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Toppers Unite

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
Messages
18,028
Location
Nederland
Finding top hats in a large size has been a challenge. This somewhat generic one — most likely an equestrian hat —popped up on an online shop and I had a coupon code so I only had to pay the $14.00 shipping!

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I had to accessorize it of course.

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Great score, Bob. These large size toppers will cost you deep in the purse this side of the Atlantic.
 
Messages
1
With regards to your query as
Greetings! New here. I have a Carl Fiedler opera hat. As such, it has no sweatband as a regular hat would have. I wear a 7 18, and i'm pretty sure this one's a 7. Is there any way to enlarge this kind of hat?

Thanks,

jv
With regards to your query, asking if an Opera Hat can be enlarged, IT CAN, BUT only if it is taken apart and rebuilt by a competent HatMaker, who knows how to alter the brim "opening" and how to alter the way the brim is attached to the crown. In this way, a 7 can be enlarged to a 7⅛ , or, sometimes to a 7¼. You could try contacting such an HatMaker at <LandHHatsDundas@gmailcom>, if you wish to explore further what would be involved, and what such a procedure would likely cost.
Best of Luck !
Hephaestus St. Clement
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
Pinaud & Amour French Top Hat sold in Tokyo's oldest departement store Mitsukoshi back in the 1920s or perhaps some time before.

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15cm / 5"+ brim. At 4 and a quarter, it's the smallest hat in my collection.

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Its leather Art Nouveau case was worth the price alone

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This wonderful Japanese sign will possibly reveal its true date: Meiji or Taishō era

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So grateful to my friend Gary @The Shoe in Japan for facilitating this one for me.
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
Another tiny Topper that I just couldn't resist due to its Danish hat history and pictorial box.

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Probably pre WWI or there abouts.

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The Latest of London is something of a misnomer. I don't believe any of these hats with that designation have seen England's capital.

This print address suggests otherwise:

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Here's a photo of the shop back in the day in the center of Copenhagen, Gammel Mønt (Old Coin Street)

Screenshot_20240224_204147_Google.jpg
 
Messages
18,028
Location
Nederland
Another tiny Topper that I just couldn't resist due to its Danish hat history and pictorial box.

View attachment 603821
View attachment 603822

Probably pre WWI or there abouts.

View attachment 603825

View attachment 603827

The Latest of London is something of a misnomer. I don't believe any of these hats with that designation have seen England's capital.

This print address suggests otherwise:

View attachment 603826

Here's a photo of the shop back in the day in the center of Copenhagen, Gammel Mønt (Old Coin Street)

View attachment 603828
Fantastic finds, both of them, Steve. Curious about the age of the Japanese one.
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
Fantastic finds, both of them, Steve. Curious about the age of the Japanese one.
Thank you, Stefan.

I'm hoping Gary can find someone who can shed some light on it via the Japanese sign. Every thing about it though says pre WWI to me, and probably well before.
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
Henry & Co, somewhere between the two World Wars, I believe.

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As hard as I've tried, and despite its prominent address, I haven't found out anything about this Top Hat.

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Crown height 13cm, with a 5cm brim

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Unusual to see the size on the sweat of a Top Hat. Especially in English, American, and French sizes:

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Fits nicely:

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Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
Ca. Edwardian Horne Brothers:

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15cm crown height. Just under 5cm brim.

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Horne Brothers had many establishments in London, as can be seen on the liner logo, and around the country.

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Modern gentlemen's underwear leaves a lot to be desired compared to back in the day :)

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CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
14
Location
Tampa, FL
Ahoy everyone, I need some help finding the right kind of wool to use as a facing for the underside of a topper's brim. "Merino wool" is quoted all over the place but "merino" just refers to the type of sheep. There's a lot of merino wools.

I've noticed that most of the antique hats I have use a twill wool with a finer warp yarn than what the weft. The effect is a fine twill with almost a satin finish. I need to find a source of this for some restoration projects.
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warp: single strand wool yarn
weft: double strand twisted wool yarn
weave: 2/1 twill (black in the next diagram represents the warp)

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ruvort

One of the Regulars
Messages
131
Location
Portland area
Ahoy everyone, I need some help finding the right kind of wool to use as a facing for the underside of a topper's brim. "Merino wool" is quoted all over the place but "merino" just refers to the type of sheep. There's a lot of merino wools.

I've noticed that most of the antique hats I have use a twill wool with a finer warp yarn than what the weft. The effect is a fine twill with almost a satin finish. I need to find a source of this for some restoration projects.
View attachment 613759

warp: single strand wool yarn
weft: double strand twisted wool yarn
weave: 2/1 twill (black in the next diagram represents the warp)

View attachment 613760

View attachment 613761

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I could be wrong, but that almost reminds me of Barathea fabric.
 

CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
14
Location
Tampa, FL
I could be wrong, but that almost reminds me of Barathea fabric.
Barathea is close, and it is a formal coating material which a topper should match. Modern baratheas don't seem to match exactly but I'll definitely put it on the list of materials I need to get samples of. There's also worsted serge which might be a good alternative.

I've been looking into gabardine myself.
 
Messages
18,028
Location
Nederland

CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
14
Location
Tampa, FL
Thanks, Stefan.

They definitely are becoming somewhat addictive, especially ones as special as these two.

Looking forward to posting the newest Topper that's on its way as we speak :)

View attachment 613992
Don't get those gloves wet, old formal gloves were not tanned like most leathers, they were essentially pickled in alum. The leather was more stretchy but if it gets wet the alum will wash out and the glove will turn into a sort of goat rawhide.
 

CraigEster

New in Town
Messages
14
Location
Tampa, FL
I have a general question regarding opinion here - what's everyone's favorite hatband material for a topper?

I've come across three types: narrow grosgrain with a bow, wide grosgrain with either a simple bow or no bow, and a felt-like wool band.

A lot of people say the wool bands are the derivative of mourning practices or that they were the cheapest option, but I've found photos of Astors, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts wearing toppers with wool bands spanning decades, both before and after the death of Victoria. I don't think this crown would settle for the cheap default hatband if the wool was really seen as inferior.

What I have come across is that there was an alternating fashion and taste went went from the narrow bands which were first to wider ones. As fashion went from the more maximalism-oriented mid 19th century to the much more minimal and modern 1930s, the hatband evolved along with the shape of the crown and its height.

All the hats in my collection follow the trend of wider hatbands being the domain of the very late 19th and early 20th century, save for bespoke hatters who didn't always follow fashion trends. This has led me to think of narrow bands as older-fashioned.

There's evidence that suggests that the wool was practical. First, it is the exact opposite of plush such that it highlights the shine and can elevate the perceived gloss of a hat. Second, it's much cleaner with almost no seam. Third, it matches the material the clothes that one would wear with a top hat and simplifies the breadth of materials in one's morning or evening ensemble.

Also, the cheapest hats from the mid 20th century actually used wide grosgrain. Dutch hats and the late English hats with low crowns and faille or felt-covered brims (the type that often also have a flatter brim shape) seem to almost exclusively use wide grosgrain.

That said, there's clearly a range of quality. I'm experimenting with these felt-finish hatbands and I plan to make the material tighter and pounce it a bit to get a finer finish. I have hats with impressively fine wool bands that achieve an ideal proportion with the crown and have a finish that would put most felt hats to shame. A friend of mine even has one hat with a carefully cut wave in the band so that it sits perfectly against the brim with an upper edge that's perfectly flat. However, I've seen these things scratchier than a steel wool and clearly not felted enough such that the weave is fraying (I know that most felt doesn't have a woven inner structure, these bands are made from a wool cloth which is felted after weaving - old coats and outerwear used this cloth).
 

Steve1857

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,600
Location
Denmark
An early 1900s Topper from the renowned French Top Hat maker A. Cassé.

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Imported and sold at an establishment known as Stockport in Randers, a small town in Jutland, Denmark.

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The original owner was known for his imports of hats from Stockport, Manchester: Battersby, Christy & Co,
J. Woodrow, T & W Lees etc.

So known for it in fact, he changed the family name to Stockport, which became Stokport in Danish.

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This one came with so many extra goodies:

3 double folded wing collars:
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Two stiff wing collars:
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A white bow tie and some white shrunken leather gloves:

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And this somewhat worn velvet pad. The words Stockport and Randers can just be made out:
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It also came in this somewhat distressed, but still functional cardboard box:

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As long as Top Hats like this one keep turning up, I'll keep buying them :cool:
 
Messages
18,028
Location
Nederland
An early 1900s Topper from the renowned French Top Hat maker A. Cassé.

View attachment 615142 View attachment 615143

Imported and sold at an establishment known as Stockport in Randers, a small town in Jutland, Denmark.

View attachment 615148

The original owner was known for his imports of hats from Stockport, Manchester: Battersby, Christy & Co,
J. Woodrow, T & W Lees etc.

So known for it in fact, he changed the family name to Stockport, which became Stokport in Danish.

View attachment 615149

This one came with so many extra goodies:

3 double folded wing collars:
View attachment 615150

Two stiff wing collars:
View attachment 615151

A white bow tie and some white shrunken leather gloves:

View attachment 615154

And this somewhat worn velvet pad. The words Stockport and Randers can just be made out:
View attachment 615155

It also came in this somewhat distressed, but still functional cardboard box:

View attachment 615156

As long as Top Hats like this one keep turning up, I'll keep buying them :cool:
That is a remarkable find, Steve and an even more remarkable story. Fantastic!
 

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