HOME
The Info List - Stetson





Stetson
Stetson
is a brand of hat manufactured by the John B. Stetson
John B. Stetson
Company. Founded in 1865, John B. Stetson Company
John B. Stetson Company
began when the founder headed west and created the original hat of the West[clarification needed], the “Boss of the Plains”. This Western hat would become the cornerstone of Stetson’s hat business and is still in production today. Stetson
Stetson
eventually became the world’s largest hat maker, producing more than 3,300,000 hats a year in a factory spread over 9 acres (36,000 m2) in Philadelphia. In addition to its Western and fashion hats, Stetson
Stetson
also produces fragrance, apparel, footwear, eyewear, belts, bourbon and a range of other products evoking the historic American West. Stetson University
Stetson University
and Stetson University
Stetson University
College of Law in Florida were named after John B. Stetson
John B. Stetson
in 1899 for his contributions to the school.

Contents

1 Beginnings 2 Prospector's hat 3 Boss of the Plains 4 Price and popularity 5 Mass production 6 Singing cowboys and ten-gallon hats 7 History of Quality Designations 8 Changing fashions

8.1 Diversification

9 Military and police uniforms

9.1 United States 9.2 British paramilitary 9.3 South African police 9.4 Canadian military 9.5 Canadian police

10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Beginnings[edit] John B. Stetson
John B. Stetson
was born in 1830 in Orange, New Jersey where his father Stephen Stetson
Stetson
was a hatter. He worked in his father's shop until he went West for his health.[1] Prospector's hat[edit] Stetson
Stetson
created a rugged hat for himself made from thick beaver felt while panning for gold in Colorado. According to legend, Stetson invented the hat while on a hunting trip while showing his companions how he could make cloth out of fur without tanning.[2][3] Fur felt hats are lighter, they maintain their shape, and withstand weather and renovation better.[4] Stetson
Stetson
made an unusually large hat from felt he made from hides collected on the trip, and wore the hat for the remainder of the expedition. Although initially worn as a joke, Stetson
Stetson
soon grew fond of the hat for its ability to protect him from the elements. It had a wide brim, a high crown to keep an insulating pocket of air on the head, and was used to carry water. As their travels continued, a cowboy is said to have seen J. B. Stetson
Stetson
and his unusual hat, rode up, tried the hat on for himself, and paid Stetson
Stetson
for it with a five dollar gold piece, riding off with the first western Stetson
Stetson
hat on his head.[5] Boss of the Plains[edit]

Boss of the plains hat

Stetson’s western adventures came to an end in 1865. Stetson, now 35 years old, and in better health, returned east and established his own hat firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which produced high quality hats for outdoor use. After producing some initial designs based on popular styles of the day, Stetson
Stetson
decided to create a hat based on his experiences in the American West, which he called the "Boss of the Plains".[6] The original "Boss", manufactured by Stetson
Stetson
in 1865, was flat brimmed, had a straight-sided crown, with rounded corners. These lightweight, waterproof hats were natural in color, with four-inch crowns and brims.[7] A plain hatband was fitted to adjust head size.[8] The sweatband bore John B. Stetson's name. Price and popularity[edit] Stetson
Stetson
produced a very expensive hat. The cowboy riding the range wearing the "'Boss of the Plains' hat showed the world that he was doing well".[9] "Within a decade the name John B. Stetson
John B. Stetson
became synonymous with the word 'hat' in every corner and culture of the West." [10] The shape of the hat's crown and brim were often modified by the wearer for fashion and to protect against weather by being softened in hot steam, shaped, and allowed to dry and cool. Felt
Felt
tends to retain the shape in which it dries.[11] The high-crowned, wide-brimmed, soft-felt western hats that followed are intimately associated with the American cowboy image.[12] Mass production[edit]

Stetson's nine acre factory in Philadelphia
Philadelphia
(1894)

