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Title: Baltimore Hats - Past and Present
Author: Brigham, William T.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Baltimore Hats - Past and Present" ***

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    BALTIMORE HATS

    PAST AND PRESENT.


    AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE HAT INDUSTRY OF BALTIMORE
    FROM ITS EARLIEST DAYS TO THE PRESENT TIME.


    BY

    WILLIAM T. BRIGHAM.


    _PRINTED FOR GRATUITOUS CIRCULATION ONLY._


    BALTIMORE:
    MDCCCLXXXX.


    COPYRIGHTED, 1890, BY WM. T. BRIGHAM.

    _Press and Bindery of
    Isaac Friedenwald, Baltimore, Md._



PREFACE.


It is not impossible that some useful information may be conveyed by
this book. Should these pages prove of such service, their cost in
labor is most cheerfully donated.

This volume is composed of a series of articles which appeared in a
Trade Journal, covering a period of two years from 1887 to 1889. It
must be accepted as but a brief history of an industry long identified
with Baltimore.

Thanks are due the Librarian of the Maryland Historical Society and
Mr. B. R. Sheriff for favors in lending rare and valuable old City
directories; also to the many citizens who kindly aided and assisted
in the search for needed information.

THE AUTHOR.

BALTIMORE, 1890.



    CONTENTS.


     1. INTRODUCTORY
     2. EARLY DAYS
     3. PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION
     4. AFTER THE REVOLUTION
     5. EARLY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
     6. SOME OLD FIRMS
     7. PATRIARCHS OF THE TRADE
     8. JACOB ROGERS
     9. OLD METHODS
    10. JOHN PETTICORD
    11. MIDDLE OF THE CENTURY
    12. FASHIONS
    13. NEW DEVELOPMENTS
    14. GROWTH OF BUSINESS
    15. HISTORY OF THE MACKINAW HAT
    16. MODERN IMPROVEMENTS
    17. A MODEL ESTABLISHMENT
    18. WAYS AND MEANS OF THE PRESENT TIME



Baltimore Hats--Past and Present.



INTRODUCTORY.

No. 1.


Past and present have each their independent significance. The past
gives freely to us the experiences of others, the present a suitable
opportunity to improve upon what has already occurred. With our
observation and acceptance of these privileges so easily obtained, we
reap the benefit of their advantages and unconsciously find ourselves
the gainers both in capacity and intelligence. A history of the past,
giving the record of events and circumstances existing before our own
day, bringing to our knowledge the accomplishments, business
enterprises and undertakings of our predecessors, is a profitable
study, and the reader gratifies his curiosity in observing how
differently things were conducted and managed a century ago as
compared with the processes of the present day, exciting a sense of
wonder at the rapid progress that has been made in a comparatively
short period of time. Think of it! quite within the lifetime of many
of us have been the most wonderful of inventions--the steam engine,
steam vessels, the telegraph and other wonders and triumphs of
electricity. The wildest fancy may not be styled visionary in
anticipating the appearance of things still more surprising.

[Illustration: THEN.]

[Illustration: NOW.]

Continued familiarity with the present system of making hats has the
tendency in a great degree to prevent a recognition, until brought to
our notice by comparison of the wide difference existing between the
old and new methods, and this common every-day experience assists in
making us unappreciative of the remarkable improvements that have been
made in this branch of business.

Only a half a century ago the time required to make a single fur hat
from the prepared material was fully a week, and the average
production was two hats per day per man. With the bowing of the fur,
the forming and shrinking of the bodies, and the handwork of finishing
and trimming, all of which by the aid of modern science and invention
is to-day done by machinery more perfectly and completely at the rate
in production of twenty times that of fifty years ago, while the
sewing of a straw hat, which could hardly be done in an hour by the
plodding work of the hand, stitch by stitch, is, by the rapid
sewing-machine, made in a minute. When we think of the largest number
of stitches our mothers and sisters could take in their needlework by
hand and contrast it with the result of the sewing-machine that spins
its twenty-two hundred stitches a minute, we are able to gain some
adequate idea of the saving of labor, and while we complacently accept
these marvellous accomplishments, the question whether it be to the
poor and needy a loss or gain is still an undecided problem. With all
the advantages now at our command, it appears to us a matter of
surprise how our forefathers, with their apparently indifferent
methods, could profitably succeed in their labors. With steam engines,
sewing-machines and electricity, the quick accomplishments of the
present compared with the slow movements of the past tend to make one
think we are living in an age of wonders amounting almost to
miracles.

What would be the exclamation of the ghosts of our great-grandfathers
who, with the rapid trot of an ox-team, drove to church miles away
through the storms of winter to exemplify their devotion to the truth
of their faith, if suddenly they could rise and observe the luxury of
the present modes of transportation in convenient palace cars and
palatial steamships, our comfortable and gaudy churches, and our easy
ways of communicating instantly with those thousands of miles away
from us? Aladdin's wonderful experiences, or the magical change by
Cinderella's fairy god-mother, would appear tame to their intense
surprise.

[Illustration: RAPID TRANSIT IN OLDEN TIMES.]

In a series of articles it is proposed to give an account of the
growth of the hat manufacturing business, one of the most interesting
of Baltimore's industries; how at an early period it was raised into
conspicuous prominence in common with other enterprises undertaken in
the active spirit which has always characterized Baltimore merchants
as among the foremost of their time. They will also treat of its
gradual growth and development, followed by a temporary decline of
progress caused by the Civil War and its consequences, and finally of
its triumphant stride to place itself again in line with other leading
industries of this enterprising metropolis, for without doubt it holds
to-day an enviable position among the different trades, a position
acquired by the thoroughness, determination and perseverance of those
engaged in its development.

[Illustration: AN OLD TIMER.]



EARLY DAYS.

No. 2.


The spirit of ambition and independence constituting the fundamental
principles of manhood, and inspiring a nobleness of character which in
time of the country's struggle for liberty helped to give her the
benefits of wise counsel, noble patriotism and manly service, was
early manifested by the neighboring colony of Virginia, as in the year
1662 she ventured upon a practical plan to encourage the manufacture
of hats by offering a premium of ten pounds of tobacco for every
domestic hat made of fur or wool. What resulted from this generous act
we are not informed, but there is no evidence that it in any degree
stimulated the production of hats in that colony, and it is a noted
fact that hat-making to any extent has never flourished south of
Baltimore. This city seems to have been the southern boundary
line--the geographical limit in that direction--of hat-manufacturing.
As an offset to this enterprising manifesto of Virginia is a petition
in the year 1731 of the hat-makers of London to the "Lords of Trade,"
to enact a law forbidding the American colonists to wear hats not made
in Great Britain. This law was passed, attaching a penalty of five
hundred pounds sterling (twenty-five hundred dollars) for its
violation.

The archives of the New Jersey Historical Society for the year 1731
show that there was one hatter in that colony, and from a history of
Boston we learn that sixteen hat-makers of that town were affected by
the edict of these despotic English law-makers.

In this manner were the enterprises of the new continent checked and
the attempt made to crush out that spirit of progress so manifest in
the brightest of the English colonies. It was the continuation of such
injustice and oppression that eventually inspired a rebellious spirit
to take the place of patience and submission, ending in a revolt, the
termination of which secured us liberty and justice and the
announcement of our complete independence on the 4th of July, 1776.

The style of hat of this period (1731) had the sides of the brim
turned up, with a front of an easy curl, which, nearly resembling a
cap-visor, made it in shape somewhat between a hat and cap; this seems
to have been the first approach toward the "cocked" or three-cornered
hat afterwards so extensively used, and to Americans the most familiar
of past styles, from its being a fashion of the period of the
Revolution, by which it became the prominent part of an historical
costume. The arbitrary law before alluded to was afterwards modified,
but an uncomfortable restriction continued to be enforced upon all
manufactures, for in the year 1750 the English Parliament, among other
unjust acts, enacted a law forbidding exportation of hats from one
colony to another and allowing no hatter to have more than two
apprentices at one time, "because the colonists, if let alone, would
soon supply the whole world with hats."

[Illustration: 1731]

The French fashion of this time had the brazen characteristic of its
brim rising erect from the forehead, a style seemingly in keeping with
the then irritable condition and reckless agitation of the French
people.

Planché, in his "Cyclopædia of Costumes" (vol. 1, page 261), quotes a
humorous description, evidently referring to this particular style, as
follows: "Some wear their hats with the corners that should cover the
forehead high in the air, these are called Gawkies; others do not half
cover their heads, which, indeed, is owing to the shallowness of their
crowns, but between beaver and eyebrows exposes a blank forehead,
which looks like a sandy road in a surveyor's plan."

[Illustration: 1750]

From the year 1750 until after the Revolution there was but little
change in the general character of style in men's hats: the custom of
erecting the brims by tying or looping them up prevailed. Soon the
elevation of the brim of 1750 was abandoned and a change made by
looping it at the points of a triangle, producing the three-cornered
or "cocked" hat. This was a becoming style we must admit, and one
seemingly well suited to the independent, fearless and patriotic
characteristics of our forefathers' traits, the possession of which at
that time gave us all the comforts that are ours now. The "cocked" hat
enjoyed a long popularity, continuing in fashion until near the close
of the century, when the "steeple top" and "chimney pot" styles--slang
terms for the high beavers--came into vogue, a style which Ashton, an
English writer, designates as "the hideous head-covering that has
martyrized at least three generations."

[Illustration: 1760]

Departure from settled and accustomed styles created the same furore
and astonishment, and subjected the venturesome individual whose
inclinations led an advance in fashion to the same exposure to
ridicule as affects the "swell" of the present day, and the reporters
of "society doings" then were as close observers, as keen in wit, and
as unmerciful in criticism as any of their kin to-day. Planché,
quoting from the _London Chronicle_ for 1762, refers to fashion of
hats at that time as follows: "Hats," says the writer, "are now worn
on the average six and three-fifths inches broad in the brim and
cocked. Some have their hats open like a church spout or like the
scales they weigh their coffee in; some wear them rather sharp like
the nose of the greyhound, and we can designate by the taste of the
hat the mood of the wearer's mind. There is a military cock and a
mercantile cock, and while the beaux of St. James wear their hats
under their arms, the beaux of Moorfields-Mall wear theirs diagonally
over the left or right eye; sailors wear their hats uniformly tucked
down to the crown, and look as if they carried a triangular apple
pasty upon their heads."

That "there is nothing new under the sun" is a maxim the truth of
which is often verified within the limits of fashionable manners; thus
the counterpart of the present captivating custom of carrying in the
public ball-room or at the private party the collapsed "opera" hat
under the arm is seen in the fashion of 1762, the only difference
being, not as now, to doff the hat in the house, but when promenading
the street the beau was to be seen with

    "A pretty black beaver tucked under his arm,
    If placed on his head it might keep him too warm."

[Illustration: Folded Hat, 1762.]

[Illustration: The 'Opera', 1887.]

The folded hat of 1762 differed from the opera hat of the present day
also in the softness of the crown, permitting its being flattened, and
the brim, as if hinged front and rear, folded at the sides like the
corners of a book, while the present opera hat, constructed with
jointed springs, allows its cylindrical crown to be flattened down to
a level with the brim, which keeps its fixed shape.

Scharf's "Chronicles of Baltimore" give the copy of an inventory made
in the year 1779 of the personal effects of one Thos. Edgerton, a
citizen of the Province of Maryland, and among them is his hat,
described as having a gold band and feathers. This hat evidently was
the celebrated cavalier style that appears in many of the portraits of
Rubens, Vandycke and Rembrandt, of all styles the prettiest and most
picturesque ever introduced.

The wide brim of the cavalier hat was arranged as suited the fancy of
the wearer, some of whom allowed it to take its natural shape, some
would wear it looped up on the side, and by others it was caught up
and attached to the crown at different angles; in fact, it was modeled
very much as the ladies now-a-days do the "Gainsborough," exercising
their own individual fancy as to the treatment of the brim.

[Illustration: The 'Cavalier', 1689]

Identical with the interests of Baltimore were the industries of other
towns of the colony of Maryland, and among the earliest records
referring to the hat business are several advertisements found in the
_Maryland Gazette_, published at Annapolis. In February, 1760, Chas.
Diggs advertises "men's and boys' castor and felt hats." In 1761
Barnet West advertises "gold and silver band hats, just imported from
London," and in April, 1761, appears the advertisement of Nathaniel
Waters, of Annapolis, who announces that he has for sale "silver and
gold buttons and loops for hats, and that he carries on the hat-making
as usual."

About this time Annapolis, being in her palmy days, was the center of
gentility and fashionable life; here was congregated the blue blood of
English aristocracy, who strove to foster and cultivate the same
courtly splendor and etiquette existing in old England, which brought
to the venerable place the enviable fame of being considered the most
fashionable of our colonial towns.

[Illustration: THE BEAU OF 1762.]



PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION.

No. 3.


An indulgence of those inborn habits of luxury and fondness for rich
and expensive dress by the wealthy land owners, comprising the large
majority of the population of the Southern colonies, encouraged a
demand for articles more elaborate and costly than those produced
within the colonial territory; hence imported fabrics were by them
largely preferred to those of domestic make. The gay and festive
social life, and the means easily acquired from their profitable crops
of cotton and tobacco, permitted indulgence in lavish expenditures for
articles of fashionable attire and household elegance.

The general customs of the people of the South had the effect of
retarding the progress of ordinary trades by not affording sufficient
patronage to encourage their successful undertaking; while, on the
contrary, from the greater necessity with the Northern people of
personal exertion and labor to provide the comforts of home life,
sprung that support of manufactures which has so largely increased as
to place the power and wealth of the country in their hands.

The event of the American Revolution, however, somewhat changed this
aspect of affairs. The genuineness of Maryland's loyalty was certainly
in one way nobly demonstrated, and by an act of patriotic
self-sacrifice, gave to her an unlooked-for reward in a prosperous
future. Her people quickly espousing the cause of liberty, at once
rejected articles of foreign make and gave choice to those of home
production, thus stimulating industries in their midst which had not
before flourished from lack of encouragement and support.

Actuated by a feeling of sympathy for their fellow-citizens of
Boston--whom the British Parliament in 1774 attempted to shut out from
commercial intercourse with every part of the world--the citizens of
Baltimore called a town meeting, unanimously recommending a general
congress of delegates, to meet at Annapolis, to take action against
this indignity on American liberties.

The congress met June 22, 1774, offering their heartiest support not
only in resolution, but in the more substantial way of money and food,
as aid to their Boston friends in the resistance to British tyranny
and oppression, supplementing these patriotic resolutions by one
making the importation of English goods an act disloyal to the
sentiment of American hearts.

The earliest manufacturing hatter in Baltimore, of whom any definite
knowledge can be obtained, was David Shields, who kept store at No. 14
Gay street. As the location was on the east side of Gay and the
seventh house from the corner of Baltimore street, it probably was
about half-way between Baltimore and Fayette streets. Here he sold to
his patrons the products of his "back shop" or factory, which was
located on the south side of East, now Fayette street, at a point
half-way between Gay and Frederick streets. Mr. Shields' father was
from Pennsylvania. David Shields was born in the year 1737, and his
descendants of to-day include some of the wealthiest and most refined
citizens of Baltimore. In Scharf's "Chronicles of Baltimore" his name
is mentioned, in connection with others, in the year 1769 as aiding by
a general subscription in procuring an engine for the extinguishment
of fires; this engine was for the "Mechanical Fire Company," and was
the first machine of its kind in Baltimore, costing the sum of two
hundred and sixty-four dollars.

Unfortunately, the information gained of Mr. Shields' business career
is so meagre as to leave much to the imagination, but it is natural to
suppose that in 1769, being thirty-two years of age, he must have
been established in business.

That Mr. Shields was a public-spirited citizen is further proven by
his connection with the First Baptist Society, being one of a
committee constituted for the purpose of purchasing a lot upon which
to erect a church; this was in 1773, two years before the Revolution.
The church was built on Front street, upon the site now occupied by
the Merchants' Shot Tower, and was the first Baptist Church erected in
Baltimore.

The _Federal Gazette_ announces the death of Mr. Shields, October 4,
1811, in the seventy-fourth year of his age; his funeral taking place
from his residence, which was over his place of business, on Gay
street.

What may have been the actual condition of the hat business of
Baltimore just before the Revolution has been difficult to ascertain.
Mr. Shields must have been in business during this period, and it is
more than probable that in a town of the size of Baltimore at that
date there must have been others engaged in this branch of business,
but how many and who they were cannot be ascertained. It is very
likely that the restriction placed by English rule upon most
manufacturing industries prior to the Revolution operated
detrimentally upon this industry also, and while the ordinary kind of
wool felt hats were made by the hatter in his own shop, undoubtedly
most of the fashionable hats sold and worn at that time were of
English or French make. Paris (which then, as well as now, was the
axis upon which revolved the world of fashion) possibly supplied the
wants of Baltimore's highborn gentry, always famous for exquisite
dress and refined taste, with the French chapeau--the _ton_ of those
days.

