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Bowler hat

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Bowler hat 1916
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Bowler hat 1916
A display of new bowler hats for sale in 2005 (Portobello Market, London)
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A display of new bowler hats for sale in 2005 (Portobello Market, London)
Oliver Hardy wearing his trademark bowler hat
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Oliver Hardy wearing his trademark bowler hat

The bowler hat is a hard felt hat with a rounded crown created for Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester of Holkham, in 1850.[1] It was designed by the hatters James and George Lock of Mr. Lock of St. James's Street and was dubbed by them early on as the "iron hat".[2] The Locks sent their design to the hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler who produced the prototype of the hat for Coke. The "iron hat" later picked up the name Bowler because of its makers family name, which has been used ever since.[3] It was hard in order to protect the head from low tree branches for gamekeepers while they rode on horseback.[4] Peaking in popularity towards the end of the 19th century it offered a midway between the formality of the top hat, associated with the upper classes, and the casual nature of soft felt hats worn by the lower middle classes.

It was the traditional headwear of London city 'gents' and has become something of an English cultural icon. However English men stopped wearing hats as a matter of course in the 1960s, and most young English people in the 21st century have never seen a bowler hat worn as part of normal dress. It is also traditionally worn by members of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland during their 12th July annual parades, though usage has declined.

In the United States, this hat is also known as a derby hat.

In Germany, the hat is known as Melone (melon), due to its shape.

It is also worn by women in South America.

Contents

In cricket

Bowlers who took three wickets in a game of cricket with consecutive deliveries would be given a hat or cap (traditionally a bowler hat but not necessarily), hence the name hat trick. The bowler could then walk up to the crowd and collect money in his hat.

Famous wearers

Footnotes

  1.   Fred Miller Robinson, The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993). p.15.
  2.   ibid. p.14.
  3.   ibid. p.16.
  4.   ibid. p.15.

External links

References

Fred Miller Robinson, The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1993).


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