Stetson Hat - its history
The hats of Stetson and John B. Stetson Company are American icons. No American hat brand name is more identified around the world than Stetson.
Founded in 1865, John B. Stetson's biography is like a tale by Horatio Alger. Although most people associate a Stetson hat with a western felt or cowboy style, Stetson actually made hats and caps in a wide variety of designs and fabrics. John B. Stetson was born on May 5th, in East Orange, New Jersey in 1830. His father, Stephen Stetson was a hatmaker who ran the No Name Hat Company.
The company was known for their high quality hats and John B. learned the trade at an early age. It is said that the No Name Company made hats for George Washington.
In the 1860s, like many Americans, John B. went west to recover from tuberculosis, which he developed as a young man. He decided to try his luck at Pike's Peak to seek his fortune in gold.
In the desert, John used primitive felting techniques to create waterproof blankets and his first hat to protect him from the elements.
This original design is the "BOSS OF THE PLAINS 1870"; a hat that had a high cap and long flat brim to protect it from the elements. Stetson didn't find his fortune as a gold miner and so he headed east to start a hat-making business. With only $60 on loan from his older sister Louise, he bought tools and fur, rented a small room in Philadelphia and hired two workers
This orientation has worked well for him because at the beginning of the 20th century, Stetson owned the largest hat factory in the world.
For more information about Stetson, take a look at our Stetson hat collection