Cowboy or Western hats are one of the unique trademarks of the cowboy. Cowboy hats made of felt are worn in cold weather and straw hats are worn in hot weather. The important parts of a cowboy hat are the brim, crown, and crease.
In the poster Woodrow is wearing a reproduction of the original Stetson “Boss of the Plans”
Felt is the material of choice for a cowboy hat for good reason. Felt is matted fur. Because it is matted, and the hairs run in all directions interlocking with each other, felt is stronger and lighter than woven materials. A water resistant fur felt is desirable to help the hat hold its shape and shed water. Fur bearing animals that live in water make the best hat felt for durability when wet. Beaver, neutra or muskrat are the best and most expensive fur / felts. Rabbit, or a combination of rabbit with one of the other felts, is less expensive and is most common. Wool felt will not hold its shape. Nothing looks worse than a droopy cowboy hat.
Felt hats are made of rabbit and beaver hair. A 5X hat is all rabbit, a 10X hat is 50% rabbit and 50% beaver, and a 100X hat is 100% beaver.
A 5X hat would retail for $100 to $150. A working cowboy would typically purchase a 10X hat for $165 to $240., and a 100X hat starts at $750.
Presently there are quite a few varieties of straws utilized to create hats. Most of these straws range from sisal straw, panama straw & buntal straw. Countless straw hats are woven throughout Central America and an increasing quantity are woven in Asia. (Mainly inside China)
Sisal – Great looking but strong fiber utilized for creating hats. Sisal is a Mexican as well as Central American crop.
Raffia – Indigenous to Madagascar and also grown naturally throughout the eastern coastline of Africa. The natural color is usually light brownish. Raffia straw is additionally quite flexible, robust and will definitely not crack whenever it is dried out. Additionally, raffia straw is quite light weight, yielding extremely stylish and comfortable hats.
Buntal – Coming from the Philippines. Buntal straw originates from the biggest palm variety. Its natural color can be a light brownish color, however after being pressed inside a hat pressing device and dipped directly into hat lacquer, the color shifts to a stunning golden-brown .The fiber may be stripped in to quite fine straws and these completed hat may get a rewarding price. These hats are sought after by a range of hat aficionados because of the outstanding fineness as well as quality when produced by skilled weavers and hatters.
Abaca – This straw is primarily acquired from the Manila Hemp Plant. This is indigenous to the Islands of the Philippines.
Shantung – Known as Shantung Panama. This is a man-made performance paper yarn. It offers high tear durability and is regarded to be the strongest of all natural fibres. It is wonderful for producing hats. Shantung is light , long lasting, and attractive. It is similar, by looks, to authentic Panama Hats.
Bangora – Known as Bandera straw as well as Bangkok weave. Are really made off paper. The majority of the time, the Bangora hat body is unglazed and also tend to be much less long lasting.
Ramie –One of the most ancient fiber plants and has been utilized by ancient civilizations. The quite strong natural fiber also holds superb strength when wet. Additionally recognize for its capability to retain its shape. All these qualities are great for creating straw hats.
Cowboy Hat History
Many believe that the cowboy hat progressed from the Sombrero. Cattle herders, acquired the sombrero and remodelled it in to the cowboy hat which is worn today.
The initial cowboys were the Mexican vaquero. The sombrero came to be a broad rimmed hat using a high peaked crown, sometimes decorated with stitching.
The felt cowboy hat has continued to be the basic construction and pattern since the very first one was designed in 1865. John B. Stetson entertained his buddies by demonstrating to them how he could make fabric out of fur without weaving. Stetson created a hat using a large brim. The hat was big enough to shield a man from sunlight and rainfall. Stetson made the decision to wear the hat during the hunting trip, and it functioned so well that he continued donning it on his journeys throughout the West. In 1865, he begun to manufacture the first of his great hats in quantity. The original Stetson hat sold for 5 dollars.
Following the turn of the century, the cowboy hat,continued to attract the independant and ruged wearer. The unique “Boss of the plains,” produced by Stetson in 1865, was flat-brimmed, possessed a straight sided crown, along with rounded corners. These light-weight, water-resistant hats, are natural in color, along with four inch crowns as well as brims. A basic hatband had been fitted to change head size. The sweatband bore Stetson’s brand. While simply making one style of hat, they came in various qualities varying from one-grade felt at five bucks apiece to genuine beaver felt hats for 30 bucks each. J.B. Stetson was the first to promote the “Boss of the plains,” to Cowboys.
Texas Best Custom Cowboy Hats
Limpia Creek Hat Company
Fort Davis, Texas
Specializes in hats for working cowboys, but sells part of his 600 hat production to celebrities making films in the Texas mountain area. Martha Stewart, the famous east coast blueblood homemaker, bought 16 hats for her camera crew and herself.
Texas Made Cowboy Hats
American Hat Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 2808
Conroe, Texas 77305
Bailey Hat Co.
3201 N.E. Loop 820 #275
Ft. Worth, Texas 76137
203 N. Main St.
Bryan, Texas 77803
Charlie Horse Hat Co.
601 Marion Dr.
Garland, Texas 75042
Fort Worth Hatters
Rt. 1 Box 72-3
Newark, Texas 76071
Manny Gammage’s Mad Hatters
Dean Leonard Hat Shop
3215 34th St.Lubbock, Texas
Resistol Hats (Hat Brands, Inc.)
601 Marion Dr.
Garland, Texas 75042
Curtis Watson Hatters Supply Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 860576
Plano, Texas 75086