Google


Antiques Roadshow’s Bruce Shackelford Gets One Way Wrong

July 29, 2014 | Filed Under Entertainment, Fedora, Hat History, PBS, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, TV, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


Antiques Roadshow’s Bruce Shackelford Gets One Way Wrong

-By Warner Todd Huston

I am sure the PBS antiques appraisal show, Antiques Roadshow, gets slapped around by real experts for being wrong all the time. For instance, I’ve seen prices for Civil War artifacts quoted way off base. But the show’s Bruce Shackelford even got an identification of a piece wrong in one episode.

So, this episode of Antiques Roadshow is an old one. I only just now saw it for the first time this week. But in the show from 1998, Shackelford misidentified the Stetson hat in the image below as a “Boss Of The Plaines” model hat.

He was wrong.

A true Boss Of The Plaines has a flat brim with a short, rounded crown. Just like so…
Read more


UPDATE: So… What’s the Deal With Those Hats, Huston?

July 29, 2012 | Filed Under Fedora, Stetson, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


UPDATE: So… What’s the Deal With Those Hats, Huston?

-By Warner Todd Huston

I’ve added some hats to my online picture essay of my collection, including some driving caps, goggles, and a road duster from around 1910 or so. I also added photos of the hat I have that President Lyndon Baines Johnson once owned.


A 1940s era Stetson Whippet

Many of you out there know me for my various vintage fedoras. But I have a lot more that I don’t wear out there when covering events. I well over 100 different hats in my collection, hats from the military, historical hats, fedoras, hats of all sorts.

Check it out…

So… What’s the Deal With Those Hats, Huston?


Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

January 1, 2012 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

-By Warner Todd Huston

Hats are often impossible to date in exact terms. Once in a while there is an actual ink stamp on the inside of a leather sweatband telling us the date the hat was made or sold but this is very rare. Sometimes there is an original receipt from when the hat was purchased. This is also rare and maybe a bit unreliable because, after all, the receipt could have come from any where and it’s hard to be sure it was actually for the hat it is with. Even less reliable is family lore on when a hat was purchased (so few people know anything about hats that this is a highly unreliable method of dating). Other times we know through hat company advertisements that a particular, marked model was only sold during a specific time period. But usually one can only make an educated guess based on when particular models were introduced taken with the various manufacturing methods used on the hat. This criteria usually can only give you about a 10-year period into which the hat’s manufacture date could fit.

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

All the hat terms you need to know to understand the world of hats and hat wearing.

Stetson Quality Designations, Just
What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

Everyone wants to know what the heck Stetson means by those “genuine” Xs. Here we endeavor to answer that question.

Observations on Fedora Sweatbands,
Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

Wherein we help you date your Stetson using the tags noted.

Dating Stetsons by Company Crests,
Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

Because the Stetson logo changed only a finite number of times, here you’ll find yet another way to help date your Stetson.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

This is an interesting walk through my personal collection of antique fedoras. Please enjoy the journey.

And now on with Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag…

Collectors have the most information on Stetsons but even that is hard to pin down. The following is what collectors know so far about dating a Stetson. This information is always changing as collectors are finding out more and more and newer vintage examples come to light.

Now, one way to date your Stetson hat is by re-order (“To Duplicate”) and inventory tags. Dating Stetsons by inventory, style and sizing, or re-order number tags might only give you a general set of dates of not more than a decade or two, but taking note of these inventory tags can give you a general idea of the era in which your hat was made. As with all dating systems for Stetsons, exact, to the year dating is nearly impossible simply because Stetson’s records have long since been destroyed.

The idea with these tags was that you could re-order your favorite hat style simply by telling Stetson what your tag said. On that tag is a style number, a block number, and a size, etc. With this innovative system a customer never had to guess what sort of hat he had and never had to be forced to try a new style when his old hat wore out. If he liked the type of hat he had he could get it replaced with one exactly like it. Customer service was the word of the day!

These tags had other uses, too. It was also a way for Stetson to keep track of what was going on in the factory. The tags helped track what hats sold the most and where they were in the manufacturing process.

I think Stetson introduced this system in the late 1800s and it wasn’t long before every hat manufacturer had some sort of inventory tag of its own.

Whether on a Stetson tag or on that of another hat maker, some of the information on these tags were crown depth, hat size, blocking number, finish style, sometimes even color appeared on them (but not often). And, of course, the name of the hat company and sometimes its address were also on these tags.

Where can you find these tags?

On Stetsons there were two of these stickers glued to the felt behind the sweatband, at the back of the hat.


This is the inside of the hat. Follow the arrow and look behind the sweatband for the tags

What do they look like?


Here is what it looks like when you turn down the leather sweatband

WARNING

Now, be very, very careful when you turn that sweatband down. On older hats the sweatband stitching can be very delicate. Turning down that leather in a rough manner can easily result in the stitching breaking apart of the leather cracking. If you are afraid of damaging the hat, just take a peek behind that leather. If the hat is in great shape, though, go ahead and turn it out.

But be aware that a leather sweatband is NOT made to be constantly flipped in and out of the hat. Hatters may suggest that the sweat be turned out when drying a modern, newly made hat, but this is NOT a good habit on vintage hats for the reason noted above. A leather sweatband is generally manufactured to stay flipped inward to hold the proper shape of the hat opening but the bigger problem is age. It is not usually safe to flip sweatbands in and out on an older hat. So, once you see your reorder and size tags, best to take a photo of them and then never flip that sweatband out again if you can help it!

Reorder, Size, and Finish Tag Styles and Dating

Late in the 1800s Stetson instituted a great idea for customer relations. You see, in those days, a hat was quite an important part of a man’s personal style. Once he found a hat style he liked, he usually tried to stay with that as long as possible. Hats weren’t incidental in those days. A man was making a personal statement with his hat.

So, Stetson implemented a way for a man to replace his favorite hat with exactly the same style as his lost or worn out hat. To do that Stetson created a “to duplicate” tag with a number on it. The number told Stetson what sort of hat was being requested so that when a man re-ordered his hat he’d get the exact model he wanted with the same style, same brim width, etc. The ultimate in customer service.

This reorder system lasted from the late 1800s to about 1960 when Stetson finally dropped the service. The separate re-order tag seemed to appear in a myriad of different versions. The first was a brown tag that was almost square–but not quite–and lasted to sometime in the mid to late 1920s. Then came a second version in orange. Finally came an orange version that was a bit more rectangular than the second. But there were several other types, to.

Early Stetsons had the “to duplicate” information on the same tag as the sizing and blocking info. It is possible that Stetson used both the black tag and the separate brown “to duplicate” tag concurrently. But it wasn’t for long, for sure.

Still, it is currently unknown just when Stetson started using paper tags inside hats to denote size, style, reorder numbers and block and crown depths. The earliest tag I have seen is from somewhere between the 1870s and 1900. Stetsons from between 1865 and 1890 are, well, like finding hen’s teeth, so it isn’t real common to see what sort of tags they used prior to 1900. In any case, Stetson seems to have had well over a dozen different tags that all appeared in certain eras.


Stetson’s earliest known tag (as least to me) is this one. This tag was found in an 1880s-style American police hat with a metal pin that has”SLP” surrounded by a wreath on its front (maybe St. Louis Police). This English Bobby-like police hat was popular in American cities until the early 1900s when they went out of fashion for our police departments.


This one is similar to the one above, but has the categories moved around a bit. This was found in a bowler with a liner sporting Stetson’s 1889 medal winnings. So, it was made between 1889 and 1900


Stetson’s early black tag, late 1800s to sometime in the 1920s. The black and white tag is often seen on bowlers. Note how the “to duplicate” information was part of the same tag in this early iteration, too.


This one has only been seen a handful of times. It perhaps from the 1900s or as late as 1920. This was found in a bowler.


Here is another alternate version, this one also a rare sighting. Again it is unknown how long this one was used.

Early in the 1900s, perhaps as early as the 1910s, Stetson began to separate the re-order tags.

Separate Reorder Tag Styles and Dating

Ultimately, Stetson used the two separate tags from sometime in the 1920s all the way until about 1950 or so when they went to the white tag seen below.


Stetson’s early brown re-order or “to duplicate” tag. This tag went from about the 1900s to somewhere in the late 1920s. This one was mostly gone by the mid to late 20s but some stocks of them were still being used up.


Stetson’s early alternate “to duplicate” tag. This tag came to light recently from collectors at the Fedora Lounge website and seems to be from the 1900s to 1920s or so. It is either the brownish color of the early tag or the orange color of the later tag surrounded by a plain paper border with accents. Not many of these have been seen so it is unknown how often it was used.


Another alternate version of the brown tag same dates as above.


Here is another shot of the alternate tag as above from a different hat, only this one is showing how the re-order number would have been printed on the tag. This is from a 1900 Paris Grand Prize model derby from sometime between 1900 and 1920.


Once in a while the “to duplicate” tag was also in red. This is not real common, but it happens. This one was found in a 1920s era fedora.


Stetson’s first orange tag lasted possibly as long as the early 1930s. It was essentially the same tag as the brown one, just printed in orange.


Stetson’s more oblong orange tag lasted from the mid to late 30s to about 1957 or so. After that, the re-order number was incorporated into the size and block tag as you’ll see next.

Separate Size and Style Tags

Here are the separate size and style tags.


Stetson’s orange tag with a large size panel and three smaller panels from the sometime in the early 1900s to the early or mid 1930s or so. Note that the “to duplicate” info is no longer on the size and block tag.


Orange tag from the early to mid 30s to about 1940, note how panels are slightly different than above.


Orange tag from 1940 to the mid 1950s, note the further change in the panel set up.


An alternate tag to the one above, this one with the colors reversed. This was discovered in a practically destroyed Stetson Stratoliner Vita Felt from the early 1940s.


1950s to the early 60s. Notice that Stetson went back to incorporating the re-order and size info on the same tag.The first use of this tag seems to date to 1952 or so, but the earlier orange and red tags were also being used concurrently with this white one for at least 5 years after this white one was introduced. Collectors speculate Stetson was just using up its stock of the read and orange ones before going with the white one full time.

These re-order tags were a standard for many decades, but by the time the 60s and early 70s rolled around, Stetson had switched its inventory system to a computer-based system and began to use a big fold out tag that was glued to the side behind the sweatband instead of being glued to the felt in the back of the hat behind the sweatband. This last tag was about 2 inches wide and folded out to be 3 inches or so long.

Of course, by the 1970s, Stetson had done away with the idea that you could reorder your hat by the tag information, anyway. Stetson decided it did not want to spend the time messing around with all the records that the tags required them to maintain. Sadly, at this time all those old records were destroyed. All those records… just gone. Sad.


Post 1970 tag and the end of the re-ordering feature

Non-Stetson Hat Manufacturers

Inventory tags were quite common throughout the hat-making industry between the late 1890s all the way to the 1960s. There are all sorts of these tags and while they differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, one general rule of thumb is that they got smaller over the years. They also got less and less fancy. Early tags were quite fancy with little flourishes and fancy type styles. Then, as time moved on, all the prettiness of these tags went away until they just looked like a tag a computer churned out. You can see above the way Stetson’s devolved as an example. (In fact, Stetson’s were always pretty staid. Some manufacturers really got fancy.)

Here’s a few quick examples of other hat maker’s tags. Below you’ll find one from the No Name Hat company from about 1920 or so, one from the Hoyt Hats company, and one from the Biskup hat company. The latter two are from the late 1940s.


No Name Hats


Hoyt Hats


Biskup Hats

So, there you have it, folks. Some examples of inventory tags from other manufacturers. This system persisted until the hat industry went belly up as a customizable product.

More Hat Related Posts

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.


My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

January 1, 2012 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Uncategorized | Comments Off on


My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

-By Warner Todd Huston

Since you clicked on the photograph of my collection of antique Stetson cowboy hats, here is some more info on those hats.

First of all, Stetson is the cadillac of hats, for sure. John B. Stetson became one of the most famous hatmakers in history thanks to his ubiquitous western hat. His name is so synonymous with cowboy hats that a western hat is often generically called a “Stetson” whether made by Stetson’s company or not.

Stetson History

In 1865, with $100, John B. Stetson rented a small room, bought the tools he needed, bought $10 worth of fur and the John B. Stetson Hat Company was born. A year later the “Hat of the West” or the now famous “Boss of the Plains” hat was born and the name Stetson was on its way to becoming the mark of quality, durability, innovation and beauty.

John B. Stetson experienced trying times in his life but after it all he relied on the one thing he did exceptionally well, making hats. He was trained by his father, a master hatter, and applied his skills and knowledge to a trade that, at the time was not held in high regard.

A hatter was seen as unreliable, lazy, or aloof, only looking to make his money and go have fun. John B. Stetson changed all that and built one of America’s most well-known and successful businesses. The longevity and history of the John B. Stetson Company is based on innovation and quality! John B. Stetson led the hat industry his entire career by designing new hat styles for fashion and function. When it came to quality it was his creed and for the past 130 years it has so stamped the product that the name and the word are synonymous.

Today the Stetson hat factory in Garland, Texas is one of the largest in the country and produces a line of hats in hundreds of different styles and colors. In spite of this size, however, classic styling and premium quality remain as the driving forces behind each and every hat. As a result, Stetson hats are the most well known hats in the world. Wherever and whenever hats are discussed Stetson will be mentioned.

Stetson is the standard in hats, the essence of the spirit of the West and an icon of everyday American lifestyle. Because of its authentic American heritage, Stetson remains as a part of history and, for the same reason will continue into the future.

Stetson, it’s not just a hat, it’s the hat.

My Collection

I have been collecting hats for many years, but my favorites have always been Stetsons. I am mostly interested in fedoras, but I also have a little collection of original Stetson westerns that range in manufacturing dates from the 1890s to the 1930s. Original Stetsons from the early days (especially pre 1900) are very hard to find. You see, a Stetson was a man’s most beloved possession back in the old days and he usually wore his hat to pieces before he finally bought a new one. Therefore, old Stetsons don’t exist in great numbers because. They were just used up and finally discarded, not saved for posterity. Additionally, the ones that do still exist these 100 years later are rarely in great shape. I mean, come on. They are cloth items, made to wear, not built to last forever in the first place, and are usually quite well used. Granted, any hat that is still around since before 1900 is a rare piece, but an antique Stetson just has that extra aura about it. It was the hat that tamed the west, after all.

