Here is a bit of hat history from our founder, Fred Belinsky. Fred, runs our US website: www.villagehatshop.com and he sent us the story below. No one in our UK office had ever heard of this and we thought it was pretty fascinating. We hope you enjoy.
In the early 20th century there was an unwritten rule that one was not supposed to wear straw hats past September 15. If someone was seen wearing a straw hat after this date, they were, at minimum, subjecting themselves to ridicule, and it was a tradition for youths to knock straw hats off of wearers’ heads and stomp on them-a kind of license for hooliganism. This tradition was well established, and newspapers of the day would often warn people that the fifteenth was approaching, and people would be advised to switch to felt hats.
In 1922, this tradition got out of hand and led to what is now known as the Straw Hat Riots. The riot began on September 13,1922, two days before the unspoken date, when a group of youths decided to get an early jump on the tradition. This group began in the former “Mulberry Bend” area of Manhattan; they removed and stomped hats worn by factory workers who were employed in the area. The more innocuous stomping turned into a brawl when the youths went after a group of dock workers’ hats, and the dock workers fought back. The brawl soon stopped traffic on the Manhattan Bridge and was eventually broken up by police, leading to some arrests.
Despite the initial brawl being stopped by police, the fights continued to escalate the next evening. One man claimed that after his hat was taken, the culprits joined a mob of about 1,000 who were snatching hats all along Amsterdam Avenue. Several men were hospitalized from the beatings they received after resisting. Many arrests were made. Police were slow to respond to the riots, although several off-duty police officers found themselves caught up in the brawl when rioters attempted to snatch their hats.
Though we are sure that something like this would not happen in today’s world, after reading a news story like that we thought you might want to take a look at our selection of winter hats offering a wide choice of felt hats.