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Toppers Unite

Messages
16,658
Location
Central California
Contemporary top hat. I can’t find any clue as to who made it other than the Made in the USA on the 7 3/4 size tag. It’s a very generous 7 3/4 too. The brim is very substantial: almost like fiberglass. The edge has a legitimate O’Dorsay curl. The brim measures 2 inches at the front and the crown is 4 7/8 inches. It’s a stitched together hat and I thought it was an opera hat but it’s not.


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01AEC4F7-D811-4C2F-A37E-B4BC6BBDCFCA.jpeg
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For what it is, it’s a nicely made hat.
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,422
Location
Denmark
Contemporary top hat. I can’t find any clue as to who made it other than the Made in the USA on the 7 3/4 size tag. It’s a very generous 7 3/4 too. The brim is very substantial: almost like fiberglass. The edge has a legitimate O’Dorsay curl. The brim measures 2 inches at the front and the crown is 4 7/8 inches. It’s a stitched together hat and I thought it was an opera hat but it’s not.


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For what it is, it’s a nicely made hat.
It sure shines nicely in the sun, Brent.
 
Messages
16,271
Location
Nederland
Well, sometimes one just finds its way into the collection. Worth a gamble for five euro.
Ambassador tophat. Size 54 (it turns out), but it came with an interesting box, gloves (so likely used for funerals) and a nice old polishing pad. The previous owner was probably nobility because of the double surname.
The polishing pad has the name of Démoed music store, Enschede on it, so it wasn't intended for hats at all, but for cleaning vinyl records. Apparently Adje Vandenberg of Vandenberg and Whitesnake was a customer there. No surprise really: he lives in Enschede. Pity it didn't turn out to be my size, but for a fiver I won't complain.

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Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,422
Location
Denmark
Well, sometimes one just finds its way into the collection. Worth a gamble for five euro.
Ambassador tophat. Size 54 (it turns out), but it came with an interesting box, gloves (so likely used for funerals) and a nice old polishing pad. The previous owner was probably nobility because of the double surname.
The polishing pad has the name of Démoed music store, Enschede on it, so it wasn't intended for hats at all, but for cleaning vinyl records. Apparently Adje Vandenberg of Vandenberg and Whitesnake was a customer there. No surprise really: he lives in Enschede. Pity it didn't turn out to be my size, but for a fiver I won't complain.

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That is one all round nice find, Stefan. Too bad about the size, but at that price who could resist?

I use a Top Hat polishing pad to clean my vinyls, too. They're perfect for the job :)
 
Messages
16,271
Location
Nederland
That is one all round nice find, Stefan. Too bad about the size, but at that price who could resist?

I use a Top Hat polishing pad to clean my vinyls, too. They're perfect for the job :)
Thanks, Steve. Never even thought of that until I saw this and even then I thought it was kind of odd to have a music store name on a polishing pad. Took a while for that penny to drop;)
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,422
Location
Denmark
Yet another distressed Top Hat to the collection:

20221018_141115.jpg 20221018_141115.jpg 20221018_141123.jpg 20221018_141138.jpg

This one has definitely been through the wars, and yet, it has survived, battle scars and all.

The underside of the brim has an interesting green colour.

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Hatmaker J. Ellwood & Sons existed from 1811 to 1938. Their greatest claim to fame was the "invention" of the breathable pith helmet for the British soldiers of the Raj.

Jeps, mad dogs and English men just had to go out in the midday sun :cool:

This one could be either side of 1900, ten years one way or the other.
 

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CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
3
Location
Tampa, FL
The underside of the brim has an interesting green colour.
A friend of mine who sells top hats for Ascot said that the green tone is the result of aging. According to him, the wool turns from black to green as something in it breaks down. I think that this problem was mitigated by the 1910s because I have a topper from San Francisco that was made around 1915 and the wool in still black. Only the older hats in my collection have green wool and they usually smell heavily of pipe smoke, maybe something in the smoke reacted badly with the wool. Apparently old suits age like this too.

I think that hat is from right after 1901, I heard that manufacturers switched to wool hat bands after Queen Victoria died and it stuck because it was cheaper. They supposedly made hats with wool bands after all major royals died with the idea that you'd go to a local hatter and have it changed after the official mourning period was over. I should probably look into this more before repeating it online.

The crown still looks tall so I don't think it's from as late as the 30s, but the brim curl is more subdued. The wobbliness of the brim may be a sign that a hatter tried to flatten it to make it more like later hats, supposedly this was unadvisable but not uncommon. The grosgrain edge on the brim looks to be in good shape, which is comical given the state of the rest of the hat. It's like finding a Yugo with an immaculate paint job, it adds to the mystery!

