April 20

Stetson Hats: A Legend of the Wild West and a Beloved Part of Americana


Today, we’ll share a Feature about one of the Great Legends of the West…

The Founder

In 1865, The Stetson Company was founded by John B. Stetson who then headed west and created the original hat of the West, the Boss of the PlainsThis Western hat then became the cornerstone of Stetson’s hat business and, today, is still in production.

The First Hat

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. Fur felt hats are lighter, they maintain their shape and withstand weather and renovation better.

He wore the hat for the remainder of the expedition. Worn initially as a joke, 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 they continued, a cowboy is said to have seen J. B. Stetson and his unusual hat, rode up, tried the hat on for himself, and paid Stetson for it with a five dollar gold piece, riding off with the first western Stetson hat on his head.

Its Reception

THE COWBOY RIDING THE RANGE wearing the Boss of the Plains Hat showed the world that he was doing well.

“Within a decade the name John B. Stetson became synonymous with the word “hat” in every corner and culture of the West.” 

The  American Cowboy Image

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 tends to retain the shape in which it dries. The high-crowned, wide-brimmed, soft-felt western hats that followed are intimately associated with the American cowboy image.

I sure hope you folks had fun watching the video of this little piece of America. This is Our Kind of Country.



americana, cowboy, hats, Stetson

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