Saturday, June 02, 2007

June 2, 2007
Lounging at the BBB suite at the Weston Kierland Hotel. T. Charles flew in from Philly at noon and the entire famdam went out for lunch at El Conquistador ($75 and change, house account). Deena and her boyfriend, Frank, flew out last night for Aruba, while Tomas, Kathy and I went up to Harkins 101 to see "Knocked Up," the new comedy from Judd Apatow. Tickets were $28.50 for three! Enjoyed the movie. Quite funny.

Speaking of humorous, I finally have been able to access my AOL email and here are selected comments on the winged-hat debate:

“Yes, Hat Nazis have regular meetings and we create lists and name names of those who insist on wearing Gus Hats [the hat style Robert Duval wore in Lonesome Dove] for the 19th Century.”
—Alan Huffines

“Here’s my take on the photo of Buck Taylor and his hat: he was in a costume. That doesn't mean any working cowboy would have been caught dead in that hat. And that is an issue separate from the date of the photo.”
—Mary Fiore

“Here in Alberta all our old photos from 1880's and 90's show cowboys wearing whatever was available and cheap. Very few would be considered a ‘well dressed cowhand ‘!!! There was very little difference between the miners, farmers and cowboys of the pre 1900 era. All the fancy dressers north of the border were from south of the line. Most of these cowboys were traildrivers who followed the herds north from Texas and made Canada their home. These Americans certainly made an impression on many British dudes and the pond jumpers soon knew what you had to wear to look like a ‘cowboy’.

“In some cases there was strong resentment for anything American. The historic ranch where I volunteer in the summer would not call the hired help cowboys but only used the term "riders" to describe them. Queer but true!!

“Our hero of Calgary Stampede fame, Guy Weadick, was involved in wild west shows in the states before coming to Canada about 1910. He always wore big hats, high heeled boots and was a fashion model for what the cowboy wore to let folks know he was no dirt farmer !!! Guy did more than anyone else I know to promote the COWBOY WAY in Canada. And even though he was born in Rochester, New York, is buried in my town of High River just 12 miles away. We are very proud of what this one man did for cowboyin in Canada and liked us enough to want to be buried in our soil.”
—Bill Dunn, Alberta, Canada

“Found the photo of workers at Promontory Point of special interest. When researching Dan Casement (founder of American Quarter Horse Association and prominent stockman of Manhattan KS in first half century of 1900s), found his father General Jack Casement and uncle Dan Casement were the fellas who managed to put together the crews and build the eastern part of Union Pacific - Omaha to Promontory Point. Seems their key to success was the innovation of housing their crews in rolling bunkhouses which traveled along as they progressed and keeping a fresh food supply at hand by keeping a cattle herd with them. thus solving refrigeration problems. So I suppose their 'herders' were precursors to (or contemporaries of? not sure of timelines) the Texas cowboys who drove the herds to meet the rail heads in Kansas then take the herds as far as Montana. I would assume they all selected hats that they could get that cooled/warmed/protected their heads with less concern for looks?”
—Sharon Tally

"Some 34 years ago I worked as the hat man for Sheplers Western Wear in Wichita. As a hatter and with my bent for history, I started what has now become a fetish when viewing old west pics. The first thing I always do is to scan for head wear. My conclusion is about 1 in 20 pictures of men shown wearing head wear, say from California Gold Rush days through the so-called closing of the frontier west in 1890, will show hats with some degree of brim 'roll' (check the image of Billy the Kid).

"During my three years as a hatter, I came to use aeronautical (what else can you expect from living in Wichita) directional terms for hat brim and some crown shapes and how they may have naturally developed.

"A hat with the front/rear brim or both pulled down, I refer to the degree of 'pitch'. This can naturally occur as a hat is snugged down on the cranium. I guess when the front of the brim is pushed up (a la Buffalo [Windy] Bill Cody) I probably describe as reverse pitch.

"When describing a hat brim with the sides pushed up, I'll talk about the degree of 'roll'. Again this can occur naturally from a variety of causes: As an act of courtesy men, especially during the Victorian era, would remove their chapeau in the presence of a lady. Try holding your hat with both hands and you'll discover that your fingers will start curling the brim toward the crown. In a windy climate (again as a Wichita denizen I know something about windy days), unless you like chasing your hat after it blows off, you will use both of your hands to pull your hat down to secure it on your head thereby forcibly rolling your fingers around the brim to get closer to the crown and get a tight fit. Felt fibers in hats have a memory. Under a microscope you can see that there are tiny hooks on each fiber that connects it to other fibers. A new hat has 'sizing' to make it stiffer and solidify a particular hat shape. Sizing breaks down over time due principally from moisture. Hatters will use a steamer to relax felt fibers and make the sizing pliable. After steaming, the sizing solidifies around the new memory/shape. Early on in a hats life, it can developer new memories either though actual creasing or unintended repetitive pressure. Remember how in many of Glenn Ford's westerns his hat had a 'mule kick' in the front of the crown? That can be caused by constantly picking up and holding a low crowned hat from the top. Glenn's hat also was characterized by the back of the hat's brim being pushed up toward the crown. If a hat is set down on a shelf on it's brim (a sacrilege) rather than it's crown and then pushed to the back of the shelf against a wall or rear window in a car, heat and humidity will create a memory even with nominal pressure.

“At Cowtown, I've discovered that period correct clothing issues are always the most contentious. I've learned however that even clothing Nazis can be turned around if presented with real evidence to the contrary of their general beliefs.

“I also recall the advice given you by the wife of True West's original publisher. Boiled down, what she said was when the discussion centers on what shade of yellow was Tom Horn's hat band, rather than western history buffs telling a good story, you are going to lose your audience.”
—Ed LeRoy, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, Kansas

“How many real cowboys have you seen pictured with tiger skinned chaps? Answer: Just as many as had winged brim hats. One.

“Ergo, just because circus clowns wear fright wigs and big red noses doesn't mean everyone has to. I don't think you're looking at a representative sampling.”

“The way I heard it out here in La La Land was that in the early days of filming Western movies, the cameramen had the actors curl the brims of their hats so the sun could light their faces more easily.”
—Steve Lodge

"Sometimes the most proactive thing we can do is to just genuinely smile. Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice."
—Stephen Covey

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments