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The History Of The Bowler

Ascots for sale bowler

From women in Bolivia, cowboys in the American West, all the way to the English businessman, the bowler is one of the most iconic hats in history since its humble beginnings in 1849.  Its style is only second to that of the ascot tie.  

Maybe you've seen Charlie Chaplin in a bowler or have noticed Winston Churchill wore one. The proliferation of the bowler can thank British railway workers for wearing and spreading the craze. 

Thomas Bowler and Edward Coke devised the hat and that is why you may have heard the felt headpiece referred to as a "coke" as well. 

For gamekeepers in the 1800's, top hats were a problem when it came to wearing a hat to protect themselves from poacher attacks and sharp branches in Norfolk.

Coke, related to the 2nd Earl of Leicester, challenged the hat-making company, Lock & Co., to come up with a solution. 

Coke was nicely introduced to the chief hat-maker at Lock, Bowler, who created a rough version of his innovative hat for Coke to review.

Coke immediately threw the hat on the ground and jumped on it repeatedly to test its durability. The hat remained strong, and Bowler was given a meager 12 shillings for his new design.

Ascot Tie For Sale - Bowler

By the 1950s and 1960s the bowler was a staple dish for perfect city gentleman, after being worn by working-class men in the Victorian age.  

 Not only attractive, the bowler was also practical headgear for those who needed a hat that would not blow away easily in the wind. Think of Billy the Kid or Butch Cassidy and their escape rides on horseback. 

The hat was soon known as the "Derby" in the US because of its popularity with Derby-goers who had already climbed the highest of social ranks. 

On Cavalry Sunday in May, both Princes Harry and William have been seen wearing bowlers alongside distinguished cavalry officers in London's Hyde Park.

Just before World War One, the hat was known to be proper attire for officers who were on duty in London. The tradition continues to this day. 

To this very day, Lock & Co makes the famous hats for those who want top quality.  The hats fit nicely with an ascot tie. Current customers include the Earl of Leicester who still wears one among gamekeepers today. 

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