This vintage Stetson fedora was made in the mid 1940s. It is made of Stetson’s short lived “Plastic Felt”, a wool blend with a portion made of “Vinyon”. The hat originally sold for $5, and was marketed as being water resistant. The hat is made from four pieces of this miracle felt- the crown sides, the crown top, the brim, and the brim binding, all stitched together like a cloth hat. The hat is stitched for extra strength. It is light brown with an orange ribbon, one of the “Autumn Shades” mentioned in the original advertising. It has an unreeded brown leather sweatband, with the Stetson Plastic Felt logo.
This hat was made by the John B. Stetson company for LL Bean. It is a variation on the classic “Open Road” model, but with a narrower, raw edge. It looks like the original owner followed the marketing and wore it as a rugged outdoorsy type of fedora. As such, the sweatband needs to be replaced.
This vintage fedora was made in the early 1960s by the John B. Stetson company. At that time, it retailed for $40. This was a time frame when the average fur felt Stetson sold for around $10. This was topped in the lineup by the 7X clear beaver Stetson, which sold for $50, and the Stetson 100, which sold for $100. Both the 7X and the 100 were “Clear Beaver Quality”, or undyed pure beaver. I have sold a number of these hats, and the felt on this one is nearly identical, with the important difference that it is dyed instead of a natural color.
The hat has Stetson’s “Mode Edge”, their version of the seamless welt Cavanagh edge, a process no longer available today. The hat has a wide ribbon and a wind string and is creased with a center dent and widely spaced front pinches. Inside, the hat has a black sweatband, stamped with the Stetson crest and the felt designation “Stetson Forty”. A slightly different crest, which came into usage in the early 1950s, is in gold on the liner. The hat was originally sold by the Pantke Harpke company of Milwaukee, WI.
I found this 7-3/8 Imperial Stetson at an antique store in Maryland. It wasn’t marked, but due to the condition of the sweatband, the owner gave it to me for $5. It’s mid 1940s, and has the early style “Stars” Stetson crest. The brim is wide, the crown is tall and the ribbon is bold. It has a huge overwelt.
This 1930s Stetson is an interesting casual model, with a felt ribbon and triple stitched brim edge. The brown felt has a slightly fuzzy finish. It is “Standard Quality” felt, it is unlined, and it was sold by Hurds.
You could pick up a good quality Stetson $7.50 when this hat was made. That $7.50 would buy you a better hat than a modern $150 stetson. This hat cost $50. That was a hell of a lot of hat. The quality of these is amazing.