6 Old Bond Street, London. World’s oldest hat shop. It’s still there.
Photo shows the Founder, William Miller Christy in a Smoking Cap.
A French traveller called Betta was in Canton, China when his beaver Top Hat required renewing. He found a local hatter who repaired it with silk plush. Betta returned to Paris, where hatters enthusiastically copied the technique to create a new generation of lightweight silk Top Hats. (Picture shows top hatted artist Gustave Caillebotte with his dog.)
New York Tribune, 7 July 1841: "GREAT REDUCTION IN PRICES of Leghorn and Summer Hats at Watsons, 154 Chatham st and 100 Bowery. The subscriber will sell the remaining stock of Leghorn, Drab Beaver and Panama Hats, at prices barely covering cost, as he is determined to sell his entire stock of Summer Goods ere the season closes. Those who have not supplied themselves, would do well to avail themselves of the present opportunity, and dealers who wish to replenish their stock will do well to call early at WATSON'S"
It is also known as the Coke and the Derby, the Bowler was commissioned by Edward Coke and made by the Bowler Brothers for Lock & Co. Its intended function was as a protective hat for gamekeepers and it was famously strong.
On the night he was assassinated, President Lincoln was at the theatre, with his Top Hat on the floor beside him. After being shot, he was carried to a private house, where he was attended by several doctors. He later died, without recovering consciousness. Some confusion surrounds the subsequent fate of Lincoln's hat, which now sits in the Smithsonian Museum. At some point, it was returned to the house where the President had died. The house became a Lincoln museum. In 1896, legal representatives for one of the attending doctors claimed ownership of the hat, saying it had been a gift from Mrs Lincoln. The case was thrown out.
John Batterson Stetson Sr. named his first hat style The Boss of the Plains.
Knox develops the Fedora.
Inspired by Sarah Bernhardt's touring production of the French play Fédora, fashionable New Yorkers were able to wear a new kind of hat.
Hat maker, George Arthur Dunn opened Dunn & Co in Birmingham, UK
Herbert Johnson opens hat shop in London, UK
Throughout its history, Herbert Johnson made dress hats and, especially, military caps.
Theodore Roosevelt seen wearing Panama Hat.
Theodore Roosevelt was not a follower of fashion. He was known for his independent, manly character and always wore military-style, slouch hats. As New York Governor, Roosevelt paid no particular attention to the Panama Hat craze that began to sweep the western world in 1900. This may surprise some readers, as Roosevelt is often wrongly credited with almost singlehandedly launching the Panama Hat in America. He did not. Indeed, when he was first spotted wearing a Panama Hat, on 17 August 1900, it made the newspapers!
H. Dewit Dobbs
Rarely-seen face behind the Dobbs brand.
Akubra begins hat production in Sydney, Australia
Photo shows Akubra factory on Bourke Street, Sydney.
John Cavanagh creates a new way of finishing the brim of a fedora
John Cavanagh was a US hatter, industrialist and politician, dominant in the development of men's hats and brands during the 20th century. The Cavanagh Edge, a strong, elegant way of finishing the brim of a Fedora, is his most exalted legacy. Picture shows one of Cavanagh's later patents from 1936.
Bowler Hat begins partnership with "Charlie" Chaplin
This was Chaplin’s first appearance as The Tramp.
Straw Hat Riots, USA
In major US cities, crowds of young men with sticks attacked anyone they saw wearing straw hats after the last day of 'Straw Hat Season'.
Top Hat transforms President Calvin Coolidge
He was known as Silent Cal and rarely smiled for the camera. Perhaps the Top Hat cheered him up.
John Cavanagh restarts Dobbs & Co
Blaming the Great Depression and unable to pay creditors, Dobbs & Co had declared bankruptcy and closed down its stores. There was a chaotic liquidation sale. A few months later, John Cavanagh opened a new Dobbs & Co store under his own name.
Franklin D Roosevelt was America’s first and only 4-time President. Joined by outgoing President Coolidge, they both wore Toppers to his first inauguration.
Top Hat relaunched by Fred Astaire Silly plot, fabulous movie
The person in the photo above is H. Dewit Dobbs: rarely-seen face behind the brand.
