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The history of Lee hats?

Kilgour Trout

One of the Regulars
Messages
118
Location
Thunder Bay, ON
Hey folks: I understand Lee hats have been a maker for quite some time but I've never heard much in terms for their history and quality.

The reason I ask is that on another site we started talking Seabisuit hats

After a member put in this excellent shot from Seabiscuit

http://us.movies1.yimg.com/movies.y...seabiscuit/_group_photos/elizabeth_banks5.jpg

I couldn't help myself and ended up with this

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8224154286&ssPageName=ADME:B:EOIBSA:CA:11

I'm still keen on another of course

Kilgour Trout
 

varga49

One of the Regulars
Messages
247
Location
Central Texas
Looking at the liner, this hat is probably not one of the most coveted of vintage hats. One would expect satin or a similar treatment for lining. What does it look like in the hand? 9.95+6.50 is not a bad price to pay for a vintage hat especially if you like it! Check out the fedora lounge classifieds a long time well respected member (havershaw) is selling part of his collection some of which might fit your head!
 

photobyalan

A-List Customer
I have a Lee Homburg (the one in my avatar) and I believe it to be a fine quality hat. If my hat is any indication of their overall quality, then they were a better than average hat maker. Of course, I would assume that Lee, like most other hat makers, made hats at several different price points and quality levels to appeal to a wide range of customers.
 

besdor

Vendor/Sponsor
Messages
1,726
Location
up north
What I know is that the Frank H Lee company was located in Danbury Conn. They made a decent hat. They pretty much stopped using the brand by the early 1960's . I believe that the brand is now owned by HATCO (Stetson).
 

havershaw

Practically Family
Messages
716
Location
mesa, az
I have a brown Lee which is beat up, soiled, and has a little hole in the crown...no liner...and I have to admit, it's one of the top ten hats I wear just because it has a lot of character. And if I'm going a little casual, it's a great, lived-in type of hat. The felt quality is really nice - soft, thin, but dense. I love it.

I can tell you, though, that I recall from posts last year, that the particular hat in that Seabiscuit photo was provided by Art, and it's a Penney's Marathon, size 7 1/4, if I'm remembering it right. Art even posted a photo when he got it back, and it had notes in it denoting which actor and scenes utilized it.

Looks like you got a marvelous deal, though. I'm sure that hat will suit you very well! I'm jealous! (Size 7 is my size!)
 

Dylanfan

New in Town
Messages
14
Lee Factory

Hi:
Just to add a little info. It was one of the many hat factories located in in Danbury CT during the peak of hat wearing. It closed in 1960 and burned to the ground in 1968. Lee made hats for retail chain outlets also, J.C. Penney etc. They made hats of various qualities, IMO all being very fine hats.
Cheers,
Jeff
 

The Wingnut

One Too Many
Messages
1,711
Location
.
I've had the Seabiscuit hat on my head. It's exactly as havershaw described, although I seem to recall it being bigger than 7 1/4.

Jeff Bridges has a big head. ;)
 

havershaw

Practically Family
Messages
716
Location
mesa, az
Yeah, it probably is something more like 7 3/8, now that I think of it. If my hard drive hadn't died, I'd have the photos to show you...
 

Kilgour Trout

One of the Regulars
Messages
118
Location
Thunder Bay, ON
Thanks guys

Hey Thanks Fella's: :) I didn't realize there was so much feedback. I really appreciate the info on Lee, because its been one of those hat makers on "the list" as they say. Just ignored enough to let a few like this under the radar. I just hope its one that escaped Stetson's cheapening out days.

I expect It's a lower price point hat but then as is so often the case, what was mediocre 50 years ago, might be pretty alright today. I'll probably substitute a liner into if it works out size wise.

I'll look to post a pic of it when it arrives.

I'm also going to keep shopping for another grey..so, I'll be watch the skies..

P.s. Great Avatar Havershaw...It looks like a scene from a movie.

Warm Regards
Kilgour Trout
 

havershaw

Practically Family
Messages
716
Location
mesa, az
Thanks!

My wife took that photo of me in front of part of the main entrance of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was one of those weird photos...the lighting was so dramatic and perfect, and we didn't even realize it until we got home. The only thing I did to the photo was drop the color out of it a bit!
 

RBH

Bartender
Pretty intresting article. It would seem the industry knew hats were
fading at least as early as 1947.
I hope this shows up to be able to read.

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fedoracentric

Banned
Messages
1,362
Location
Streamwood, IL
Some very useful Lee history, there. So, are we to understand that Lee was NOT making hats for anyone but Lee after 1944? Would this contradict some of what others have said here that Lee made this hat or that hat for this or that company on into the 1950s and 60s?
 
Messages
10,446
Location
Boston area
I have read it entireLEE, and thank you enthusiasticaLEE Rusty! ExcellentLEE, superbLEE, tremendousLEE written. As we all remember our first (fedora), mine was a LEE. LoveLEE. BeautifuLEE. ContinuaLEE!

Thanks again, sir... GreatLEE appreciated!
 
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harrytemp

One of the Regulars
Messages
101
Is this the company that made the Brent hats for Montgomery Ward. It’s a house brand and made men’s clothing and accessories and the brand’s full name is Carol Brent.
 

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