Stetson
Stetson
sent a sample hat to merchants throughout the Southwest with a letter asking for a minimum order of a dozen “Boss of the Plains” hats. The hat was an immediate success: in less than a year Stetson set up a new factory in the outskirts of Philadelphia
Philadelphia
to handle his growing business. By 1886, Stetson's hat company was the largest in the world, and had mechanized the hat-making industry ("producing close to 2 million hats a year by 1906"). The Stetson
Stetson
Hat Co. was sold to another hat company, but these hats still bear the Stetson
Stetson
name with the hats being produced in St. Louis.[2] "Today's cowboy hat has remained basically unchanged in construction and design since the first one was created in 1865 by J.B. Stetson." [13] Stetson
Stetson
also produced “dress” hats, distinguished from “western” hats by narrower brims and shorter crowns but it was his “Boss of the Plains” style hat and its many variants which fueled the company’s growth and fame. Singing cowboys and ten-gallon hats[edit]

Tom Mix, an early-20th century movie star, wearing a ten-gallon hat

In the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, a hat was an indispensable item in every man’s wardrobe. Stetson
Stetson
focused on expensive, high quality hats that represented both a real investment for the working cowboy and statement of success for the city dweller. Early on, Stetson
Stetson
hats became associated with legends of the West, including “Buffalo Bill”, Calamity Jane, Will Rogers, and Annie Oakley. It is said that George Custer
George Custer
rode into the Battle of Little Big Horn wearing a Stetson.[14] Later on, Western movie
Western movie
cowboys were quick to adopt the Stetson; many were drawn to the largest, most flamboyant styles available. Texans were known for their preference for the "Ten Gallon" model. According to Win Blevins' Dictionary of the American West (p388), the term "ten-gallon" has nothing to do with the hat's liquid capacity, but derives from the Spanish word galón (braid), ten indicating the number of braids used as a hat band. However, an early Stetson advertising image, a painting of a cowboy dipping his hat into a stream to provide water for his horse, symbolized the cowboy hat as an essential part of a stockman’s gear and was later featured inside every western style hat. History of Quality Designations[edit] Stetson
Stetson
employed multiple quality designations and pricing to differentiate the levels of quality of their hats. While the company's original records were destroyed in a fire or lost in buy-outs, collectors have recreated quality scales mostly from advertisements. The scales changed frequently but are most often referenced by decade. Warner Todd Huston, a longtime Stetson
Stetson
collector and blogger, has listed the quality designations for dress hats by decade as follows [15]: 1920s Quality designations from low to high:

Select Quality Excellent Quality No. 1 Quality Extra Quality Nutria Quality Real Nutria Fur Quality 3x Beaver
Beaver
Quality 4x Beaver
Beaver
Quality 5x Beaver
Beaver
Quality 7x Beaver
Beaver
Quality

Early 1930s Quality designations, from low to high:

Stetson
Stetson
Standard/Standard Stetson Excellent Quality Nutria Quality Real Nutria Quality 3x Beaver
Beaver
Quality Stetson
Stetson
Special
Special
Quality 4x Beaver
Beaver
Quality 5x Beaver
Beaver
Quality 7x Beaver
Beaver
Quality

Late 1930s Quality designations, from low to high:

Standard Quality Select Quality Superior Quality Extra Quality 3X Quality 5X Clear Beaver
Beaver
Quality

1946 Dress Hats, with prices:

Stetson
Stetson
Premier ($8.50) Royal Stetson
Stetson
($10) Royal Stetson
Stetson
De Luxe ($12.50) Imperial Stetson
Stetson
($15)

1946 Dress Hats, with prices:

Stratoliner ($7.50) Whippet and many other named models ($10) Royal Stetson
Stetson
($10) Royal Stetson
Stetson
De Luxe ($12.50)

Late 1940s Quality designations, from low to high:

Royal Royal Stetson
Stetson
De Luxe Medalist Sovereign Imperial Premier

1955 Dress Hats, with prices:

Royal (10.00) Royal De Luxe (12.95) 3X Beaver
Beaver
(15.00) Sovereign (20.00) Stetson
Stetson
25 (25.00) 4X Beaver
Beaver
(35.00) 5X Beaver
Beaver
(40.00) 7X Beaver
Beaver
(50.00) Stetson
Stetson
100 (100.00)

1960s Dress Hats, with prices:

Royal Stetson
Stetson
(12.00) Royal Deluxe Stetson
Stetson
(13.50) 3X Beaver
Beaver
(20.00) Sovereign (20.00) Twentyfive (25.00) 4X Beaver
Beaver
(35.00) 5X (40.00) 7X Beaver
Beaver
(50.00) Stetson
Stetson
100 (100.00)