In any case, here is my little collection. I hope you enjoy viewing it.

(Note: You can click on the first photo of each hat to go to a larger image so you can see details better. Be sure to hit your back button on your browser to come back to this page. The photos of the insides of the hats are not linked to larger photos.)


Stetson, The Hat that Made the West


Identification key

1). The Derby (1900)

The derby is not really an American hat. It was actually created in England as the bowler or the Cooke Hat (pronounced koke). It was initially invented to be a sort of protective helmet for equestrians over there, but by the time it got to America is was merely an item of fashion. Derbies were considered a city hat more than a western hat, but regardless of that general conception, the derby was seen throughout the country–the west included–from the moment it came to America’s shores in the mid 1800’s.

This size 7-1/8 derby is the model that won Stetson a “grand prize” at a 1900 Paris hat manufacturer’s competition. It is duly marked with the 1900 prize winner imprint on the sweatband and was originally sold at a store named “Haskell and Jones Company,” of Portland, Maine. The hat is also a “flexible conforming” hat. This one was made between 1900 and 1920.

This derby has the brown re-oder tag in it as seen in the last photo above. Sometime in the early 1910s Stetson changed the color of the re-order tag from brown to orange. No one left alive knows why the color change, but whatever the case, only Stetsons from previous to 1910 have the brown re-order tags.

2). The Boss Raw Edge (1930s)

The Boss Raw Edge was one of Stetson’s early big sellers. They were made from the late 1800s until the 1930s. Called “raw edge” because there was no binding sewn to the edge of the brim and no edge treatment otherwise (like stitching or welting), the Boss Raw Edge was made in many, many crown heights, brim widths and came in several colors like black, brown, natural, and sometimes white.

This one is a size 7-1/8 and was sold originally in Sheridan, Wyoming at an outlet of “Stevens – Fryberger Company.” Due to the size of the crown and the fact that the sweatband stitching is an up and down stitch, this hat was likely made in the 1930s. (Earlier Stetsons had a “v” stitch on the sweat band, instead of an up and down stitch.)

There are no tags inside, but this hat does have one of those oil skin sweat barriers that Stetson tried out in the 1930s. These sweat barriers were meant to stop the wearer’s sweat from wicking through to the outside of the hat. When a hat is worn a lot outside in summer weather, sweat naturally leaks through to the outside and will stain the area where the brim meets the crown. When the sweat dries it leaves a white salt stain in that area as well as on the ribbon. Because of this, Stetson tried this sweat barrier idea. It’s a band of oil skin sewn between the leather sweatband and the hat body.

This idea didn’t last too many years, though. It was ultimately found that the sweat that wicked off the wearer’s head got trapped between the leather sweatband and the oil skin shielding and this caused the oil skin to adhere to the leather sweatband which quickly rotted the sweatband out and caused it all to fall apart. The oil skin sweat barrier, while a seemingly good idea, caused more trouble than it was worth.

3). The Boss Raw Edge, 3X, Kettle Finish (1920s)

Here we have another Boss Raw Edge, but this one is a 3X quality model sporting a “Kettle Finish” brim.

The 3X in the earlier days of Stetson’s manufacturing likely had a very high beaver fur content. It was one of the more expensive hats and was one of Stetson’s higher grade hats at the turn of the last century. The “Kettle Finish” meant that the brim edge was curled in what many call a “pencil curl.” This hat was originally made between 1900 and 1920. It was originally sold at “McVicar – Howard Clothing Co.” of Wichita, Kansas.

Unfortunately, some goof removed the entire sweatband from the hat at some point in the past. It has been tacked back in, in six places as you can see with the light colored thread in the photos. Still, it is a solid and rare hat in great condition.

4). No. 1 Quality (1930s)

The number one quality (No. 1 Quality) western was originally one of Stetson’s mid priced hats. This particular one is in a beautiful white and sported a bit of history, too. I have since sold this hat, but I have a similar one that you can see below.

This was a beautiful hat, originally owned by one Mr. Nathan Levy, the Post Master of Visalia, California — Nathan Levy was the son of Julius Levy and was Postmaster of Visalia up to the time of his death in 1939 at the age of 67. He arrived in California in 1863, and in Tulare County in 1865. Nathan’s son, Ben Preston Levy, died in Korea. Ben is survived by his wife Alice Stocker Levy Collins of SC, daughter Linda Levy Hurzeler, and son Gregory Levy Collins. I purchased this hat from his great grandson. The hat was made likely sometime in the 1930s and was purchased at “Whitehill’s” of Salinas and Visalia, California. The size is 6-7/8.

5). No. 1 Quality (1900 to 1920)

Here is another No. 1 Quality, but it is an older hat than the one above.

This raw edged, flat brimmed hat has a great western pencil curl all the way around. It is a size 6-7/8 and was made between 1900 and 1920. It was originally sold at “Woods Brothers men’s Store,” but where that store was located is unknown.

This one has the brown re-oder tag in it as seen in the second to last photo above.

6). Clear Nurtia (1900 to 1920)

This one is a nutria felt hat, not beaver. Most hats of this era were made of the fur of the good old American beaver, but at the turn of the century, the nutria came to America and its fur made a very tough hat. Nutria–a rat-like creature imported from South America–produces a fur felt that is tough as nails, not soft and pliable like beaver felt. In fact, it is so tough that even with time it never really softens like beaver fur felt does. Many cowboys liked the nutria hats because they were almost indestructible. This one is a “clear nutria” meaning that it was a 100% nutria fur felt hat.

Originally sold at “Burlington Arcade,” in New York, this hat features a shortened crown creased in a telescope dent. It is a size 7-1/8 and was apparently originally owned by a fellow named “R. Nutt” if the inked name is any indication.

It is a raw edged brim with the right and left edges slightly turned upward.

Since nutria were introduced to America, though, they’ve become a dangerous, destructive, invasive species that most people would rather see eliminated. Nice move, hat makers!

7). No Name Hats (1890s to early 1900s)

The last one is quite special. It is a “No Name Hat Company” Hat made between 1890 and 1910.

This hat was originally sold at “Greentree” of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is in the style that was extremely popular for townsfolk and city folk. This hat would have been worn by laborers, bankers, newspaper men, men of all sorts. It was a very typical style at the turn of the century, but what makes it special is the company that made it.

The “No Name Hat Company Hat” was actually a Stetson hat company. It wasn’t the Stetson company that was owned by the John B. Stetson that we are all familiar with, but it was a company that John worked for nonetheless. You see, it was his father’s and brother’s company–though John also was a principal in the company at one time.

This hat was made in the early 1900s by Henry Stetson (John’s brother), who was the main “No Name” man. By this time Stephen (the father) had long since passed away. John’s younger brother, Stephen L. Stetson, also worked for “No Name.”

It may sound like a joke, but it was called “No Name” because the Stetsons just couldn’t come up with a name for the company. So, they just stuck with “No Name.”

The “No Name” company and “John B. Stetson Hat Company” were apparently quite close, though. How close can be seen on the sweat band of this hat. In the photos you’ll see an imprint bearing “The Fray” patent. “The Fray” is actually a trademarked process for making the leather sweatbands. This was one of John B. Stetson’s big selling points on his hats between 1879 and 1920. But since this “The Fray” patent mark appears on a “No Name” hat, this means that John and his brother Henry shared the process between their two companies without argument. The patent was taken out by one of Stetson’s earliest employees of long standing, one Mr. William F. Fray.

Interestingly, the happy cooperation between Stetson companies that I mention above did not stay so cordial later in the century. As it happened, in 1933, John’s younger brother Stephen L. Stetson started a hat company of his own that he tried to call “Stetson Hats.” But big brother John wasn’t amused and sued him for violating his trademarked name. Stephen lost in court and had to make sure he called his company the “Stephen L. Stetson Hat Company.” Not only that but Stephen had to include a little disclaimer on every hat and hat box that went to great pains to inform customers that his company was not connected in any way to the John B. Stetson hat company. You can see an example of a Stephen L. Stetson hat along with the ubiquitous disclaimer on my other thread HERE.

Recently Purchased and Not Pictured Above

8). Stetson No. 1 Quality (1930s)

Here is another No. 1 Quality, and it is nearly the same model as the white one above that I sold. Oddly enough, this one was even originally sold at the same California store as the one in my little diorama photo of Stetson Westerns!

This one has a finely trimmed brim edge that measures in at a generous 3-1/2 inches. It was manufactured sometime in the 1930s. It has the name “Hap Corey” imprinted into the sweatband. This owner wanted to be sure no one walked off with his Stetson, for sure.

9). Stetson No. 1 Quality (1930s)

And here is another No. 1 Quality, and it is nearly the same model as the white one above, but in brown. Even sold at the same California store which makes the third one I’ve seen from that store.

This also has the finely trimmed brim edge that measures in at a generous 3-1/2 inches. It was manufactured sometime in the 1930s.

Sadly, one of the original owners poked two holes in the brim in order to add a stampede string. But that flaw is small and doesn’t detract too much from the hat.

10). Stetson No. 1 Quality (1890s to 1910s)

I have to say, I was thrilled as heck to come across this No. 1 Quality Stetson.This hat is particularly beautiful. It looks as though it just came off the store shelves even though it is likely older than any of the hats above. It is rare, indeed, to find a 100-year-old Stetson in such perfect shape.

Anyway, this black No. 1 Quality is finished in a wonderful pencil curl brim and also features one of Stetson’s 1890s era imprint stamps. This hat was made between 1890 and 1910. It also sports a “The Fray” sweatband. This was the patented sweatband invented by one of Stetson’s earliest employees of long standing that I mentioned above.

This one also has the brown re-oder tag in it as seen in the last photo above.

11). Stetson No. 1 Quality (Late 1940s to Early 1950s)

Here is a No. 1 Quality Stetson from the late 40s or early 50s. It’s in very good shape, but the previous owner stretched it a bit as you can see the hat jack indentations in the leather sweatband. I hate these new hat-jacks as they always leave indentations in the leather sweatbands. I never use them.

Anyway, this black No. 1 Quality is finished in a deep pencil curl brim that measures a full 4 inches.This hat was made between 1945 and the early 50s. Despite the hat-jacking it took, the leather is in very supple condition with only a few scuffs here and there and no broken stitches.

12). Stetson Boss Raw Edge, Kettle Finish, Nutria (1913 to 1920s)

This hat is a bit moth eaten, but is a great example of the sort of early dress western hat that was worn between the late 1890s and about 1930. This particular one has the brown reorder tag, so that makes it of a manufacturing date previous to 1920. It is made of nutria fur and features the “kettle finish” brim edge which meant the brim was curled (as pictured). It is also Stetson’s then famous “Boss Raw Edge” meaning it had no edge treatment, just cut raw, no stitching or ribbon binding. Only in advertising can something be finished with no extra treatment, no extra effort to jazz it up yet have that be advertised as a major selling point!

The felt is quite pliable and can be shaped in several ways.

13). Stetson Boss Raw Edge, Kettle Finish, Real Nutria (Late 1920s to Early 1930s)

This is a great Boss Raw Edge western hat with a marked “Kettle Finish” brim edge and made of “real nutria.”

What is very interesting about this is that a Boss Raw Edge usually has a brim edge with no ribbon or stitching adornment. This one, however, has an interesting flat ribbon sewn completely underneath the brim edge. Also, “Kettle Finish” usually meant that the brim had a pencil curl to it. This one, though, is flat. I don’t know if it ever had a curl, but if it did there is no vestige of it now. Also, the leather sweatband is a bit larger than average. It measures 2-1/2 inches in depth.

Another odd thing on this is the older style inventory label. Usually by the late 20s and into the 30s the inventory label had already moved to the orange label as seen in the hats above.

Other wise, it is a typical Boss Raw Edge from the late 20s and 30s. A little dirty, but in great–even wearable–shape.

Lastly, it has a very wide oil skin sweat barrier sewn between the leather sweatband and the hat. It is fortunate that this sweat barrier didn’t destroy the hat as they had a tendency to do over the ages. This one survived in great shape.

14). Stetson No. 1 Quality, Boss Of The Plains Style (Made between 1880 and the 1920s)

This is a great Boss Of The Plains style Stetson. The Boss Of The Plains was one of Stetson’s most famous and popular styles from the 1860s on into the early 20th century. In fact, this flat-brimmed, round-crown style was the so popular, nearly every photo of a real cowboy from the late 1800s is wearing this style hat or something close to it.

Take this photo from my personal collection, for instance. This is of a couple from the 1880s or so.

So, here is my Boss Of The Plains, Stetson’s most famous hat of all…

Finally, this one has the brown reorder tag as seen in many pre 1920 Stetsons.

15). Stetson Boss Raw Edge Dress Western (Made between 1880 and the 1920s)

Not everyone in the west wore a full blown cowboy hat and Stetson made some Boss Raw Edge hats that looked more like fedoras, too. This is one of those.

This great hat was sold in Spokane, Washington sometime between 1900 and 1920 or so.

16). Stetson 3X Beaver Quality (1940s)

This is a nice example of a 1940s era 3X with all the markings on leather and liner both. The words “XXX Beaver Quality” don’t appear very often on the inside liners.

This one also has one of the earliest “Last Drop” embroidered liners, too. A nice late 40s piece.

By a strange coincidence, this is the third hat I’ve found from the Whitehill store in Salinas, California.

17). Stetson Real Nutria Long Hair (Early 1900s up to the 20s)

Nutria fur was loved by the cowboys because it wore like iron and lasted a long time. This one is interesting because it is a long hair, not the closely sanded felt and it is in an eye popping golden cream color. Unfortunately, the moths really ate this one up, but there are no holes, oddly enough. Seems the moths were content with eating the surface instead of eating down through the felt. But, oddly, even with the mothing, this is a pretty cool looking hat.

The moths didn’t eat just the outside of this one, either. A look inside at the re-order tags shows how the little buggers ate right through the labels!

More Hat Related Posts

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.


Observations on Fedora Sweatbands, Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

January 2, 2011 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


Observations on Fedora Sweatbands, Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

-By Warner Todd Huston

There are several things about the inside of a fedora that can help determine when it was made. For instance, leather sweatbands, that strap of leather inside a hat just where the forehead sits — meant to help keep a hat on the wearer’s head — can often be used to help date an earlier fedora because after the 1940s, sweatbands went through some radical changes all due to hat makers getting cheap on this generally unseen part of the hat.