Fedora becomes a romantic icon in Casablanca
It was never expected to become a classic, Yet Casablanca remains one of the world’s favourite movies, with the best hats.
Bogart and Bacall find hats - and each other - in The Big Sleep
Starring Bogart, Bacall and several Fedoras.
Homburg is the star of President Eisenhower's inauguration
The break with Top Hat tradition was so significant that it made the newspapers.
Last Presidential Top Hat worn by JF Kennedy
Contrary to what many of us believe, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was actually the last US President to wear a silk Top Hat to his inauguration.
Bowler Hat (with Mister Steed) stars on TV
The Avengers - always Bowler-hatted John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee, with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. Here, shopping for suspicious Bowlers.
Cowboy Hat re-invented by Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood's breakout performance as the Man With No Name, re-inventing the cowboy look with a poncho and a beaten-up Gambler hat. Eastwood is said to have found the hat himself at a Hollywood costume store.
Borsalino becomes a movie
In an unusual collaboration between producers and hat brand, this average gangster film was a showcase for Borsalino hats and used the corporate logo in the title.
Stetson factories at their peak in 1920s.
Bowler Hat transformed forever by Stanley Kubrick
With this highly controversial film, the Bowler hat became a symbol of extreme violence.
Porkpie Hat finds new action image
As Popeye/Porkpie Doyle, Gene Hackman gave a career-defining performance and thrust the Porkpie hat back into mainstream culture.
Fedora, Newsboy Cap and Homburg become ultimate gangster hats
Global TV viewers realised that a Cowboy Hat can be worn with a suit
1930s hats are cool again
Poet Fedora (and Doctor Who) battles Daleks
Tom Baker as Doctor Who wore an outrageous Herbert Johnson 'Poet'
Poet Fedora (and Indiana Jones) takes on bad guys 40
Raiders of the Lost Ark - Harrison Ford wore several hats during shooting and the shape was not always consistent. Many hat fans prefer this 'Streets of Cairo' Fedora.
Poet Fedora's second appearance with Indiana Jones
Some hat fans think Temple of Doom has the best version of the Herbert Johnson Fedora
Akubra with crocodile teeth finds romance in New York
Paul Hogan enters hat history with the Akubra Croc
The Untouchables - Several outstanding Fedoras and a Newsboy Cap
Michael Jackson’s white Fedora
Smooth Criminal music video - MJ wore a fabulous white Fedora.
Final date for Poet Fedora and Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was also the last time Herbert Johnson supplied Indy’s Fedora
Original Indiana Jones hat donated to Smithsonian Museum, Washington, USA
Fedora worn by Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - on show at the National Museum of American History
Photo shows Dick Tracy - a comic strip riot of extravagant performances and Fedoras
Original Oddjob Bowler is auctioned
Sold for GBP 62,000. A Cambridge Bowler worn - and hurled - by Harold Sakata as Oddjob in Goldfinger
Original Marlon Brando Godfather hat is auctioned
Borsalino Fedora worn by Marlon Brando. It sold for USD 5,100
Dobbs Trilby hats start new life with Don Draper
Mad Men - advertising genius Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, was rarely out of reach of a Dobbs Trilby
Adventurebilt Fedora meets Indiana Jones
Porkpie Hat + Science Teacher = Drug Lord
Breaking Bad - Walter White, alias Heisenberg
Peaky Blinders - they lined the brim with razor blades
Original Marlon Brando Godfather hat is auctioned
Stetson Fedora worn by Marlon Brando. It sold for USD 26,798
Pharrell Williams channels Vivienne Westwood
Pharrell stole the show at the 2014 Grammy Awards when he wore this Vivienne Westwood Mountain Hat
Borsalino declared bankrupt
Sad day for the godfather of hat brands
Bargain! Woody Harrelson's hat (plus his shirt) sold for just USD 150.
Original Indiana Jones hat is auctioned
Sold for USD 521,000. The revered Herbert Johnson Fedora, worn by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, is the most expensive hat in movie history.
The Man In The Hat becomes a new attraction for hat lovers.
Original Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal Fedora is auctioned 60
Michael Jackson's white Fedora (still with traces of makeup), from the Smooth Criminal music video, was bought by Kim Kardashian for GBP 50,000