Changing fashions[edit] Stetson
Stetson
also produced women’s hats, operating a millinery department from the 1930s to 1950s. Hat sales suffered during the Depression years, but Stetsons remained ubiquitous until Americans' embrace of headwear faded after WWII. At its peak Stetson
Stetson
had operations in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Guatemala, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa and West Germany.[6] Stetson
Stetson
changed its business strategy in the early 1970s, closing its Philadelphia
Philadelphia
factory in 1971 and continuing in the hat business through licensing arrangements with a number of manufacturers. Popular demand for western style hats spiked during the 1980s after the success of Indiana Jones and Urban Cowboy
Cowboy
movies. Both Western and Dress hats continue to be important men’s accessories. Diversification[edit] In the 1980s Stetson
Stetson
began to diversify, releasing the first Stetson cologne in 1981 and Lady Stetson
Stetson
in 1986. Luggage, handbags, umbrellas and scarves also carried the Stetson
Stetson
mark. Today, Stetson
Stetson
is available in the US, Canada, Mexico and throughout Europe and Asia. The brand currently carries western hat, fashion hat, fragrance, eyewear, apparel, footwear, belt and accessories, and bourbon. Military and police uniforms[edit] United States[edit] The hat was first sold in Central City, Colorado
Central City, Colorado
in 1865 in a style called the "Boss of the Plains." In some versions of the famous American folk ballad "Stagger Lee", Billy Lyons is killed by Stack A Lee over a Stetson
Stetson
hat. Troopers of modern-day US Army cavalry regiments will often wear the stetson on ceremonial occasions in place of the ACU patrol cap or beret. The Homicide and Robbery Bureau of the Dallas Police used the Stetson hat as a badge of office.[16] In addition, on April Fools' Day, 2011, the U.S. Army released a humorous statement that the official black beret of the Army would be replaced by Stetsons. The statement was supplemented by pictures of soldiers with Stetsons photoshopped over their berets, including an Army dog toting a Stetson.[17] British paramilitary[edit] The Legion of Frontiersmen
Legion of Frontiersmen
created in 1905 in England also wore the Stetson. South African police[edit] The South African Constabulary
South African Constabulary
organised by Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell in 1901 wore the Stetson. Canadian military[edit] In the Second Boer War, the flat-brimmed Stetson
Stetson
became the standard issue of the 2nd Canadian Contingent, becoming recognized throughout the British Empire
British Empire
as a symbol of Canada. Twelve hundred Canadian troops were part of the South African Constabulary
South African Constabulary
under the leadership of Robert Baden-Powell, and it was after seeing these troops in action at the Relief of Mafeking that Baden-Powel ordered 10,000 of these hats for the British Troops under his command.[18] Canadian police[edit]

North-West Mounted Police
North-West Mounted Police
(now RCMP) officers, Yukon, 1900, wearing the famous scarlet uniform that includes a flat brimmed Stetson
Stetson
hat with a Montana Crease.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) Red Serge
Red Serge
dress uniform includes a Stetson
Stetson
with a flat brim. The Stetson
Stetson
was first used unofficially by the North-West Mounted Police, in place of the traditional white pith helmet, not practical for the Canadian West. The colour for the RCMP Stetson
Stetson
is sometimes referred to as "Belgian Belly"; it is a reddish buff, pastel-like colour of the underfur of the Belgian hare. It is also a very little-used "second name" for the Stetson. Although called a Stetson, the hat type should be considered as a campaign hat. The Ontario Provincial Police
Ontario Provincial Police
also wore the Stetson
Stetson
(grey woven fabric) as part of their uniform from 1909 to 1930s and again from 1997 to 2009. See also[edit]

Akubra Boss of the Plains Campaign hat Cowboy
Cowboy
hat Tyrolean hat List of headgear Cap

References[edit]

