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Timeline

1765 - 1882

1883 - 1913

1914 - 1960

1961 - 1973

1974 - 2005

2006 - Present

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1765

James Lock opens hat shop in London, UK

6 Old Bond Street, London. World’s oldest hat shop. It’s still there.

1773

Christy & Co opens hat shop in London, UK.

Photo shows the Founder, William Miller Christy in a Smoking Cap.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1775

The First Silk Top Hat is made.

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.)

1794

Silk Top Hat is patented by Dunnage & Larkin.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1837

Opera Hat patented in France by Gibus.

1841

Panama Hats popular in New York.

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"

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1849

The first Bowler Hat created at Lock & Co.

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.

1857

Giuseppe Borsalino starts making hats in Alessandria, Italy

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1860

Prince Albert invents the Homburg

1865

Abraham Lincoln wears his last Top Hat.

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1865

Stetson develops the Cowboy Hat.

John Batterson Stetson Sr. named his first hat style The Boss of the Plains.

1883

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.

1887

Hat maker, George Arthur Dunn opened Dunn & Co in Birmingham, UK

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1889

Herbert Johnson opens hat shop in London, UK

Throughout its history, Herbert Johnson made dress hats and, especially, military caps.

1900

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!

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1901

Theodore Roosevelt inaugurated as US President

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1908

H. Dewit Dobbs

Rarely-seen face behind the Dobbs brand.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1912

Akubra begins hat production in Sydney, Australia

Photo shows Akubra factory on Bourke Street, Sydney.

1913

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1913

Top Hat-enhanced President Woodrow Wilson poses for cameras

1914

Bowler Hat begins partnership with "Charlie" Chaplin

This was Chaplin’s first appearance as The Tramp.

1922

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'.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1923

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.

1932

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1933

FD Roosevelt starts his Top Hat habit

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1935

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1942

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.

1946

Bogart and Bacall find hats - and each other - in The Big Sleep

Starring Bogart, Bacall and several Fedoras.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1949

Top Hat enhances President Harry S Truman

1953

Homburg is the star of President Eisenhower's inauguration

The break with Top Hat tradition was so significant that it made the newspapers.

1961

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.

1961

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1964

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.

1970

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1970

Stetson hat factory ceases production

Stetson factories at their peak in 1920s.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1971

Bowler Hat transformed forever by Stanley Kubrick

With this highly controversial film, the Bowler hat became a symbol of extreme violence.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1971

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.

1972

Fedora, Newsboy Cap and Homburg become ultimate gangster hats

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1973

Cowboy Hat finally becomes a status symbol

Global TV viewers realised that a Cowboy Hat can be worn with a suit

1973

1930s hats are cool again

1974

Poet Fedora (and Doctor Who) battles Daleks

Tom Baker as Doctor Who wore an outrageous Herbert Johnson 'Poet'

1981

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1984

Poet Fedora's second appearance with Indiana Jones

Some hat fans think Temple of Doom has the best version of the Herbert Johnson Fedora

1986

Akubra with crocodile teeth finds romance in New York

Paul Hogan enters hat history with the Akubra Croc

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1987

Fedoras shoot out in Chicago

The Untouchables - Several outstanding Fedoras and a Newsboy Cap

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1988

Michael Jackson’s white Fedora

Smooth Criminal music video - MJ wore a fabulous white Fedora.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1989

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

1989

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

First silk top hat is made in 1775

1990

Technicolor Fedoras steal every scene

Photo shows Dick Tracy - a comic strip riot of extravagant performances and Fedoras

1998

Original Oddjob Bowler is auctioned

Sold for GBP 62,000. A Cambridge Bowler worn - and hurled - by Harold Sakata as Oddjob in Goldfinger

2006

Original Marlon Brando Godfather hat is auctioned

Borsalino Fedora worn by Marlon Brando. It sold for USD 5,100

2007

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

First silk top hat is made in 1775

2008

Adventurebilt Fedora meets Indiana Jones

2011

Porkpie Hat + Science Teacher = Drug Lord

Breaking Bad - Walter White, alias Heisenberg

First silk top hat is made in 1775

2013

Newsboy Cap becomes lethal weapon

Peaky Blinders - they lined the brim with razor blades

First silk top hat is made in 1775

2014

Original Marlon Brando Godfather hat is auctioned

Stetson Fedora worn by Marlon Brando. It sold for USD 26,798

First silk top hat is made in 1775

2014

Pharrell Williams channels Vivienne Westwood

Pharrell stole the show at the 2014 Grammy Awards when he wore this Vivienne Westwood Mountain Hat

2017

Borsalino declared bankrupt

Sad day for the godfather of hat brands

First silk top hat is made in 1775

2017

Original No Country For Old Men hat is auctioned

Bargain! Woody Harrelson's hat (plus his shirt) sold for just USD 150.

2018

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.

First silk top hat is made in 1775

2018

First men's hat shop opens in Hong Kong

The Man In The Hat becomes a new attraction for hat lovers.

2019

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