steur

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    Thank you, Steve. Good thinking!;)
     
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  20. Daniele Tanto

    Daniele Tanto My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I'm not very familiar with British hat making. I have some who come from northern Europe.
    [​IMG]
    The ones I had directly bought used here in Italy are Locks, quite usual, despite the great reputation and above all rigid, but this is my personal taste to speak
    [​IMG]
    I know even less about "Tress&Co
    " company that made this hat
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    The felt is beautiful and very similar to some Italian production of the Seventies, soft and with a stitched finish all over the hat with the heather felt as a plus
    [​IMG]
    Brim 5 cm. Open crown 13 cm Ribbon 1.5 cm. matching the felt
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    A very soft and confortable hats, whitout lining
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    Another addiction to the small number of hats made with heather felt with seams.
    One week I will wear them ;-)
     

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