My last comment is that the separated back of the sweatband is too clean to have been recent (usually the leather would just rip nowadays, especially given the implied storage conditions the hat was kept under) and the side seam is pulled open, so I suspect someone had this hat resized. I've come across sources that say silk plush was hard to come by during the first world war as well as the second, leading to wartime hat scarcity and an increase in hat refurbishment as well as relaxed dress standards. Perhaps someone needed a larger hat and their local shop popped one on their stretcher and failed to make a miracle happen. After that sort of damage these things were usually relegated to children's plays, costumes, and collecting dust in the closet.
 

CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
3
Location
Tampa, FL
I think this line is priceless.
I think toppers and Yugos are actually very similar, both were once common and now they're rare as hell. Both were fragile and made from interesting, somewhat atypical materials, and now if you find either there's a 99% chance it'll look like it spent the 1990s covered in road salt and acid rain.

Now, if you want either newly made you simply can't get 'em. One is a finely-crafted item designed with over a century of refinement, made with precision materials no longer available except possibly in forgotten warehouses and backrooms under decades' worth of junk; the other was made in Yugoslavia.

P.S. If anyone knows where to get hatter's plush please tell me.
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,422
Location
Denmark
A friend of mine who sells top hats for Ascot said that the green tone is the result of aging. According to him, the wool turns from black to green as something in it breaks down. I think that this problem was mitigated by the 1910s because I have a topper from San Francisco that was made around 1915 and the wool in still black. Only the older hats in my collection have green wool and they usually smell heavily of pipe smoke, maybe something in the smoke reacted badly with the wool. Apparently old suits age like this too.

I think that hat is from right after 1901, I heard that manufacturers switched to wool hat bands after Queen Victoria died and it stuck because it was cheaper. They supposedly made hats with wool bands after all major royals died with the idea that you'd go to a local hatter and have it changed after the official mourning period was over. I should probably look into this more before repeating it online.

The crown still looks tall so I don't think it's from as late as the 30s, but the brim curl is more subdued. The wobbliness of the brim may be a sign that a hatter tried to flatten it to make it more like later hats, supposedly this was unadvisable but not uncommon. The grosgrain edge on the brim looks to be in good shape, which is comical given the state of the rest of the hat. It's like finding a Yugo with an immaculate paint job, it adds to the mystery!

My last comment is that the separated back of the sweatband is too clean to have been recent (usually the leather would just rip nowadays, especially given the implied storage conditions the hat was kept under) and the side seam is pulled open, so I suspect someone had this hat resized. I've come across sources that say silk plush was hard to come by during the first world war as well as the second, leading to wartime hat scarcity and an increase in hat refurbishment as well as relaxed dress standards. Perhaps someone needed a larger hat and their local shop popped one on their stretcher and failed to make a miracle happen. After that sort of damage these things were usually relegated to children's plays, costumes, and collecting dust in the closet.
Thanks for your input. I was thinking the green might be due to aging. It crossed my mind too that the popped seam might have been due to an attempt at re-sizing.
 

CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
3
Location
Tampa, FL
Thanks for your input. I was thinking the green might be due to aging. It crossed my mind too that the popped seam might have been due to an attempt at re-sizing.
Before I was told that the color change was due to aging I thought it could have been intentional. The Victorians used green tones to mitigate glare and harsh light, this is in part why traditional money counter visors and old lamps were transparent green (although this was more for mitigating the "harsh" light from early electric bulbs). Green was also commonly used for awnings and some hats, supposedly some baseball caps today have a green underside to their brim.

I thought that the hats with a green brim were meant for day-wear and that would also explain their commonly poor condition. Alas this theory is baseless and it's most likely just aging. I even bought some green wool for restoring one of my hats and I still need to go and get black merino wool. Right now I'm making mini top hats to test different materials to see if any modern ones are acceptable for making a silk hat, so at least I found a use for my green material.

Almost nobody makes good silk velvet anymore, and as far as I can tell nobody makes silk panne velvet (the stuff used to make these hats). Products called "silk velvet" are available but what the shysters do is use silk in the ground fabric and the pile is all rayon of polyester.
 

Mean Eyed Matt

Practically Family
Messages
950
Location
Germany
After such wonderful Zylinders have been posted here
in the last few months, I would like to join in - directly
to Steve's Fritz Reuter: Your topper is under guarantee
sourced from a company, because my Pinçon is too.
But see for yourself...

