Vintage open road stetson cowboy hat.
Stetson, it's not just a hat, it's THE hat. The quality of the Stetson cowboy hat is unparalleled and if you don't already own one, I reckon you better rectify that situation before mornin'.
I want one, my husband wants one, all my old time musician buddies want one. Whether it’s the “Boss of the Plains” or the “Open Road” we want the vintage version of a Stetson Classic. Yeah, maybe we’ll get a few odd looks walking around Chicago’s Michigan Avenue with one of these, but we know they are looks of admiration and envy because deep down, we are all cowboy / cowgirl wannabees.
This is a very old Stetson, circa 30’s, a small size, about 22” in circumference or a bit larger. small enough for a woman. It is XXX beaver. The percentage of beaver is determined by the X quality of the product. The higher the X’s the higher percentage of beaver fur is mixed in the hat. It is a light tan or beige color with a narrow ribbon around the crown. The crown is over 5” high! You can buy a new Stetson, it will set you back a pretty penny and the crown will not be nearly as high as the vintage ones. This hat is in good shape, you can see the hole in the leather band on the inside, not seen when worn. The felt looks good, one ¼” wear spot on the crown by the center crease. It originally came from the Union Clothing Store in Lordsburg, New Mexico. This hat is stamped every wear in gold leaf, maker’s marks and store marks, with a full color cowboy picture printed on the lining of the hat on the inside. This hat is just too cool! Here is a little history on the company and the man I found on various Stetson bogs and sites and there are a lot of them! I found it fascinating and uplifting:
John B. Stetson came from a family of hat makers. He decided to try using the fur felt for a hat. His father, who taught John B. how to make felt in the first place, also taught him that a big air pocket between the top of the head and the hat’s crown created a cushion of warm air that kept the head warm. Outdoor western living taught him that a tat had to have a wide brim to keep out the elements. It also taught him that hauling water was vital on the frontier, so he made the inside lining of his Hat waterproof. This meant it could double as a water bucket if needed. That’s how Stetson hats got nicknamed the "10 gallon" Hats even though the original never held more than a half-gallon. John pulled all these elements together in his design. The finished product had an unusual 6-inch high crown and a 7-inch brim. The first famous Stetson hat had been born.
The industrious Mr. Stetson decided to manufacture and sell his hat after a mule driver paid him a $5 gold piece for the hat right off his head. In 1865, with $100, John B. Stetson rented a small room, bought the tools he needed, bought $10 worth of fur and the John B. Stetson Hat Company was born. He was the only employee. He wore his hat everywhere, knowing it would spark interest. Within a year, he was adding workers. Stetson paid close attention to details. He made sure people knew that he used only the best materials. The name "Stetson" was stamped with a long lasting 14-karat gold leaf on the inside hatband.
The hats were a big hit in the thinly populated West, where taking a beating was a requirement for clothes and people. The Stetson was heavy enough to knock a man down in a fight. In a celebrated incident, a Stetson kept its shape after being hit by 20 bullets.
Big-city Easterners scoffed at these hats at first, unaware of their practicality. But Stetson didn’t give up. He knew that as sales grew, word would circulate about his product. He was right. Variations of the hat eventually appealed to city slickers and to cowboys alike. It was a hat for all seasons; it catered to whatever position in life you had — whether you were rich or poor, whether it was dress, work or play.
By 1886, Stetson owned the world’s biggest hat factory in Philadelphia and employed nearly 4,000 workers. He was also among the first U.S. tycoons to offer benefits to reward workers for hard work. He dispensed free health care to employees and gave shares in his company to valued workers.