Interesting Hat Facts

  • Suppliers of men's hats are called hatters while milliners are people who supply women's hats.
  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of milliners in France. She is celebrated on 25th November.
  • The process of manufacturing felt used to involve the use of toxic mercury, hence the term "mad as a hatter".
  • The pleats in a chef's toque, or hat, supposedly were originally incorporated to indicate the number of ways a chef knew how to cook an egg.
  • The phrase "A Feather in your Cap" comes from the 17th Century, and may be related to the custom of sticking feathers in a soldier's cap to indicate the numbers of enemy slain.
  • The straw hat was first produced in America in 1798 by a 12-year-old girl in Rhode Island.
  • The Panama hat, made from the Jijippa plant, has never been made in Panama. It's made in Ecuador. The name came about because they were quite popular during the construction of the Panama Canal.
  • A ten gallon hat does not hold ten gallons (unless you have an exceptionally large head). The gallon in "ten gallon hat" derives from the Spanish galón meaning braid. So a ten-gallon hat is a hat with a braiding around the brim. A ten-gallon hat holds 3/4 gallon or 3 quarts.
  • Hats maintain their shape despite being crushed or rolled up because when the material was first made it was steamed and shaped while moist before allowing it to dry on a wooden hat block, trapping the shape inside the material.
  • There are three types of felt used in hat making: beaver, fur, and wool.
  • You can determine your USA hat size by measuring the circumference of your head, then dividing by pi, and round off to the nearest one-eighth of an inch.

Some Types of Hats

  Beret: a soft round felt cap with a flat crown that is used by many military and police units, including American Special Forces and British Commandos.
  Bicorne: a broad-brimmed hat with the two halves of the brim turned up and pinned to form a vertical semi-circular shape when viewed from the front. Worn by American and European military and naval officers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Favoured by Napoléon Bonaparte.
  Bowler: a hard felt hat with a rounded crown named after the hatmakers who orignally made it. Also known as a derby hat and Melone. Famously worn by Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, Sir Winston Churchell, and Laurel and Hardy.
  Cocked hat: a variation of the bicorne except that the pointed ends face forward and back instead of to the sides. Formally worn by a variety of civilian, military, and naval forces up until the start of World War II.
  Cowboy hat: informal name, along with ten-gallon hat (although it actually can't hold more than a gallon of anything), for the Stetson, named for its inventor John B Stetson. It has a tall crown and very wide brim. This helps guard against the sun. Made of hard felt, it can also function as a bowl for drinking water.
  Deerstalker: The deerstalker is worn by hunters, but it is also often used by people in rural areas. Famously associated with fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. It is typically checkered patterned, lending the wearer a degree of camouflage, and has two brims, forward and back, that provide protection from the sun. Adjustable side flaps protect the ears in cold weather or can be tied up when not in use.
  Fedora: typically made of soft felt with a short brim and a lengthwise-crease through the crown, which is pinched in front. Also known as a trilby. Some well-known people who have worn a fedora include Dick Tracy, Dixon Hill, Frank Sinatra, Freddy Krueger, Indiana Jones, and Michael Jackson.
  Fez: named after its town of origin in Morocco and is always coloured red, dyed using the berries of the Turkish kizziljiek plant.

  Flat Cap: has a long list of aliases, including bunnet, cheese-cutter, golf cap, scone bunnet, ivy cap, and windsor cap.
  Homburg: Similar to a fedora except that the Homburg has no pinches in the crease and a sharply-turned-up brim edge the whole way round.
  Karakul: named for the breed of sheep its wool is made of. Apparently each hat requires the skin of one whole Karakul lamb to produce and that the best quality wool is obtained from an unborn sheep fetus cut out from its mother just before birth.
  Pork pie hat: a small felt hat with a short flattened crown with an indent. It has a shortened brim that is often turned slightly up. Culturally associated with jazz and blues players.
  Smoking cap: a hat, often worn in conjunction with a smoking jacket, that helps to prevent the smell from smoking tobacco from invading the hair of the smoker. Similar in construction to a fez, except that the smoking cap is soft and made of cotton. Often embroidered with interesting patterns.
  Sombrero: a Mexican hat made of either straw or felt made to protect wearers from the sun with its medium-sized crown and extremely wide brim. The word likely derives from the Spanish word sombra, meaning "shade" or "shadow." The English word "sombrero" is a loan word from Spanish, where the term is used to refer to any hat with a brim. Many Spanish speakers refer to what we call a sombrero as a "Mexican hat"
  Top Hat: In 1814, a French magician named Louis Comte became the first conjurer on record to pull a white rabbit out of a top hat. The top hat was for almost a century, the class-defining gentleman's accessory. By 1902, the top hat was nearing the end of its century-long primacy, soon to be replaced by the more compact homburg. In short order, the top hat settled into the status it has today - that of a costume prop, a graceful anachronism worn with white tie, tails and gloves on only the rarest of formal ceremonies. The top hat is a piece of history now, but for a while (back in the 1930s and 1940s), Europeans got the false impression that it was making a comeback in America. Theyd been watching Fred Astaire movies and assumed that all American men were dressing the way he did. Astaire wore top hats in a dozen or more films (notably Top Hat, in 1935).
  Ushanka: a Russian fur cap with adjustable ear flaps. The literal translation of ushanka is "ear-flaps-hat".

Hat Sites

Anne Moore

Beatrix Designs

Dees Hat World

The Hat Site

Hats by Katie


Mary Ann Koch

Stockport Hat Works Museum

Torb and Riener

Victoria Grant

Village Hat Shop

Walter Wright