Fur Felt Hats

Written by James Lyons
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For centuries, fur felt hats were synonymous with beaver felt hats and millions of hats were manufactured well into the 1950s for men and women alike. Since then, cheaper blends of beaver and hare have become more prevalent. Consumers are able to receive the same quality without sacrificing style.

Fur felt hats are produced most commonly from rabbit fur. Hats made from Beaver felt were to see a marked decline in the mid 1800s and gradually became replaced by the silk hat, followed by fur felt hats and wool felt hats. Hare fur today is also fairly common with a combination of rabbit and fur being more popular. These hats have provided their owners with style, comfort and warmth for hundreds of years.

More on Fur Felt Hats

The initial stage is the production of a cone. This is produced by placing a certain quantity of fur onto the top of the forming chamber (an upright cylindrical compartment which houses a copper cone approximately one meter in height). The perforated cone then slowly rotates while an exhaust fan beneath it sucks the air and the loose fur in the chamber down onto the revolving cone, creating a mat of loosely interwoven fibers. The cone is then submerged in a tub of scolding hot water where the heat of the water shrinks the fibers thus beginning the felting process. The fur forms a loose layer of felt and is removed from the cone.

At this point, the felt hood is much larger than the finished hood. To achieve such a significant decrease in size, the layer of felt is put through a folding process. The felt is then dipped in hot water and put through rollers, which squeezes out the excess fluid. Similar processes are used in the making of woolen hats and bowler hats.


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