Stetson, the first cowboy hat

Stetson’s cowboy hats, as well as the whole hat catalog made by the American brand, are worldwide renowned, not just for their quality and design: they are hats with a story behind. John B. Stetson, the brand founder, achieved the key to success with an already legendary creation, the ‘10-gallon hat’, named after the demonstration that this model could carry up to 10 gallons of water (almost 38 liters) without breaking up.

This was possible due to its special manufacture with a water resistant dense felt, as a needing for the weather conditions in the Far West wildest regions, to make this kind of western hat for all purposes. It might be worn to protect the cowboy while walking or sleeping in the night, from the severe sunlight or in a stormy day, but also it could be used to carry fresh water from fountains.

Stetson got this brilliant idea after realizing that his tent, made of the same material, was effectively repelling out water, even in the middle of a downpour. Thanks to this accidental discovery the world of cowboy hats, as we know it nowadays, had their beginning, from a merely practical use to a true icon of a very personal style, as the western style is.

With the past of the time other great western hat companies have created a very similar reputation, and many of them can be founded at Corbeto’s, with the advantage of offering our customers a great value/price. As Stetson’s hats are really expensive for many people, don’t give up in the search of a genuine quality cowboy hat at the best price; at Corbeto’s we can show you a lot of different choices. In our store we sell a wide variety of Texan hats made with different materials that can be worn at all seasons. 

 Still and all, it makes sense to know a little more about Stetson’s hats, the brand that created the whole concept of western hats and about our passion at Corbeto’s for cowboy hats.

Sombrero Stetson 

 The Stetson’s history: from a gold digger to a renowned hatter

John Batterson Stetson, son of a successful hatter, was born in 1830 at East Orange, New Jersey (USA). Despite his father teached him the profession at an early age, he wasn’t likely to being in charge of the business, being part as well of a family with 12 more brothers and sisters.

In his thirties, Batterson decided to follow the gold rush, one the most common calls for the emigration to the American western lands, and moved to Pike’s Peak, in Colorado. As many other people seeking the chance of find gold nuggets, he slept in the open sky. After this, employing what he learnt from this father, he created waterproof sheets from felt, and a hat of the same material to feel protected from elements. Over the years, this first western hat model is still produced as ‘Boss of the Plains’, a precedent of Stetson’s business.

Find a gold mountain was not written on John B. destiny, so in 1865 he moved to Philadelphia to undertake a new beginning in what he loved: the hat manufacturing. After all, he was a son of a hatter, and his experience as a frustrated gold digger was productive in other ways. 

Once again, with just 60 dollars lent from his oldest sister, he started from scratch again. It was enough to buy the necessary tools, rent a small room and contract two more employees. The rest was about talent, work and determination. 

Sombrero Stetson Stepping up

With not quite a few competitors, because wearing a hat was, in the XIX century, an accessory that everyone needed, he had an idea to distinguish from the other hat rising companies: Stetson directly sent a ‘Boss of the Plains’ sample to all Southwest resellers including a fulfilled purchase form with a dozen units more. This self-confidence became Stetson the most important hat company worldwide, beginning his exports to other countries back in 1877. In 1899, over 2800 resellers sold Stetson hats in all USA, employing more than 1200 workers.

All American celebrities from those times and entering the XX century, like Colonel William F. Cody aka ‘Buffalo Bill’, Calamity Janes, Will Roger or Annie Oakley wore Stetson hats. And nowadays the tradition still remains, so all kind of hats from the brand, including cowboy hats, are synonymous of quality and prestige, being adopted also by the US Army and the police.

In 1906, John B. Stetson passed away at 76 years old, being a philanthropist ahead of its time. He personally cared about his employees, destining a part of his fortune providing them a better education and medical care. After his death the company doesn’t stop growing, and in 1915 the factory was composed of 25 buildings with 5,400 workers producing 3,336,000 million hats per year.

Sombrero Stetson

Still today, Stetson is keeping a strong tradition that born in those times: producing customized hats for American senators and presidents. Some Hollywood stars were staunch fans of the brand, like Tom Mix, the first Hollywood cowboy superstar, bringing with him a dozen Stetson hats while travelling all around the world. He strongly refused to wear hats from other brands, giving away some of these to the most important authorities he met. This devotion for Stetson hats was rewarded by the brand naming a model by his name, ‘Tom Mix’, acknowledging this way his job as a non-official brand ambassador.

From being a gold digger to be the torchbearer of American hats golden age, after the 50’s the habit of wearing a hat was gradually disappearing, causing a deep crisis in the hat industry. Many hat companies declared their bankruptcy, but not so with Stetson, still keeping alive the great tradition of handcrafted western hats until today. 

Because having and hanging a cowboy hat, regardless of the brand, means outlasting the past of time and the actual age of fast trends; not only is the gear you need to dress like a country boy or girl, or to be your inseparable partner while riding your horse or in your line dancing nights. As the unforgettable handprints and stars that go all over the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the popularity of the western hat have become the key element to recognize the true cowboy style, a particular image that also left a signature, to never fade away.

But you don’t need to travel so far to get now your American western hat, at Corbeto’s you will find for sure your perfect choice among broad hat catalog.

Sombrero Stetson


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