The Top Hat

Have you got a vintage top hat hidden away in the attic? Although they are not worn in everyday life now, a century ago they were common on the heads of those who wished to show their status. Thankfully, these days you don't risk arrest for wearing one!

Top hats were first worn in the 16th Century although did not become popular in England until the late 17th Century. The earlier ones were covered in silk plush and it wasn't until 1797 that the silk top hat was seen in London on the head of a hatmaker named Hetherington - who was subsequently arrested and charged with 'disturbing public order' by wearing such a creation in public!

*The officer, who dealt with the scandal, described the offence as follows: 'Hetherington had such a tall and shiny construction on his head that it must have terrified nervous people. The sight of this construction was so overstated that various women fainted, children began to cry and dogs started to bark. One child broke his arm among all the jostling.'* (*excerpt from

The top hat differs from the stovepipe hat in that it is slightly wider at the top than where it meets the brim. The stovepipe hat cylinder is the same diameter throughout its height.

There are many types of top hat and you can read a wonderful article about them here:

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