^ Carlson, Laurie. (1998) Boss of the Plains, the hat that won the West. Pg 5, ISBN 0-7894-2479-7 ^ a b ETTA REID, Ingenuity, luck united to make Stetson
Stetson
hat. News & Record (Greensboro, NC). TRIAD CLASSIFIEDSDEASOMESTRIADN; Pg. GRN6. September 9, 2007 ^ Carlson, Laurie. (1998) Boss of the Plains, the hat that won the West. ISBN 0-7894-2479-7 ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865-1970 pg 40 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6 ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865–1970 pg 49 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6 ^ a b Stetson
Stetson
Century, Ralph Richmond 1965 ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865–1970 pg 73, pg 51 1997 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6 ^ Bender, p. 54 ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865–1970 pg 9 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6 ^ Bender, pg,12 ^ "suit time period (web forum posting)". Thefedoralounge.com. Retrieved October 29, 2013. [better source needed] ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865–1970 1997 pg5 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6 ^ Reynolds, William and Rich Rand (1995) The Cowboy
Cowboy
Hat book. Pg 8 ISBN 0-87905-656-8 ^ Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson Company 1865–1970 ISBN 0-7643-0211-6 ^ http://www.publiusforum.com/2011/01/01/stetson-quality-designations-just-what-do-those-xs-mean-anyway/ ^ Bugliosi, Vincent Reclaiming History ^ " Stetson
Stetson
hat to be new Army standard headgear". The United States Army. April 1, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2013.  ^ " Canada
Canada
& The South African War, 1899-1902: The Stetson
Stetson
Hat". Canadian War Museum. October 22, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

Bender, Texan Bix. (1994) Hats & the cowboys who wear them. ISBN 1-58685-191-8 Carlson, Laurie. (1998) Boss of the Plains, the hat that won the West. ISBN 0-7894-2479-7 Reynolds, William and Rich Rand (1995) The Cowboy
Cowboy
Hat book. ISBN 0-87905-656-8 Snyder, Jeffrey B. (1997) Stetson
Stetson
Hats and the John B. Stetson
John B. Stetson
Company 1865–1970. ISBN 0-7643-0211-6

External links[edit]

Stetson's official website

v t e

Uniforms of the United States Army

Uniforms of the United States Armed Forces

Army Marines Navy Air Force Coast Guard

Uniforms

Combat

Army Combat Uniform
Army Combat Uniform
(ACU) (2005–present)

Garrison

Army Service Uniform
Army Service Uniform
(ASU) (2008–present)

Formal

Army Mess Uniform

Exercise

Army Improved Physical Fitness Uniform (IPFU) (2000–2017) Army Physical Fitness Uniform (APFU) (2014–present)

Special

Flight MultiCam Band Cadet

Insignia

Branch insignia I.D. Tag Medals and ribbons Tabs Badges Coat of Arms insignia Shoulder patch (Left; Headquarters insignia) (Right; Former wartime headquarters insignia) Overseas Service Bar Service stripe Beret flash Rank ( Officer ) ( Warrant Officer ) ( Enlisted )

Headgear

Berets Boonie hat Patrol cap Cavalry Stetson Garrison cap Campaign hat Peaked cap

Footwear

Army Combat Boot Mountain Combat Boot Modular Boot System Jungle boot Desert Combat Boot Jump boot Tanker boot

Armor

Interceptor Body Armor (OTV IOTV) MICH Helmet Modular Body Armor Vest (MBAV) Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) (2011 - present) Retired: PASGT Vest (1983 - 2003) PASGT Helmet (1983 - 2004) Advanced Combat Helmet
Advanced Combat Helmet
(2004 - present) M1 helmet
M1 helmet
(1942 - 1983) M1C helmet (WWII Era) M1917 Helmet (1917 - 1942) (WWI Era) M-69 Fragmentation Protective Body Armor (Vietnam War Era) M-1952A Fragmentation Protective Body Armor (Korean War Era)

Equipment carrier

Load-Bearing Vest (LBV) Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) Retired: Load-Bearing Equipment (LBE) Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE) Modern Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE)

Retired uniforms

Combat

OG-107
OG-107
(1952–1989) Battle Dress Uniform
Battle Dress Uniform
(BDU) (1981–2008) Desert Battle Dress Uniform
Battle Dress Uniform
(DBDU) (1981-1992) Desert Camouflage Uniform
Desert Camouflage Uniform
(DCU) (1993–2008)

Garrison

Tan Service Uniform (1942–1956) Green Service Uniform (1954–2015)

Formal

White Service Uniform (1902–2014)

Exercise

Physical Fitness Uniform (PF

.