Hat History Home
Dress Hats
Gangster Fedoras
Panama Straw Hats
Western Hats
Borsalino Hats
Dobbs Hats
Indiana Jones Fedora
Stetson Hats
Golf Celebrities
Hat Care

Hat History
PO Box 995
Angel Fire, NM

History of Felt hats & Straw hats - Western felt hats

History of Straw hats and Felt hats - Western hatsThe history of the western felt hat is not that old. Before the invention of the cowboy hat by John B. Stetson, the cowpunchers of the plains wore castoffs of previous lives and vocations. Formal top hats and derbies, leftover remnants of Civil War headgear, tams and sailor hats, were all worn by men moving westward.

The hat on the right worn by a confederate soldier, is similar to a standard US army hat, prior to the Civil War. Hats were made of black felt and usually trimmed with a black ostrich feather for enlisted men, and a cord terminating in two tassels. The brim was looped on the left side, and the feather worn on the side opposite the loop.

A wide and flat brimmed neutral color hat, the Stetson Boss of the Plains, was popular in the American Southwest beginning in the late 1800s.

Although smaller headgear was usually reserved for town, derby and bowler hats were popular on the western frontier, as were wide brimmed sombreros. A wide brim hat, much like the plantation hats of the deep south were common by those living in sunny climates.

Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson all preferred to wear the Stetson "Open Road", a small, formal western hat.

Today, while there are many manufacturers involved in making both inexpensive wool and felt machine-blocked hats, as well as custom manufacturers making hand creased magic, the basic western felt hat remains the same. While some of today's hats remain true to their turn of the century beginnings, others follow their own design features. Today's western hat continues to be seen as the last vestige of apparel of a young and untamed nation. It makes a statement about the tough individuality at the center of every pioneer that carved a life from the new frontier.

Western straw hats - read more


History of Straw hats and Felt hats furnishes enlightening detail, beginning with interesting accounts of dress hats in the early years, through the roaring 20's gangster fedoras, includes features on golf and movie celebrities' hats, and highlights some original and contemporary hatmakers.