University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

The great hat manufactories of the United States,   pp. 496-510 ff.

Page 506

tion in 1851, is composed of four partners, each of whom has well-
defined duties, for which his special qualifications best fit him, in the
administration of its affairs. From the beginning, the members of this
firm have manifested a progressive spirit, and the influence of their
mental activity has been felt in all the wide ramifications of the Hat
manufacture. They were the first in this country, it is said, who dis-
covered the art, in which the French excel, of producing the various
fancy dark colors, such as dark maroons, wine and plum colors,
browns, etc., and Hats of this description are now universally colored
by the process which they were the first to apply. Producing largely
of those choice styles adapted to the requirements of the trade of
large cities, they have been prolific in originating those novelties in
style which constitute the fashion of a season. In the Wool Hat
branch, especially, they have introduced, from time to time, new features,
which attained such extensive popularity, that, if patented, they would
have resulted in great pecuniary advantage to the firm. Of these,
probably the most important was the use of an appliance by which
any desired shape can be given to the brims of soft fur and wool Hats.
Their process insures permanency, as well as beauty, in the form of
brim, and has contributed greatly to increase the popularity of wool
hats for children and youths' wear. This firm were the first to succeed
in making " thread mix" wool hats-which, though produced in France,
had not been made in this country until they introduced them. There
were also but few, if any, Children's Wool Hats made in this country
until they had created a demand for them by the improvements which
they had introduced in style and methods of manufacture. Of the
various novelties originating with this firm, we believe the only one
secured by patent, is an inlaid hat, in which figures and designs in
wool are felted in with the body. A still greater novelty, pertaining to
the class of inlaid hats, has been invented by them, but not as yet in-
troduced into the market, because of the present prevailing preference
for plain colors. While this firm have attained a reputation mainly as
manufacturers of choice styles of Hats for children, youth, and young
men, in both fur and wool, for the best retail trade of the large cities,
they have not neglected the production of those staple goods adapted
to the wants of jobbers, and the wholesale trade generally.
The facilities of Messrs. Moore & Sealy Brothers, in machinery, is
adequate to the production of two hundred and fifty dozen of Hats
daily; and for several years their sales have amounted to three quarters
of a million of dollars. They employ about four hundred persons, and
pay for labor nearly two hundred thousand dollars per year. Their
products are sold to all parts of the United States, from Maine to Cali-
fornia, and from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, including the Canadas.

Go up to Top of Page