Top hat

Designer Nash American

Not on view

The black "topper" quickly became the most common men's hat of the 19th century, evolving with some modifications in height and brim shape from the earliest versions that appeared in the 1800s. Initially appropriate for daily wear, the top hat was reserved for more formal occasions in the late 19th century, a tradition that continues in the 21st century. By the time this hat was made, silk plush had replaced beaver fur as the favored material for hatmakers. Coincidentally, the maker and retailer of this hat, Nash, operated from a shop on Astor Street in Manhattan, named in honor of John Jacob Astor (1763-1848), a man who built his fortune on the demand for beaver fur used to make hats in the late 18th century and early 19th century.

Top hat, Nash (American), silk, American

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