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What is the quality of Stratton's fur felt?

Naphtali

Practically Family
Messages
751
Location
Seeley Lake, Montana
This question is off-topic. It has zero to do with Fedoras.

About a week ago I was given a fur felt "D.I." hat made in 1999 by Stratton Hat Company of Illinois.

While it appears none the worse for its experiences, this hat's felt is the thickest I've ever seen -- and stiff like Masonite.

What is the felt's quality? Is it likely to become a wet blanket when exposed to a downpour? If it would hold up, it might be a hat for the shooting range or yard work.
 

WEEGEE

Practically Family
Messages
996
Location
Albany , New York
Proper hats are proper hats

Stratton Hat supplies the hats for the New York State Police. I have seen them worn in the worst of weather and inquired about durability and
have gotten good reviews.
 

GA Wildlifer

Familiar Face
Messages
97
Location
Athens, GA
I don't know about the quality but ...

A friend gave me a forest green Stratton hat that used to be the uniform hat for the wildlife agency for which I work. http://www.strattonhats.com/f38hrez.html The felt is thick and stiff, but it was free, and that gave me the courage to wet it and reshape it into my first fedora. The results were mediocre, but it got me hooked and gave me some confidence with reshaping. It is only good for yard work in the winter. It is very warm.

Robert
 

Fedora

Vendor
Messages
828
Location
Mississippi
I have some more info in regards to Stratton. I think Stratton may own Winchester, the folks that many western hatters use for their bodies. I think I heard once that Winchester also makes the bodies for the Stratton brand of hats. I use Winchester for my hats, as they also offer a 4 ounce dress body. I imagine their dress business is small compared to the western side. In the western bodies, they offer pure rabbit, and then various blends, with pure beaver topping out the list. I would imagine, Winchester runs the Stratton bodies using Strattons specs. Sounds like they like a thick heavy felt. I have no idea what the felt composition is though, but I would guess a blend of some type. John would probably know more on this issue. The Winchester factory is a step back in time. They are still using the same equipment that they used back in the early part of the 20th century. They made some of that vintage felt that so many here love. I wish they would diversify their weights in the dress line, and offer blends. I bet they could produce some great blends for dress felt if they wanted to. Fedora
 

besdor

Vendor/Sponsor
Messages
1,726
Location
up north
We used to buy some dress hats from Stratton years ago . From what I was told by Steve Stratton , a lot of the equippment was from the old Dobbs factory . The quality used on the dress hats was fair at best . The factory makes mostly hats for the troopers and state police not dress hats . They had a lot of problems putting on bindings on our hats so we finally just gave up with them . I believe that they are also part owners of the Ozark hat company from MO which makes a lot of straw hats .


Steven
www.bencrafthats.com
:rolleyes:
 
Revive this old thread...

quick question, I was in a vintage clothing store over the weekend and they had a navy blue stratton hat that looked almost identical to this...

f38hrez.jpg


is it safe to assume it it some type of animal fur? is it worth the $40 to try and clean it and reshape it? it's so hard it feels like it could bounce down the highway and not look any different.

I was thinking about trying to snap down the front of the brim and morphing the cattleman's crease into a c crown.

it's a really pretty navy blue and I don't have any blue hats.

it has the grommets on the side and the holes on the brim for the chinstrap. Do you guys (gals) think that this would distract from the overall look of the hat?
 
Messages
10,523
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
Stratton is the parent company of Winchester Hat Factory that we just visited in Winchester, TN near Monteagle. The factory produces the blanks to various specifications of beaver/rabbit/nutria mix. 80% of their production goes to Stratton & the rest to make bodies for hatters like Art & Major Moore.
BTW, Winchester factory was originally built in 1967 but Hat Corporation of America & like said above, is a step back in time.
 

bowlerman

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,202
Location
South Dakota
Giving this one a bump, as Monte and I have both posted some felt Strattons today in WHAYWT and PNHH threads. The one I just received does not fit the "extra stiff" and rugged reviews that the police type hats seem to have gotten. It is very soft and flexible, comfortable, and I don't think I've seen one like it before. It doesn't match up with anything on the current website, either.

The liner says "Designed and Personally Supervised by Steven Stratton."

020wkt.jpg

018dx.jpg

017lfm.jpg

022mk.jpg


I like it with partial side dents.

