Cowboy hats are Western style hats that were originally created as part
of a cowman's daily wear. The wide brim could be used for fanning
a fire, scooping water, or waving to distant riders. Most
practically, they served as an effective barrier to the effects of the
sun, wind, and rain.
Many years ago, on a hunting trip, John B. Stetson's companions were
amused with his creation of an unusually large hat with a wide brim
made out of "fur felt." At first, he wore it just for fun, but
as he came to appreciate the protection it offered, he began to wear
it constantly. Other cowboys liked his hat so much that he began
manufacturing them, thus creating the style and the Stetson name that
we have come to associate with the cowboy hat. Different shapes
and styles began to emerge, and in the Wild West, one could tell what
region another rider hailed from by noting the subtle crown dents
and brim adjustments made to the hat.
Nowadays, some hats are made of straw, but most are still made with
felt. Felt is an unusual material that is made of thousands
of short animal-fur fibers and therefore, tends to twist together
when kneaded in hot water and steam. It is also excellent for
repelling water and cold temperatures. Cowboy hats can be made
of fur felt or wool felt. Fur felt cowboy hats are attractive and
lightweight; they can also withstand wet weather conditions without losing
A man wearing a cowboy hat plays an acoustic guitar.
The best quality and most durable cowboy hats are usually made with beaver
fur or rabbit fur. Beaver fur is used for most fur felt hats because
it is denser, more dimensionally stable, and more water-repellent than
CowboyHats.us features cowboy hat care and construction information,
as well as a directory of online Western wear shops and
selected cowboy hat makers.