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

All the hat terms you need to know to understand the world of hats and hat wearing.

Stetson Quality Designations, Just
What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

Everyone wants to know what the heck Stetson means by those “genuine” Xs. Here we endeavor to answer that question.

Dating Stetsons by Company Crests,
Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

Because the Stetson logo changed only a finite number of times, here you’ll find yet another way to help date your Stetson.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

This is an interesting walk through my personal collection of antique fedoras. Please enjoy the journey.

And now on with Observations on Fedora Sweatbands, Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips…

Before I get further into the topic of this treatise, I’d like to throw in one other little dating tip. Clear plastic crown liners are a sure fire way of at least determining in what era the hat might have been made–or at least when it could not have been made. You see, many hats have silk-like liners inside and early in the 1950’s (like ’52 or so) the hat industry started adding clear plastic to the very top of the liner where the pate of the head would sit inside the hat. The idea was to keep the company’s logo printed there to remain in a nice, viewable condition and to prevent all the hair goop that men wore at the time from damaging the hat manufacturer’s brand name stamp.

This clear plastic liner was all the rage for hat makers for at least a decade but started to go out of fashion by the 1970s. Cost of adding the clear plastic to the liner was one reason it became less common (though you’ll still see it today here and there), but also men stopped using as much hair goop as they did in the 50s and early 60s as hair styles evolved to that light-breezy look and away from the greased down, hair goop look.

Previous to 1950 the hat industry used a sort of oil-skin material that was translucent, but not clear, to serve this protective purpose. So if your hat has this yellowish sort of protective layer it was made between 1940 and 1950 in general terms.

You can see some images of these liners at the end of this article.

Now, on to sweatbands…

Previous to the 40s, hatmakers often put quite a lot of art into their leather sweatbands. But as mechanized mass production grew and the old artisan hatmakers died off, this part of the hat began to gain a more utilitarian look. By the 1960s and the death of the fedora as a part of a man’s everyday wardrobe, the sweatband fully lost its artistic appearance and became merely a band of stiff leather or worse a piece of synthetic whatyacallit that simply performed the mere purpose that a sweatband performs. The craft was gone.

But between the 1890s and 1940 there are quite a few things that mark the work of leather sweatbands. If you are unsure of how old your hat is, these features can help date your fedora.

The following are some general rules that mark pre 1940s era sweatbands on American hats (Foreign-made hats are a different animal in many ways). Remembering that hats were quite often used up and thrown away, hats made before 1940s are far more scarce than later pieces, so if any or all of the features described here are present on your hat, you just might have a pretty old and more valuable hat on your hands.

Now, before I get to the observations, be warned that these are general rules. Hats were made by millions of people across the world, worn by millions more, and sold in the millions over the era that we are talking about here. So, you can be sure to find a hat made in our era of consideration that does not perfectly fit these criteria. Any sort of configuration can be found, for sure.

Again, remember, these are general thoughts meant only to act as a starting point to help identify the age of a fedora. There are many other things that you need to take into account as you date your hat. Things such as ribbon and bow style, liner type, and the logos of the hat companies imprinted thereupon–as companies changed their logos as the decades moved onward–all these things must be taken together with these thoughts on sweatbands to help date your hat.

So, without further ado, here are some general ideas on sweatbands.

Leather Quality

One of the things that happened to the hat industry is that as production costs rose, hat prices didn’t rise nearly so much. By the 1940s a nice, everyday hat cost a customer between seven and twelve dollars (real cheapos though, could be from $2.50 to $7). This price stayed a general ballpark figure all the way until the 1960s. That’s quite a long time to keep a common item that customers bought everyday at the same price. So, since prices weren’t going up and up and up after the 40s, hatmakers began to cut costs in the production process and leather sweatbands became one of the causalities of that cost cutting. The fancier sweatband also became a victim of faster production methods. All the fancy finishing of the leather was just too time consuming for a bottom line manufacturing process.

But the good news for those wanting to date an older fedora is that all this cost cutting means that prior to 1940 sweatbands were usually manufactured as a fine leather product whereas their 40s and later counterparts were far simpler. This helps us date a hat.

One general rule is that previous to 1940 the outer, finished or tanned sides (the visible side) of a fedora sweatband was often very nicely textured in some way. Whether a wave was imprinted, or a pebbly appearance was impressed into the leather, a series of lines, or some other pattern was added, the leather was usually very nicely finished.

After the 30s and certainly by the 40s leather sweats were simply finished with a smooth finish lacking any fancy applied texturing. The fine look of the leather was dropped by hatmakers after the 40s because the cost of that flourish became undesirable.

Leather sweats previous to 1940 were also often thinner and finer leathers than that used in later eras. Sometimes sweats were even kidskin leather which was even more expensive to produce than the regular leather sweat. As the decades moved forward after 1940, leather got thicker and stiff and by 1960 turned into synthetic materials and not leather at all.

Be warned, tough, as you handle a leather sweatband. At this late date, that thinner, finer leather of the older hats often means that it is very delicate due to age.


A pebbled appearance imprinted into this 1920s era Stetson “The Fray” fedora


A fine dot pattern is imprinted into this 1920s era Stetson derby


A sort of “leather look” pattern is imprinted into this 1920s era Stetson long hair fedora


A wave pattern is imprinted into this 1920s era Stetson Select Quality fedora

Leather Color

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about leather sweatbands it is that they were finished in every shade of brown you can think of. Sometimes antique fedoras, top hats, derbies, and the like also featured cloth sweatbands. Sometimes sweatbands were colored an odd gray color. Sometimes they were sort of like oil cloth, treated with a painted finish. But, for some reason I have never understood, leather sweatbands were almost never made of black between the 1890s and the 1960s.

I have no explanation for why this is so, but you’ll rarely see a hat made before 1960 that features a black leather sweatband. So, if your hat has a black leather sweatband, you can almost be deadlock sure it is from the 1960s and later, not previous. (Note, men’s hats previous to the 1880s or 90s did use black leather for sweatbands, but hats that old are far and few between. As we are concerned, a “fedora” didn’t really exist before the 1890s or so.)

Filigree

Another aspect of older sweats is what, for a lack of a better term, I am going to call a “filigree.” This “filigree” is some sort of flourish near the edge of the sweat, the edge opposite of where the leather is sewn to the hat. This flourish often takes the shape of single line, a pair of lines, or some thin pattern deeply impressed into the leather running parallel to the edge of the sweat.

This was simply there to add flourish and make the leather look fancier or professional.

This filigree was carried forward into later eras of hatmaking, but often they went from being deeply impressed into the leather to a but lightly impressed. Later, because of more of those cost cutting measures, the filigree devolved to ink printed lines (often in gold) and wasn’t imprinted into the leather at all.


Early 1930s Embassy Hats


1920s era Hudson Straw Boater

Cotton Tape Slotting

Another thing that marked a fine hat was a sort of decorative cotton tape slotting. This slotting usually took up the back third of the sweatband. By slotting, I mean that little slots of leather were stamped out and a 1/8 inch or smaller cotton twill tape was interwoven through the slots giving the hat’s sweatband a fancier look.

This was not usually on the cheaper hats, though. Stetson, for instance, kept this practice up even until the 1960s in its more expensive fedoras and westerns. Very often you’ll find a 1950s era Stetson Twentyfive or a Stetson 100 with this feature.

I am pretty sure that this decorative flourish is a hold over from the days when sweatbands often had a drawstring laced into them. This drawstring was used to help size the hat to the wearer’s head. Earlier hats, you see, weren’t necessarily manufactured on the settled hat sizing systems that hatmakers began to use in the 1880s and later.


The decorative cotton tape on a 1920s era Solferino long hair fedora

Leather Sweats from 1960 on

One of the biggest areas of cost cutting for the hat industry was in sweatband quality. As you see above the very old hats from the 1880s to about 1940 were often pretty fancy. But by 1960 hat makers went very cheap on their leather — and often even used synthetic, fake leather. Here is an example of what a leather sweatband looked like in a Stetson from 1960 on…

The photo above shows a Stetson from the 1980s, but they began looking like this starting in the 60s. Notice the leather is smooth, with no impression, pebbling, or textures into the leather? Also the lettering for the manufacturer and store names were just printed over the top of the leather instead of embossed meaning that the lettering often rubbed away easily with sweat and use. Also, the filagree at the edge is just a gold line printed on the leather instead of any embossing or imprinting. It also was easy to rub off with sweat and use. As you can see, the leather because a cheap, utilitarian thing instead of a mark of quality.

Maker Imprints

It began to become standard practice in the late 1800s for hat makers to impress their company name and logo into their leather sweatbands in order to tell customers who made the hat. Along with this imprint into the leather, hatmakers also began to emplace specially screen printed, satin or satin-like, polished cotton liners into hats with their logos. This all in an effort to brand their products.It’s all about marketing, of course.

The growth of what today we call marketing wasn’t just happening in hatmaking, granted. It was a phenomenon that was occurring throughout America’s business sector. Companies were beginning to understand that a compony brand name was quite important in selling products.

Be it Stetson’s brand, Mallory’s, Dobbs, or any of dozens if not hundreds of others, hatmakers began stamping their logos into their sweatbands in the two decades before 1900s began. You’d have to do a bit of patent research to find out which logos were introduced when, but these logos are a way to date a hat.

It wasn’t long before the retail stores also began imprinting their own names and logos into the hat. So you may see your hat carrying a retailer’s and a hatmaker’s mark impressed into the leather.

Another aspect of a pre-40s sweat is often the complexity of the imprint. As years moved onward, imprint dies that hatmakers used became simplified and less fancy looking. Also remember that graphic design changed over the years and the more Victorian looking, complex imprints of earlier days started to go away to be replaced sometimes by art deco look for a short time in the late 20s and 30s and then just a cleaner, simpler look afterward.

Additionally, these imprints were often very deeply imprinted into the leather, the images sharp and clear. And if the imprint was embellished with black or gold ink that ink was also sharp, clear, and finely wrought. Hallmarks of later logo imprints were less sharply delineated imprints and, again, by the 60s it was no longer imprinted at all but just printed in black or gold ink onto the surface of the leather.


The logo imprint on a 1920s era Stetson Select Quality


The logo imprint on a 1920s era Stetson No 1 Quality Western


The company that retailed this 1920s Stetson was named McCarthy The Hatter of LaFayette, Indiana

The Sewing Attaching Sweat to Hat

The way a leather sweat was attached to a hat is also sometimes a way to help date it.

For instance, previous to the more mechanized hat factories of the late 1800s and later, sweatbands were often just sewn right to a hat directly. But as new manufacturing processes began to take hold, a new way of attaching the sweat to the hat began to become more commonplace. By the mid to late 20s the latter style became the most common way to attach a sweat to a hat body than the former.

That later method was called “reeding.” This was a thin, natural reed circling the sweatband and covered in cloth. It is seen between the leather and the hat body. This reeding helped make a sturdier attachment. The reed was often connected to itself in the back of the hat with a bit of brass. Over time, this brass often degrades into verdigris and stains the hat a green color right at the back where the sweatband meets itself. The natural reed was soon replaced with a wire reed and still later with a plastic reed.

Still, it depended on the hat maker. By the dawn of 1920, some hat makers switched totally to reeded sweatbands on all hat models, some used the reeded sweatband on only some models and sewed the sweatband directly to the hat for others (like pocket hats or crushables), and yet other hat makers never adopted the reeding system at all.

Another hallmark of pre 1930 hats was the stitch configuration. Very often (but not exclusively) a sweatband was sewn to the hat (whether reeded or not) with a stitch that forms a “V.” Sort of like this: vvvvvvvv

By the 30s and later sweats are more commonly sewn to the hat with an up-and-down stitch. Like this: IIIIIIIII

The above two notes are most especially true with Stetsons, but, again, these are general rules for the hat industry. There are exceptions.


A Stetson western from the 1920s or previous with the vvvvv stitching


A Stetson western from the 1930s with the IIIII stitching


An example of verdigris

Sweatband Ends

The next telltale is how the ends of your sweatband are fixed together. In our day, sweatbands are usually sewn together with a stitch that runs all up and down the ends. But previous to the 1930s, the ends of sweats were not sewn together up and down. Perhaps there was a loop or two at just the very end of the sweatband to keep the ends from flaring, but more often there were completely un-sewn.

Previous to the 30s one of the ways that hatmakers kept the ends from flaring out and looking untidy was to use a strip of heavy paper tape behind the ends. This tape had a heavy glue on it that kept the sweatband ends together.

The little bow that we often see at the back of a hat is also one of the methods used to keep the ends from flaring. Later this tiny bow became merely decorative or was used to hide the stitching of a size tag sewn into the sweatband.


A Stetson 3X western from the 1920s or previous with the sweatband ends unsewn


A Stetson fedora from the 1920s with the sweatband ends unsewn


A Stetson strawboater from the 1930s with the sweatband ends sewn together


A Stetson Boss Raw Edge Western from the 1930s with the sweatband ends sewn together

So, there you have it. Some general ideas on how leather sweatbands were made in the era between 1890 and 1940. These telltale signs might help you date your hat. Good hat wearing and good hat hunting.

Size Tag Dating

Finally, the last thing that might help date your hat is how the size was marked. Between the 1890s and 1930, for instance, the usual way that a mass produced hat was marked for size was a tiny round sticker with the size printed on it was glued directly to the sweatband at the back of the hat. Sometimes this sticker was diamond shaped or square, or even a little scalloped shape, but most often it was just round. These were glued either to the sweatband itself (usually in the middle of the band) or even glued to the felt of the hat above the sweatband — the latter usually only when a hat was produced with no liner.

This changed sometime in the late 20s or early 30s. By that time the size tag became an actual tag sticking down from the back of the hat where the sweatband meets. Sometimes glued in, more often sewn through the cardboard and into the sweat band.

Sometimes this size tag was a little piece of cloth, too. These tags could also be offset from the sweatband ends an inch or so right or left from where the sweatband meets, sticking down out from the leather.

One other thing on size tags. If your size tag is a sort of rectangular thing with black words printed on gold paper, it is likely a hat made well after 1940 (and more likely in the 1960s and later). Also, if it is an American hat with a metric size number on it, it was probably made after 1970. And if it says “small,” or “medium,” or “large” it was made in the last 30 years or so… and no true, well-made, vintage fedora will be sized as small, medium, or large in the first place.


