On September 15th, tip your hat for National Felt Hat Day! The observance recognizes a stylish head protection worn throughout history.
- While primarily made from wool, felt can also be made from the fur of other animals. Usually, rabbit and beaver were the furs of choice. During the 16th and 17th centuries, beaver reach popularity but over trapping depleted the population.
- The phrase “a mad as a hatter” comes from the use of mercury nitrate in haberdasheries in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Over time, daily exposure to this metal caused these tradesmen to develop dementia, tics and other symptoms. These unusual side effects caused people to believe their hatters had gone mad.
- Between the 1890s and the 1960s, one of the most popular hats was the fedora, a soft felt hat with a brim and tapered crown with a crease down the center. For several decades gangsters, politicians, fashionable bachelors, and conservative family men all wore fedora hats whenever they left home.
- The first reference to a hat appeared in a cave painting at Lussac-les-Chateaux in France. It was dated 15,000 BC
- The fedora was originally worn by women and was a symbol of female empowerment and resistance to gender roles. Today, it is worn by both sexes.
- The fedora was named after Princess Fédora Romanoff from Victorien Sardou’s play “Fédora.” The play was written for actress Sarah Bernhardt. As part of her costume, she wore a soft-brimmed hat with a center-crease, a modified version of today’s fedora.
- Panama hats were originally made in Ecuador, not Panama.
- A person who makes women’s hats is known as a milliner, while a person who makes hats for men is known as a hatter.
- London black taxies are made tall so that a gentleman can ride in them without taking off a top hat.
- In the middle of 19th century baseball umpires wore top hats during the game.
- White tall chef hats traditionally have 100 pleats to represent hundreds of ways an egg can be prepared. They were invented by cuisine inventors Marie-Antoine Carème and Auguste Escoffier as a method of establishing hierarchy in the kitchen.
- In 1920s there was an odd custom in America that it was common that if people wore straw hats after the 15 September they were beaten up.
- First “Dunce” hat was introduced by medieval theologian John Duns Scotus (1265-1308). HIs idea was that a conical hat funneled knowledge from God into a head of the… dunce.
- French Magician Louis Comte was first to pull out a rabbit from a top hat in 1814.