As there are no existing detailed statistics of the business of
Baltimore during the Revolutionary War, the record of some business
firms has been entirely lost, and although some trades have received
slight mention in the published histories of the city, a trace of the
existence of but two hatters, who afterwards continued in business, is
to be found. Since it is known as a fact that fourteen hatters were
engaged in business in Baltimore, not later than ten years after the
close of the war, we have a right to suppose that more than two must
have been in business during the existence of the war.

Among the proceedings of the "Council of Safety" of Maryland,
organized at the outbreak of the war, is found the following order:
"March 2, 1776. The Council of Safety authorize Major Gist to contract
for fifty camp-kettles and as many _hats_ as may be necessary for the
battalion, not to exceed 7 shillings apiece." Again, April 6, 1776,
"Commissary of Stores of Baltimore is ordered to send to Annapolis 200
of the hats arrived from Philadelphia." Why Baltimore hatters did not
supply the needed hats for Maryland militia we cannot say, but
probably a sharp competition for so _large_ a contract wrested it from
them.

The adoption of the "cocked" hat in its various forms as a portion of
the military costume of the Continental Army brought about the
necessity of making a distinction between civil and military wear.

After the close of the American Revolution France was in a state of
civil insurrection, and the French "chapeau" of that time was
constructed upon a plan somewhat similar to that of the "cocked" hat.
With the termination of the French Revolution appeared the
"steeple-top" hat, having a conical crown with stiff curled brim,
drooping front and rear, being trimmed with a very wide band and
ornamented in front with a huge metal buckle, a change radical enough
from those preceding it, but admitting a question as to its
comparative intrinsic beauty or to its being a more becoming part of
male attire; the style withal certainly proved acceptable, for with
slight modifications it has continued and is now embodied in the
fashionable silk hat of the present time.

Thus with the opening of the nineteenth century commenced the era of
what may be correctly termed the _high_ hat. Ashton, in "Old Times,"
says of the style of 1790-95: "The 'cocked' hat had gone out, and the
galling yoke of the 'chimney pot' was being inaugurated, which was as
yet of limp felt."

[Illustration: 1795]

In fashions prevailing at the opening of the new century, particularly
those of wearing apparel both for ladies and gentlemen, Paris took the
lead, and though with many articles to-day Parisian designs and ideas
secure the largest share of popularity, yet in regard to hats for
gentlemen it can proudly be said that American-made hats are ahead in
point of style and quality, and are no longer dependent upon foreign
ingenuity for assistance in securing for them a ready sale; in fact,
no American industry to-day stands in a more enviable position
relatively to foreign manufactures than does that of hat-making.

The fancy for sentimental hits and political phrases indulged in by
modern hatters seems to have been the rage at an earlier period, as is
evident from the following, published in the London _Times_ of
December 4, 1795: "If the young men of the present day have not much
wit in their heads they have it at least in their _hats_." Among the
pleasantries we have seen in this way are the following: "Not yours,"
"Hands off," "No vermin," and "Rip this as you would a hot potato,"
and other charming sallies of _refined_ and _elegant_ vivacity.

But the wittiest linings are the political ones. The other day we
observed one perfectly clean and tidy in which was written: "Avaunt!
Guinea Pig," and on the lining of a very powdery hat that lay in the
window of the same room were inscribed the two monosyllables
"Off-crop." "Guinea pig" and "Off-crop" were probably local political
distinctions of the day.

[Illustration: A CITIZEN OF '76.]



AFTER THE REVOLUTION.

No. 4.


Not until after the Revolution is it apparent that any attempt was
made in Baltimore to concentrate the hatting industry into a
legitimate business upon any extensive scale, or to separate the
manufacturing from the retail branch of business; in fact, far into
the new century was it the practice of those who manufactured
extensively for the trade, to continue to keep in operation also a
_retail_ establishment.

The general system of conducting the hat business at the time of which
we are now writing was for the hatter to have his "back shop" in the
rear and accessible to the "front shop," where the proprietor and his
"prentice hand" made the needed supply for the existing or future
small demand likely to come; for hats in those days were "built" for
service, not for show, and in a manner quite different from those
suited to the modern requirement of almost a monthly change in style.
Then the principle demand came from maturing youth, desiring to assume
suitable dignity for entrance into manhood, by procuring a "beaver"
which, unless he lived to a patriarchal age, might serve him during
his natural life, and that, too, without fear of banishment from
society for being out of the fashion.

In the first "Baltimore City Directory," printed in the year 1796,
appear the names of nineteen hatters; the business locations of some
of the number, it is curious to observe, being at places hardly
recognizable by those living at the present day.

Gay street, prior to the year 1808, extended from the water to
Griffith's bridge (now called Gay-street bridge), beyond which it was
called Bridge street; German lane is now German street; East street is
Fayette street, and the euphonious name of Cowpen alley is now
dignified by that of Garrett street. Baltimore street was then called
Market street, and for a long time after was often designated by
either name.

The following names and localities of hatters are found in the
Baltimore City Directory published in 1796:

    RICHARD AVERSON, German lane, between Howard and Liberty streets.
    JOSEPH BURNET, Welcome alley, Federal Hill.
    PETER BOND, 13 Bridge street, Old Town.
    WILLIAM BRANSON, 131 Market street.
    PETER BEZE, 31 Charles street.
    FREDERICK DEEMS, Cowpen alley.
    JOSEPH BURNESTON, 17 George street, Fell's Point.
              "       Shop, 19 George street, Fell's Point.
    GEORGE LITTIG, 141 Market street, Shop on "The Causeway."
    ARNOLD LIVERS, Shop, 24 South Calvert street.
    AARON MATTISON, Shop, East street, between Calvert and Gay.
    WILLIAM MOCKBEE, East street, between St. Paul's lane and Charles
        street.
    GASPER MORELLI, 36 Charles street.
    JOHN PARKS, Shop, 14 Light street.
    JACOB ROGERS, 29 South street.
    GEORGE SMITH, 101 Bond street.
    DAVID SHIELDS, 14 North Gay street.
    JOHN STEIGER, 250 Market street.
    JOHN UNDERWOOD, Alley between St. Paul's lane and Calvert street.
    DANIEL WEAVER, 19 Front street.

Judging from localities here given, ten of this number were engaged in
business as principals, the others were probably journeymen, working
at their trade in the various shops in the town.

JOHN PARKS, who did business at 14 Light street, had his residence at
137 Market street, about the location now occupied by Clogg & Son as a
Shoe store. In the year 1802, No. 137 Market street was occupied by
John Walraven, Hardware and Silversmith, and John and Andrew Parks are
in the Dry-goods business, at No. 2 Market space.

WILLIAM BRANSON, at 131 Market street, appears to have continued
business in the same place up to the year 1810. During the years
1800-2 the firm was Branson & Son; their store was the second house
west of Grant street, then called Public alley; the place is now
occupied by Geo. Steinbach & Son as a Toy establishment.

AARON MATTISON, whose shop, in 1796, was on East street, in 1799
associated his son with himself in business, locating at 16 North Gay
street, next door to David Shields. In 1802 Wm. Mattison, probably the
son, opened a store at 180 Market street; the firm continuing at 16 N.
Gay street as Aaron Mattison & Son. The next year W. Mattison appears
at 72 Market street, following which no further record is found of
this firm.

No. 180 Market street was two doors east of Charles, on the north
side, now occupied by Towner & Landstreet's Rubber store. No. 72
Market street was also on the north side, second house east from
Lemon, now Holliday street.

PETER BOND, whose location was No. 13 Bridge street, continued as a
hatter in the same place until the year 1806; afterwards he appears to
have changed the character of his business, for in 1807 he is found to
be a "storekeeper" at No. 9 Bridge street. No. 13 was on the north
side of what is now Gay street, the seventh or eighth house beyond the
bridge over the Falls. Peter Bond was a member of the committee of
"Vigilance and Safety" organized by the citizens of Baltimore in the
dark days of anxiety and trouble preceding the invasion of the city by
the British in September, 1814.

RICHARD AVERSON had his residence on German lane, between Howard and
Eutaw streets. At that time there was but one dwelling-house on German
lane between Hanover and Liberty streets. German lane, now German
street, then extended only from Charles to Greene street. Mr. Averson
kept his hat store at No. 4 County wharf, which was the lower terminus
of South Calvert street; he had for his neighbors Gerard T. Hopkins,
Peter Cox and George Mason, Grocers.

DAVID SHIELDS continued in business at his old locality, 14 North Gay
street, certainly until the year 1808, and probably up to the time of
his death in 1811. In 1819 his place is found to be occupied by
Francis Foster as a hat store.

ARNOLD LIVERS would seem to have been the most peripatetic of hatters,
and must have caused no little stir and comment among his
fellow-tradesmen. Until 1801 he appears as solitary Arnold Livers,
carrying on the hat business at 24 South Calvert street, where
probably he had a retail "shop." In 1802 the Directory records:
"Arnold Livers, 24 South Calvert street," and on Fayette street
(probably his residence), also 70 Cumberland Row; Livers & Atkinson,
35 Fell street, and Livers & Atkinson, 10 George street, Fell's Point.
In 1804 Arnold Livers is still at 24 South Calvert street, also at 70
Market space, and George Atkinson has succeeded to the firm of Livers
& Atkinson. In 1810 it is Livers & Grover, 39 South, corner of Water
street. From this time Mr. Livers disappears entirely; one may imagine
what a commotion this evidently unsettled man of business must have
raised during ten years of these varied and numerous changes, and
possibly others of which the Directories give no account.

So rapidly and effectively does time erase the evidence of former
labors, and so quickly is the past forgotten, that one is surprised
and disappointed at not finding more proof on record of what these
worthy apostles of work may have done.

Of the nineteen whose names are in the Directory of 1796, traces of
the personal history of but two of the number can be found: these are
David Shields, before alluded to, and John Parks. In Griffith's
"Annals of Baltimore," John Parks is mentioned in the year 1784 as
subscribing ten pounds to the funds raised by citizens for the purpose
of elevating the courthouse to admit the extension of Calvert street.
Then the courthouse stood in the bed of Calvert street, which it
spanned, where since has been erected and now stands Battle Monument,
commemorating the loss of Baltimore's brave citizens, who gave their
lives in defence of their homes against British invasion in 1814.

Among the patriots whose names are inscribed upon this monument by a
grateful people, desiring in such way to honor and perpetuate the
memory of those who sacrificed themselves in the defence of their
homes and firesides, appears that of JOSEPH BURNESTON, a hatter, who
is found in 1796 doing business at 19 George street, Fell's Point.
Thus, while little else is known of Mr. Burneston's career, he is
immortalized by a noble deed, and his name is handed down to coming
generations to show what sacrifices were made in securing to us that
freedom and comfort we now possess, sacrifices which should inspire us
with the determination that when similar calls come we will be ready
to answer as unhesitatingly as did this patriotic hatter.

From the location of Mr. Burneston's place of business it may be
inferred that he was only a hat-maker, having no "front shop" or
retail establishment, but was merely a maker of hat bodies to be sold
to retailers, who themselves finished and trimmed them ready for sale.

Of the hatters of 1796 there is but one through whom can be
connectedly traced Baltimore's hat industry from before the Revolution
down to the present time; that one is JACOB ROGERS, whose
long-continued business career brings personal knowledge of him down
to a time quite within the recollection of some now living. Singularly
enough, by this solitary instance are we able to connect hatting in
1769 with that of 1890, for it is known that Mr. Rogers learned his
trade with Mr. David Shields, who was in business in 1769, and engaged
in their occupation to-day are several who were apprenticed to Mr.
Rogers.

[Illustration: IN READINESS.]



EARLY IN THE XIX CENTURY.

No. 5.


So wonderful were the recuperative powers of the American people,
after undergoing the trials and sacrifices consequent upon a
protracted struggle for liberty, as to surprise the most sanguine
advocates of self-government.

Following the train of war came ruin and desolation, but freedom was
the birthright of the people, who, though sorely tried by a tremendous
outlay in blood and money, were by no means disheartened or
discouraged, and without delay they cheerfully took in hand the task
of renovation with the same resolute determination that characterized
the conflict with their enemies.

The contributions of Maryland to the country's wants during the war
were always generous in both men and money. Baltimore, after
recovering from the exhaustion consequent upon her constant
participation in the seven long years' contest for freedom, commenced
the foundation of her future commercial greatness, and early in the
present century she had attained a commerce greater in extent than
that of many older seaport towns. Baltimore "clippers" were celebrated
for their marvelous speed, and their white sails were to be seen in
the ports of every foreign nation.

Baltimore kept steadily advancing in population and wealth; compared
with her rivals, she was precocious. The town was settled in the year
1730, and its increase shows evidence of growth that must have created
a surprise in its early days similar to that now experienced by the
development in a few weeks of a full-fledged Western city, with its
thousands of inhabitants, from its humble foundation of a few
straggling hamlets. New York was settled in 1614, Boston in 1630,
Philadelphia in 1682, each being well on in existence before Baltimore
was born.

At the close of the Revolutionary War the population of Baltimore was
5000; in 1800 it was 26,614. The first United States census, taken in
1810, places the number at 35,580, and in 1820 it had grown to be a
prosperous commercial city of 62,738 inhabitants.

The persistent patriotism of Baltimore throughout the Revolutionary
War was proverbial; the strong intelligence of a majority of its
citizens, though of foreign birth, gave them an intuitive knowledge of
the distinction between right and wrong, and a fine sense of honor and
justice prompted them to act as well as theorize, consequently their
personal convictions as to the allegiance they owed their adopted
country enabled the city of their choice to assume a strong and
patriotic attitude in behalf of America's struggle, and incited them
to act with the native element in expelling from their midst all who
indulged in hostile acts or expressions. But one sentiment prevailed
in Baltimore during the period of the war--that of loyalty to country.
The courteous attention and honor paid by citizens to many of those
who attained distinction in the war lent great assistance to Baltimore
in quickly recovering from the damage she had sustained, and gave to
the city a renown for hospitality which has remained by her to the
present day.

Washington, Lafayette, Count Rochambeau, and many others united in
unrestricted praises of Baltimore's patriotism and liberality, and
General Vallette, who commanded a French division of troops, declared:
"I will never forget the happy days I have passed among you, citizens
of Baltimore, and I beg you will believe that your remembrance will be
forever dear to my memory."

The famous General Greene, of Rhode Island, on his way homeward from
the war in the South, stopped in Baltimore and gave his impression of
the city in 1783 as follows:

"Baltimore is a most thriving place. Trade nourishes, and the spirit
of building exceeds belief. Not less than three hundred houses are put
up in a year. Ground rents are little short of what they are in
London. The inhabitants are all men of business."

The period from 1800-30, although interrupted by the war of 1812, when
the city was made the immediate battle-ground, was marked by a
wonderful growth in both commercial and industrial occupations, and,
in common with the general prosperity of the place, hat-making also
flourished. In 1810 Maryland is found, from the United States census
reports, to have taken the lead in the production of fur hats. Aside
from the custom with some retailers of making and finishing the hats
they sold, we find in the year 1818 several firms engaged in the
_manufacture_ of hats. The products of these factories were
distributed throughout the entire South, a section the natural
resources of which enabled its people to easily recuperate from the
war and quickly become large purchasers and consumers of goods which
they did not themselves manufacture. In addition to this desirable
field of business was the region of the "Far West," then comprising
Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, the rapid increase of which in
population by emigration greatly enlarged the demand for the products
of Baltimore's hat industry. This being the most accessible seaport
city, regular traffic by wagon trains was established, connecting
Baltimore with the West, and giving to the former such superior
advantages as to enable its enterprising merchants to secure a large
trade, which they long and tenaciously held.

The city directories of that period were not, as now-a-days, issued
annually, but at intervals of three or four years, and while
furnishing much valuable information, cannot be relied upon for
complete correctness, the main object of the compiler being to get the
names of house-holders and business men, while many who were
temporarily employed, and all who were unmarried though permanently
employed, were omitted from registration. Thus the Directory of 1818
does not give a full list of hatters in this city at that time, for
while it appears that there were in operation in Baltimore twenty-five
hat establishments in the year 1818 (five or six of which were
extensive manufactories), the Directory does not show any fair
proportion of the number that then must have been engaged in the
occupation of hat-making. It may be safely estimated from the extent
and the activity of this branch of business at that time, that it gave
employment to at least three hundred hands.

Before the year 1810 the "taper crown" or "steeple top" had yielded to
the uncompromising demands of fashion, and a style appeared quite
different from that which existed at the opening of the century. It
had so expanded its crown as to become "bell" in place of "taper," a
change so manifestly popular that the "bell crown" since that time,
though subject in a greater or less degree to occasional alterations
in its proportions, has been for a dress hat the generally accepted
style.

