I have several hats in storage, vintage hats that is. Some are in great condition and some are in a not so great condition. When I started crafting hats, I purchased many hats to sever as an inspiration. I wanted to learn different ways to make ribbons, learn the different proportions for hats and also get an idea for felt colors. These past two weeks I started to go through my storage room, in preparation for the great move in early 2023. I found a couple of boxes of old hats that I have stored for many years and I decided to take a look. Not only do I have a bunch of Western hats, but I have several fedoras from different eras. It is wonderful to handle these hats as they all have a story to tell. It perhaps belonged to a grandfather? A father? A Neighbor? Someone loved or hated? Regardless, I love these hats that I have and I hate to see them in storage. I currently do not have the space to showcase the hats, but I will have in the near future. I decided to see if I could repair some and simply give them a new life. A second chance to be worn by someone.
I picked up this Vintage Adam fedora that was missing a sweatband. Only the reed was still attached to the edge of the hat and I knew this when I purchased it several years ago. Today I have many more tools than what I had starting out crafting hats. It has given me a great opportunity to help to restore these hats back to its former glory. That is the main reason why I have not done this earlier. In many of these old hats, the fur felt is absolutely amazing! The quality is often times equal to a high quality hat of today. It is near impossible to know how they blended the fur back in the day. How much beaver or how much nutria mixed with rabbit or wool. Its a company secret for sure, one that might have been lost.
I started by taking the hat apart. I took off the reed that was attached to the hat. Gently removed the ribbon and placed in a small bucket to clean it. The felt was drenched in water and left there until the dirt simply came out. I did that a couple of times until the water was clear. Same thing for the ribbon and the liner. Then hung to try. Since the sweatband was not there anymore, I didn't know the original size. However, measuring the reed, after it had been removed gave me an indication for a size 58. I picked up a vintage 52 block in size 58 and blocked the felt. The fit was like a glove! No extra stretching done to the felt other than adapting the felt to the correct crown size again. Shaping that felt was amazing. It could be a bit of beaver in that fur, but I wouldn't know since the sweatband is missing. It is at least fur felt, no wool.
There is a scratch mark on the felt, on top of the brim, that is hardly visible. Other than that, this is a perfectly preserved felt. Even with a moth bite, it wouldn't make a difference to the value. But luckily, no moth bites.
I assembled the sweatband and I used an Oak color leather, which is similar to the color of the thread still left in the reed. The color of thread does not always resemble the color of the leather sweatband. But I decided to go for an Oak color. It will age well. Once assembled I began to reattach the Ribbon and Bow around the crown as well as the liner on the inside. On the sweatband I placed my Hufvud logo but also two stamps for Vintage and Adam, to show its original maker. The result you can see in the video below and in the photos.
If you didn't know, ADAM was an American Hat Manufacturer that was founded in 1924. They became popular for making fedoras at a lower price, competing with Stetson and Knox. ADAM was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. The company was sold in 1954 and again in 1955 to Miller Brothers.
I am going to continue to repair hats and tell you a little bit of the story behind them. It's a great way of educating myself and also sharing my findings with you. I might create a page where I sell these hats online. If anyone is interested in this hat, just send me an email.
As always, I appreciate your contribution, support and kind words! Have a wonderful Sunday and I hope my American friends across the Atlantic have had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!
Mikael Einarsson | HUFVUD HATMAKER | Lund (for another 2 months), Sweden