A 1920s era Schenley Homburg showing older size sticker style


A cloth size tag on a Mallory fedora from the 1940s

Stetson Size Tags

Stetson had a series of different size tags and each appeared in different eras.


Like all hat makers, Stetson’s first size tag was a small, round sticker glued to the sweatband. This one lasted from the 1890s to the mid or late 1910s.


Soon Stetson switched to a rounded paper tag (sometimes called the “keyhole” tag) with gold ink and black ink printed on manila card stock. This lasted from about the 1920s to the 30s.


By the 1930s, Stetson went with a manila card stock with only black ink printed on it. This one lasted until 1960.


By 1960, Stetson went with a squared off tag printed in black.


Some time after Stetson was sold off to the Stevens Hat Co. in 1971, the company began to put the European size on the tag along with the U.S. size system.

Stetson Size Tag Variations

There were also a few variations of Stetson’s size tags over the years. These tags were a bit less common than those above.


Here is another size tag that Stetson used during the early 1900s. But this one is rarely seen.


Early in the 30s, Stetson had a tag that was embossed and featured gold foil and black ink.


Some Canadian manufactured Stetsons were also printed on gold foil. This one from the 1950s.


In the 1950s, Stetson used a tag printed in red and gold on a manila card stock for its straw “Saddle Roll” hats.


In the 1950s, Stetson also had a size tag that incorporated a die cut price tag. The buyer was supposed to tear off the price tag and leave the size tag standing.


Before it switched to the squared off tag in the early 60s, Stetson also used this all black keyhole tag.


Once in a while, Stetson also used this gold tag in the post 70s era..

Other Tags of Interest

Union Labels

Another way to get some general idea on a manufacture date for a hat is to find the union label glued inside the hat. These labels are either glued to the inside of the felt behind the inner sweatband or glued to the back side of the sweatband itself. Sometimes the union label is a drop down tag sewn to the hat somewhere, too. Union labels, though, can only give the most general idea on dating based on when the unions were active.

The earliest hatters union was the National Trade Association of Hat Finishers of the United States of America. This union was formed in 1854 and went defunct in 1896. I have yet to find an example of this union’s official label. If I ever find it, I’ll update this page with the image.

The National Silk and Fur Hat Finishers Association, U.S.A. existed from 1868 to 1896 when it merged with United Hatters of North America.

The United Hatters of North America claimed direct lineage back to 1854 with the earlier two groups and carried on until 1934 when it merged with the United Hatters Cap and Millinery Workers.

The United Hatters Cap and Millinery Workers International Union began in 1934 and went on until at least the 1990s.

Another label that sometimes is seen in hats is the label of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers union. This one was founded 1976 after a merger with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and the Textile Workers Union of America. It folded in 1995 after a merger with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union to create the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees.

Three Very Special Labels

There are three very specific tags that give us a span of only a few years to date the manufacture of a hat.

On this Embassy Hat Company hat is a New Deal, NRA inspection tag. Date of Manufacture: Between 1931 and 1935. This was one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s many nanny-state, buttinski-like manufacturing regulatory boards. Happily, the Supreme Court canceled many of these useless, expensive boards that did nothing to help America get out of The Great Depression.

And here is yet another Roosevelt, regulatory tag. This one is from the Office of Price Administration (O.P.A.) which during WWII set the ceiling price for items to prevent “price gouging” (something that real capitalism eliminates, anyway–not that FDR knew a damn thing about capitalism!). This agency existed from 1941 to 1947. The above two tags are not seen a whole heck of a lot. Often they were ripped out of hats and don’t survive to this day.

For the third tag, on this Stetson 100 you can see an Office of Price Stabilization tag (O.P.S.). Date of Manufacture: Between 1951 and 1953. Once the Korean War came and the U.S. jumped into it, the federal government again imposed a series of price fixing policies upon the manufacturing sector. Thankfully, the O.P.S. lasted for only a few short years. Strangely, these tags seem to have made it to our era more often than the two above.

Stetson also had a variation of the O.P.S. tag. It was a punch out that surrounded the size tag as seen below on this 1950s Stetson Milan straw.

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

January 1, 2011 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

-By Warner Todd Huston

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

This first page is a visual walk through my always growing and changing hat collection. But before we get started, below is the full list of our hat info pages. Click on one of these if you want to go on to some very specific information.

A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

All the hat terms you need to know to understand the world of hats and hat wearing.

Stetson Quality Designations, Just
What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

Everyone wants to know what the heck Stetson means by those “genuine” Xs. Here we endeavor to answer that question.

Observations on Fedora Sweatbands,
Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

Wherein we help you date your Stetson using the tags noted.

Dating Stetsons by Company Crests,
Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

Because the Stetson logo changed only a finite number of times, here you’ll find yet another way to help date your Stetson.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

Now, on with my personal collection…

If you know me, you know that I am what ya might call “a hat guy.” For much of my life one of my “things” has been the wearing of a hat. Some people knew me for my Civil War-styled black slouch hat. Some knew me for my ball cap festooned with that big, heavy collection of lapel pins. Many more have known me for my fedoras. Certainly if you’ve known me for long you’ve known me for a distinctive hat of some type or another. In this post I’ll take you through my fedora collection, the hat style most people know me for these days.

But first, this in hat news…

Pharrell’s Crazy Grammy Hat

During the 2013 Grammy Awards, pop artist Pharrell Williams wore a hat that got everyone talking. It was an overgrown, bag-like affair that looked five times too large for his head. What was this hat many wondered?

Well, the hat was created by fashion maven Vivienne Westwood in the 1980s. It was the hat worn by the members of the 80s hip-hop group Malcolm McLaren and the World’s Famous Supreme Team in their 1982 video for the song “Buffalo Girls.”

OK, that being said, on with my collection…

First of all fedoras are a man’s hat — not that women shouldn’t wear one — but real men wear real fedoras. By real I mean well made, professional hats, not those crappy cotton ones with the silly stripes, colors, or wacky pictures on them, the kind that you can buy at Target these days. Those aren’t fedoras. They are kitschy junk. Avoid them at all costs. Ironic hats are not cool.

Certainly, fedoras mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people and fedora styles are many and varied. But I’ll tell you what a fedora is to me…

A fedora is a fur felt hat (the “fur” part being beaver or rabbit fur–just the fur, not the skin. NO hat has the pelt or skin in it, folks!) with at least a four inch crown. It has to have a brim that measures between 2-1/4 inches and 3-7/8 inches with about 2-5/8 being my favorite width. I don’t do hats with brims at under 2-1/4–they are generally called “Trilbys” or stingy brim–and brims larger than 2-7/8 are usually more like cowboy hats than fedoras when they get that big. Now, I do have several western hats but am not “into” them if you know what I mean? Regardless, for sure I don’t do Trilbys or stingy brims. EVER!

As to date of manufacture, I am also not really a great fan of new, factory-made fedoras. I’d rather stick to vintage fedoras. For the most part new hats are not very interesting to me–though I have a few. I just prefer the feel and quality of vintage fedoras to today’s lesser quality factory hats. My style preference ranges from those styles popular from the late 1920s to about 1960.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many speciality hat makers like Optimo Hats in Chicago. Nearly every state has at least one hatter that makes fine, new fedoras. You are usually talking a starting point of $300 and up with these folks. Some charge $600 to $700 for a new, custom made fedora.

I have been collecting hats for sometime, too. Finding out info about antique fedoras is not an easy task. All the people that ever knew about them on a daily basis are, after all, long dead. Further, since they were a momentary fashion item and styles changed with the season, there really isn’t “a” place to go to find out about fedora history and manufacturing information. On top of that every hat maker from back in the day is long, long out of business and all the manufacturing records of these companies have long since been destroyed. Even the Stetson family doesn’t make Stetsons any more as the family sold off the name in 1974 and stopped making hats.

So, the only way to piece together hat history is to study existing hats, catalogue advertisements and catalogs, find sparse info from original owners, and kibitz with other collectors and pool resources. It is a long, arduous process and even the most knowledgeable collectors will admit that there are great gaps in known, quantifiable info on hat history and manufacturing techniques.

And it doesn’t help that the hat makers themselves closely guarded their trade secrets and never made a habit of detailing too much to the public.

That is why I created these pages.

So that is that. Now, without further ado, here is my collection with the Stetsons listed first. (By the way, as I frequently add new fedoras and sell off others, these listings will change)

John B. Stetson Hat Company is perhaps one of the most famous hat makers in the world (Italy’s Borsalino being right up there). John B. Stetson’s father taught him how to make hats in the early 1800s and John started his own company in Philadelphia in 1865. Soon he became famous for his wide brimmed, western-styled cowboy hats. But the cowboy hat isn’t the only hat style Stetson manufactured. In fact they made just about every kind of hat you can imagine. The original Stetson company went defunct in the 1970s but Stetsons are still made today under contract by a company in Texas.


John B. Stetson, founder of Stetson Hats.

(As an aside, the Philly Historical Society has an interesting page on the Stetson Hat company. See it here).

Sadly, the Stetson family is out of the hat business nowadays. For my interests, though, Stetson made some of the finest fedoras in the world and here are the ones in my collection.


Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys!

We’ll start at the obvious place. Stetson’s famed cowboy hats…


Stetson, Clear Beaver, Kettle Curl Brim, Silverbelly – 1890 to 1915
This was Stetson’s most expensive hat at the time. 100 percent beaver and a rare surviving example of the clear beaver hat.


Stetson, No. 1 Quality, “The Fray,” Kettle Curl Brim, Black – 1894 to 1915


Stetson, 3X, Boss Raw Edge, Kettle Finish, Dress Western, Natural – Between 1900 and 1920


Stetson, Boss Raw Edge, Kettle Finish, Dress Western, Natural – Between 1900 and 1920


Stetson, No. 1 Quality, This one is in Stetson’s famous “Boss Of The Plains” style in Tan – 1894 to 1920


Stetson, No. 1 Quality, Silverbelly – 1900 to 1920s


Stetson, Nutria Felt, Brown – 1910s or 20s


Stetson Boss Raw Edge, Kettle Curl Brim, Brown – Between 1900 and 1920


Stetson Nutria, Kettle Curl Brim, Cream – Between 1900 and 1920 (The moths REALLY got to this one!)


Stetson Boss Raw Edge, Real Nutria, Kettle Curl Brim, Silverbelly – Late 1920s or Early 1930s


Stetson, Clear Nutria, Black – Late 20s or 1930s
This was a working cowboy’s hat that has two pins representing cattle brands. The LA was registered to E. I Whiting, St. Johns, AZ. The Rv registered to Virginia Webb, Soda Springs Ranch, Rimrock AZ.


Stetson, Boss Raw Edge, Clear Nutria, Tan – 1930s

Read more


Dating Stetsons by Company Crests, Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

January 1, 2011 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


Dating Stetsons by Company Crests, Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

-By Warner Todd Huston

We’ve already discussed how to get a feel for the manufacturing date of a Stetson hat using Stetson size tags and leather sweatbands as well as re-order and inventory tags. Now we will take a look at how Stetson company logos and crests and the liners inside their hats changed over the decades and how these points can also be used as a dating tool.

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

All the hat terms you need to know to understand the world of hats and hat wearing.

Stetson Quality Designations, Just
What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

Everyone wants to know what the heck Stetson means by those “genuine” Xs. Here we endeavor to answer that question.

Observations on Fedora Sweatbands,
Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

Wherein we help you date your Stetson using the tags noted.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

This is an interesting walk through my personal collection of antique fedoras. Please enjoy the journey.

And now on with Dating Stetsons by Company Crests, Stetson Logos and Hat Liners…

As America’s civil war ground to a close in 1865 and the post war rebuilding period got underway, a new era of advertising began–one with which we are still very familiar in our time. Today we call this “branding,” the idea of associating a product with its maker in order to urge customers to acquire brand loyalty. But this branding is not new to our modern era. In fact, it began in the late 1800s and Stetson became experts in this new way of doing business.

Now, as with the other ways of dating hats, these guidelines rarely give exact dates. Sometimes they give a decade, sometimes a few decades, other times only an “era,” if you will (i.e. a time before or after a particular date). Keep in mind that using logos and liners is just one more tool to help date a hat.

Stetson Logos and Company Crests

There are two basic Stetson crests for most hats that still exist today. Certainly there were all sorts of variations in the fine points of the drawing of the crest from hat to hat and era to era but there was really only two basic styles of the official company crest. Essentially there was one with stars and the later one with a maple leaf instead of stars. This logo can also help you date a hat but only in a single point of demarcation–a before and after time period.

The most well know Stetson crest lasted from the 1890s/1900s to about 1950 or so. Then a second one took over after that.

The logo above appeared in a Stetson straw boater from the 1930s. Notice that the shield has a field of stars in the upper left hand corner near the beaver figure.

By about 1950 or so Stetson made a small alteration in its crest. See the change below from a 1950s era Stetson 3X fedora. Look closely and you’ll notice a maple leaf in that upper left hand corner instead of the field of stars.

So, that was the big change between the 1890s and the end of the Stetson era. Some collectors posit that the maple leaf was added when Stetson enlarged its Canadian manufacturing presence. But I have no proof of this claim. It sounds good, though, doesn’t it?

One thing is sure, most of the Stetson hats made by license in Canada are from the 1950s and 60s. So, maybe that is the reason Stetson added the maple leaf? I guess it’s as good a theory as any. We will likely never know exactly why the change was made.

Other Stetson Liner Logo Variations

Now, along with the common stars or maple leaf versions of the Stetson logo, the company also used many other logos and variations of the crest over the decades. Below is an array of some of the various logos Stetson used over the decades. This is in no way an exhaustive list as Stetson had hundreds of logos and crown imprints. But these are some of the most common ones and the eras in which they appeared.

The Oldest Stetson Crests

There were a bunch of crests and imprint designs used before the 1890s, though. Hats with these crests and markings are practically non-existent out there, unfortunately. These different logos were used even up to like 1920, or so, before the beaver/griffin version took over permanently.


These logos are from an advertisement card issued during the nation’s Centennial year in 1876.


This one was in a late 1800s era collapsible (Gibus) top hat.Notice the address. The 1108 Chestnut Street showroom closed in 1913. So, this hat was made before 1913 at least.