[Illustration: 1810]

In the style of 1810, Fashion, indulging as she not infrequently does,
in a gymnastic summersault from one extreme to another, went in this
instance quite as far as prudence would allow: the crown was about
seven inches in height and about eight and one-quarter inches across
the tip, with a brim about two-and-a-quarter inches wide, the hat
being thickly napped with long beaver fur and trimmed with a wide band
and buckle. Following the year 1810 there came a reduction in heights
of crowns as well as in the proportions of "bell," and a modified
style prevailed until the year 1835, when it again developed into an
extreme "bell" shape with a very narrow brim, a style so utterly
extravagant as to bring it into ridicule.



SOME OLD FIRMS.

No. 6.


Of the hatters engaged in business in Baltimore during the early part
of this century, many are worthy of more than passing notice as men of
honest character, strict in their dealings and successful in their
business undertakings, gaining the respect of their fellow-townsmen
and becoming honored and trusted citizens of a growing community.

When it is known what were the social surroundings of the "old time"
hatter in his youth, it seems a matter of surprise that such good
fruit should spring from so unpromising soil.

No one was supposed to be capable of conducting the retail hat
business unless he had served his term of apprenticeship to the trade,
and apprenticeship in those days was no trivial matter. It meant the
surrender at an early age of home, with its parental influences--a
most dangerous experience for the untrained youth to encounter--and
was entered into by contract for a term of years, binding master and
hand to its faithful execution; not merely a verbal agreement between
parties themselves, but one solemnly executed by parent and employer,
ratified and signed before a magistrate and made binding after all
this legal form by the attachment of the portentous seal of the
Orphans' Court, before the boy could be considered bounden as "an
apprentice to the trade." This was virtually a surrender of all
domestic control, giving to one not of "kith or kin" absolute
guardianship of the boy. The habits and morals of the "'prentice" were
often a secondary consideration, if not wholly neglected.

Thus, as a class, the journeyman hatters often developed into loose,
shiftless, migratory characters, spending their liberal wages freely,
with no ambition beyond that of daily support; and the surprise is
that from such a source came notably honorable men, whose lives seemed
to contradict the whole theory of the influence of early training. To
these worthy pioneers belongs the credit of laying a secure
foundation for a trade that from humble beginnings has developed into
one of the most prominent industries of the country, requiring
extensive capital, liberal business capacity, and one that gives
employment to a large, intelligent and skillful class of people.

Among those conducting the hatting business in Baltimore at the
opening of the present century, Mr. Jacob Rogers, from his long and
successful business career, as well as from being the only one through
whom it has been possible to connect this special industry as it
existed before the Revolution, with that of the present time, ranks
most prominently.

What year Mr. Rogers commenced business cannot be ascertained, but as
early as 1796, being nearly 30 years of age, he is found established
at the corner of South and Second streets, and in the year 1844
(almost the middle of another century), after the lapse of nearly
fifty years, and while actively engaged in business pursuits, his life
was suddenly ended; his funeral taking place from his residence, at
South and Second streets, his home for more than half a century.

About the year 1805 Mr. Rogers erected a large factory on Second
street near Tripolet's alley (now Post-Office avenue). This building
was about one hundred and fifty feet long, forty wide, and four
stories in height. Afterwards a wing extension of considerable
proportions was added.

[Illustration: Hat shop of Jacob Rogers, built about 1805.]

This establishment was one of the "big" concerns of the day, and Mr.
Rogers was credited with conducting, at this time, the most extensive
and prosperous hat business in the United States.

To-day not a vestige remains of Mr. Rogers' factory, and upon its site
is the extensive structure of the Corn and Flour Exchange. His store,
at the corner of South and Second streets, still remains, however,
having been remodeled from that of Mr. Rogers' time, the ground-floor
being now occupied by H. W. Totebush as a cigar store.

In 1819 Mr. Rogers took as partner in business his eldest son, George,
the firm becoming Jacob Rogers & Son. In 1823 Mr. Rogers leased from
the Carroll family the property No. 129 West Baltimore street, at the
corner of Public alley (now Grant street), where a branch
establishment was opened, both establishments being continued up to
the time of Mr. Rogers' death, in 1844, at which time the firm was
"Jacob Rogers & Sons," William, another son, having been admitted
about the year 1835.

Upon the occasion of celebrating the laying of the cornerstone of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Baltimore, July 4, 1828 (a great event
in the annals of the city), the exhibition of trades was a most
prominent feature of the immense procession, and none made a finer
display than the hatters. George Rogers commanded that division, a
description of which is thus given in the Baltimore _Gazette and Daily
Advertiser_ of July 5, 1828: "The hatters' car was drawn by four
horses, showing the men at work in the several stages of hat-making.
The group attracted much attention; they carried a banner with a white
ground, and on the shield was a beaver resting on a scroll bearing the
motto: 'With the industry of the beaver we support our rights,'
crossed with implements of the trade, the whole supported by the
motto: 'We cover all.'"

Bazil Sollers commenced business in 1799 at No. 68 Market street, a
location on the north side of the street, four doors east of what is
now Holliday street. In 1803 he removed to No. 22 Market street, also
on the north side, four doors west of Harrison street; this latter
place was previously occupied by Brant & Hobby as a hat store in 1801,
and by Stansbury & Hobby in 1802. Mr. Sollers continued in business on
Market street until the year 1831, when he removed to North Gay, No.
15, on the northwest corner of Front street. His factory was on East,
now Fayette street, three doors east of Lemon street. Mr. Sollers
continued in the manufacturing business until about the year 1840.

James Gould & Co. started hat-manufacturing at No. 3 Water street in
the year 1802. Water street at that time was numbered from Calvert to
South street, subsequently from South to Calvert, and lately
renumbered as formerly. No. 3, the second building from Calvert, is
now occupied by J. E. Warner & Co., commission merchants. In 1807
Joseph Cox succeeded to the business of James Gould & Co., and kept a
retail store on the corner of South and Water streets. Mr. Cox had the
reputation of making a superior class of hats, excelled by no
manufacturer in the country, selling at both wholesale and retail.
Requiring more extensive accommodations, he located his factory on
the corner of Little Water and Calvert streets, where now stands the
large warehouse of Keen & Hagerty, tinware manufacturers. In 1829,
disposing of his hat business to Boston & Elder, he associated with
himself his son James, the firm becoming "James Cox & Son, dealers in
hatters' furs and wools," at No. 1 South Liberty street. In latter
years, the members of this firm having acquired a competency, retired
from business.

Joseph Pearson was established as a hat manufacturer in 1809, having
his shop on Green, now Exeter street, Old Town. He changed his
business in the year 1824 to that of dealer in furs, for which
Baltimore in early days was a good market, the _catch_ of the trappers
of the Alleghanies and of the pioneers of the new West finding their
way to Baltimore, and the otter and muskrat of lower Maryland,
Virginia and North Carolina also coming in large quantities to this
market. The fur business of Baltimore was then of sufficient
importance for Jacob Astor to make Mr. Pearson his representative
agent. In latter years the firm became Joseph Pearson & Son, dealers
in hatters' furs and trimmings, at 260 Baltimore street. All the
members of this firm being dead, Edward Connolly, who was in their
employ, succeeded to the business, afterwards changing it to a general
hat-jobbing business, which is still conducted by Edward Connolly &
Son at 207 W. Baltimore street.

John Amos was a well known and respected hatter of Old Town, who
commenced business as early as the year 1809 at No. 39 Bridge street,
on the north side of the present North Gay street, between High and
Exeter. His "back shop," or factory, was on Hillen street. He
continued business during the period of thirty years at the same
place, and died in 1847 at the age of 67.



PATRIARCHS OF THE TRADE.

No. 7.


Gleaning more closely in the historic field of the early part of the
century, others are found whose enterprise contributed largely to this
important industry of Baltimore, and whose successful prosecution of
the hat business maintained the credit and position won by their
predecessors.

In the year 1814 Runyon Harris erected a large hat factory on Fish,
now Saratoga street. This building was about one hundred and
twenty-five feet in length and two and a half stories high.

The business of this establishment was carried on under the style of
"The Baltimore Hat Manufacturing Co." While evidence cannot be given,
it may be inferred that Mr. Harris must, before this date, have been
engaged elsewhere in the city in the manufacture of hats, as others
entering into business about this time are known to have been
apprenticed to Mr. Harris.

[Illustration: Ye old Hat Factory of Runyon Harris Balto. Erected in
1814]

In 1817 Aaron Clap & Co. commenced the retail hat business at 146
Market street, on the north side, five doors east of St. Paul street,
and probably identical with the present 104 East Baltimore street,
recently occupied by John Murphy & Co., Publishers.

Messrs. Clap & Co. having secured a good location by purchasing the
factory of Runyon Harris, engaged extensively in the manufacturing
business, which was continued by their several successors down to the
year 1864, when results of the civil war (so disastrous to Maryland's
manufacturing industries) caused its temporary abandonment, but the
enterprise established by Messrs. Aaron Clap & Co. has, by an unbroken
series of firms, continued to the present time, being now represented
by Brigham, Hopkins & Co.

In 1817 Henry Lamson kept a first-class retail hat store at No. 5
South Calvert street, the locality now the southwest corner of Carroll
Hall building. In 1822 the firm of Aaron Clap & Co. and Henry Lamson
consolidated, making the firm Lamson & Clap, and continuing the retail
business at No. 5 South Calvert street, in connection with
manufactory. Mr. Lamson in 1827 went to the West Indies in search of
health, and died on the island of St. Thomas. He was a gentleman of
much social refinement, and was held in high esteem as a citizen.

In the year 1827 the firm of Lamson & Clap was dissolved by the death
of Mr. Lamson, and Mr. Wm. P. Cole was admitted, the firm becoming
Clap, Cole & Co. After the death of Mr. Clap, which occurred in 1834,
his widow's interest was retained and the firm was changed to Cole,
Clap & Co.; following this, Mrs. Clap retired and Mr. Hugh J. Morrison
became a member of the firm, which was made Cole & Morrison. In 1842
Thaddeus and William G. Craft became interested, the firm becoming
Cole, Craft & Co., still continuing business at No. 5 South Calvert
street (the same place established by Lamson & Clap). About the year
1850 the firm removed to No. 218 West Baltimore street, now 10 East
Baltimore street and occupied by Likes, Berwanger & Co., clothiers. In
1853 Mr. Cole associated with him his son, William R., the firm being
Wm. P. Cole & Son. In 1857 the firm moved to No. 274 West Baltimore
street, present number 46, where they remained until the year 1867,
removing then to occupy the building which they had erected at No. 30
Sharp street, now 24 Hopkins Place.

In 1861 Mr. Wm. T. Brigham was admitted to the firm, it then becoming
Wm. R. Cole & Co. In 1870 the firm name was again changed to Cole,
Brigham & Co., which was dissolved in 1877 by the withdrawal of Mr.
Brigham, in which year Mr. Brigham associated with Robert D. Hopkins
as the firm of Brigham & Hopkins, locating at No. 128 West Fayette
street (present number 211), which firm of Brigham & Hopkins continued
until 1887, when it was changed to Brigham, Hopkins & Co. by the
admission of Isaac H. Francis.

In 1884 Brigham & Hopkins erected the large and handsome building at
the corner of German and Paca streets, which the present firm
continue to occupy as a factory and salesroom.

In 1810 Andrew Ruff is found at No. 72 Camden street, likely to have
been his place of residence. Whether he was then engaged in business
is not known, but in 1817 he had a factory on Davis street between
Lexington and Saratoga streets, the site now occupied by the stables
of the Adams Express Company. About the year 1822 he established a
retail store at 158 Baltimore street. In 1842 the firm was Andrew Ruff
& Co., at 194 Baltimore street. At one time Mr. Ruff was foreman in
the manufacturing establishment of Clap & Cole.

Henry Jenkins, in 1822, was a hat manufacturer at 28 Green street, Old
Town, and from 1824 to 1830 Messrs. H. & W. S. Jenkins kept a hat store
on the northeast corner of Baltimore and Calvert streets, where
afterwards was erected the banking-house of Josiah Lee & Co., now
occupied by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as a ticket office.

Joseph Branson was a hatter in the year 1827 at 182 Market street. He
was a son of William Branson, who was engaged in the same business
from 1796 to 1817. Joseph Branson ranked as the fashionable hatter of
that time. He was a man of considerable military distinction in the
State. He raised and commanded the famous Marion Rifles, a superb
military organization of the city, to which was accorded the honor of
receiving General Lafayette upon his visit to Baltimore in 1824.

Mr. Branson is said to have been the first to introduce a thorough
system of military tactics in Baltimore. He served several terms in
the City Council, and was an active, enterprising citizen. In the year
1831 he went out of business and took the position of inspector in the
custom house.

Mr. Charles Grimes was a well-known hatter who commenced business at
42 Baltimore street about 1823. In 1831 he removed to No. 29 North
Gay, near High street. He evidently had a love for his first choice,
as in 1833 he is found again at 42 Baltimore street. Mr. Grimes
retired from business as early as the year 1839. He was extremely fond
of the Maryland sport of duck shooting, in which he was associated
with many of Baltimore's sporting gentlemen. In 1853 he removed to
Philadelphia, enjoying a life of comfort and ease. He was an exemplary
man in all the relations of life, and died in the year 1868 at the
advanced age of 73.

In 1810 John Petticord was learning his trade with Jacob Rogers, being
then fourteen years of age. His honesty and faithfulness were
appreciated by his employer, and in 1814 he occupied the position of
foreman in Mr. Rogers' factory. After continuing in that capacity for
some time he commenced the manufacture of hats on his own account,
continuing it until the feebleness of age compelled him to abandon it.

Thomas Sappington was a hat manufacturer who, in the year 1831, was
located at No. 120 Baltimore street, which at that time was at or near
the present number, 116 East Baltimore street. He had his factory on
North street near Saratoga. It is known that he was in business for a
number of years, but what year he commenced and when he abandoned
business cannot be ascertained.

Victor Sarata was a Frenchman who located in Baltimore as early as
1838. He opened a retail store at 259 Baltimore street, and was the
first one to introduce the silk hat in this city.

Wm. H. Keevil was a hatter doing a retail business in 1842 at 66-1/2
Baltimore street. He was evidently of the "buncombe" style, and
conducted his business in a sensational manner, advertising
extensively and brazenly, as will be seen from the following quotation
from an advertisement of his printed in 1842:

"Who talks of importing hats from England while _Keevil_ is in the
field? Pshaw! 'Tis sheer folly. For while he continues to sell his
beautiful hats at his present reduced prices, any such speculation as
importing hats from Europe will be 'no go' or 'non-effect.' The
hatters, therefore, on the other side of the Atlantic had better keep
their hats at home, as it would be quite as profitable for them to
send 'wooden nutmegs' and 'sawdust hams' to New England, or coals to
Newcastle, as hats to Baltimore to compete with the well-known
_Keevil_."

His business existence could not have been of long continuance, as in
1850 his name is not found in the City Directory.

At the close of the first half of this century there were several who
afterwards attained prominence both in business and a public capacity,
among whom were Joshua Vansant, Samuel Hindes, Charles Towson, George
K. Quail, James L. McPhail, P. E. Riley, John Boston, Ephraim Price,
Robert Q. Taylor, Lewis Raymo and others, the last two mentioned being
the only ones now living.



JACOB ROGERS.

No. 8.


To one man more than any other belongs the credit of establishing upon
an extensive scale the hat business, which in the early part of the
present century was so prominently identified with the growth and
prosperity of Baltimore; that person was Jacob Rogers, whose business
career in his native city extended over a period of more than fifty
years, fortified by a reputation that brought the universal respect of
his fellow-citizens, and leaving a worthy example for those succeeding
him.

Jacob Rogers was born in the year 1766. As in those days boys were
apprenticed at an early age, it may be supposed that when he was
fifteen years old he was in the employ of David Shields, with whom it
is known he served his term of apprenticeship at hat-making. In 1796
Mr. Rogers is found the proprietor of a retail hat store at the corner
of South and Second streets. He was an enterprising man, and succeeded
in building up a business of large proportions. He died in 1842,
possessed of a fortune amounting to three hundred thousand dollars, a
large accumulation for those days. In 1805 he built an extensive
factory on Second street, near Tripolet's alley--now Post-Office
avenue--and adjoining the old Lutheran Church, the spire of which then
contained the Town Clock; these old landmarks are now all removed and
the location occupied by the stately edifice of the Corn and Flour
Exchange. The number of hands employed by Mr. Rogers at his factory
and "front shop" was about one hundred, including apprentices. His
"plank" shop comprised five batteries, aggregating thirty men; in the
finishing shop he employed about twenty-five, and he had usually bound
to him as many as fifteen apprentices. This would appear to be a large
force for a hat-manufacturing concern of that early period, but it
must be remembered that the manual labor bestowed upon one hat then
was more than that on some thousands in the present day of
labor-saving machinery.

That Mr. Rogers was a strict disciplinarian and an excellent business
man is proven by the perfect control he exercised over the large
number in his employ, whom he ruled with a firm hand yet with a wise
judgment, and while rebuking any disobedience of orders, was feared,
respected and loved for his strict sense of honor, justice and
propriety.

