And what's the most famous, and the first true cowboy hat ever invented? The Stetson of course.
|Boss of the Plains|
Stetson returned to the east in 1865 and with $100 worth of tools and felted fur began making the hats. Easterners weren't impressed with the hats of such a strange design. Stetson sent samples of the hats to every Western-wear merchant he could with a blank order form included with each hat.
Orders poured in even though the hats were expensive. Only two styles and two colors were available of the Boss of the Plains. Black and pearl-gray with different widths of the brim. Texans preferred black with a wide brim, and Montana cowboys opted for pearl-gray with a narrower brim that wouldn't blow off as easily.
The wide brim of both styles kept the rain from running down the cowboy's neck as well as shielding the face. Cowboys could, and did, personalize the hats using steam. They'd crease the center of the crown and dent in the sides making it their own. The felted fur, steamed and modified as desired, held it's shape for years.
John B Stetson gave us the single symbol that epitomizes the Old West and cowboys to this day.