This is the liner inside a Stetson top hat made after 1913.We know that date because Stetson opened its new retail store at 1224 Chestnut St., Philadelphia on Feb. 13, 1913. Notice the animal motifs are different than the beaver/griffin used more often later on.

*Thanks to the Fedora Lounge for the above images.

The Stetson Exposition Logo

Stetson won some prizes in the late 1800s and up to 1900 at the international expositions in Paris. The company proudly informed hat buyers of these prestigious awards in the liners of their hats between the 1870s and up until sometime in the 1920s.


This logo is from a late 1800s era Stetson Collapsible (Gibus) Top Hat.


This is essentially the same logo as above, but a more clearly printed version as found in a Stetson Silk Top Hat from the late 1800s.


A Paris 1889 expo logo found in a high derby from the 1890s.


This logo is from an early 1900s era Stetson Top Hat.


This logo is from between 1900 and 1910 or so.


This logo is from around 1915.


By the 1920s Stetson began to use “The Avenue” as a model name but was still using the exposition medal logos. This is from a 1920s derby.


This logo is from the late 20s “The Avenue” model fedora.

Stetson Logos from the 1930s

In the 1930s, Stetson changed its quality designations. These particular quality level designations only lasted during the 30s before Stetson again altered its quality naming scheme. In the 30s Stetson used the following designations: from the low end up came Standard Quality; Excellent Quality; Select Quality; Superior Quality; and Extra Quality. (Stetson also continued to use 3X, 4X, 5X and 7X quality during these periods, especially for western hats.)

Here are a few examples of the 30s era liner or inside crown logos:


This logo is from the liner of a 30s era Excellent Quality fedora.


This is a tip-in logo from 30s era Select Quality fedora (see below about tip-ins).

Stetson Logos from the 1940s

By the time the 1940s dawned, Stetson again changed its quality designations, but this time the company would stick with the basic appellations all the way until today. By 1940 the quality designations became Royal; Royal De Luxe; Medalist; Sovereign; Imperial; and Premier. (Stetson continued to use 3X, 4X, 7X and then added Twenty-Five, Forty, Fifty, and One-Hundred, especially in westerns, but the latter few were also used in fedoras.)


The 1940s era Royal Stetson.


The 1940s era Royal De Luxe Stetson.


The 1940s era Imperial Stetson.

Stetson Logos from the 1950s

As noted above, Stetson replaced the star shield logo with the maple leaf shield logo. Here are a few of those 1950s era liner logos.

Now, you’ll notice that many of these liners have clear plastic over the logo in the crown. This is a post Korean War development. After 1953 Stetson and other hat manufacturers began to place clear plastic over their logos in crown liners. One reason for this was because men were using a lot of heavy hair creams and these hair treatments often badly stained hat liners. The clear plastic was an attempt to make liners stay stain free for a longer period of time.


The 1950s era Royal Stetson Whippet.


The 1950s era Royal De Luxe Stetson.


The 1950s era Stetson No. 1 Quality Western.


The 1950s era Stetson Twenty-Five.


The 1950s era Stetson One Hundred.

Stetson Logos from the 1960s


An early 1960s era Stetson 3X Quality liner.


A 1960s era Stetson logo.


An early 1960s era Stetson Twenty-Five Liner.

Stetson’s “Last Drop” Liner

The “Last Drop” crown liner was a recurring image for Stetson from the 1950s onward. The first “Last Drop” liner was an elaborate embroidered affair. But by the 1970s and 80s the company moved to a screen printed style to save production costs.


A 1950s era Stetson “Last Drop” embroidered liner.


An early 1970s era Stetson printed “Last Drop” liner.


Stetson’s “Last Drop” printed liner from the late 1970s on into the 1990s.


Stetson’s “Last Drop” embroidered liner from an expensive 30X El Patron western made in the 1990s or 2000s. This is a $600 hat.

Post 1960s Stetson Logos


A mid to late 1960s or early 70s Stetson liner logo.


The liner from a Stetson Nostalgia model hat from the late 1990s.


The liner from a Stetson Stratoliner model hat from 2011.

A Few Stetson “Tip-In” Labels

It should be noted that Stetson did not always include a liner in its hats. In some cases the company only glued a paper sticker or a cloth label into the crown of a hat. This was usually done only when the hat was supposed to be a summer hat or a light weight hat. Often it was deemed that putting in a full liner added too much weight to the hat or would make it too hot for summer wear. Regardless, Stetson still wanted to have its advertisement inside the hat, so a sticker or cloth label was glued into the crown to serve that purpose. In other instances the logo was actually printed right onto the felt instead of onto a liner or label that was glued inside the crown.

Below are a few examples of this treatment, I call these labels “tip-ins.”


A cloth label glued into the crown of a 1900 made Stetson bowler.


A tip-in from the early 1940s bearing the Stetson Stratoliner logo.


A tip-in from a 1940s Playboy model. Below you can see the air holes drilled through the felt of the crown denoting that this was a summer weight hat.


And here is an example of the logo being actually printed right onto the felt. This in a 1940s era Stratoliner.

Some Other Crown Liner Examples


A high derby from the 1890s.


Liner from a Penn Craft derby from the 1930s.

Notice the fancy pleats in the silk in the two liners above? This sort of flourish started to go away as time moved on, as the hat industry became more invested in systems of mass production, and as the industry sought ways to cut costs.

By the mid 1940s, liners were a little more utilitarian in many ways, but one thing that began to show up around this period is some sort of protective film over the company logo in the top of the crown. This was added by many hat makers to keep their company logos clean and readable as more and more men began to use hair treatments that often discolored hat liners. On the Stetson Whippet below, for instance, you can see a translucent, yellow covering made of a sort of oil cloth material. It was opaque, not clear but you could still see the company logo through it.


The liner from a 1940s Edward Biskup fedora. Note that it is covered in an oil skin-like protector. These came about in the mid 1940s and were eventually replaced by the clear plastic protectors starting in 1953.


A liner from a 1950s Borsalino fedora. Borso is one of Italy’s best hat makers and is known the world over for high quality.


A Dobbs hat company Hankachif Weight Felt fedora from the 1950s.


A Knox hat company Twenty from the 1950s.


A Lee hat company White Label quality fedora from the 1950s.

Other interesting sites on logos and liners:

Adam Hat Company Liners

For detailed info about Dobbs, Knox, Cavanagh, and Crofut and Knapp hat companies and dating of same, see the The Hatted Professor

More Hat Related Posts

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Follow Warner Todd Huston on:
Twitter
Facebook
Tumblr

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Huston has also appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and many local TV shows as well as numerous talk radio shows throughout the country.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.


A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

January 1, 2011 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

By Warner Todd Huston

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

What you’ll find on this page is a glossary of terms you’ll need to know as you learn about hats. However, before we get to that here is the index of our other pages:

Stetson Quality Designations, Just
What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

Everyone wants to know what the heck Stetson means by those “genuine” Xs. Here we endeavor to answer that question.

Observations on Fedora Sweatbands,
Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

Wherein we help you date your Stetson using the tags noted.

Dating Stetsons by Company Crests,
Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

Because the Stetson logo changed only a finite number of times, here you’ll find yet another way to help date your Stetson.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

This is an interesting walk through my personal collection of antique fedoras. Please enjoy the journey.

Now, let’s talk about some hat terms…

I’ll start with the few important hat names and styles in the general order of their introductions to the world, then go into the others in alphabetical order.

There are two basic types of brimmed hats. Stiff felts and soft felts. Soft felts were always thought of as casual hats, not formal hats, though the soft crowned Homburg model hat was a semi-formal hat and became the hat of bankers and businessmen. in stiff hats, the top hat was considered a formal hat, though they were worn in all situations by all classes of men the whole time. (Some of the charts below were created at The Fedora Lounge)

Fedora: The word fedora seems to have become the term for a soft man’s felt hat because of a stage play written in 1882 by dramatist Victorien Sardou It was titled Fédora and was written for the famed actress Sarah Bernhardt. In the play she wore a large-brimmed, soft felt hat with a long crease down the middle. This hat style became a hit with women for a time but soon morphed into a man’s hat. Of course, soft felt hats weren’t invented with the 1882 play as men were already wearing hats like what would forever afterward be called a fedora. Previous to the introduction of the word fedora, hats like the fedora were called “slouch hats” or simply soft hats. An important feature of a fedora is what is called the “snap brim”–look below for that definition.

Cowboy Hat: This was the style of hat that became popular just before the Civil War and used in the hotter, western climates of the USA. They were originally called slouch hats or a “sugar loaf” hat. They sort of evolved from the wide brimmed Mexican sombrero and became most famous after Philadelphia hat maker John B. Stetson went west for his health and saw some of these wide-brimmed hats. He popularized the style calling his model “The Boss Of The Plains.” It featured a 5 inch or so, rounded crown and a 3 or 4 inch flat brim. Sometimes the brim also had a pencil or kettle curl around the edges. This style was popular from about 1865 to the 1890s when crown heights started to get taller and all manner of creases became added to the taller crowns. The cowboy hat became almost cartoonish by the the 1920s and 1930s when the movie cowboys began wearing 6 and 7 inch tall crowned hats sometimes featuring 5 inch or larger brims. Cowboy actor Tom Mix is most identified with this latter style of cowboy hat. But by the 40s and 50s these hats started shrinking back down to size until they have take the more familiar form we think of today as a cowboy hat.

Stetson: Contrary to popular opinion, a “Stetson” is not a generic name for a cowboy hat anywhere but popular fiction which used the term as a general slang for “cowboy hat.” With his famous “Boss of the Plains” model hat (seen below), John B. Stetson did help popularize the western-styled, wide-brimmed cowboy hat, of course, and he encouraged people to think of the name Stetson when talking hats, but he neither invented the cowboy hat nor was its only producer. Few real people called their hat a Stetson unless it actually WAS a hat made by Stetson! John B. Stetson is the founder of the famous company which began its long life in 1865. John was from a hat making family, too. Along with his father and brothers he helped start the “No Name Hat Company” (amusingly, they could never arrive at a company name so agreed to call it “No Name”) before John stepped out on his own and started his eponymous hat company. Later on, his brother, Stephen L. Stetson, tried to start his own hat company named the Stetson hat company, but older brother John sued him to stop the use of the famous brand name. Later all Stephen L. Stetson hats carried a legal disclaimer that said the hat was “in no way affiliated” with John B. Stetson hats. The actual Stetson hat company ceased manufacturing hats, closed its doors and was defunct by 1974. But the name was sold to a series of companies and now exists really as a brand name as opposed to an actual hat company.

Bowler (or Derby): These hats are a rounded, stiff fur felt hat that were first invented in Britain to serve as a sort of safety hat to wear while riding a horse. They were originally called Coke’s hats after the man who introduced them as equestrian wear in 1849. But soon they became a sometimes semi-formal but widely popular hat with men of all ranks and station. The crown of a bowler–or derby in American vernacular–is so stiff that you cannot alter its shape without damaging the hat. They are what is known as a “stiff hat.” Top hats are also part of the “stiff hat” genre. Even though they were worn all across the American west by every manner of man, they developed a reputation as a city dude’s hat and for many decades were a symbol of a business-minded man of the middle classes. By the 1940s, though, they became sort of derided as the hat of the upper middle classes and by the mid 1950s they had pretty much gone out of style. Bowlers, though, were the most worn hat between the 1880s and about 1930. Photos of city streets, or large crowds during this time period will show more men in bowlers than any other kind of hat.

Homburg: This German-created hat was popularized by King Edward VII who brought one back to England after a visit to Bad Homburg in Hesse, Germany in the late 1800s. It has a brim sort of like a top hat or bowler and is relatively stiff and cannot be altered by the wearer but also has a crown that can be shaped and reshaped at will. The most common crease for a Homburg is a single long dent running front to back with two side dents. The hat became thought of as a semi-formal hat worn by the upper classes as part of their business attire. But Homburgs with somewhat less generous proportions were also very popular for general wear. Hats that look very much like a Homburg–with the soft crown and the permanently formed, curled brim–were one of the most common forms of soft hats until the fedora sort of took over its place as the most common hat style. These Homburg-like soft felts were very popular from the 1880s to about 1930 when fedoras started becoming more popular.

Top Hat: The top hat is one of the older hat styles having first came about in latter part of the 18th century. It is of the stiff hat variety meaning that the brim and crown are stiff, are permanently formed, and cannot be altered without damage. Toppers are generally between 6-1/2 inches and 7 inches tall, but in the early decades of the 1800s could often reach to 8 inches in height. Early toppers had a metal buckle on the outside ribbon instead of a bow. The top hat is often thought of as a formal hat in black, but this style was thought of as a hat for general wear for well over a century and came in a variety of colors and materials. Originally made of beaver, by the 1850s top hat makers had switched to silk and almost no toppers made after that period were made of beaver. In fact, nearly every antique top hat in existence today is made of silk plush because very, very few hats from before 1850 still exist. So, the chances that your antique top hat is made of beaver are slim to nil. Because of that, the top hat was also called “the silk hat” up until the 1950s when they started to disappear from the market place. Interestingly, today’s newly made top hats are again made of fur plush (Christy’s, for instance, calls theirs “melusine”) because the manufacturing technique and equipment to make the silk plush is long gone.

Panama Hat: The Panama hat became famous in the 1800s and remains popular even to this day. It is a lightweight hat made of straw and often associated with summer wear, or use in hotter climates. They are hats made of natural fibers as well as synthetics and often woven by hand. The world of straw hats is a whole milieu of its own and has a host of terms, styles, and regionalisms. Straw hats are somewhat stiff hats, but can be reshaped using steam. Generally, though, once a straw hat has been shaped, that is how it will stay. (See below for more straw hat info)

Straw Boater: A straw boater is another model in the stiff hat category. A boater is a summer hat worn only in casual situations.They have a crown no higher than four inches and a 2 to 3 inch wide, stiff, flat brim. These hats became extremely popular from 1900 to about 1940 when they began to go out of style. It was thought quite gauche to wear a straw boater out of season and in the early days in big cities like New York gangs of teens would steal straw boaters off the heads of passersby in the streets if they were being worn in Fall or Winter. The kids would then smash the hats and throw them into the streets.