He boarded under his own roof nearly all his apprentices to the trade;
a few were privileged to lodge at home, while their board was
supplied by their master, as one of the stipulations of their
indenture; so Jacob Rogers' immediate family, which was not a small
one, was greatly enlarged by the addition of fifteen to twenty wild,
untamed "prentice" boys. What would have been the domestic condition
of such a family without the ruling influence of a stern master only
those can imagine who know the kind of material of which the
journeyman hatter of those days was composed. He was a veritable
tramp.

As a rule with Mr. Rogers, chastisement immediately followed
misconduct; with him the present was the opportune time for
punishment, and whether in the home, the shop, or on the street, any
of the shop-boys were found doing wrong, correction was given in the
then customary way--by flogging.

Mr. Rogers was a conscientious member of the Methodist Church, and
maintained a high character for honesty and probity, and recognized as
a fair man in all his dealings.

A good story is told to show how, though driving a keen bargain, he
was careful not to misrepresent. In his store one day he was divulging
to a friend some of the secrets of his business, showing how
successfully a _prime_ beaver-napped hat could be made with the
slightest sprinkling of the valuable beaver fur, a trick just then
discovered. Soon after a purchaser appeared inquiring for a
beaver-napped hat. Mr. Rogers expatiated upon the marvelous beauty of
the "tile," and his customer put the question: "Mr. Rogers, is this a
genuine beaver hat?" "My dear sir," said Mr. Rogers, "I pledge my word
that the best part of the material in that hat is pure beaver." The
hat was bought and paid for and the customer departed, well satisfied
with his purchase. At once Mr. Rogers was catechised by his friend,
who had earnestly watched the trade, remarking: "Why, Mr. Rogers, did
you not tell me that there was but a trifling amount of beaver in that
hat you just sold, and you, a church member, so misrepresent
to a customer?" "My friend," replied Mr. Rogers, "I made no
misrepresentation, I told my customer the honest fact, that the _best_
part of the material of which the hat was made was pure beaver, and so
it was."

The journeyman hatter of Mr. Rogers' time was a character, migratory
in his ways, his general habit being to work for a short time--a
season or less in one place--then, from desire of change or lack of
employment, to seek for pastures new. As railroad travel was not then
thought of, and stage-coach conveyance a luxury at most times beyond
the pecuniary means of the itinerant hatter, the journey was usually
made on foot.

Application for work could not be made to the proprietor, but must
necessarily go through the medium of an employee. Frequently an
applicant in straitened circumstances who failed to be "shopped,"
appealed to his more fortunate fellow-workmen to relieve his destitute
condition, who always made a ready and hearty response by providing
for his immediate wants and starting him again on his pilgrimage with
a light heart and a wish for good luck. This constant wandering habit
frequently brought the hatter of those days to a condition of abject
dependence, and supplied a large proportion of that vagrant class now
denominated "tramps." It was often the boast of these hatter "tramps"
that in the period of a year or two they would make the tour of the
entire country from Portland, Maine, to Baltimore in the South, and
Pittsburg, then "far west," "shopping" awhile in some town or village
and then marching on in search of another chance.

[Illustration: Hat Store of Jacob Rogers.]

In the "season" when labor was in demand good workmen did not apply in
vain, but most hat factories were subject to dull times between
seasons, necessitating a reduction in the number of hands. This
general plan was productive of irregularity in the habits of the
workman, allowing him to have no settled place of habitation.
Baltimore, however, was an exception to the general rule, her
factories providing constant employment for her workmen, thus
encouraging a deeper interest in their vocation.

It is said that in business Mr. Rogers never knew what dull times
were; he kept his hat factory in active operation all the year round.
This prosperous condition of things had the tendency to make the
Baltimore hatter somewhat of a permanent settler, thereby identifying
him more closely with the interests and the growth of his own city,
and causing him to become personally concerned in its success and
prosperity; an experience quite different from that of his
fellow-workmen elsewhere, who were constantly changing their
habitation. Thus the Baltimore hatter was reared under conditions
favorable to his improvement by serving his apprentice days under the
influence of a conscientious master. The effect of this early training
was manifest in his character as a good citizen ever after, often
securing for him in the place of his birth positions of trust, and
many of Baltimore's best citizens, and some of her noblest men,
received their early training in the model hat-shops of their own
city.

With the growing trade of the city, the business of hat-making kept
steady pace. The prosperity of the South, and the constant development
of the West, provided Baltimore with a wide outlet for her products.
Through the business channels of this young and enterprising city
flowed a large proportion of the products of the mills and factories
of New England, assisting materially the business activity of the
place, and it is quite likely that the interests of Baltimore and New
England at that time being so connected is an explanation why so many
New England people migrated to Baltimore in those days of her
prosperity.

With characteristic energy and enterprise, Mr. Rogers extended his
business, pushing forward into new fields as the settlement of the
country advanced. Besides a large trade with the entire South, the
wagon-trains, which were the expresses of those days, distributed his
goods throughout the States of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee,
thus securing to him at that time the most extensive business in hat
manufacture conducted by any one firm in the United States.

Fortune favored Mr. Rogers, and during his whole business career there
was no interruption in the progress of this industry in Baltimore. Not
until his death, or after the middle of the century, was there any
noticeable decline.

The eventful business career and commendable private life of Mr.
Rogers ended on the 10th of April, 1842, he falling suddenly in the
old Light-street Methodist Church while attending divine service. The
Baltimore _Sun_ of April 11, 1842, mentioned his death as follows:

"The illness of Jacob Rogers, Esq., occurred in Light-street Church;
he fell in a faint from which he died an hour after at his residence,
No. 9 South street. He was well known and respected as one of the most
worthy, industrious, and valuable of our citizens of Baltimore."

[Illustration: WESTERN EXPRESS, 1825.]



OLD METHODS.

No. 9.


Just as the first half of the present century was expiring, an
invention was made that at once revolutionized the whole system of
hat-making. A machine was patented in the United States by H. A. Wells,
in the year 1846, which successfully accomplished the work of making
or forming a hat in a very short space of time, which heretofore had
required the slow, tedious and skillful labor of the hands, thus so
equally dividing the century that the first half may be practically
considered as following the _old_ method, and the latter half as using
the _new_ method.

So remarkable was this invention that its introduction quickly
produced a change in the character of hats by greatly reducing their
cost of manufacture, together with a change in the manner of
conducting the hat business. To show up the _old_ method of
hat-making that existed prior to the use of the Wells machine is the
purpose of this chapter, the greater part of the information here
given having been gained from an article in "Sears' Guide to
Knowledge," published in 1844.

Let us enter a Baltimore hat "shop" of fifty years ago and watch the
making of a single hat. Fur and wool constitute the main ingredients
of which hats have always been made, because possessing those
qualities necessary for the process of "felting," the finer and better
class of hats being made of the furs of such animals as the beaver,
bear, marten, minx, hare and rabbit. The skins of these animals after
being stripped from the body are called "pelts"; when the inner side
has undergone a process of tanning the skins obtain the name of "furs"
in a restricted sense, and the term is still more restricted when
applied to the hairy coating cut from the skin.

The furs to which the old-time hatter gave preference were the beaver,
the muskrat, the nutria, the hare and the rabbit, of which the first
was by far the most valuable. These animals all have two kinds of hair
on their skins, the innermost of which is short and fine as down, the
outermost, thick, long and more sparing, the former being of much use,
the latter of no value to the hatter. After receiving the "skins" or
"pelts," which are greasy and dirty, they are first cleaned with soap
and water, then carried to the "pulling-room," where women are
employed in pulling out the coarse outer hairs from the skins, which
is done by means of a knife acting against the thumb, the fingers and
thumb being guarded by a short leather shield. The skins are then
taken and the fur cut or "cropped" from them, which is done by men
dexterously using a sharp knife, formed with a round blade, such as is
used now-a-days in the kitchen as a "chopping knife." By keeping this
knife constantly moving across the skin the fur is taken off or
separated without injury to the skin, which is to be tanned for
leather or consigned to the glue factory. The cutting of furs,
however, had become before 1844 a business in some measure conducted
by itself, and a machine had been invented to separate the fur from
the skin, which, though it might be considered now a simple affair,
was at that time looked upon as a wonder.

[Illustration: FUR-CUTTING MACHINE.]

We have said the women in the "pulling-room" cut, tear, or pull out
the long, coarse hairs from the pelts, and that these hairs are
useless to the hatter. But it is impossible completely to separate the
coarse from the fine fur by these means, and therefore the fur, when
cropped from the pelt, is conveyed to the "blowing-room," finally to
effect the separation. The action of the blowing machine is
exceedingly beautiful, and may perhaps be understood without a minute
detail of its mechanism. A quantity of beaver or any other fur is
introduced at one end near a compartment in which a vane or fly is
revolving with a velocity of nearly two thousand rotations in a
minute. We all know, even from a simple example of a lady's fan, that
a body in motion gives rise to a wind or draught, and when the motion
is so rapid as is here indicated, the current becomes very powerful.
This current of air propels the fur along a hollow trunk to the other
end of the machine, and in so doing produces an effect which is as
remarkable as valuable. All the coarse and comparatively valueless fur
is deposited on a cloth stretched along the trunk, while the more
delicate filaments are blown into a receptacle at the other end.
Nothing but a very ingenious arrangement of mechanism could produce a
separation so complete as is here effected; but the principle of
action is not hard to understand. If there were no atmosphere, or if
an inclosed place were exhausted of air, a guinea and a feather,
however unequal in weight, would fall to the ground with equal
velocity, but in ordinary circumstances the guinea would obviously
fall more quickly than the feather, because the resistance of the air
bears a much larger ratio to the weight of the feather than that of
the guinea. As the resistance of air to a moving body acts more
forcibly on a light than a heavy substance, so likewise does air when
in motion and acting as a moving force. When particles of sand or
gravel are driven by the wind, the lightest particles go the greatest
distance. So it is with the two kinds of fur in the "blowing machine,"
those fibers which are finest and lightest are driven to the remote
end of the machine.

[Illustration: BLOWING ENGINE.]

The "body," or "foundation," of a good beaver hat is generally made of
eight parts rabbit's fur, three parts Saxony wool, and one part of
llama, vicunia, or "red" wool. A sufficient quantity of these for one
hat (about two and a half ounces) is weighed out and placed in the
hands of the "bower." On entering the "bowing-room" a peculiar
twanging noise indicates to the visitor that a stretched cord is in
rapid vibration, and the management of this cord by the workman is
seen to be one of the many operations in hatting wherein success
depends exclusively on skillful manipulation. A bench extends along
the front of the room beneath a range of windows, and each "bower" has
a little compartment appropriated to himself. The bow is an ashen
staff from five to seven feet in length, having a strong cord of
catgut stretched over bridges at the two ends. The bow is suspended in
the middle by a string from the ceiling, whereby it hangs nearly on a
level with the work-bench, and the workman thus proceeds: The wool and
coarse fur, first separately and afterwards together, are laid on the
bench, and the bower, grasping the staff of the bow with his left hand
and plucking the cord with his right hand by means of a small piece of
wood, causes the cord to vibrate rapidly against the fur and wool. By
repeating this process for a certain time, all the original clots or
assemblages of filaments are perfectly opened and dilated, and the
fibers, flying upwards when struck, are, by the dexterity of the
workman, made to fall in nearly equal thickness on the bench,
presenting a very light and soft layer of material. Simple as this
operation appears to a stranger, years of practice are required for
the attainment of proficiency in it.

[Illustration: BOWING]

The bowed materials for one hat are divided into two portions, each of
which is separately pressed with a light wicker frame; the light mass
of fluffy fur, after being pressed with the frame, is covered with a
wet cloth, over which is placed a piece of oil-cloth or leather called
a "hardening skin," until, by the pressure of the hands backwards and
forwards all over the skin, the fibers are brought closer together,
the points of contact multiplied, the serrations made to link
together, and a slightly coherent fabric formed. These two halves, or
"batts," are then formed into a hollow cap by a singular contrivance.
One of the "batts," nearly triangular in shape, and measuring about
half a yard in each direction, being laid flat, a triangular piece of
paper, smaller in size than the batt, is laid upon it, and the edges
of the batt, being folded over the paper, meet at the upper surface,
and thus form a complete envelope to the paper. The two meeting edges
are soon made to combine by gentle pressure and friction, and another
"batt" is laid on the other in a similar way, but having the meeting
edges on the opposite side of the paper. The double layer, with the
enclosed paper, are then folded up in a damp cloth and worked by hand;
the workman pressing and bending, rolling and unrolling, until the
fibers of the inner layer are incorporated with those of the outer. It
is evident that were there not a piece of paper interposed, the whole
of the fibers would be worked together into a mass by the opposite
sides felting together, but the paper maintains a vacancy within, and
when withdrawn at the edge which is to form the opening of the cap, it
leaves the felted material in such a form as to constitute, when
stretched open, a hollow cone.

The "battery" is a large kettle or boiler open at the top, having a
fire beneath it, and eight planks ascending obliquely from the margin,
so as to form a sort of octagonal work-bench, five or six feet in
diameter, at which eight men may work; the planks are made of lead
near the kettle, and of mahogany at the outer part, and at each plank
a workman operates on a conical cap until the process of felting or
"planking" is completed. The "battery" contains hot water slightly
acidulated with sulphuric acid. The cap is dipped into the hot liquor,
laid on one of the planks, and subjected to a long felting process; it
is rolled and unrolled, twisted, pressed, and rubbed with a piece of
leather or wood tied to the workman's hand, and rolled with a
rolling-pin. From time to time the cap is examined, to ascertain
whether the thickness is sufficient in every part, and if any
defective places appear, they are wet with a brush dipped in the hot
liquor, and a few additional fibers are worked in. Considerable skill
is required in order to preserve such an additional thickness of
material at one part as shall suffice for the brim of the hat. When
this felting process has been continued about two hours, it is found
that the heat, moisture, pressure and friction have reduced the cap to
one-half its former dimensions, the thickness being increased in a
proportionate degree, assuming a conical shape.

The "cap" is then taken to the "water-proofing" or "stiffening" room,
where the odor of gum, resins and spirits gives some intimation of the
materials employed. Gum-lac, gum-sandrach, gum-mastic, resin,
frankincense, copal, caoutchouc, spirits of wine and spirits of
turpentine, are the ingredients (all of a very inflammable nature) of
which the water-proofing is made. This is laid on the cap by means of
a brush, and the workman exercises his skill in regulating the
quantity at different parts, since the strength of the future brim and
crown depends much on this process.

After another heating in a hot room, called "stoving," by which the
spirit is evaporated, the exterior of the cap is scoured with a weak
alkali, to remove a portion of the gummy coating, and thereby enable
the beaver fur with which it is to be "napped" or "coated," to adhere.

A layer of beaver fur is spread, and, by means of the "hardening
stick," is pressed and worked into a very delicate and light felt,
just coherent enough to hold together. This layer, which is called a
"ruffing" or "roughing," is a little larger than the cap-body, and to
unite the two, another visit to the "battery" is necessary. The cap
being softened by immersion in the hot liquor, the "ruffing" is laid
on it, and patted down with a wet brush, a narrow strip of beaver
being laid round the inside of the cap to form the underside of the
future brim. The beavered cap is then wrapped in a woolen cloth,
immersed frequently in the hot liquor, and rolled on the plank for the
space of two hours. The effect of this rubbing and rolling is very
curious, and may be illustrated in a simple manner: if a few fibers of
beaver fur be laid on a piece of broadcloth, covered with tissue
paper, and rubbed gently with the finger, they will penetrate through
the cloth and appear on the opposite side. So, likewise, in the
process of "ruffing," each fiber is set in motion from root to point,
and enters the substance of the felt cap. The hairs proceed in a
pretty straight course, and just enter the felt, with the substance of
which they form an intimate union. But if the rolling and pressing
were continued too long, the hairs would actually pass through the
felt, and be seen on the inside instead of the outside of the cap; the
workman therefore exercises his judgment in continuing the process
only so long as is sufficient to secure the hairs in the felt firm
enough to bear the action of the hat-brush in after-days.

At length the cap is to assume somewhat the shape of a hat, before it
finally leaves the "battery." The workman first turns up the edge of
the cap to the depth of about an inch and a half; and then draws the
peak of the cap back through the centre or axis so far as not to take
out the first fold, but to produce an inner fold of the same depth.
The point being turned back again, produces a third fold, and thus the
workman proceeds, till the whole hat has acquired the appearance of a
flattish circular piece, consisting of a number of concentric folds or
rings, with the peak in the centre. This is laid on the "plank," where
the workman, keeping the substance hot and wet, pulls, presses and
rubs the centre until he has formed a smooth flat portion equal to the
intended crown of the hat. He then takes a cylindrical block, on the
flat end of which he applies the flattened central portion of the
felt, and by holding a string down the curved sides of the block, he
causes the surrounding portion of the felt to assume the figure of the
block. The part which is to form the brim now appears a puckered
appendage round the edge of the hat; but this puckered edge is soon
brought to a tolerably flat shape by pulling and pressing.