0182n.jpg
 

barrowjh

One Too Many
Messages
1,398
Location
Maryville Tennessee
Bowlerman, beautiful hat. The Winchester factory is making bodies to customer specs - if the customer wants it without stiffener, they do that. Uniform hats for services (police, military) tend to be stiff because that is what the customer wants. Winchester has the equipment for dyeing under pressure because that is military spec; they want a color-fast hat. I remember Greg Fiske (General Manager) explaining that pressure was really no longer necessary because the dyes have improved over the decades, but using pressure is still in the military spec, so they still made those DI hat bodies go through pressure dye vats (that was about 3 years ago). So a Stratton is not by reputation a stiff uncomfortable hat nor a reliably soft felt, its what the customer (customer buying in bulk) wanted at that time. Looks like you picked up a darned nice hat!!
 

Pat_H

A-List Customer
Messages
442
Location
Wyoming
This question is off-topic. It has zero to do with Fedoras.

About a week ago I was given a fur felt "D.I." hat made in 1999 by Stratton Hat Company of Illinois.

While it appears none the worse for its experiences, this hat's felt is the thickest I've ever seen -- and stiff like Masonite.

What is the felt's quality? Is it likely to become a wet blanket when exposed to a downpour? If it would hold up, it might be a hat for the shooting range or yard work.

I have a National Park Service type campaign hat that I actually got to replace an old good quality replica of the first pattern M1911 Campaign Hat that I used as a fishing hat. I don't like it as much as the hat that passed on, but so far its been serviceable. The felt is incredibly thick.

I recalled reading somewhere that its a fur blend, and I was trying to look that back up to see what the story was (what percent, etc). I steamed my brim a bit to give it a bit of a bend back and forth and, as I don't like the synthetic sweat band, and as I was taking a 30 year old Stetson in to have a new sweatband put in, I'm having a leather one put in for it too.

How has yours held up?
 

glider

A-List Customer
Messages
342
I'm a fan of the Stratton hats, I have a few I picked up cheap, just for grins really, and they turned out to be pretty good hats. I've looked at there web site a lot and I will order a couple dress felts from them before next fall. At present I'm interested in straw and I'm very tempted to order a straw campaign. There prices are actually very reasonable considering the quality of there product.
 
Messages
16,631
Location
Central California
I have several in fur felt, a natural straw Milan weave, and a couple in a plastic type of Milan. They are bulletproof and functional, but also unrefined and industrial feeling/looking (no surprise seeing that all of mine are uniform hats). I told myself that they were going to be my camping, hiking, and fishing hats, but when I go out I usually find I grab something else.

I’d like to see one of their custom hats, but there are so many other customs out there that I’m also interested in.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,833
Location
vancouver, canada
I have several in fur felt, a natural straw Milan weave, and a couple in a plastic type of Milan. They are bulletproof and functional, but also unrefined and industrial feeling/looking (no surprise seeing that all of mine are uniform hats). I told myself that they were going to be my camping, hiking, and fishing hats, but when I go out I usually find I grab something else.

I’d like to see one of their custom hats, but there are so many other customs out there that I’m also interested in.
I don't own a Stratton but I did pick up 2 Winchester Nutria felts that I assume were made for Stratton unless they did a separate run for general sales. I love their Nutria...to me it is superior to their beaver. But maybe the Stratton felts are made to a gov't spec and are a different breed altogether.
 
Messages
16,631
Location
Central California
I don't own a Stratton but I did pick up 2 Winchester Nutria felts that I assume were made for Stratton unless they did a separate run for general sales. I love their Nutria...to me it is superior to their beaver. But maybe the Stratton felts are made to a gov't spec and are a different breed altogether.


The felt Strattons I own are rabbit or a rabbit and hare blend. The felt is thick and sturdy, but I like modern western felt more than Stratton’s uniform felt.
 

glider

A-List Customer
Messages
342
One of the options for there dress hats is 100% beaver felt. You could make the argument that there dress hats are custom hats. There uniform hats are made to be a uniform hat and they do that very well I guess. I think they just about own that business. I haven't actually held one of there dress hats but I intend to order one before fall, maybe 2.
 

Snowman

Practically Family
Messages
537
I bought this one on the ‘bay just for kicks (I liked the blue). The felt is heavy, dense, and thick, but with some steam I was able to give it a bit of a reshape. When it was damp, the felt had an odor (not a terrible odor) that reminded me of wet wool. Now I’m looking for the right hatband to give it. I haven’t worn it yet, but it seems it would be quite serviceable.

This is what it looked like before.
1771671D-E646-4D3C-9E22-D96638231CA1.jpeg
53415D2F-397C-4952-B6C6-89CCE691CE87.jpeg
EB7F16E9-1B68-4FD3-A597-1077A9610061.jpeg

And this is after.
4A8C0A05-B3BA-4B56-9BA7-89D72F338EE8.jpeg
C1C6BA5F-3694-4160-8CB9-BEFA942AA573.jpeg
 

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