Pork Pie: A pork pie is almost easy to confuse with a trilby and a fedora both because it is sort of a hat in the middle of those two styles. The pork pie usually has a shortened soft crown with a telescope crease in it–a dent that is round, pushed in from the top, and then pushed back upward leaving a channel between the crown and the side of the hat. The brim can be snapped, but is usually worn dished upwards all the way around. The pork pie brim is often between 2-1/4 inches to 1 inch wide. This style hat became very popular with jazz musicians.

Trilby: This is another hat style that became famous because of a stage play (and the novel that preceded it). The name comes from a stage adaptation of George du Maurier’s 1894 novel Trilby. This term means something slightly different in England than it does the USA, though. It is common for many styles of fedora to be called a trilby in England, but in the USA it more often applies only to a fedora with a small (under 2 inches) un-snapable brim and a regular, full crown, a style that looks far more like the Tyrolean hat than a regular, full-brimmed fedora.

Tyrolean hat: This is a soft felt, usually with a brim under 2-1/2 inches, and generally in an earth tone color like brown or green. They are also sometimes called a “Bavarian” or “Alpine” hat. These are hats worn by ethnic Germans and Italians–the Tyrol peoples. They usually have a rope for a ribbon on the outside and sometimes feature elaborate feather devices and pewter pins.

A Note About the Tyrolean hat: As suggested by a page visitor, I should note that there is another “part” to the Alpine hats. The gamsbart, or large brush-like fixture you often see on the hats (and as seen in the image above), is a common feature of the Tyrolean hat. It literally means “chamois beard” and was originally a hunting trophy made of the hair taken from a chamois’ lower neck before it just became a common, traditional ornament for the hat. The hats also often have pewter pins and other ornaments affixed to them.

Newsboy or 8 Panel cap: These are also called “cabbie hats” because they were popular for drivers to wear because they don’t get in the way inside the cab of a car or truck. These caps were very popular for boys from the 1890s to the 1950s. They were also popular with adult laborers because they stay on better than a fedora during physical labor. These caps often denoted a lower class person but were also used as “walking hats” by other classes. Another similar style called the flat cap became popular with car drivers because they stayed on better than fedoras as the wind whipped around the driver.

Baseball cap: Wearers of baseball caps should either be boys under ten years of age or people playing baseball. Otherwise you should not be wearing that damn hat. It is a little kid’s hat. If you are a grown man, stop wearing a ball cap. Just stop it. I mean it.

General Hat Terms

  • Beaver- The most desirable fur with which to make a hat. Beaver fur is resilient but soft and holds its shape incredibly well. It is also a more expensive material to use for hat making. Most fur felt hats have less beaver and more rabbit fur because of the expense of beaver.
  • Bash- This is another word for the creases or dents put in a hat. This word seems to be favored over “crease” in Australia.
  • Brim- The horizontal rim of a hat the juts out at a 90 degree angle from the hat crown. These take a variety of shapes, some straight, some curled. In a fedora they are dished and can be “snapped” down or up.
  • Brim Treatments- The brim of a fedora can be finished in a variety of ways. Here are the various styles of brim edge: A “raw brim” means the felt is just cut square and there is no treatment at the brim edge; “Overwelt” features the brim edge folded upward upon itself and usually secured with a line of stitching; “Underwelt” is the same as the overwelt but folded downward instead of upward; “Ribbon Bound Edge” is finished with a ribbon sewn into place; “Stitched Edge” means that there is one two or more rows of stitching radiating inward toward the crown; “Cavanagh Edge” is a welted edge with invisible stitching to hold it in place and is a very expensive treatment that can no longer be performed by modern hat factories.

  • Campaign Hat- A term favored by the US army from the Civil War to WWII. It refers to a soft felt hat used by field armies. It is most commonly applied to the flat-brimmed, Montana peak-styled M-1911 field army hat. It is also called the “Drill Sergeant Hat.”

  • Cone (or Hat Blank or Hood)- The raw, un-shaped felt material used to make a hat.
  • Crease- The dents or shapes put into a hat. Also called a “bash.”

  • Crown- The top of a hat, the part that fits over a wearer’s head.
  • Eyelets- metal devices that are like small grommets stamped into the sides of the hat crown that allow air to flow inside the hat crown.
  • Fur Felt- A fur felt hat is a material made of animal fur. It is not made using the skin or pelt. Only the fur. The fur is sheared off the left and the fluffy stuff is put in a machine that spins and wets the fur until it congeals in a felt pad-like material. Various processes are used to finish this felt material. Rabbit or Hare fur is the most used fur for a fur felt hat while beaver is the most desirable. However, furs like chinchilla, mink, vicuna, nutria, and other furs are also used in fur felt hats. Even buffalo fur has been used to make fur felt hats.
  • Gibus- a Gibus device is the spring device inside a collapsible top hat that lets it be folded down and then popped back up into full form. The device was invented in 1812 by Frenchman Antoine Gibus. Mr. Gibus wanted to invent a top hat that could be crushed down for ease of storage under a theater seat. For this reason it is also called an “Opera Hat.”
  • Hat Steamer- A device that turns water into steam. It helps a wearer reshape the hat’s brim or crown and also helps clean the hat. Not every hat wearer has his own home steamer (such as the Jiffy hat steamer) but all professional hat shops do.

  • Hat Stretcher- A device meant to keep a hat held to its proper size or to stretch it out if it contracts. Over the years, hats will shrink in size if not kept in a stretcher. Hats often lose a size or even more over time as the leather, felt, and stitching contracts. It is not uncommon for a hat to be abused in use that it gets larger, too, but shrinking is more common. Hat stretchers come in a variety of styles. Some made of wood, some metal, some plastic. But all feature a device that opens up from a central axis to push the hat outward.

  • Liner- A liner is a silk or silk-like material inside a hat that serves to keep stray hairs and hair treatments from staining the inside of a hat. In the old days of hats a liner could be replaced many times inside a hat when they got dirty. Liners first started to be used around the time of the Civil War. A liner also serves as an advertising platform as the hat manufacturer often puts its logo and imprints on the liner. Liners can be sewn in place but most hat makers today just glue them in place with a few spots of glue around the base of the hat. Previous to the civil war a paper label might have been glued into the crown of a hat to carry the manufacturer or seller’s name. Top hats usually had paper liners until the turn of the 1900s.
  • Millinery- The profession of making hats, often used to describe the industry for women’s hats.
  • Milliner- A hat maker.
  • Melusine Fur- Often used for top hats and some fedora’s, a quality fur felt often long haired which is polished and repeatedly brushed until a silk like look is achieved
  • Mothing- Fur felt hats are a favorite food of insects. Hats that sit out in the open for years in the corner of an attic or closet are prone to being munched on by the Tinea Pellionella–or the clothes moth–a moth that eats the keratin in natural fibers. They burrow into these fibers (wool sweaters, cotton cloth, or the fur felt of hats) and lay their eggs. Then, when the eggs hatch, the tiny moth larvae eat the natural fibers to grow large enough to fly away. Needless to say, they destroy what they touch. I talk more about moth damage at the Stetson Quality page.

  • Opera Hat- See “Gibus” above.
  • Pinch- The dents of creases in the front of a hat (see images above and see “crease”).
  • Puggaree- A style of cloth “ribbon” or decoration, often with pleats and in loud colors-–that go around the outside crown of a hat. A puggaree often has small claws at each end so that they can be removed and changed out at will.

  • Ribbon- The decorative band around the outside of a hat. It can be Petersham or grosgrain ribbon. Sometimes in place of a ribbon there is a rope-like device (as in Tyrolean hats) of a cloth band like a puggaree. Sometimes it is a band made of the same material as the hat and these are called “same felt” or “self felted” ribbons.
  • Silverbelly- This is a particular color of hat. It is usually made of the most delicate and finest belly fur of a beaver and is usually a whitish, gray color. Some assume Silverbelly is undeyed fur, but I don’t think that was ever true. 100% beaver can still be dyed any color, so it is more likely that “silverbelly” refers to the color itself more than it does the type of fur.
  • Snap Brim- This is a brim that is dished upwards from the factory, but can be “snapped” down just in front, or all the way around-–meaning the brim isn’t in a fixed state like that of a cowboy hat or a stiff hat. It is one of the main features of a fedora.
  • Stampede String- A string pushed through holes on the sides of the brim that coumes down under the neck to hold the hat on the head while riding a horse or in high winds. There are seen on boonie hats and cowboy hats.
  • Stingy Brim- A stingy is a brim is one under 2-3/8 inches. Shorter brims were popular in the 1800s to about 1920 and then again starting about 1958 or so.
  • Sweatband- The sweatband is an ingenious invention, really. It is a simple strip of leather (in newer hats often a synthetic leather-like material) that helps keep your hat on your head. The leather helps stick to you skin better than a hat without a sweatband and therefore keeps the hat on your head better. It also tends to help keep the shape of the hat intact. In the old days a leather sweatband was a very fine leather treatment and a lot of attention was paid to it but as hats became more expensive to manufacture and became more mass produced the fanciness of the leather began to suffer. Sweatbands are sewn in in two ways: a reeded sweatband and an unreeded sweatband. Much more on sweatbands can be seen at my sweatband page.

  • Sweat barrier- In the late 40s and early 50s the hat industry experimented with an oil skin or plastic barrier sewn into the leather sweatband situated between the hat body and the leather. This was meant to keep the wearer’s sweat form getting through the leather and into the felt. These barriers ended up being a bad idea because by trapping the sweat in place it often tended to hasten the deterioration of the stitching and leather both. The hat industry stopped using them well before 1960.
  • Velour- A velour hat is a particularly fine surface treatment of a fur felt hat. It is expensive and hard to produce and for that reason wasn’t the most common surface treatment of a hat body. They also demanded higher prices. The Germans made some of the inset velours in the world for generations. It is pretty much a lost art these days.
  • Wind or Trolly String- A string affixed to the hat crown that ends with a loop and a button device. This string and button device is meant to be looped around a shirt or coat button or through a button hole in a shirt or coat. The concept is that if the hat blows off the wearer’s head, the string will keep it with his person and prevent the hat from being blown down the street. When not in use the string and button can be pulled snug around the crown of the hat by the ribbon (see images below).

  • Whippet- This is a particular model of hat made famous by Stetson. It generally has a 2-1/2 to 2-7/8 inch brim with a ribbon bound edge. It has a pinch front and a 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inch ribbon. A Stetson Whippet is not aStetson Whippet unless it is marked “Whippet” on either the leather sweatband or the liner. Regardless, the style is one of the most classic fedora designs.
  • Wool- This is not the best material to use to make a fedora. Wool does not hold its shape well over time and with wear and is considered a “cheap” material.
  • XXX Beaver- This is a demarcation of quality. It usually refers to how much beaver fur is in the hat. This is a very involved term and I have written more about it on another one of my hat pages.

Panama and Straw Hat Terms

Straw hats are a whole world all by themselves and since they have been around for hundreds of years there are a multitude of materials and styles. But here are a few terms associated with the straw hat. There are many terms in straw hat making, but here are the most important:

  • Baku- A straw made of Philippine fiber. Also once called Shantung.
  • Hanoki- A lightweight hat made of Chinese wood fiber twisted into fine, rope-like strands, and woven.
  • Hemp- A light and resilient plant fiber originating in Manila. It is machine-woven into open-weave bodies.
  • Milan- A soft, golden straw found in China.
  • Montecristi Panama- a straw from Ecuador that is usually of the highest (and most expensive) quality.True Montecristis can often cost thousands of dollars.
  • Optimo Panama- This straw hat has a round crown with a ridge running from front to back. It is also sometimes called a “colonial straw”
  • Panama straw- These are hats made of toquilla fiber, which is woven in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.
  • Panapore straw- Usually a wider, less tight weave and a cheaper straw hat.
  • Parasisal Straw- A high grade sisal straw used mainly for the best quality of hats.
  • Paribuntal- From China, it is a Bakou straw in a wider, looser weave
  • Shantung- Was originally the name for the Philippine Baku but now usually refers to either a paper straw or a plastic straw, not a natural fiber straw.
  • Toyo Straw- This is a “straw” made of paper and invented in Japan.

Straw weave styles:
There are two basic weaves and both have “grades” to them with more weaves per inch. The tighter the weave the more time consuming to make the hat and, therefore, the more expensive.

  • Cuenca- A weave that leaves a herringbone look.
  • Brisa- A tighter weave than the Cuenca and indicative of a more expensive hat.

Here is an image showing two of the kinds of Panama hat weaves to show some differences in styles:

Hat Companies

Here is a list of some of the more common, larger hat companies from the late 1800s until most went defunct by the 1960s. There were literally thousands of smaller, local hat companies, but these were the larger, national brands.

American Brands:

  • Adam
  • Bailey
  • Beaver Brand
  • Bee
  • Biskup
  • Bollman (Still in business)
  • Bond
  • Cavanagh
  • Champ
  • Charlie 1 Horse (Still in business)
  • Churchill
  • Crouft & Knapp
  • Dalton
  • Davis
  • Dayton
  • Disney
  • Dobbs (Still in business)
  • Dunlap
  • Embassy
  • Hoyt
  • Hudsonian
  • Jay-Mor
  • Knox (Still in business)
  • Lee
  • Lion
  • Mallory
  • Melton
  • Morfelt
  • Penn-Craft
  • Penny Marathon
  • Pilgrim
  • Portis
  • Resistol (Still in business)
  • Schenley
  • Schoble
  • Stetson (Still in business)
  • Wormser

Foreign Brands:

Australian

  • Akubra (Still in business)

Canadian

  • Biltmore (Still in business)

Czechoslovakian

  • Tonak (Still in business)

English

  • Christys’ (Still in business)
  • G.A. Dunn & Co.
  • Lock & Company (Still in business)

German

  • Huckel
  • Mayser (Still in business)
  • Wegener (Still in business)

Italian

  • Barbisio (Still in business)
  • Barlesoni (Still in business)
  • Borsolino (Still in business)
  • Solferino

Stetson, The Making of a Legend: Westerns

(Notice that all that fluffy stuff floating around is the actual fur. You’ll note that the “skin” of the animal is NOT used for hats. Just the fluffy fur which is matted together to make the hat body.)

Stetson, The Making of a Legend: Dress Hats

Stetson, The Making of a Legend: Newsboy-Styled Caps

How Australia’s Famed Akubra Hats are Made

Well, this one is in German, but it still shows the process pretty well.

