The  Hatter
by  Jonathan, Elizabeth, & Ray

Did you know that most colonial hats were made from beaver skin? They also made hats from wool, cotton, and straw. Hatters made hats for men. There were other tradesmen who made ladies hats. Nearly everyone wore some sort of head covering. Ladies bonnets, hoods, and caps were not hats because had no brim. Men's hats were worn to keep heads warm and also to be fashionable.

In order to be a Colonial hatter you had to know how to make glue, be patient, good with your hands, know about animal fur, and how to make different hats. 

Some tools they used were:

  • Napping comb - tool used to raise the nap on a new hat
  • Brim tolliker - wooden tool used to smooth the brim
  • Batt - flat oval shape of fur used to make one hat
  • Bow-pin - tool used to shape the bow
  • Basket - wooden tool used when pressing wet cloth onto the batt
  • Runner-down stick - stick used to work the string down the hat body to make the crown when it was on the black
  • Block - wooden mold used to shape the crown
  • Bottom board - flat board the hat brim was formed on

There were many different kinds of hats. You might be familiar with the knitted cap, the pilgrim hat, or the upturned-brim tricorne.

Hatters were one of the earliest tradesmen to take business away from the British merchants because beaver skins were so each to get in the colonies.

Click on a trade below to read more about it.

Source:  Fisher, Leonard Everett. The Hatters. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2001.

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