Saturday Scenes

Fri 11 May 2012

You Can Leave Your Hat On

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 10:54

On the 5th of May in 1830, John Batterson Stetson was born in New Jersey. He contracted tuberculosis as a young man and left his father’s hat-making business in order to explore the American West as he was not expected to live for long. Although it was common for men to wear hats in 1860s, the cowboys wore whatever they had: commonly old hats from previous work, including sea captain hats, straw hats, wood derbies or “flea-infested coonskin caps”. John Stetson designed a hat for himself, inspired by the Mexican sombrero, out of waterproof felt which he fashioned from the fur of beavers, rabbits and wild hares. He decided to market a hat specifically for those settling in the west.

It cost $100 for tools and fur in order to set up a hatmaking business in Philadelphia, where he launched his new design, called Boss of the Plains. The hat had a four-inch crown and a broad rim with a plain strap used for the band. The Boss of the Plains sold for $5 and quickly became a symbol of the American West. It has since been recognised as the first cowboy hat.

John Batterson Stetson – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“It kept the sun out of your eyes and off your neck. It was an umbrella. It gave you a bucket (the crown) to water your horse and a cup (the brim) to water yourself. It made a hell of a fan, which you need sometimes for a fire but more often to shunt cows this direction or that.”
Dictionary of the American West by Winfred Blevins

The Boss of the Plains and his later design, the Carlsbad, became known as Stetsons, because John B. Stetson Company was embossed on the hatband.

The John B. Stetson Company became one of the largest hat firms in the world. In 1915, the company produced 3.3 million hats. That’s a lot of cowboys.

And on the 5th of May in 2012 there was a bit of a shoot-up but don’t worry! No guns: we were just quick on the draw with our cameras! Take a look:

And say a big howdy to these people who rustled up a scene on Saturday:

If you’d like to see all of the people who took part in Saturday Scenes this year, take a look at our Saturday Scenes 2012 list on Twitter.

Would you like to add your photo? It’s just three simple steps to join in:

ONE: Take a photograph on a Saturday
TWO: Upload the photograph
THREE: Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the location

I’m looking forward to seeing your photograph in the next edition!

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