The workman then raises and opens the nap of the hat by means of a
peculiar sort of comb, and then shears the hairs to a regular length.
Connoisseurs in these matters are learned as to the respective merits
of "short naps" and "long naps," and by the shearer's dexterity these
are regulated. The visitor recognizes nothing difficult in this
operation, yet years of practice are necessary for the attainment of
skill therein, since the workman determines the length of the nap by
the peculiar position in which the long, light shears are held. A nap
or pile as fine as that of velvet can be produced by this operation.

However carefully the process of "blowing" may be performed in order
to separate the coarse fibers of the fur from the more delicate, there
are always a few of the former left mingled with the latter, and these
are worked up during the subsequent processes. Women are employed,
therefore, after the hats have left the "finishers," in picking out
with small tweezers such defective fibers as may present themselves on
the surface of the hats.

Lastly, the hat is placed in the hands of a workman whose employment
requires an accurate eye and a fertile taste in matters of shape and
form: this is the "shaper." He has to study the style and fashion of
the day, as well as the wishes of individual purchasers, by giving to
the brim of the hat such curvatures in various directions as may be
needed. Simple as this may appear, the workman who possesses the
requisite skill to give the acceptable curl to the brim which is to
create the finishing touch for the hat is a desirable hand, and can
command a high rate of wages.

Thus, in our imaginary tour through an old-fashioned hat factory, we
have seen the many skillful manipulations then required to make a hat,
which, when compared with modern processes, awaken in our minds a
sense of wonder at the change.



JOHN PETTICORD.

No. 10.


The subject of this article, who died in Baltimore, October 11th,
1887, in the 92d year of his age, was probably the oldest hatter in
the United States. His identity with Baltimore hatting all the days of
his life made him prominent in connection with that industry. Born but
a few years after the thirteen states had by compact formed a
republic, Washington being President of the United States, Mr.
Petticord lived to see in office every President down to that of
President Cleveland.

When he was a young man of business, savages roamed and tented where
beautiful and populous cities with all the advantages of refinement
and art now exist.

During his lifetime the population of his own city changed from 25,000
to 400,000, and the United States extended its area of territory from
the limits of the thirteen original states, which was 367,000 square
miles, to upwards of 3,000,000, increasing its population from
5,000,000 to 60,000,000.

When John Petticord first made hats, the "Cocked" or "Continental"
style was in vogue. No more curious museum could be collected than
specimens of the various freaks of fashion in hats that appeared
during the lifetime of this old hatter.

John Petticord was born in Baltimore in 1796. At an early age he was
apprenticed to John Amos to learn the trade of hatting; soon after
finishing his service of apprenticeship, he secured work in the
establishment of Jacob Rogers. He was faithful to his duties, serving
his master with that same conscientiousness that he would have done
for himself, soon becoming foreman of Mr. Rogers' extensive factory.
After serving with Mr. Rogers for some years, he entered into business
as a manufacturer on his own account, and continued until feebleness
of age compelled him to abandon it. He was a man of quiet, simple
habits, his chief ambition being to lead an upright life, and appear
before God and his fellow-creatures an honest man.

John Petticord was exemplary in character and habits, modest and
gentle in his disposition, pure in his faith and in his living; he had
no enemies, and was always known as a reliable man. During his long
career as foreman or master of the shop, he never had a quarrel or a
serious difficulty with the many who came under his control. He never
drank intoxicating beverages, although in his early days that was the
general custom, which, with hatters, was unfortunately the universal
habit. His manliness and strength of character were also well
displayed by his never chewing or smoking tobacco. He was patient and
methodical, an indefatigable worker at his trade, believing that
undivided attention to his work was a duty he owed to others.

John Petticord was a patriot, being one of that noble band who
fearlessly stood and successfully resisted the British attack upon
Baltimore in 1814. At that time he was a youth of nineteen working at
his trade. At noon-time on the eventful September 12th, 1814, the
"tocsin" was sounded to call to arms every able-bodied citizen to
defend his home and fireside, and, if possible, prevent the
destruction of their beautiful city. At the first sound of the cannon,
which was the signal agreed upon, John Petticord left his unfinished
noonday meal, seized his musket, and was one of the first to join the
ranks of his company. The day was desperately hot, and a forced march
of two miles to the battlefield brought them, dusty, tired and
thirsty, face to face with the enemy, who was in a fresh condition and
eager for fight. Petticord's canteen, as all others, by regulation
orders, was filled with whiskey, but he, being a temperance man, would
not assuage his thirst with grog. Famishing for water, he obtained
permission from his superior officer to go a short distance away,
where a "squatter" was dispensing cider for the comfort of the
soldiers and profit to himself. Petticord, emptying his canteen of
whiskey on the ground, had it filled with hard cider, and quenched his
thirst with a good round drink. That hard cider, together with heat
and exhaustion, came about as near ending the earthly career of John
Petticord as did the storm of enemy's bullets which whizzed about his
head. On that trying day the bravery of this man was well tested. He
stood manfully in position while his comrade on the right fell dead at
his feet, and the one on his left was removed wounded from the
battlefield, he himself receiving a slight wound on the finger. The
riderless white horse of the British General Ross, who had just been
killed, pranced by in front of the rank in which Mr. Petticord was
stationed, and the hearts of himself and comrades beat lightly with
hope of success, as the shouts of the Americans echoed along the line,
announced the death of the invaders' great leader, encouraging a grand
rally that gave them the victory of the day. Mr. Petticord, though a
brave soldier in the time of his country's need, was a man of peace,
and, upon the ending of hostilities with Great Britain, resigned his
position in the eighth company of the 27th Regiment of Maryland
militia.

Baltimore always honors her noble band of brave defenders, and upon
each anniversary of the 12th of September a public celebration is
given, and the Old Defenders occupy the post of honor. It is but a few
years since they marched with lively and steady step to martial music;
later on, age required their appearing in carriages in the procession,
and each year, at the annual dinner given by the city, their number
has grown less and less.

The present year but three were on earth to answer to the "roll call,"
and but one able to appear at the banquet. Who can realize the sad
feelings of the _last_ of such a noble band? Feeble Old Age, with its
infirmities, mindful of its duty, sat perhaps for the last time around
the banquet board, where, with friends and comrades, he before had
enjoyed happy and jovial times, his spirits were cheered and the
occasion made as pleasant as possible, by the presence of many of
Baltimore's honored citizens; but not to see a single face of the many
with whom during the seventy-five long years he had kept up a pleasant
association, is an experience others cannot imagine.

With Mr. Petticord's death, but two[1] are left of that noble band who
so bravely protected our rights and fought for and firmly secured that
liberty and freedom we of the present day are enjoying.

[1] This article was written in 1887, since when these two have passed
on.



MIDDLE OF THE CENTURY.

No. 11.


Baltimore hat-manufacturing interests at the middle of the century
suffered greatly by comparison with those of an earlier period. That
which had been a prominent industry, engaged in by active,
enterprising men, and extending steadily and widely, keeping pace with
the growth of the country, and giving encouragement to the continued
employment of skilled labor, was at the middle of this century
gradually falling off in volume and importance, and continued to
decline until what was once a thriving and prosperous industry of the
city, became one almost of insignificance.

In the government census of 1810, the statistics regarding hat
manufacturing place Maryland as leading in the manufacture of fur
hats. While Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania gained
rapidly, still this business in Baltimore continued to increase and
grow, until during the period from 1825 to 1850 it reached the height
of its prosperity.

Before the year 1850 the once prominent concern of James Cox & Sons
had retired from the hat-manufacturing business, and the oldest and
wealthiest firm was contemplating liquidation, as Messrs. George and
William Rogers, of the firm of Jacob Rogers & Sons, had decided to
discontinue the business left by their father, choosing to follow
other occupations. The retirement of these two firms, so long and
closely identified with the mercantile and manufacturing industries of
Baltimore, which had successfully contributed by their faithful
business labors to its growth and prosperity, was a serious blow to
the interests of the city. This change left in the field but one
important firm who had been their contemporary--Cole, Craft & Co.--of
which the late Wm. P. Cole was the active business partner. This firm
followed in succession the business established in 1814 by Runyon
Harris, and was the predecessor of the present firm of Brigham,
Hopkins & Co.

Much speculation might be indulged in as to the real cause of the
decline and loss to Baltimore of so important an industry, but the
plain facts force but one conviction; namely, the unwillingness of
these successful old manufacturers to adopt newer methods of hat
making, leading to such reduction in cost, through improvements, as to
preclude the chance of their successful competition with those of more
progressive ideas.

While Baltimore hat makers clung tenaciously to the old ways, whereby
labor and expense were incurred unnecessarily, those at the North were
readily adopting the various new methods by which improvements in the
art of hat making were constantly being made; thus, with the use of
newly invented machinery, the cost of making hats was greatly
lessened, and the Northern manufacturer constantly gained in
competition with those of Baltimore.

The invention of the Wells _Forming Machine_ added largely to the
misfortune of this business. An expensive machine, with a
comparatively tremendous production, required a large market as an
output; a heavy royalty also was attached to it, and the business of
Baltimore at that time appeared not to be in condition to justify its
introduction. Though the machine was invented in 1841, it was not
until the year 1852 that the venture was made to introduce into
Baltimore the Wells _Hat-body Forming Machine_. With the pecuniary
assistance of Wm. P. Cole, Messrs. Bailey & Mead, in 1852, commenced
hat forming by machinery, the "mill" being located on Holliday
street, and afterwards removed to Front street (present number 320).

From failure of support, caused by inability to revive the depressed
condition of the hat business, the venture of Messrs. Bailey & Mead
was not successful, and Mr. Mead retiring from the firm, the business
was continued by Messrs. Bailey, Craft & Co., mainly in the interest
of Mr. Cole's factory, until about 1869, when hat forming by machinery
in Baltimore was entirely abandoned, followed with the retirement of
Mr. Cole from the manufacturing business.

Charles Towson, who established himself in the retail hat business in
1836, on Eutaw street, near Lexington, entered into partnership in
1853 with Mr. Mead, the firm being Towson & Mead; they commenced hat
manufacturing at No. 10 Water street, in the factory formerly occupied
by Jas. Cox & Sons. The business was carried on for about one year,
when it was abandoned and the firm was dissolved. Other parties made
fruitless attempts to restore to Baltimore the prestige it once held
in this business. To one person, however, is due the credit of
maintaining a long, persistent and noble fight against odds and
difficulties, and who, after all chances to restore vitality to an
apparently pulseless enterprise seemed lost, retired from the contest,
unscarred and full of honors, after a creditable business career of
forty-six years, carried on in the same factory where fifty-two years
before he entered service as a boy. This person was Mr. Wm. P. Cole,
who engaged in the manufacturing business in 1827, as a member of the
firm of Clap, Cole & Co.

At the time of Mr. Cole's retirement from the manufacturing business
he was associated with his son, Wm. R. Cole, and his nephew, Wm. T.
Brigham, as the firm of Wm. R. Cole & Co., who were then engaged in
the jobbing hat business and located at No. 30 Sharp street, now 24
Hopkins Place. In the year 1870 the firm was changed to Cole, Brigham
& Co.; Mr. Cole retiring from active business only upon the
dissolution of that firm in 1877, having been engaged in business on
his own account more than half a century, leaving behind a record
bright with faithfulness to duty, unspotted by any unmanly business
transaction, brilliant in having met every business obligation; for,
during the whole course of a long business life, he so systematically
managed his affairs as to allow him to pass safely through the many
perilous business periods he encountered.

As a manufacturer, Mr. Cole acquired a wide reputation for the class
of goods he produced, and when the demand was most exclusively for
soft felt hats, those manufactured by him were considered the best
made in the United States, and were sought by retailers far and near.

While at the outbreak of the Civil War there may have lingered a vital
spark in the hat industry, that event gave it, apparently, a death
thrust. The relative position of Baltimore to both sides was
disastrous to its business interests; being close upon the dividing
line of hostilities, the sympathies of a large part of its citizens
were enlisted in the cause of the South, while, singularly enough, the
larger proportion of the wealth and business interests of the city was
centered in persons allied by family ties to those of the North, who
earnestly upheld the cause of the Union. Cut off from all intercourse
with the South--its legitimate field for business--the share of
Western trade that was enjoyed by Baltimore was lost by the strategy
of war, for with the partial destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad the channel of her Western trade was diverted, and it drifted
in other directions. While dissension and strife were being stirred in
Baltimore and her industries lying dormant, business at the North was
being stimulated by State and Government calls for articles necessary
to equip an army for service. Hats were a needful part of an army's
equipment, and Northern hat manufacturers were called upon for the
supply; their factories soon assumed the life and activity of
prosperity, creating a demand for additional skilled labor with good
pay; this induced the unemployed Baltimore hatter to migrate and seek
other places for his support. Thus did Baltimore part with an industry
of importance closely identified with its prosperous early days,
which, after passing through many vicissitudes, dwindled gradually
until it became apparently extinct.



FASHIONS.

No. 12.


The high crown hat, vulgarly termed "stove-pipe," may be taken as the
general indicator of fashions existing during the period of the
present century. Following the "cocked" hat (the counterpart of the
French chapeau), which style prevailed at the time of the American
Revolution, was the "steeple top," which had a conical crown. This
shape for a high hat was soon abandoned and the bell crown
substituted, and so acceptable has this particular style proved that,
since the opening of this century, it has held supremacy as the
fashionable head-covering for man, despite frequent attempts to
destroy its popularity by the introduction of other shapes, or the
advocating of a change as practical.

High hats were first napped with beaver fur, which material, being
expensive, necessarily made costly hats. Otter fur was afterwards
used, then muskrat, which greatly lessened their cost.

"Scratch" or "brush" hats (terms used for hats made with a felt body
and afterwards combed or scratched until a nap was raised) were
manufactured and worn prior to the middle of the century. These were
all stiffened high hats, and constituted the dressy article of
headwear until the introduction of the silk hat, which for the last
fifty years has maintained its ascendency as the leading article of
fashion in gentlemen's hats.

About the year 1830 the beaver hat assumed huge proportions of crown,
having a very heavy "bell," measuring full seven inches in height and
nine inches across the tip; to this crown was added an insignificant
brim of only one and a half inches in width. These hats were covered
with a beaver nap of such a length that it waved with the wind, and
its appearance upon the head of the wearer was as _outre_ and unique
as the "shako" on the head of a modern drum-major.

To more forcibly illustrate the proportions of this style of hat, we
may say that its actual capacity was nearly a peck.

Besides the high hats of either beaver, brush or silk, caps made of
cloth or fur were much used prior to the introduction of the soft
felt hat, and continued to be so until an incident occurred which
created a sudden revolution in the tastes of the American people
regarding their head-dress.

The visit of Louis Kossuth, the eminent Hungarian patriot, to this
country in the year 1851, had the effect of producing a wonderful
change in the fashion of hats. The one worn by Kossuth was a high
unstiffened black felt trimmed with a wide band, and was ornamented
with an ostrich feather. The immense popularity of this famous
foreigner with all Americans brought about the fashion of a similar
hat. Never before or since in this country did the introduction of a
new fashion in hats spread with such rapidity as did the "Kossuth."
All hat factories in the country were taxed to their utmost capacity
to supply the demand, until every American citizen, old and young, was
to be seen wearing a soft hat ornamented with an ostrich plume. It was
the "Kossuth" that marked the era of the introduction of the soft or
slouch hat, and stimulated the sale of that undress article of
headwear, which continued in vogue throughout the United States for a
number of years. The soft hat appeared in many forms and styles, some
of which became universally popular. The "wide-awake," brought out
during the election campaign of Abraham Lincoln, in the year 1860,
was a noted and successful style. It was a low crown, white felt, with
wide black band and binding.

Robert Bonner's original and successful advertising of his newspaper,
the New York _Ledger_, was a sensation of the day, and the "Ledger"
was the name given to a soft hat that commanded a great sale. The
peculiarity of the "Ledger" was a narrow leather band and leather
binding.

The "resorte" brim was an American invention, introduced about the
year 1863; it was simply a wire held to the edge of the brim of a soft
hat with a binding, and so extended as to maintain a flatness, and
permit its conforming to the head without destroying its outlines.
This invention was patented, and its extensive use brought large
profits to the owners of the patent.

The event of the Civil War gave an increased stimulus to the use of
the soft hat. With the South in a state of excitement, alarmed with
portentous fears of a sectional war, such matters as pertained to
elegance of dress were banished from the minds of its people, and the
North, with a large army recruiting from its citizen class, brought
the universal practice of economy among the American people, limiting
their indulgence in expenditures for articles of dress considered as
luxuries, and the silk hat falling under that ban, dropped almost into
absolute disuse. With the return, however, of prosperity, an apparent
desire for a more dressy article was manifest, and the stiff felt hat
generally denominated the Derby was introduced.