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
––Samuel Johnson

Follow Warner Todd Huston on:
Twitter
Tumblr

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, Wizbang.com, among many, many others. Huston has also appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Network, CNN, and many local TV shows as well as numerous talk radio shows throughout the country.

For a full bio, please -->


Stetson Quality Designations, Just What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

January 1, 2011 | Filed Under Fedora, Hat History, Stetson, Stetson Cowboy Hats, Warner Todd Huston | Comments Off on


Stetson Quality Designations, Just What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?

-By Warner Todd Huston

So, you have a Stetson XXX hat, or a Portis XX hat, or a Wormser XXXX hat and you want to know what the heck those Xs mean, right? Well, this is the place where you can find out. But it is neither an easy answer nor an entirely satisfactory one. As the kids say, it’s complicated.

Welcome searchers of history and information about men’s hats, fedoras, top hats, derbies and bowlers, and, more specifically, Stetson history. If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you found us through a Google search as our pages now rank on the very first page for most search questions on hat history. For that we are shocked and grateful.

One of the reasons you found us, though, is because information on hats is not just hard to find, it is very, very hard to find. But on these pages you’ll find much of what you need to know and resources to look elsewhere for other great info, too.

A Glossary of Hat Terms, Words, Definitions, And Styles

All the hat terms you need to know to understand the world of hats and hat wearing.

Observations on Fedora Sweatbands,
Size Tags, and Fedora Dating Tips

Wherein we help you date your Stetson using the tags noted.

Dating Stetsons by Company Crests,
Stetson Logos and Hat Liners

Because the Stetson logo changed only a finite number of times, here you’ll find yet another way to help date your Stetson.

Dating Stetson Hats By Inventory Tag

These tags are another of the many ways to track down a date of a Stetson hat.

A Tour of My Collection of Antique Stetson Western Hats

This fascinating page has detailed photos of Stetson cowboy hat collection. These hats were made from the late 1800s, through the 1900s.

So… What’s the Deal With Those Stetson Hats, Huston?

This is an interesting walk through my personal collection of antique fedoras. Please enjoy the journey.

And Now, on with Just What Do Those Xs Mean, Anyway?…

It is well known that John B. Stetson was the most famous hatmaker in the world from the mid to late 1800s and on into the first four decades of the 20th Century. Stetson hats became famous for many things. It was one of America’s first national brand names, it was an early adopter of the assembly line-style of manufacturing, and it was the hat the won the west. I guess it was the Cadillac of hats. Yes, Stetsons were the Cadillac of hats before there was such a thing as a Cadillac. Maybe we should call Cadillacs the Stetson of Cars… anyway, you know what I mean.

At the bottom of this post I talk about what your hat might be worth…

Back in the old days, nothing could separate a man from his Stetson. Heck, for a time, every cowboy hat was called a “Stetson” in slang terms. Stetsons were considered top of the line, the best of the best. Even when they were priced at the same point as every other hat maker’s wares, Stetsons were thought of as the bee’s knees. Yes, I said “bee’s knees.”

But there is an enduring mystery about Stetson’s products that only got worse as the company aged. What the heck is an “X quality” hat? What is this three x, a four X, a Five X, what does that danged Seven X mean? Are they better, do they have more beaver fur? What? WHAT?

Well, early in Stetson’s history, the “X” designation was used as a pricing point. In fact, the three X hat was one of Stetson’s better products back in the late 1800s and into the 30s. And by the 20s the 7X became one of the company’s most expensive hats–in fact one of the world’s most expensive. But an X designation wasn’t Stetson’s only quality notation. There were many others.

As the years waxed and waned, Stetson puttered around with all sorts of ideas of how to identify the quality levels of its products. Ultimately Stetson landed on the royalty terms like “Royal,” “Royal De Luxe,” “Sovereign,” or “Imperial.”

But the Xs still hung around causing confusion for collectors and customers alike. Worse, as the years moved into the future, those Xs meant less and less as a marking of quality until today they seem practically meaningless with modern Stetsons having absurd things like a “500 X” and a “1,000 X” quality marking. Seriously. 1,000 Xs? Don’t be ridiculous.Did a thousand lil’ beavers die for that hat?

So, how much beaver makes an X?

The fact is, no matter what era your hat is from, we just don’t exactly know how much beaver fur is in there. The fact is, we don’t really have a sure-fire way to know what the Xs mean. Sadly, Stetson did not keep records for posterity on how much beaver to rabbit fur mix was contained in its products. It was an industry secret, in any case, and one that Stetson would not have made public during the hat heyday, anyway. An ancient Chinese secret, if you will (I know, that old TV commercial reference dates ME, too). So, the fact is we don’t know at all how much beaver fur was in Stetson’s hats. We don’t know with precision what the Xs mean.

Sadly, there is no way at all to ever ascertain just how much beaver is in any particular X quality hat. Further, that formula changed as the decades moved on. Triple X hats in the 1910s were of better felt quality that the XXX hats of the 1950s and the XXX hats of the 50s were far superior to those of the 1970s. It is patently obvious that the fur content and finishing process was radically different from era to era, so a three X hat from 1920 and one from 1970 are in no way at all similar in quality. Cost cutting in manufacturing and costs for materials were major reasons for this disparate quality.

Collectors do know merely by handling hats if the beaver content is high or low as there are telltale signs on quality to an experienced hand. But saying that a XXX hat from 1922 was as high as 50% is just a guesstimate. In fact, we are only “pretty” sure that a Stetson 100 is 100% beaver (but made of the most delicate part of the beaver, the belly fur) or that a Stetson 50 is 50% beaver, a Stetson 25 is 25%… well that is, at least, what Stetson used to say in advertising once in a while. As to the “other” X hats, a 7X is likely also 100% beaver (but not of that special belly fur)… but even that is more or less a guess by collectors. Also, there are fur felt hats made of vicuna fur, nutria fur and chinchilla, too. Stetson even had a line of hats made of buffalo fur.

As to today’s Stetson Xs, most collectors just ignore the whole scheme as they don’t seem to make any sense at all. Most collectors feel that the Xs lost all meaning before the year 1960 dawned.

This also makes it worse for collectors, by the way.

But you must remember one thing: Stetson’s quality designation systems were really little else but a sales gimmick. Hats weren’t art nor were they in some permanent state of being. They were a business. And businesses are always trying new sales gimmicks to sell products. That being the case, Stetson played around with its quality markings early and often. For that matter, they were fashion and fashion is always changing to stay new and relevant.

And this is just the trouble with Stetson’s X markings. When you get to other hat makers like Italy’s Borsalino, Portis or Wormser or, well, any other hat maker that uses Xs for its product quality designations, there just isn’t any way at all to know what they really mean other than at what price point they originally sold. There just wasn’t any sort of industry standard and there certainly wasn’t any government agency forcing them to an industry standard, to be sure.

Like I said, it was all a sales gimmick.

Still, a look at the history of Stetson’s quality designations do give a sort of general guide on what your hat was worth when it was first made–if not what its worth today–and where it might fit in on Stetson’s always moving quality meter. These names, designations and price points do help collectors figure out a little bit about what the heck is going on with those Xs, anyway.

One other thing to note. Very early in Stetson’s history (like between 1870 and 1920) Stetson used model names for hats a lot more instead of quality designations. This was common in the industry in the early days but began to change when the first $20 hat was marketed in 1915. After that, hat makers wanted an easy and quick way to impress customers that they had a range of quality and price points to go along with its quality levels. This is when the “Stetson Fifteen” or the “Stetson Twentyfive,” or the “100” etc., and those Xs came in.

So, here are a few of the quality systems that Stetson used over the years to help give you an idea of where your hat fit in on that ever sliding scale. Also interspersed throughout the listings are some photos of what the stampings on the leather sweatbands looked like to give you an idea.

1922 (dress hats)

  • Select Quality
  • Excellent Quality
  • No. 1 Quality
  • Extra Quality
  • Nutria Quality
  • Real Nutria Fur Quality
  • 3x Beaver Quality
  • 4x Beaver Quality
  • 5x Beaver Quality
  • 7x Beaver Quality


Stetson The Fray, Select Quality, 1920s

1932 (dress hats)

  • Excellent Quality
  • Nutria Quality
  • Real Nutria Quality
  • 3x Beaver Quality
  • Stetson Special Quality
  • 4x Beaver Quality
  • 5x Beaver Quality
  • 7x Beaver Quality


Stetson Standard Quality, 1930s


Stetson Select Quality, 1930s

Late 1930s (dress hats)

  • Standard Quality
  • Select Quality
  • Superior Quality
  • Extra Quality
  • 3X Quality
  • 5X Clear Beaver Quality

Late 1940s (dress hats)

  • Royal
  • Royal Stetson De Luxe
  • Medalist
  • Sovereign
  • Imperial
  • Premier


Stetson Royal De Luxe Quality, 1940s


Stetson Imperial Quality, 1940s

1944 (dress hats)

  • Stetson Premier ($8.50)
  • Royal Stetson ($10)
  • Royal Stetson De Luxe ($12.50)
  • Imperial Stetson ($15)

1946 (dress hats)

  • Stratoliner ($7.50)
  • Whippet and many other named models ($10)
  • Royal Stetson ($10)
  • Royal Stetson De Luxe ($12.50)

1948 Panamas and Straws

  • Select ($6)
  • Premier ($7.50)
  • Royal ($10)
  • Royal De luxe ($12.50)
  • Stetson Medalist


Stetson Premier Panama Quality, 1940s


Stetson Medalist Panama Quality, 1940s

1955 (dress hats)

  • Royal (10.00)
  • Royal De Luxe (12.95)
  • 3X Beaver (15.00)
  • Sovereign (20.00)
  • Stetson 25 (25.00)
  • 4X Beaver (35.00)
  • 5X Beaver (40.00)
  • 7X Beaver (50.00)
  • Stetson 100 (100.00)


Stetson Royal Quality, 1950s


Stetson 3X Quality, 1950s


Stetson Twentyfive, 1950s


Stetson 7X Clear Beaver, 1950s


Stetson 100, 1950s

1960s (westerns)

  • No. 1 Quality (10.00)
  • Nutria (15.00)
  • 3X Beaver (15.00)
  • 4X Beaver (20.00)
  • Twentyfive (25.00)
  • 4X Beaver (35.00)
  • 5X (40.00)
  • 7X Beaver (50.00)
  • Stetson 100 (100.00)

1960s (dress hats)

  • Royal Stetson (12.00)
  • Royal Deluxe Stetson (13.50)
  • 3X Beaver (20.00)
  • Sovereign (20.00)
  • Twentyfive (25.00)
  • 4X Beaver (35.00)
  • 5X (40.00)
  • 7X Beaver (50.00)
  • Stetson 100 (100.00)


Stetson Sovereign Quality, 1950s/60s


Stetson Sovereign Quality from the year 2008

Nutria Felt

A nutria is a horrid, rat-like animal that is not native to the United States. It is a nasty, invasive species, for sure. But its fur does make a very, very strong fur felt for hats. Cowboys in the late 1800s and early 1900s loved the nutria hats Stetson made because they wore like iron. They held their shape like concrete, the weather never seeming to have any detrimental effect on them. I would guess that this is why so many early Stetson cowboys hats that exist today are nutria fur felts!

Below are some of Stetson’s imprints for nutria fur hats.


This Stetson nutria is from a hat made between 1900 and 1920 or so.


A nutria logo from the early 1930s.


Another 30s era nutria logo.

So, What is my Old Fedora Worth?

Now, many of you may be wondering what your hat is worth. This is a very, very difficult question to answer because there are so many factors involved in assaying a hat that it is hard to address them all.

Before we get to specifics it should be noted that Stetson hats are always worth more than examples from other manufacturers. Stetson has that name, that cache, that other hat makers never achieved. Some Knox models are sought after, Dobbs made a few that collectors seek, and Cavanagh is also a respected product among hat collectors, but Stetson is the big name still today. So, keep that in mind.

In any case, one phrase holds true for both the bedroom and vintage hat sales: size matters!

For instance, you may have in your hand an extremely rare Stetson model from the 1920s that is in nearly perfect shape. Yet, it could be worth $50 or $500 depending on one little factor: the hat size. This is the most frustrating part of hat pricing for the seller, really. If you have that rare hat in, say, a size 6-7/8 it will be practically worthless to you (well comparatively, anyway). On the other hand, if that same exact model in that same exact condition were a size 7-1/4 it could bring up to $300. Further, if it is size 7-1/2 or larger you could get upwards to $500!

The fact is, the larger the size, the more money you can get for your vintage hat on the collector market.

Why is this?

Because few hat collectors collect strictly to add examples to their collection. They do want to fill those gaps in their collection, sure, but 90% of hat collectors buy hats to wear, so they won’t be buying hats that don’t fit.

You still didn’t tell me why that matters?

It matters because the average head size is a 7-1/4 to 7-3/8 these days. That means the small hat sizes are simply not that sought after. If you have a size 6-3/4, 6-7/8, or size 7 hat you’ll find it harder to sell–the smallest size particularly so. And if you do sell it you’ll find it going for a very cheap price. On the other hand if you have a size 7-1/4 hat it will go for good money and if you have a hat in 7-3/8, 7-1/2, 7-3/4, or 7-7/8 you’ll find that it will fetch a very high price, indeed.

This is because buyers want to wear that rare hat, not put it on a shelf and since not that many people have the smaller sized heads these days, well the smaller hats are simply not wanted.

So, why are there so many vintage hats in size 7-1/8 and smaller? Two reasons. First the size 7 hat was a much more common size for men in the early 1900s. But also because the smaller ones were very plentiful in the old days and more survived the decades untouched while the larger ones were not produced as much and the ones that were made were used up and discarded in greater numbers.

You may also ask why hat sizes are larger today? Nutrition and sanitation is why. Both have improved greatly between 1900 and 2014. We’ve all grown larger, fatter and healthier than our gaunt, disease wracked forbearers from 100 years ago.

Dates Matter, too

Yes, the date of your fedora is also a big, big factor. If your hat was made after 1965, consider it junk. It won’t matter what factory made it or what it sold for originally, no one will want it. Fedoras from previous decades, however, are much sought after by collectors, especially Stetsons.

Hats from between 1890 and 1940 really fetch a premium (again, depending on size, model, condition, maker). Hats from the 40s and 50s sell very well. Hats from the early 60s less so. Hats after 1965 are a dime a dozen and few are interested in them regardless of who made them, what condition they are in, or what model.

