Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wednesday Western- The Stetson

"Boss of the Plains"
The first western hat John B. Stetson fashioned was for himself and it was during an expedition to the west. He found the elements out west warranted the need for a hat with a wider brim and higher crown, so he fashioned such a hat for himself from a beaver pelt. The wider brim shaded and staved off the rain while the higher crown was better for insulation. Many laughed at his hat but he could not only wear it he could also use it to carry water.

It's been rumored that a as cowboy upon seeing Stetson wearing that first hat, rode up to him, took the hat, tried it on, and handed Stetson five dollars.

Stetson was the son of a master hatter so it wasn't a fluke that he knew how to make a hat and a good one at that. He returned to the east and with $100 dollars he rented a room, bought tools and $10 worth of fur and started the John B. Stetson Hat Company. A year later he was mass producing the "Boss of the Plains". This was a hat with a flt brim, straight sided crown and rounded corners. It was lightweight and waterproof.

By 1886 his Philadelphia based company was the largest hat manufacturer in the world

Today the factory is on nine acres in Garland, Texas where they produce over one hundred varieties and colors of hats.

Do you own a Stetson or any cowboy hat?


Kathy Otten said...

I've always been curious how the Stetson came to be. Do you know when the brim came to turn up at the sides and dip low in the front? Or is that just a modern hat that we've put on our heroes?

Kirsten Arnold said...


Great information! We constantly use Stetsons in our writing and see it in other books, but I guess I've never known much about the history of the legendary hat.

I do own two cowboy hats, one for dress and one for work.

Paty Jager said...

Kathy, they didn't say when the brim was turned up only that the felt hat when steamed could be molded to the design the wearer liked. Which it sounded like started not too long after the hat was introduced.

Kirsten, That was my line of thinking. When did the hat come about and how?

Devon Matthews said...

Always great information on your blog, Paty. My only cowboy hat went missing some years ago. It was straw, broken down bull roper style. I had an owl feather in the band. Loved that hat.

Paty Jager said...

Devon, that sounds like a great hat!

Alison E. Bruce said...

Let's see if that works. It's the Stetson Cavalry hat and I think it would have been one of the bridges between the Plains hat and the classic western style we associate with cowboys now.

I've always wanted to own a real Stetson. I have straw Stetson-style hat I use to keep the sun off my face in summer and a black felt hat I use for signings.

Alison E. Bruce said...

We'll the link didn't make the hat appear but you can cut and paste it at least.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks for the link Alison. I have a straw hat cowboy hat, not a Stetson, that I wear in the summer.

Becky said...

Great post Paty! I always learn something new on your blog. I own a straw cowboy hat and I own white cowboy hat that I wore in my wedding. I had a western theme wedding. I don't know if it was a stetson or not.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Becky, I try to inform and entertain. The white had and western wedding sounds fun!