The derby was made in various proportions of crown and brim, as the
caprice of fashion dictated, and was, as its name might imply, an
adopted English style; it gradually grew in favor with Americans,
until it became the universal fashion of the day, maintaining that
position for several years. From an increased popularity it has been
brought into such common use as to again create a growing desire for
an article claiming something bearing a more exclusive mark of
gentility or dignity, which the silk hat meets, and the silk hat is
again so increasing in use as to establish the certainty of its
maintaining with the American people its wonted place of priority as
the article of genteel head-dress, marking the standard of fashion and
style.

Baltimore, always noted for its readiness in accepting foreign
fashions, must have been among the first of American cities to adopt
the silk hat, which was claimed to be of French invention, but if
there be any foundation for the following narrative, the first silk
hat was not made in Paris, but in China. It is stated that a French
sea-captain, while sailing on the coast of China, desiring to have his
shabby napped beaver hat, which had been made in Paris, replaced by a
new one, took it ashore, probably to Calcutta or Canton, to see if he
could procure one like it. As Parisian styles were not in vogue in
China, he found nothing of closer resemblance than the lacquered
papier-mache or bamboo straw. The keen shrewdness of the Chinaman,
however, quickly suggested a near imitation in silk-plush. This is
said to have happened in 1830, and the captain returning to Paris,
showed the Chinaman's product to his own hatter, who, upon perceiving
its beauty, at once attempted its introduction as a fashion, which has
long ruled nearly the whole world.

The first silk hat produced in Baltimore is said to have been made by
one Victor Sarata in 1838, though some contend that Jacob Rogers was
the first to make such goods; but as the silk hat was looked upon as
an innovation, and its introduction opposed by hat makers of that
time, as being detrimental to their interests, it is more than
probable that Mr. Rogers did not give encouragement to the manufacture
of an article likely to supplant the use of his own make of "Beavers,"
"Russias" and "Bolivars," and we may thus safely give credit to Victor
Sarata for first producing in Baltimore this new article of fashion,
originating in Paris, the city from whence he came.

Until the year 1850, Paris fashions were those generally adopted in
the leading American cities, after which English fashions in hats
entirely superseded the former, becoming so popular that not only
large importations of English hats were made, but American
manufacturers invariably copied English styles, and indulged in the
degrading habit of pirating English trade-marks, for the purpose of
increasing their sales. Happily, the necessity for such pernicious
practices is at an end, for during the past ten years the great
strides made by American manufacturers in the improvements of hat
making place them in the foremost rank of that industry; in fact, with
those elements of manufacture necessary to perfection, such as
fineness of texture, lightness in weight, and elegance in style,
American hatters to-day hold supremacy in the whole world, and,
favored by relief from the tariff tax upon raw materials from which
hats are made, all of which is of foreign growth, America will be
found sending to the countries which taught her the art, examples of
this industry far superior to those her teachers ever furnished her.

[Illustration: THE "DERBY" OF 1889.]



NEW DEVELOPMENTS.

No. 13.


A strange fact is that the Civil War, so disastrous in its effect upon
the industries of Baltimore, was followed at its close by the rise of
a new enterprise, of manufacturing straw hats, which so increased and
extended that in number of establishments and volume of production it
soon outrivalled those of fur hats in their most prosperous time, thus
securing to this city a kindred business, greater in extent and
importance than the one which had, by force of circumstances, been
wrested from her. The good reputation which the products of the new
industry has acquired in every part of the country has contributed not
only to the prosperity of the city, but has assisted by adding credit
for the high standard of its manufactured goods.

In the year 1866 Mr. G. O. Wilson and Mr. Albert Sumner left their
homes in Foxboro, Mass., in search of a promising field for
establishing the business of renovating straw hats. Without any
definite place in view, one city after another was visited, Baltimore
being finally their chosen locality. Messrs. Wilson & Sumner
associated with them Mr. W. C. Perry, who also came from Foxboro, and
the firm was made Sumner & Perry, establishing themselves in the rear
of No. 71, now 10 West Lexington street.

Mr. Sumner withdrawing from the firm the same year, the two remaining
partners continued the business at the same place as the firm of
Wilson & Perry. At that time the retail price of straw hats was such
as to allow a profitable business to be done in renovating and
altering styles, and in that branch these persons met with success.

Previous to this, however, others had been engaged in the business of
bleaching and pressing straw hats. Among the first who entered into
the business, as far as can be learned, was the firm of Rosenswig,
Davidson & Ash, about the year 1848; they were cap manufacturers, and
added the pressing of Leghorn hats as an auxiliary business. Mr.
Samuel White, who learned his trade of the previously mentioned firm,
afterwards carried on hat bleaching and pressing in connection with
cap making, at No. 78 South Charles street (present No. 132). From
1850 to 1865 extensive importations of German straw hats came into
the port of Baltimore, and Mr. White did a large business in finishing
these goods. In 1857 Mr. White commenced the jobbing hat business,
forming in 1861 the firm of White, Rosenburg & Co., and is now in
business at No. 9 South Howard street, of the firm of S. White & Son.

Richard Hill, at present in the retail hat business at No. 5 South
Liberty street, was formerly engaged in hat bleaching and pressing at
the same locality.

Messrs. Wilson & Perry continued to prosper in their enterprise, and,
increasing their facilities, gradually developed it into straw goods
manufacturing, confining their business for several years almost
exclusively with two prominent Baltimore jobbing houses, who supplied
sufficient patronage for their constantly increasing production; one
of their patrons being Cole, Brigham & Co., the other Armstrong, Cator
& Co., one of the largest millinery firms in the country.

In 1877 Messrs. Wilson & Perry purchased the premises No. 101 West
Lexington street, now 104, where they secured more commodious
quarters, and, with an admirably equipped factory, continued to do a
large and prosperous business. Mr. Perry died in 1880. In July, 1887,
the firm title of Wilson & Perry was changed, Mr. Wilson associating
with M. Frank, J. D. Horner and A. Levering, formed the firm of Wilson,
Frank & Horner, and occupied the warehouse No. 204 West Baltimore
street, in connection with the factory on Lexington street.

In January, 1875, Isaac H. Francis and James E. Sumner, who had been
in the employ of Wilson & Perry, started the straw hat manufacturing
business at the N. W. corner of Lexington and Liberty streets, and in
the following year Wm. T. Brigham (then of the firm of Cole, Brigham &
Co.) became associated with them, the firm being made Francis, Sumner
& Co. In 1877 the firm of Cole, Brigham & Co. was dissolved, Mr.
Brigham becoming connected with R. D. Hopkins, as the firm of Brigham &
Hopkins, occupying the premises No. 128 West Fayette street (present
No. 211). In 1880 Mr. Hopkins was admitted as a partner in the firm of
Francis, Sumner & Co., and Messrs. Francis and Sumner became members
of the firm of Brigham & Hopkins, the interests of the two firms
having always, in fact, been identical since they were first
established. The two firms were continued until July, 1887, when, by
the withdrawal of Mr. Sumner, they were dissolved, and became
consolidated as the firm of Brigham, Hopkins & Co., now occupying the
large and spacious factory at the corner of German and Paca streets,
erected in 1884.

In the year 1880 Messrs. Francis, Sumner & Co. placed their interest
in their Lexington and Liberty street factory with Wm. Fales and Jas.
M. Hopkins, transferring their own entire business to the enlarged
premises at 128 W. Fayette street. Fales & Hopkins continued at the
corner of Lexington and Liberty streets until the fall of 1883, when
Mr. Hopkins, forced by declining health to give up business, sold his
interest to Mr. Louis Oudesluys, the firm becoming Fales & Oudesluys.
Mr. James M. Hopkins died of consumption at Colorado Springs,
February, 1884.

In 1885 S. C. Townsend and John W. Grace became associated with Messrs.
Fales & Oudesluys, and a new firm formed, as Fales, Oudesluys & Co.,
continuing for two years, when it was dissolved, Messrs. Townsend and
Grace remaining as the firm of Townsend, Grace & Co., at 128 W.
Fayette street, while Messrs. Fales and Oudesluys formed a new firm,
as Fales, Oudesluys & Co., locating at 115 S. Eutaw street. Mr. Fales
remained in the latter firm but a few months, when it was again
changed to that of Oudesluys Bros., comprised of Louis, Adrian and
Eugene Oudesluys, now doing business at 115 S. Eutaw street.

In 1878 Mr. M. S. Levy, who was then a cap maker, commenced the
finishing of straw hats, having the hats sewed by others, while he did
the finishing and trimming, his place of business being then at the
N. E. corner of Sharp and German streets.

With increasing trade, Mr. Levy removed in 1881 to more spacious
quarters at Nos. 318 and 320 W. Baltimore street (present numbers 216
and 218), where he commenced the general manufacture of straw hats. In
1883 he took his two sons into partnership, the firm being made M. S.
Levy & Sons; their premises being destroyed by fire in October, 1886,
they removed to 117 S. Sharp street. In September, 1888, being again
the victims of fire, they occupied temporarily the premises N. E. cor.
Paca and German streets, remaining there until taking possession of
their present extensive factory located at the N. W. cor. of Paca and
Lombard streets.

In 1880 Tomz, Richardson & Co. commenced in a small way to manufacture
straw hats at No. 341 W. Baltimore street (now 317), but, from lack of
business experience, soon abandoned the undertaking.

Messrs. Bateman & Richardson in 1882 embarked in the business,
occupying a portion of the premises No. 5 S. Liberty street. In 1883
Mr. Scutch was admitted as a partner, the firm becoming Bateman,
Richardson & Co., and, removing to No. 55 St. Paul street (now 313),
continued until 1885; not meeting with anticipated success, they gave
up the business.

Messrs. Francis O. Cole & Co. in 1882 commenced the manufacture of
straw goods, erecting for the purpose a building at Nos. 7 and 9
Saratoga street (now 424 E. Saratoga), continuing business until 1885,
when the firm was dissolved.

Mr R. Q. Taylor has long been engaged in the manufacture of Mackinaw
straw hats as a specialty. His acquaintance with and interest in this
product dates as far back as 1850, when he first used the Mackinaw for
his retail trade, since which, every season the "Mackinaw" has been
the prominent straw hat sent from his establishment, and for a period
of fifteen years was the _only_ article of straw hat retailed by him.
The successful control of a special style as an article of fashion for
thirty-five consecutive years is a remarkable record, an
accomplishment that plainly shows ability as a leader of fashion, for
which Mr. Taylor's natural capacity so well fits him.

Mr. Taylor confined the use of the "Mackinaw" hat strictly to his
retail demands until after the year 1868, since when he has
manufactured the article for the trade, distributing his products over
the entire country, and establishing for "Taylor's Mackinaws" a
national fame.

In addition to the manufacture of men's and boys' straw hats, which
class has heretofore comprised the larger proportion of such goods
made in Baltimore, another branch, that of ladies' straw goods, has
been developed, and is already assuming interesting proportions,
promising to become a valuable addition to this industry.

Messrs. Wolford & Shilburg in 1883 commenced the manufacture of
ladies' straw goods at No. 6 E. Pratt street, remaining at that place
for one year, removing in 1883 to No. 205 Camden street, where they
are now located.

In 1887, Messrs. L. W. Sumner, G. K. Thompson and D. Whitney, as the
firm of Sumner, Thompson & Whitney, commenced the manufacture of
ladies' and misses' straw goods, locating their factory at 317 N.
Howard street.

At the present time there are in Baltimore, apparently in prosperous
condition, eight straw hat establishments, giving employment to eleven
hundred hands, male and female, and producing annually, manufactured
goods to the value of upwards of a million dollars, in the
distribution of which Baltimore is brought into close business contact
with every State and Territory of the Union, and the city's importance
as a manufacturing centre is enhanced by the character of articles
sent forth by those engaged in this class of business.



GROWTH OF BUSINESS.

No. 14.


For many years the Mackinaw took precedence of all straw hats as the
most desirable summer article for gentlemen's headwear, far
out-rivalling in its success as a fashion any other straw product ever
introduced to the American people. Having attained this prominent
position mainly through its successful management by Baltimore
manufacturers, it forms an important factor in the prosperity of the
straw hat industry of Baltimore. In fact it is the actual foundation
of the present large and increasing straw goods business of the city
to-day.

While the Mackinaw hat had previously found favor with a few prominent
retailers, it was not until the year 1868 that Mr. W. T. Brigham, then
of the firm of Wm. R. Cole & Co., observing the merits of the article,
concluded to undertake its introduction to the trade, to whom it was
generally quite unknown. Among those who had used profitably the
Mackinaw for their retail trade were R. Q. Taylor, of Baltimore,
Charles Oakford, W. F. Warburton and Louis Blaylock, of Philadelphia.
Though it was an article of domestic production, the beauty and
commendable qualities of the Mackinaw were indeed a surprising
revelation to the trade at large. Each year added to the popularity of
the Mackinaw, until it became the acceptable American straw hat,
without which no first-class retailer could consider his stock
complete. While the great demand existed, Baltimore continued to
supply the larger proportion of all the Mackinaw hats sold, and taking
advantage of the reputation thus gained for such goods, her
manufacturers produced other kinds of straw hats, and by the exercise
of proper care and attention acquired such skill as to secure for the
straw goods products of Baltimore the worthy reputation of being the
best made in the United States, consequently and beyond contradiction
the best in the world.

In the earliest days of straw hat making in Baltimore, at the time
when the Mackinaw was being introduced, the sewing of straw hats by
machine was a new invention, and practically a close monopoly
controlled by a strong combination of wealthy straw goods
manufacturers of the North, who, jointly as a stock company, prevented
the sale of the straw sewing machines outside their own circle.
Fortunately for the success of the new undertaking in Baltimore, the
good qualities of the Mackinaw hat were more satisfactorily retained
by hand sewing, rendering machines in their manufacture a useless
requirement.

Thus an advantage was gained in supplying a hand-sewed hat, embodying
such points of perfection in style and finish as to quite surprise
those not familiar with the manufacture of such goods. The "Mackinaw"
of Baltimore make continued to grow in popular favor until it had
secured a greater distribution than was ever before attained by any
other article of straw hat, making a remarkable record for tenacity,
by holding for upwards of fifteen successive years, popularity as the
leading article of summer headwear.

Baltimore continued to enlarge and increase her straw hat factories
and improve their products, so that now in this industry she stands in
the proud position of being the leading city in the United States in
the production of the best class of straw hats.

This, in brief, is a history of another branch of the hat business,
which attained large proportions, supplementing the one which, having
gained a degree of importance in the manufacturing history of the
city, was by force of circumstances reduced to comparative
insignificance.

The growth of the straw hat business of Baltimore may be looked upon
as somewhat phenomenal. The first introduction of the Mackinaw hat by
William R. Cole & Co., in 1867, may be taken as the beginning of
straw goods manufacturing, and with but a single manufacturing firm
existing in 1875, its development and increase dates from that time.
It is doubtful if in 1875 the total value of manufactured straw goods
produced in Baltimore reached the sum of $75,000, while in the face of
a steady and constant decline in values--the result of labor-saving
machines, together with reduced cost of raw material--an increase in
production of twenty-fold is an accomplishment of less than fifteen
years. This success cannot be attributed to any local advantages, but
is due entirely to the energy, enterprise and business qualifications
of those engaged in the business, qualifications which have
accomplished the result of giving valuable assistance in the city's
advancement as an important manufacturing centre. It has also, by the
recognized merits of its products, lent a worthy influence throughout
the whole United States in sustaining the excellent reputation long
enjoyed by Baltimore for the good quality and reliability of its
manufactured goods.



HISTORY OF THE MACKINAW HAT.

No. 15.


A result of the remarkable popularity of the Mackinaw straw hat was,
that Baltimore came rapidly forward as a straw goods manufacturing
place, becoming important as a center in that particular branch of
business; therefore a history of the article which contributed so
largely to the development of this industry is likely to prove both
interesting and instructive.

"Mackinaw," as a trade term or name, does not, as might be supposed,
indicate the region from whence the articles comes, but undoubtedly
received its christening from some one of the few retailers who early
used these goods, in order to create a distinction from a similar,
but much inferior article, then termed the "Canada" hat. While both
the "Mackinaw" and the "Canada" are made of wheat straw, the
difference between the two, as the product of one country and of
nearly the same latitude, is a great surprise. The wheat of the
eastern part of Canada produces a straw dark in color, harsh in
texture, and of little use for making a hat, while that grown in the
western part of the same country is clear and white in color,
possessing a brilliant enamel which imparts the beauty that rendered
the Mackinaw so famous as an article of fashion.

The Mackinaw must be considered a local rather than a national
production, coming as it does from a region comprised within a small
radius around the city of Detroit, part of which is Canadian territory
and part within the borders of the United States; for while
considerable straw from which the plait is made is raised and plaited
within the limits of the State of Michigan, by far the largest
proportion, as also the best quality, is the product of the Canadian
territory. Nature seems to have provided a small community with
unusual advantages, for within a limited territory has been produced
all the large quantity of straw plait required to supply the popular
demand that for many years existed for Mackinaw hats, and all efforts
elsewhere to produce material combining the peculiarities of this
straw, from which these hats were made, invariably failed.