(Note: The info in this guide is not necessarily true for some modern custom hatters that exist today. A new fedora made at Art Fawcett’s Vintage Silhouettes, Chicago’s Optimo Hats, or Falcon Park Hatters for instance, will sell quite well. Modern, custom made hats are a different story. Custom hat makers have created their own market and are not included in this guide.)

Condition

As in all collectibles, condition matters. It should be a logical realization, but if your hat has a ripped out sweatband and is full of holes and moth bites, it just won’t be worth much regardless of how old it is. On the other hand, if your hat has its leather sweatband securely sewn in, the leather is supple and not cracked, there are no holes or moth divots, the inside liner is clean, well you can expect that your hat will be desirable to a collector.

Moth Bites

Fur felt hats are a favorite food of insects. Hats that sit out in the open for years in the corner of an attic or closet are prone to being munched on by the Tinea Pellionella–or the clothes moth–a moth that eats the keratin in natural fibers. They burrow into these fibers (wool sweaters, cotton cloth, or the fur felt of hats) and lay their eggs. Then, when the eggs hatch, the tiny moth larvae eat the natural fibers to grow large enough to fly away. Needless to say, they destroy what they touch.

The are a few ways to ward off these things. One is to make sure your hats are in tightly closed boxes. Adding a few chunks of cedar wood to the bottom of the box is also a good idea. The oils in the wood wards off the bugs to a degree. Finally, keep your eye on the hats occasionally inspecting them to see if they are clear of infestation.

Do not use moth balls on your hats. They will cause the hat to stink terribly and the chemicals in moth balls can also damage a hat. Avoid them.

Still, don’t fret if you have a few moth nips on your hat. A few moth nips do not necessarily make a hat worthless. Most collectors understand that moth nips come with the territory and if there are only a few, shallow moth bites this won’t bother too many collectors (especially on the really old hats). On the other hand, if your hat is covered with moth tracks or you have moth bites that go all the way through your hat, well, you have something of lesser value no matter if it is a rare or older model. Again, remember that most collectors want to wear the hat along with collecting it so if it is unpresentable, it will be undesirable and you’ll probably have a hard time selling it.

The Market Place is Like the Stock Market, It Has Ups And Downs…

Your hat may be worth $500 this month and only $100 next year–or vice versa. This is just a matter of the market as is true with practically any collectable, really. If a preponderance of collectors suddenly get crazed over the Stetson Playboy, the prices will soar. When the market cools, they drop. We’ve seen it over and over again.

For instance, in the years 2011 and 2012 the Stetson Whippet was so hot even the tiny sizes were going for $150 or more with ease. And sizes of 7-1/2 were getting to over $500! But by 2013 the craze subsided a bit. Small sizes started sinking in worth until a 6-7/8 was again down to $100 or less. The big sizes still garnered upwards to $300 though. So, in essence, the Whippet prices stabilized a bit.

The Stetson Playboy also saw this rise and fall. At one time a larger sized Playboy from any time before 1960 could easily fetch $300 or more. But lately the Playboy has plateaued out at a bit less than that.

I note all this to say that prices are not stable. Hat prices fluctuate like all collectables do. However, they have risen considerably in the last 5 years for whatever reason. Perhaps it is the higher profile that fedoras have had among celebrities lately. They are seen on the heads of people like actors and rock stars more often these days so perhaps that has caused vintage hat prices to grow?

So, above are some basic guidelines to think about when trying to figure out what your hat might be worth. Suffice to say, the older the hat the more it might be worth and the larger the hat size the better. Condition is always important. And if it was made after 1965 it is likely pretty worthless.

Some Models of Note

There are a few models that collectors are always looking out for.

Stetson Models

  • Stetson 100 (100% beaver)
  • Whippet
  • Stratoliner
  • Open Road
  • Playboy
  • Bantam
  • Flagship
  • Boss Raw Edge (usually a western/cowboy hat)
  • Boss Of The Plains (not a model name, but a style)

Knox Hats

  • Vagabond (or Vagabond King, its lesser seen brother)
  • Tom And Jerry

Dobbs

  • Game Bird
  • Gay Prince

Borsolino

  • Foldable pocket hat in the triangular cardboard box

Akubra

  • Campdraft

Of course, like all collectables, there isn’t a sure fire way to say what a hat is worth. It depends on the current market, the condition, model, make, date and size of the hat. It is not as easy as just saying “this hat is worth X because I says so!” Goofball sellers try that on ebay all the time and rarely sell their hats.

You STILL Didn’t Say What It’s Worth

Yeah, I know. So, let’s get specific. Remember, this is only a guide and sometimes prices fluctuate and also remember as noted above size and condition matters, so if your hat is a size 7 or smaller, don’t expect to get much of anything for it.

I will use size 7-1/4 as the mean size and assume the hat is in good condition. Prices for larger sizes will climb a bit, fall for smaller.

A 1950 and previous Stetson Whippet is getting around $225 in 7-1/4.

Stetson 100s are holding at around $250 or so.

Most other models of Stetsons are under $200.

… Unless your Stetson is a western made before 1939, that is. Then you can get upwards to $300 for hats made in the teens, 20s, and 30s. And maybe some $500 for ones made in the 1890s. Earlier than 1890 and prices are really hard to set at an average without taking VERY careful consideration of the condition and historical provenance. So, Stetsons previous to 1890 are impossible to toss off an average price.

Top Hats And Bowlers/Derbies

Folks, sorry to say, but your top hats and derbies are a dime a dozen. It doesn’t matter who made your top hat (and it’s most likely made of silk NOT beaver) they are everywhere out there. Top hats are not worth more than $100 in most cases. Derbies are worth even less. So few people are interested in derbies that you will be lucky to get $50 for one no matter what company made the thing, even if it is in perfect shape.

The only derby that should sell a bit better is one of those extra tall derbies like the ones that were fashionable in the 1890s (see THIS IMAGE of Bat Masterson for an example). There are very few tall derbies still around from that era. But even those really aren’t worth more than $100 as rare as they are. There’s just not much of a market for them. After all, people buy hats to wear, even vintage ones, and nobody wears derbies any more.

As to which manufacturers are worth money, well, Stetson is always the cream of the crop. Vintage Stetson prices far, far out pace other companies. But Cavanagh and Borsalino also bring good prices on the vintage market. Borsos rival Stetson prices quite often.

Now, these general prices really only apply to hats made before 1960. Fedoras made after that are practically worthless (except for ones made by modern speciality hatters such as VS hats or Optimo or other current hatters. Those are in a class of their own.) 1960s and later hats just aren’t worth much except for a few cases. If in good condition, hats made after 1960 are no better than $20 hats regardless of who made them or what model–yes, even Stetsons. Though some of the larger westerns even ones from the 60s and 70s may go for some $200 in the right instances, but we are talking 7-3/8 and larger.

Anyway, it’s really hard to make guesses on prices and remember what I just said is only a guide. You may have a hat that seems worth $300 guaranteed and only end up with $100 in bids on ebay. On the other hand you may think you’d be lucky to get that $100 and end up getting the $300! It’s all very hard to predict.

When in doubt, set a minimum price and try selling with a reserve before you throw caution to the wind and just let it go to whom ever bids the most.

More Hat Related Posts

____________
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, RightPundits.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Social Networking


Help the Soldiers!



American Genius

Our Founding Ideas

"Governments are instituted among men,deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776





Enter your Email


Preview
Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a reader


Recently Written

  • Gun-Grabbin Gabby Giffords Wants to Take Away Your… Muskets?
  • Veterans Day, 2017: This is Why Americans Love OUR Veterans
  • Same Old, Same Old, Terrorism
  • Dear Conservatives, Supergirl Thinks You’re Stupid and She Doesn’t Want You Watching Her Show
  • Nate Boyer, NFL Player and Army Veteran Who Helped Colin Kaepernick Take a Knee During Anthem, Pens ‘Open Letter’
  • FBI Warns of Growing Domestic Terror Threat Posed by Black Extremist Groups
  • Video: PBS News Hour Victim of Violent, Senseless Attack
  • My Home and Car Vandalized Because I’m a Conservative Writer
  • Here are the Vast Differences Between a Conservative and a Liberal
  • No, NFL, You DON’T Have an Unassailable ‘Right’ to Protest the National Anthem


  • Featured Sites






    What THEY Say:
    Foreign News In English



    Illini Alliance
    Blogroll

  • American Princess
  • Backyard Conservative
  • Bill Baar's West Side
  • Blackfive
  • The Black Sphere
  • Blogging While Republican
  • Capitol Fax
  • Cao's blog
  • Central Illinois Right to Life
  • Cincinnatus
  • Chad Kent Speaks
  • ChampionNews.net
  • Chicagobluesgirl's Blog
  • Chicago Conservative Examiner
  • Chicago Daily Observer
  • Chicago Freedom Forum
  • Chicago Political Commentary
  • Chicago Ray's blog
  • Chicago Republicans
  • Chicago Tea Party
  • Conservative Brand
  • Conservative Committeeman Project
  • Conservative Springfield
  • Conservativity.com
  • The Constitution Sentinel
  • Cook County Blog
  • Crazy Politico's Rantings
  • Creative Conservative
  • Cross Blogging
  • Culture News
  • David's Right Way
       of Thinking
  • DePaul Conservative Alliance
  • Downstate Illinois Advocate
  • Education Matters
  • Extreme Wisdom
  • GOPUSA- Dave Diersen
  • Gullible's Travels
  • Illinois bloggers
  • Ill. Center Right Coalition
  • Illinois Chronicle
  • Illinois Conservative
  • Illinois Conservatives
  • Illinois Conservatives on FaceBook
  • Illinois Conservative Beacon
  • Illinois Corruption
  • Illinois Crime & Politics
  • IllinoisGOP.org
  • IllinoisGOP.org Roots
  • Illinois Review
  • Illini Pundit
  • The Immoderate Blog
  • The Intolerant Fox
  • It's My Mind
  • Jeff Berkowitz Public Affairs
  • John C. Ackerman
  • Kane County TaxPayer Tea    Party/CCWL
  • Legistorm - Gov't Transparency    Resource (Staffer Salaries, etc.)
  • Loyola Republicans
  • Loyola Republicans Blog
  • Marathon Pundit
  • McHenry County Blog
  • Mean ol' Meany
  • McLean County Pundit
  • Jim McMahon
  • The Middle Class Guy
  • Musing Minds
  • The New Editor
  • New Trier Tea Party
  • North Shore Exponent
  • Teri O'Brien
  • The Orland Parker (Ray Hanania- not conservative, but a good reporter)
  • Part-Time Pundit
  • Patriotic Mom
  • Pitchpull
  • Politislime
  • Power And Control
  • Prairie Politics
  • Prairie State Post
  • The Prairie Stater
  • Precinct Maps
  • Public Affairs
  • Publius' Forum
  • Publius' Forum @ ChicagoNow.com
  • Quincy Pundit
  • Raise the Republic/Conservative    Magazine, Ill.
  • ReaganLiberty.com
  • Rebel Pundit
  • RedCounty
  • Republican News Watch
  • Respublica
  • Reverse Spin
  • Right Not Wrong
  • The Right Place
  • Right-Wing Nuthouse
  • Milt Rosenberg
  • Schaumburg Freedom Coalition
  • Scottish Right
  • State of Your State
  • Jill Stanek
  • St. Blogustine.com
  • Stix Blog
  • Team America's 10th District Blog
  • They Don't Fool ME!
  • Nancy J. Thorner
  • Thoughts of a Regular Guy
  • Tom Roeser
  • Street Wise Pundit
  • UIS College Republicans
  • University Blog
  • The Voting Booth
  • William Kelly Truth Squad
  • The Windy City YR @ ChicagoNow
  • ...With Both Hands

  • Political Parties

  • Contacting The Congress
  • Republican Party
  • The America First Party
  • The Libertarian Party
  • The Constitution Party













  • Contact Us

    Email Publius' Forum

    Archives

  • November 2017
  • October 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • February 2005
  • January 2005
  • Links

  • American Daily
  • American Spectator
  • Beyond the News
  • Breaking All The Rules
  • Conservative Crusader
  • Conservatown.com
  • The Drudge Report
  • Fox News Channel
  • Free Republic .com
  • FrontPage Magazine
  • Jewish World Review
  • Lucianne.Com
  • NewsMax.com
  • New Media Journal
  • OpinionEditorials.com
  • Real Clear Politics
  • Reality Check
  • The Sierra Times
  • Townhall.com
  • WSJ OpinionJournal
  • World Net Daily

  • Other Blogs

  • Adam's Web
  • La Shawn Barber's Corner
  • Daly Thoughts
  • Fraters Libertas
  • the Hedgehog
  • GatewayPundit
  • Instapundit
  • Michelle Malkin
  • The Other McCain
  • Outside the Beltway
  • PatrioticMomBlog
  • Peter F Paul.com
  • Power Line
  • Radio Blogger
  • Right Wing News
  • Radio Patriot
  • Patrick Ruffini
  • Roger L. Simon
  • Shot In the Dark
  • Truth Laid Bear
  • VodkaPundit
  • Wizbang!

  • MilBlogs

  • Austin Bay
  • BlackFive
  • Centcom
  • Michael Yon

  • Religion

  • Christian Answers
  • Christian Coalition
  • Family Research Council


  • Gun Rights

  • 2nd Amendment Foundation
  • Gun Owners of America
  • Illinois State Rifle Assoc
  • Keep And Bear Arms
  • Nat'l Rifle Assoc

  • Education

  • Alliance for the
    Separation of School
    from State
  • Intercollegiate Studies Institute
  • Liberty Scholarship Fund
  • Homeschool World

  • Radio Hosts

  • Glenn Beck
  • Bill Bennett
  • Neil Boortz
  • Jerry Doyle
  • Larry Elder
  • Mike Gallagher
  • Sean Hannity
  • Roger Hedgecock
  • Hugh Hewitt
  • Laura Ingrahm
  • Lars Larson
  • Mark Levin
  • G. Gordon Liddy
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Michael Medved
  • Dennis Miller
  • Teri O'Brien
  • Dennis Prager
  • Michael Reagan
  • Milt Rosenberg
  • Dr. Laura


  • Add to Technorati Favorites
    Clicky Web Analytics