P. M. Pinçon & Co., Neuer Wall 26-28, Hamburg
The name and address once belonged to a famous hatter,
from whom Chancellor Bismarck used to buy his top hats (so the legend goes).
I do not know when the company was founded - but I do know it was deleted
from the Commercial Register in December 1972.
At the address Neuer Wall 26-28 is the "Haus Pinçon",
built in 1904 and still named after him, which was completely restored
15 years ago and returned to its original condition.
By the way, the Weitz company was the first tenant in 1904.
http://www.hauspincon.de/Haus_Pincon/Willkommen.html
https://abendfarben.com/architekturfotografie-hamburg-kontorhaus-neuer-wall/
https://michelelegrand.wordpress.com/tag/haus-pincon/
44879507an.jpg



But now finally to the top hat... and then you also understand the allusion to Steve's Fritz Reuter
44871005xn.jpg
44871004px.jpg

44871003zn.jpg
44871002dk.jpg

44871000fe.jpg
44870999ua.jpg

44870998vp.jpg
44870997uh.jpg

44870986xz.jpg
44870995fq.jpg

44870996lb.jpg
44870994xc.jpg

44870988fi.jpg
44870989wa.jpg

44870987ov.jpg
44870991iw.jpg
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,271
Location
Nederland
After such wonderful Zylinders have been posted her
in the last few months, I would like to join in - directly
to Steve's Fritz Reuter: Your topper is under guarantee
sourced from a company, because my Pinçon is too.
But see for yourself...

P. M. Pinçon & Co., Neuer Wall 26-28, Hamburg
The name and address once belonged to a famous hatter,
from whom Chancellor Bismarck used to buy his top hats (so the legend goes).
I do not know when the company was founded - but I do know it was deleted
from the Commercial Register in December 1972.
At the address Neuer Wall 26-28 is the "Haus Pinçon",
built in 1904 and still named after him, which was completely restored
15 years ago and returned to its original condition.
By the way, the Weitz company was the first tenant in 1904.
http://www.hauspincon.de/Haus_Pincon/Willkommen.html
https://abendfarben.com/architekturfotografie-hamburg-kontorhaus-neuer-wall/
https://michelelegrand.wordpress.com/tag/haus-pincon/
44879507an.jpg



But now finally to the top hat... and then you also understand the allusion to Steve's Fritz Reuter
44871005xn.jpg
44871004px.jpg

44871003zn.jpg
44871002dk.jpg

44871000fe.jpg
44870999ua.jpg

44870998vp.jpg
44870997uh.jpg

44870986xz.jpg
44870995fq.jpg

44870996lb.jpg
44870994xc.jpg

44870988fi.jpg
44870989wa.jpg

44870987ov.jpg
44870991iw.jpg
Fantastic hat and good detective work, Matt. I really like the grosgrain finish of the brim.
 

Mean Eyed Matt

Practically Family
Messages
950
Location
Germany
Thank you, Stefan. I find the finish of the brim with grosgrain
- by the way, completely above as well as below - also quite wonderful.
I've never consciously seen this done on a top hat before, but when I looked
more closely at Steve's Reuter, I discovered the same feature (if I'm not mistaken).
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,422
Location
Denmark
After such wonderful Zylinders have been posted here
in the last few months, I would like to join in - directly
to Steve's Fritz Reuter: Your topper is under guarantee
sourced from a company, because my Pinçon is too.
But see for yourself...

P. M. Pinçon & Co., Neuer Wall 26-28, Hamburg
The name and address once belonged to a famous hatter,
from whom Chancellor Bismarck used to buy his top hats (so the legend goes).
I do not know when the company was founded - but I do know it was deleted
from the Commercial Register in December 1972.
At the address Neuer Wall 26-28 is the "Haus Pinçon",
built in 1904 and still named after him, which was completely restored
15 years ago and returned to its original condition.
By the way, the Weitz company was the first tenant in 1904.
http://www.hauspincon.de/Haus_Pincon/Willkommen.html
https://abendfarben.com/architekturfotografie-hamburg-kontorhaus-neuer-wall/
https://michelelegrand.wordpress.com/tag/haus-pincon/
44879507an.jpg



But now finally to the top hat... and then you also understand the allusion to Steve's Fritz Reuter
44871005xn.jpg
44871004px.jpg

44871003zn.jpg
44871002dk.jpg

44871000fe.jpg
44870999ua.jpg

44870998vp.jpg
44870997uh.jpg

44870986xz.jpg
44870995fq.jpg

44870996lb.jpg
44870994xc.jpg

44870988fi.jpg
44870989wa.jpg

44870987ov.jpg
44870991iw.jpg
A wonderful piece of history, Matt.

Quality just oozes out of those images.
 
Messages
16,702
Location
Maryland
Thank you, Stefan. I find the finish of the brim with grosgrain
- by the way, completely above as well as below - also quite wonderful.
I've never consciously seen this done on a top hat before, but when I looked
more closely at Steve's Reuter, I discovered the same feature (if I'm not mistaken).
Matt, Again beautiful Silk Top Hat and Case! I noticed / mentioned the similarities in the German - Austrian thread. The spec paper labels are the same too.
 

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