12.4 Progress advances

It was the years of progress, a new era was dawning. Electricity marked the development of industries and the great revolution didn’t skip the hat world.

In 1911, fifty industries were active and had more than four thousand workers. Rabbit furs were bought on the markets of Brussels, London, Hamburg, and North America. Felt hats were also made from precious merino wool, as well as jackrabbit, beaver and otter fur.

The textile industries were growing. Biellese wool factories and Lombard cotton factories supplied modern fabrics for clothing which, at the time, was considered dynamic and sporty. With the industrial revolution, many craftsmen became retailers while department stores set up display departments and sold hats for men. The more refined clientele however, continued to prefer receiving advice from retailers who were able to adapt the face to a suitable hat.

The retailer placed his bet on quality, gave information on more refined materials such as merino wool and silk felt. They recommended camel hairs, beaver fur, vicuna fur and rat-godin fur which were the most sought after furs for the making of felt hats, as well as pointed out the absence of whitish “hair” that would have compromised quality.

They explained the weights, proportions, precise details, Italian features and peculiarities of that period. They highlighted the delicacy of the silk lining, the soft Moroccan jacquard internal band, the large well designed label sewed at the top to the right, and the crow’s shape. All these features guaranteed the article’s prestige.

Men purchased the hats well convinced that they were wearing something of value. 1

hats early 900

1 . G. FOLLEDORE, Il cappello da uomo, Zanfi Editori, Modena, 1988, pg.42

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