The claim of the Mackinaw to antiquity and long use is perhaps as
strong as that of other plaits with which the trade has become
familiar, for no doubt the natives of the country made use of these
hats as a head-covering long before they became an article of trade.

The Mackinaw was for many years after its first introduction sold
under the designation of the "Canada" hat, the name given to a similar
but comparatively degraded article produced in Lower, or Eastern
Canada; and the title Mackinaw was first applied by the late Mr.
Charles Oakford, of Philadelphia, or by Mr. R. Q. Taylor, of Baltimore,
each of whom were among the first to make it a fashionable hat.

The makers of these goods are wholly the poor, ignorant half-breeds,
who spring from the Canadian French and the Indian. Finding that hats,
as well as the skins of the animals they trapped, could be traded for,
the family talent was brought into use to produce something that might
contribute to their meagre subsistence. So during the winter season,
while the men hunted the muskrat, the Indian women and children
plaited straw and made hats, which, on the opening of spring, were
carried with the skins obtained by the hunters, to the towns, where
they were exchanged for food, drink, clothing and ammunition.

To the advantages of soil and climate is attributed that purity of
color, brilliancy of enamel, toughness of fibre and elasticity of
texture which are recommendations of the Mackinaw. Added to these
natural qualities was the advantage of a peculiar treatment given to
the straw by the natives, who employed a whitening or bleaching
process without the use of chemicals, giving increased beauty to the
article.

During the prosperity of Mackinaw straw plaiting, a prominent
character among the half-breeds was one Madame Lousseux, a sturdy,
aged matron, with twelve hearty daughters, who, inheriting their
mother's prolific nature, were in turn each the proprietress of a
family of a dozen boys and girls. They all appeared to inherit the old
lady's natural ability and wonderful expertness, and surpassed all
competitors in the plaiting of the straw. The choicest products in
braid and hats came from the Lousseux family.

In 1834, and for many years after, these goods were sold and used only
as ordinary harvest hats. It now seems surprising that an article
possessing such attractive merits should have occupied a secondary
position and been so long in establishing the reputation it finally
secured. The first person, as far as discovered, who used this article
for retail purposes as a genteel and fashionable hat, was Henry
Griswold in the year 1845, who did business in the then little and
obscure town of Racine, Wisconsin. The Raciners must have been people
of an appreciative and refined taste, as it appears that Mr. Griswold
sold the hat for several seasons to his own advantage.

Prior to 1846 these goods were sold in New York by Leland, Mellen &
Co., at that time the largest wholesale hat firm in the country. Mr.
Mellen retired from business in 1851. In reply to a personal inquiry
of the writer in the year 1874, Mr. Mellen wrote from Framingham,
Mass., as follows:

"The Canada straw hat from the region of Detroit was sold by our firm
as early as 1845. After being blocked and trimmed, they were sold as
an ordinary staple hat. We sold a few to John H. Genin, W. H. Beebe &
Co., and Charles Knox, then the leading retail hatters of Broadway. I
think, however, they were sold by them only as a fishing or harvest
hat. We continued to receive these goods from Detroit for several
seasons, until an article from Lower Canada, of inferior quality and
less price, made its appearance, and stopped the sale, as far as we
were concerned."

The exact date of the appearance of the Mackinaw in Philadelphia
cannot be accurately determined, but it must have been as early as
1847. Messrs. Beebe, Coster & Co., a prominent retail firm in
Philadelphia, in 1849, sold the tapering crown, wide brim "Canada
straw hat." From about 1855 to 1860 the Mackinaw became so very
popular in the Quaker City that it was recognized as a leading
article. The prominent retailers then using it were Charles Oakford,
W. F. Warburton, Louis Blaylock, and Sullender & Pascall; each of these
firms themselves finished the straw hats, taking them as they were
sewed by the natives, which was with a taper crown and wide brim,
making little pretence to any variety in style or proportion. Messrs.
Sullender & Pascall made an advanced step and undertook one season to
sell the Mackinaw to the exclusion of all other straw hats, preparing
them in various shapes and for the first time adapting them to the
requirements and tastes of a "nobby" trade.

In 1847 William Ketchem of Buffalo, E. B. Wickes of Syracuse, and John
Heywood & Sons of Rochester sold these hats. In 1848 L. Benedict &
Co., prominent retailers of Cleveland, handled the goods. This firm
was followed next season by Messrs. R. & N. Dockstadter, then a very
prominent concern in the same place. In 1849 they were sold in
Sandusky by C. C. Keech.

The Mackinaw during these periods must have been introduced and sold
in other places, but it had not secured its recognition as an article
worthy of being placed on a level with foreign productions, which
were then considered the desirable and suitable straw hat for genteel
wear. It was probably not until after the year 1855 that the article
received its title of "Mackinaw," and not until then did it secure its
well merited, dignified position.

By far the largest retailer of the Mackinaw hat in this country, and
the one to whom belongs the greatest credit in popularizing it, is Mr.
R. Q. Taylor, of Baltimore. He introduced the hat to his customers as
far back as 1850, and for _thirty_ consecutive seasons sold it without
any apparent diminution of popularity. For many years Mr. Taylor sold
the Mackinaw to the exclusion of all other straw hats. At one time so
identified did the Mackinaw become with the people of this city, that
it was said a Baltimorean might be recognized anywhere by the straw
hat he wore. Mr. Taylor asserts that in the years 1872 and 1873 he
retailed from his own counter, in the two seasons, upwards of 9000
hats. The reputation of the Mackinaw has been admirably sustained by
Mr. Taylor, whose firm is still engaged in their manufacture, with a
constant demand for them. Probably no other straw hat ever introduced
to the American public can show such a continued and extended sale. In
1868 Messrs. Wm. R. Cole & Co., predecessors of the present firm of
Brigham, Hopkins & Co., commenced to produce these goods for the
general trade, and it is to their efforts that much of the widespread
popularity of the Mackinaw is due. They first tried these hats with
their own local trade, and finding them eminently successful, ventured
to offer them in New York, meeting with much encouragement. From a
small commencement their trade in these goods continued to increase
until a large and well established business was secured, continuing to
grow in volume and extent, and becoming the precursor of an industry
that places Baltimore in a leading position as a manufacturing place
for straw goods.



MODERN IMPROVEMENTS.

No. 16.


In the rank of those whose successful undertakings have contributed
towards the restoration to Baltimore of a lost industry, and placing
it upon such a foundation as to have it recognized as one of
importance, no firm stands more prominent or has done more towards its
accomplishment than that of Brigham, Hopkins & Co. The straw hat
business inaugurated by this firm's immediate predecessors, and
encouraged by their own efforts, has grown in volume and strength
until Baltimore is now designated in trade parlance "the straw hat
city," rightfully claiming the honor of surpassing in this class of
her manufactured products the efforts of all rivals of this or of any
other country.

Messrs. Brigham, Hopkins & Co., while possessing a large business,
have the pleasure of conducting it in a spacious building, whose
architectural design is one of the handsomest of its kind in the
country, and whose conveniences for the successful prosecution of
their business cannot be excelled. A business coming from one of its
pioneers through a direct succession of firms gives to Brigham,
Hopkins & Co. a natural pride in such an inheritance, and brings also
a pleasure in being able to trace its progress from its origin,
showing how this branch of manufacture was at an early day brought to
an admirable condition of prosperity, afterwards to pass through a
period of almost total decay, then again to attain a development that
entitles it to rank with any of the successful and prominent
industries of the city.

It is a pleasant reflection as well as a happy coincidence that the
restoration of a forsaken industry, once a vital element in the city's
life and activity, is greatly due to the labors of the firm who, in
this branch, connect the past with the present, the old with the new.

The enterprising business traits manifested by Runyon Harris, in
erecting, in the year 1814, a large hat factory in this city, seemed
to have prompted his various successors to a spirit of emulation,
enabling them to preserve the legacy bequeathed them, and to
perpetuate that reputation for meritorious products that was so early
earned in the factory of Mr. Harris.

Following the erection of the factory by Mr. Harris came the firm of
Aaron Clap & Co., who purchased the property and commenced in 1817 the
manufacture of hats, and a remarkable fact--one encouraging an innate
pride in their successors--is that during three-quarters of a century
all of the firms inheriting a title of descent from that of Aaron Clap
& Co. have passed in safety through every financial convulsion of the
country, and have promptly met every pecuniary obligation incurred.

Although during the former period of prosperity in the hat business of
Baltimore, felt hats only were manufactured, which business was
completely reduced by the unfortunate conditions existing at the time
of the Civil War; its revival came through the establishing of a
different branch, that of the manufacture of straw hats; and while
Messrs. Brigham, Hopkins & Co. have lately entered extensively into
the manufacture of silk and felt hats also, it is the purpose of this
article to dwell more particularly upon facts relating to the straw
hat branch that has contributed so largely in bringing Baltimore once
again forward as a leading hat manufacturing city.

Prior to 1860 Messrs. Wm. P. Cole & Son, then manufacturers and
jobbers, became especially interested in the straw goods branch of
their business. Being at that time manufacturers of the best class of
felt hats, the straw goods sold by them were all made in the factories
of the North. Machines for sewing the straw braid were not then in
use, and much of the straw products of foreign countries came ready
sewed in shapes that were very irregular in proportions and sizes. The
looseness of the stitches in sewing rendered the use of glue a
necessity in the manufacture of the hats, producing an article of
headwear that gave but little comfort. Suggestions for improvements
were given the manufacturers, who adopted them with advantage to
themselves. The first suggestion made by the Baltimore firm was an
improvement in the appearance of the hat by trimming it with wider
bands. At that time the use of bands about 14 lines wide was
prevalent, and the adoption of 23-line bands was looked upon as a very
radical departure. The substitution of leather sweats for those of oil
muslin was also first undertaken by the Baltimore firm; following
which, the most important improvement ever gained in the production of
straw goods was conceived and executed in this city, which was the
abandonment of the heavy glue-sizing and the manufacture of the
comfortable "flexible finish" straw hat, an accomplishment secured by
careful attention to the proper sewing of the goods aided by hand
finish.

For several years Wm. P. Cole & Son and their successors had straw
hats of their own designing made and finished at the North, continuing
to suggest improvements which were made at their command, and the
privilege of retaining which for their own trade was for the time
extended to them by the manufacturers, from which they gained such
advantages as would arise from having goods superior to and differing
from the general class sold by others.

It was in the year 1875, upon the dissolution of the firm of Cole,
Brigham & Co., that Mr. W. T. Brigham and Mr. R. D. Hopkins, uniting as
the firm of Brigham & Hopkins, became straw hat manufacturers. The
Mackinaw straw hat had at this time gained well in popularity; the
natural firmness and flexibility of the Mackinaw were merits
particularly acceptable to the trade, and the new firm made a careful
study of embodying as far as possible in the manufacture of all their
straw hats, those essential points possessed by the Mackinaw. So
successful were their efforts that, by the exercise of thorough
watchfulness, they continued to improve, until they secured for their
products a celebrity that gave the firm the foremost position in the
trade.

Following the onward movement of the straw hat business in Baltimore
since its first introduction (less than twenty years ago), it is
interesting to watch its constant and steady growth, and to observe
the advance that has been accomplished. Even before Messrs. Brigham &
Hopkins entered upon the business, a great improvement in the straw
goods had already been made through the favorable impetus imparted by
their predecessors. Straw hats which from a lack of style and comfort
had heretofore played a secondary part in the conditions of man's
costume, were so much improved in style and finish as to be accepted
as a desirable article of dress, thus an increased demand was created
for them.

To still further improve the straw hat, and as near as possible secure
perfection, was the aim of the Baltimore manufacturers.

Entering the field with the commendable object of producing a class of
goods that should be recognized as the best, Messrs. Brigham &
Hopkins, abandoning traditional ways, commenced their work upon a
thoroughly independent basis; copying after none, but relying upon
their own ingenuity; striving to improve upon every last effort,
observing and studying the wants and needs of their customers, they
continued to put forth a class of goods bearing an undoubted stamp of
originality, which, being supplemented by excellent workmanship and
the use of good materials, resulted in securing a large patronage, and
brought to them a constantly increasing trade. In this way did the
firm secure a recognized position at the head of the straw hat
industry of the country, and gained for their products a reputation
for excellence in style and finish that is widespread over the whole
country. American manufacturers had a long and tedious struggle in
their efforts to overcome the prejudices of the people existing in
favor of foreign productions, but steady endeavors to win the approval
of Americans for American made hats have scored a genuine success, and
the American gentleman of to-day may take a just pride in wearing a
straw hat of Baltimore make--one not to be excelled.



A MODEL ESTABLISHMENT.

No. 17.


That part of the history of Baltimore which relates to the present
position of its hat industry is especially interesting, as it records
a business that has acquired large proportions, placing it prominently
among the many important manufactures of this city.

A business identified with the very earliest days of the city's
existence, growing and assuming in its movement a condition of vigor
and prosperity that is encouraging for the future, has given to
Baltimore a name and fame that places her in an enviable position at
the very head of the hat-manufacturing cities of this country.

As an example, showing the growth and progress of the hat business,
and giving evidence of its extent in Baltimore at the present time,
no better illustration could be offered than a description of the
complete establishment erected by Messrs. Brigham, Hopkins & Co. for
the requirements of their extensive business.

[Illustration: PRESENT FACTORY OF BRIGHAM, HOPKINS & CO.]

While at the present time the hat business of Baltimore is largely
confined to the special manufacture of straw goods, a revived movement
made by one firm in the manufacture of silk and felt hats assures a
development of that branch of the business also into such proportions
that ere long it may restore to Baltimore the prestige and rank it
once held as the manufacturing centre of high grades of that class of
goods.

Going back to the early period of 1814, Runyon Harris, the predecessor
of this firm, in advance of his time displayed evidence of progressive
ideas by erecting what was then considered a large and spacious
factory. His structure was one hundred and twenty-five feet in length,
about twenty-five in width, and two and a half stories high; the area
of space upon the two floors, which was alone suited for work-people,
was 6200 square feet.

The line of successors to Runyon Harris have all been found
proverbially enterprising and energetic, always noted as active and
successful manufacturers of their day. Inheriting somewhat the spirit
of activity so marked in their worthy predecessors, Messrs. Brigham,
Hopkins & Co. are found in the advance, and make no idle boast of an
establishment whose breadth of space, architectural beauty, and
convenience of arrangement find few rivals in the whole catalogue of
similar business places in this country. Their warehouse, prominently
situated, rising six stories above ground, being one hundred and fifty
feet deep by forty in width, gives a surface area of 42,000 square
feet of work room, all of which is provided with unusual advantages
for daylight and ventilation. Added to this is the detached
"make-shop" of the firm, located at Relay Station, on the line of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, nine miles from the city.[2] It is a high
studded building, of one story, built in this manner to allow the
condensing and evaporation of steam, which escapes from the
"batteries" of boiling water, around which the men are constantly at
work. This building is one hundred and thirty by sixty feet, giving in
addition to the city warehouse 7800 square feet, or a total in round
numbers of 50,000 square feet, upwards of an acre of working space,
which is a good showing of growth and expansion when contrasted with
one of the best establishments of the year 1814.

[2] This department has lately been removed to the city, and is
located corner Paca and King streets.

The handsome structure at the corner of German and Paca streets was
erected by Messrs. Brigham, Hopkins & Co., designed and arranged to
suit the demands of their own manufacturing business. Ground was
broken in the month of April, 1884, and the building completed and
occupied in January, 1885. It has a frontage of forty-one feet six
inches on German street, and extends back on Paca street one hundred
and fifty feet to Cider Alley.

Located upon one of the broadest thoroughfares, at a point which is
the water-shed of this part of the city, being at the level of one
hundred feet above tide-water, it rises prominently among other fine
warehouses surrounding it, showing its array of architectural beauty
to advantage, for it is one of the most imposing of the mercantile
structures of the city. The building is constructed of Baltimore
pressed brick and the famous Potomac red sandstone, which together so
harmonize in color as to render a very pleasing effect; the
ornamentations surrounding the windows are in terra-cotta and moulded
brick. The style of the building is Romanesque, or round arched. Very
striking features are the immense arched openings upon the Paca street
façade, being seventeen feet in width and twenty-five feet in height,
which with their broad treatment of mullioned panels and heavy
rough-hewn stonework, give strength and character to the building.
These spacious windows are not simply for effect, but designate the
location of the principal offices, and by their wide expanse afford
abundance of light to the show-rooms, making these departments
particularly attractive by the cheerful airiness and brightness that
plenty of sunlight always brings.

[Illustration: THE LARGE OFFICE WINDOWS.]

Throughout the whole building is a generous treatment of spacious
windows, flooding the interior with a bountiful supply of light, so
necessary to the production of properly manufactured goods as well as
to the health and comfort of the work-people.

