Monday, September 10, 2018

Cowboy Hats

What’s one of the first things you notice about the Cowboy topping this page—well, besides the fact that he’s cute as all get-out and has a great smile? His hat, of course! Cowboys certainly never go anywhere without one. Especially since their work involves being out in the weather every day.

I grew up in southeast Texas with two brands of hat tripping off my tongue: Stetson and Resistol. First, a little history from Stetson itself, combined with information from Wikipedia:

John B. Stetson was born in 1830 in Orange, New Jersey, where his father Stephen was a hatter. He worked in his father's shop until he went West for his health. There, Stetson created a rugged hat for himself made from thick beaver felt while panning for gold in Colorado. According to legend, Stetson invented the hat while on a hunting trip to show his companions how he could make cloth out of fur without tanning. Fur felt hats are lighter, they maintain their shape, and withstand weather and renovation better. Stetson soon grew fond of the hat for its ability to protect him from the elements. It had a wide brim, a high crown to keep an insulating pocket of air on the head, and could be used to carry water.

As Stetson’s travels continued, a cowboy is said to have seen him and his unusual hat. He rode up, tried the hat on for himself, and paid Stetson a five dollar gold piece for it before riding off with the first western Stetson hat on his head. That friendly gesture towards a fellow traveler of the new frontier gave birth to what is now known the world over as the “cowboy hat.”

Now aged 35 and in better health, Stetson returned east in 1865 and established his own hat firm in Philadelphia. After some initial designs based on popular outdoor styles of the day, Stetson decided to create a hat based on his experiences in the American West, which he called the "Boss of the Plains". 

The original "Boss" was flat brimmed, had a straight-sided crown, with rounded corners. A plain hatband was fitted to adjust head size, and the sweatband bore John B. Stetson's name.The shape of the hat's crown and brim were often modified by the wearer for fashion and to protect against weather by being softened in hot steam, shaped, and allowed to dry and cool. Felt tends to retain the shape in which it dries. Within a decade the ‘Stetson’ name became synonymous with the word 'hat' in every corner of the West. 

Here's some hat care tips from the Resistol hat company based in Garland, Texas: 


To remove dust or surface dirt from your hat:
Straw - simply wipe with a clean damp cloth.
Fur Felt - use a soft brush starting at the left side of the hat and brush counterclockwise toward the back and around again.

If your hat gets wet:
Straw - simply shake off the excess water.
Fur Felt/Wool - you need to turn down the “self-conforming” leather sweatband and stand the hat on the sweatband so it can dry naturally. While the hat is wet, don’t rest the hat on its brim as this will cause it to alter the shape.

Avoid exposing your hat to heat from stoves, radiators, lamps and car windows. The combination of heat and perspiration will shrink the sweatband.

To keep perspiration and hair dressing from penetrating the outside of the straw, occasionally turn down the sweatband so it can dry naturally between wearings.

Should your fur felt (if it is a light color) becomes spotted with water or grease, you can clean it with a little baby talc or cornstarch – NO liquid cleaners – please.

Till next time,


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