The main entrance to this building is marked by its liberal dimension.
A slight elevation is made from the sidewalk, and beyond a recess of
several feet are framed two large French plate glass windows, which
afford a view of the entire extent of the first floor with its offices
and extensive storage room. Entrance doors are placed on either side
of this recess.

[Illustration: THE FRONT ENTRANCE.]

Broad stairways connect every floor, providing easy and quick ingress
and egress at both the front and the back part of the building,
rendering in the greatest degree security to the lives of those
employed within.

Adjoining, in the rear, is another structure three stories high,
separated from the main building by fire-proof brick walls, and used
as a boiler-room, as also for other departments of work desirable to
be kept apart from the general work-rooms. This separate building was
designed as an additional means of safety, in not having the large
boilers within the limits of the main building.

From basement to roof this model factory is well equipped with all
necessary modern plans for producing the best that is capable of being
made in this manufacturing line.



WAYS AND MEANS OF THE PRESENT TIME.

No. 18.


Taking the start for a tour of inspection through the establishment of
Brigham, Hopkins & Co., one is ushered directly into the first or main
floor of the building, which is partly occupied by offices for the
members of the firm and for the necessary clerical force, as well as
the show-rooms for the exhibit of the products of this factory. These
various apartments are partitioned off with handsomely beaded cherry,
and a series of arched windows give beauty to the architecture and
serve the practical purpose of ventilation.

The several rooms upon this floor are handsomely finished in solid
cherry; this was done solely with the view of harmonizing the effect
with that of the exterior of the building, rather than for an
indulgence in luxury.

In the first office is a capacious fire-proof vault, having its
counterpart in size in the basement, upon which the one in the office
rests; it is built of yellow enameled-face brick, and with its
handsomely finished iron door surmounted with a bold decoration in
terra-cotta, adds greatly to the ornamentation of this room. The desks
are all of cherry, large and capacious, designed expressly for the
required accommodation of the bookkeepers.

Adjoining is the private office of the members of the firm; among the
decorations of this room is a spacious open fire-place, ornamented
with terra-cotta tile and a handsome mantelpiece in carved cherry. The
carpeted floor and tasty furniture serve to give that comfort that is
looked for in the modern office of the business man. Beyond and
leading from this office are show-rooms for the exhibition of the
firm's products. These show-rooms, two in number, are without doubt
the best in finish, breadth of space and arrangement of any in this
branch of business in the United States, affording the best
conveniences for the display of the handsome goods they contain; the
first in size, 25 x 18 feet, with an adjoining one 18 x 12 feet, is
supplied with handsomely designed show-cases of solid cherry and of
glass; the wall space is colored a light tint, while the ceilings are
laid off in yellow and brown. A long table of cherry occupies the
centre of the large room, while the hard-wood floors are partially
covered with oriental rugs. When these rooms are filled with the
choice products of the firm, embracing the finest qualities of straw,
with their trimmings of various hues and colors, intermingled with the
sombre black of the derbys and the brilliant lustre of the silk hat,
upon which is thrown a bountiful supply of light that comes from the
spacious windows, a striking melange of harmonious colors is produced.
Here the customer is surrounded by all that is desired from which to
make his selection.

[Illustration: A BIT OF THE OFFICES]

Beyond these show-rooms is still another room devoted to the valuable
collection of hat trimmings. While to the uninitiated the trimmings of
a hat, consisting merely of its band and binding, may appear quite
insignificant, yet to the manufacturer it is a part of great
importance. Here in this room, stored in various quantities, are two
hundred different designs of hat-bands, every one of which is the
product of a French or German loom, mostly made from original designs
furnished and sent abroad to be executed for this firm.

From this, the last of the series of departments on this floor, exit
is gained to the remaining space, which is used for the packing and
storing of goods ordered and received finished from the factory.

With an ascent to the second floor by a broad stairway, the
"finishing" department of silk and fur hats is entered; this
department occupies the entire space of this floor. Here the silk hat
is made and finished complete, and the derby, whose process of
manufacture belongs to several departments, receives its finishing
touches, of curling and setting the brim, after which it is neatly
nested in tissue paper and placed in paper boxes to be sent to the
packer.

The third floor provides three departments: that of silk and felt hat
trimming, straw hat trimming department, and that very valuable and
necessary auxiliary to business, the printing department. Although two
branches of the hat business are carried on under the same roof (that
of straw and that of silk and felt hats), they are kept entirely
separate and distinct in all their requirements and details, which
affords a reason for the difference in aspect of the trimming
departments on this floor. In one, the multitude of busy hands is at
work upon hats of black, while in the adjoining department, the many
nimble fingers are handling the light and delicate straw and the
bright ribbons, making a contrast of the sombre with the gay.

Entering the next department, we find that element of development,
that force of propulsion by means of which modern business plans are
moved and executed--the printing press. This department is fitted and
furnished complete with such requirements as are necessary to the
advance of an enterprising business. A large Gordon press, propelled
by steam power, is kept constantly in use to supply the vast amount
of printing required in the details of this business. Tips, labels,
size-marks, tickets for use in the various departments of "making,"
"sewing," "sizing," "finishing," and "blocking." Order tickets,
coupons, boxes and box labels and mercantile printing are but a
portion of the work done here. In addition, a patent gas-heating press
is used for printing in gold and silver leaf. There also emanates from
this department a monthly trade journal, conducted under the auspices
of the firm.

Ascending to the fourth floor, the noisy sound of machinery is first
heard. This is the department for sewing straw braid; here
unquestionably centres the interest in a hat factory; the hum of a
hundred machines quickens the pulse, and to the observer, the interest
and astonishment increases as the wonderful machine with its lightning
speed, guided by the magic touch of the young woman who rules it,
draws towards itself yard after yard of the delicate strand of straw
plait which it sews together by the finest stitch of the most slender
thread, till suddenly a hat comes forth, complete in its full
perfection of shape. One's surprise would not be more greatly
heightened by a display of the magician's art. The marvel of this
accomplishment may be effectively demonstrated by a simple statement.
That bit of mechanism occupying a space of 10 x 12 inches, with its
apparently simple arrangement of levers and cogs, merely carrying a
needle to and fro, up and down, will do in a single minute the work an
industrious woman with her unaided fingers could not do in less than
an hour. That little machine is capable of doing within the working
hours of a day the labor of sixty women; while a hundred machines in a
factory are capable of producing the handwork of six thousand people;
this shows the progress of the world, and the advance that has come
to this branch of industry within the last thirty years.

[Illustration: SEWING DEPARTMENT.]

Straw braid preparatory to being sewed is wound upon reels, from which
it is easily fed to the sewing machine; this department of winding and
reeling is also located upon this floor.

Adjoining is the machine room. This department is not only the
hospital for invalid and incapacitated machines, where they receive
the treatment required to put them in suitable working condition, but
its field of usefulness is extended to the making of much of the
required machinery, implements and various tools used throughout the
establishment.

Another flight of stairs and the fifth floor is reached. This is the
straw hat pressing department, occupied entirely by men. Here are the
more weighty evidences of labor and work. Heavy and powerful hydraulic
presses are used in shaping the ordinary kinds of straw hats, and the
necessary metal moulds that form the "dies" for these machines
represent tons of zinc. Also in this room is row after row of benches,
equipped for that special branch of "hand-finish," which has so
greatly assisted in the reputation of the straw hats sent from this
establishment. These benches each accommodate six workmen, are
supplied with a labor-saving appliance of great merit, the invention
of one of the firm's employees and at present in use only in this
factory, which is, that by means of rubber tubes a combination of gas
and air is carried into the pressing irons, by which heat is regulated
to any required degree. The advantage of this may be realized when it
is known that heretofore these press-irons were heated by "slugs" or
pieces of iron or steel, which, drawn from the furnaces of anthracite
coal fires, were encased in the hollow irons. By this new invention a
remarkable saving is made, by the abandonment of the furnace, in the
coal necessarily used, also in the not insignificant matter of time
consumed by the presser in the constant replenishing of "slugs." Its
work is acceptable to the workman and desirable for securing an
improvement to the goods.

[Illustration: STRAW HAT FINISHING DEPARTMENT.]

The next, the sixth floor, has a department of both the straw and felt
hat branches of the business. The finishing department of felt hats is
a large room 150 by an average of 25 feet, closely studded on three
sides with large windows, which at this height throw upon the workmen
an unobstructed flood of light, affording unusual advantages for the
most thorough perfection in the finish of these goods. This room has
capacity for one hundred finishers, allowing generous space for each,
giving the convenience and comfort that but few factories afford their
work-people.

Adjoining is the department of bleaching and dyeing of straw plaits.
This department is supplied with all the modern conveniences for
securing the best results. Large wooden vats receive the straw plaits
for a thorough cleansing before it is ready for manufacture. Bleaching
tubs are near at hand, and large copper vats with all the required
steam attachments for dyeing the many desired colors are here
conveniently arranged.

Ascending still another flight of stairs, the drying department is
reached; this is the most spacious of all the many divisions of this
establishment, for it has the sky for a ceiling and unlimited space,
being virtually upon the roof. Here, ninety feet from the ground, is
carried on one of the important divisions of the straw hat business.
Two large rooms, really houses in themselves, are built upon this
roof; these are the bleach houses, which are provided with artificial
stone floors, rendering them thoroughly secure from the chance of
ignited brimstone coming in contact with any part of the woodwork of
the building. The remaining space upon the roof, equal in its extent
to two good-sized city building lots, is secured around and over by a
substantial wire netting. Within this enclosure the hats and straw
braids coming from the bleaching and dyeing departments are dried.

Ascent has been provided by stairways leading from the front part of
this building; descent is also had by the rear, where broad stairs are
partitioned off from the work-rooms, making a continuous spacious
hallway from top to basement--a wise precaution, taken in consideration
of the safety of the lives of those employed. This building, capable
of accommodating six hundred work-people, is provided with the most
convenient means of escape in case of fire by these broad stairways at
each end of the building.

As additional precaution for safety, the boilers supplying the
required steam for the various departments, as well as for the motive
power and heat, are in a building adjoining the main one, but
separated by a fire-proof brick wall, and is only accessible by
entrance from the outside; here are located two boilers, with a
combined capacity of one hundred horse power. Above this boiler-room
are two departments desirable to be kept apart from the others; these
are the moulding and casting departments, in one of which is made the
vast number of plaster shapes and blocks required in the factory, and
some idea may be gained of the quantity when it is here mentioned that
this department converts annually two hundred barrels of plaster of
Paris into hat blocks.

In the casting department are the necessary melting furnaces and other
requisites for casting metal "dies," parts of machinery, and the
various things needed in a large manufacturing business.

Two large freight elevators, reaching from basement to roof, each of
one ton capacity and propelled by steam power, are placed in the
building. These elevators are furnished with automatic attachments by
which as they ascend and descend each of the floors open and close,
thus avoiding permanent openings, the frequent cause of accidents and
assistance in the spread of a conflagration; an additional small
elevator gives the convenience of transmitting light packages to and
from every floor.

Electric bells and tubes afford telephonic communication with every
department. Steam heat radiates throughout the entire building, and a
reel of hose attached to a water supply pipe is in readiness upon each
floor in case of fire. The length of steam, gas, and water pipes
throughout the building is estimated at five miles. The telegraph
call-box signals for the messenger, and the telephone, aids in the
execution of the advanced method of reducing the detailed requirements
of a large business to a perfectly controllable system in its
management.

The engine supplying the motive power for this establishment is
located in the basement. With exception of this room, partitioned off
for the engine, the entire space of the basement of this large
building is used for receiving and storing raw materials used in the
manufacture of both straw and fur hats. Here the visitor's imagination
may indulge in a wide scope, and his thoughts wander away to many
foreign lands, for in this store-room are found the products of nearly
every country in the world. China is seen in its strong and durable
straw plaits; Japan, a new and formidable rival, shows its handsome
goods; far-off India contributing its products, while England, France
and Belgium send their choice plaits; Italy, Germany, and Spain are
represented, as also South America, Canada, and our own United States,
while the Hawaiian Islands make a pretence at competition with the
world in the making of straw plaits, by submitting creditable
specimens of their native products. Furs for making derby hats are
also here, sent by Russia, France and Germany. In observing the firm's
connection with countries quite encompassing the entire globe, some
idea of the extent of this business may be realized.

Thus a fair description is here given of a thoroughly equipped hat
factory existing in Baltimore, in the year eighteen hundred and
eighty-nine, and the reader may realize by comparison the advance of
improvement from the last decade of the eighteenth century to the
commencement of the last decade of the nineteenth century.

THE END.


The Hatter and Furrier

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    THE HATTER AND FURRIER, Monthly,                    $2.00 per Year
    THE CLOTHIER AND FURNISHER, Monthly,                 2.00    "
    THE CLOAK, SUIT AND LADIES' WEAR REVIEW, Monthly,    2.00    "
    THE HATTER AND FURRIER DIRECTORY, Yearly, in June.

       *       *       *       *       *

Advertising Cuts for Hatters, Furriers, Clothiers and Furnishers. Send
for illustrated catalogues.


Hatters' Letters

_FOR INITIAL LETTERS IN HATS_.

GUMMED AND EASILY ATTACHED.


_BLOCK OR SCRIPT, IN GOLD OR SILVER._

A complete alphabet of twenty-six dozen letters (one dozen of a kind
in a package) mailed on receipt of P. O. Order or stamps, for $1.50.
Any special letters at the rate of 75 cents per gross (no dozen
packages broken). Neat and strong division boxes at 50 cents apiece.

_GEO. FRANKE, 31 Hanover St.,_

_Baltimore, Md._

REFERENCE: DUN'S MERCANTILE AGENCY.


CHAPIN HATS

Are sold by a representative Broadway Hatter at a saving to the
consumer of

=ONE DOLLAR ON EACH HAT.=


Guaranty with Derby Hats.

PRICE FOUR DOLLARS.

This hat is warranted equal in value to any sold at Five Dollars. It
is absolutely correct New York style. The styles are issued
semi-annually by the undersigned and his agents throughout the United
States and Canada.

Spring Shapes, first Wednesday in March. Fall Shapes, first Wednesday
in September.

CHAPIN.

    1179 Broadway
    and 12 Astor Place, New York.


Guaranty with Silk Hats.

PRICE SEVEN DOLLARS.

This hat is warranted equal in value to any sold at Eight Dollars. It
is absolutely correct New York style. The styles are issued
semi-annually by the undersigned and his agents throughout the United
States and Canada.

Spring Shapes, first Wednesday in March. Fall Shapes, first Wednesday
in September.

CHAPIN.

    1179 Broadway
    and 12 Astor Place, New York.

FIRST-CLASS HATTERS

Wishing to secure the CHAPIN Agency for territory not already
represented will please communicate with

L. A. CHAPIN,

=1179 BROADWAY, NEW YORK=.


_ONLY SKILLED WORK-PEOPLE EMPLOYED._

EDWARD A. SELLIEZ,

MANUFACTURER OF

=Fine Cloth Hats and Caps,=

No. 17 North Fifth Street,

Careful Attention Given to Details. =PHILADELPHIA, PA.=

_=NEW YORK AGENT, W. P. MONTAGUE, 635 BROADWAY.=_


YOU MAKE A SAFE HIT

WHEN YOU CALL UPON

=C. W. FINDLEY & CO.=

_261 N. Third Street, Philadelphia, or Cor. Baltimore and Liberty
Streets, Baltimore,_

=FOR HATTERS' PRINTING, ADVERTISING NOVELTIES, RICKETT'S HAT TAGS, PURE
GOLD INITIALS, BOX LABELS, SIZE MARKS, ADHESIVE LABELS, ETC.=


WATERBURY BUTTON CO.

No. 48 HOWARD STREET,

NEW YORK.

FACTORY, WATERBURY, CONN.

MANUFACTURERS OF

    MILITARY, AND ALL UNIFORM BUTTONS,

    LADIES' FANCY METAL BUTTONS,

    CLOTH, AND ALL KINDS OF COVERED BUTTONS,

    VEGETABLE IVORY BUTTONS,

    GILT, PLAIN AND FANCY BUTTONS.

FANCY BRASS GOODS.

TOILET PINS. NURSERY PINS.


_WILLIAM P. MONTAGUE,_

MANUFACTURER OF NOVELTIES IN

BOYS' AND CHILDREN'S

=HATS,=

=635 Broadway, New York.=

SELLING AGENT FOR

=BRIGHAM, HOPKINS & CO.=

BALTIMORE.

=EDWARD A. SELLIEZ,=

PHILADELPHIA.


The Most Desirable

=STRAW,=

Silk, Cassimere, Fine Stiff and Self-Conforming

=HATS=

ARE THOSE MADE BY

=BRIGHAM, HOPKINS & CO.=

    _FACTORIES_:  { _German and Paca Sts., Baltimore._
                  { _Paca and King Sts., Baltimore._

    _SALESROOMS_: {  _German and Paca Sts., Baltimore._
                  {  _635 Broadway, New York._

The productions of BRIGHAM, HOPKINS & CO. rank as BEST in the UNITED
STATES, which signifies the BEST in the WORLD.





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