Though the ten-gallon cap doesn’t actually organize 10 gallons, this Stetson classic has come to be an indisputable part of cowboy culture.

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If you had to name a agency known for top quality hats turn off the top of her head it would be nice easy. The very first and possibly just one that automatically comes to mind? Stetson. This American classic brand is recognized for its cowboy hats, otherwise well-known as the ten gallon hat.

Stetson and the initial ten gallon hat

Founded in 1865 in the American West, the john B. Stetson agency certainly aimed come please. The ceo of the levels hat was one of its early stage offerings, providing practical workwear because that the style-conscious cowboy. The story behind the is a an excellent one too. 

As the story goes, during his travels to the Rockies and also the great Plains after ~ the end of the American polite War, Stetson realized the his eastern city hat was as well small-brimmed because that the wild Wild West. He had some beaver pelts and nothing to shape them with but a level frying iron and also a food preparation pot.

And now you know exactly how the hat gained its vast brim and overall shape. 

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The hat that Stetson created had around a four-inch (10 cm) crown and also a large brim that can be curled, if desired, and also it ended up being quite popular. Reportedly, human being Stetson met along the trails would sell him as lot as the price of a Colt pistol for among his hats, therefore he knew he to be onto something. The hats quickly ended up being widely available starting at “one-grade quality” because that $5 all the way up to “full beaver” because that $30 (about $471 today!).

Stetson started the john B. Stetson Company, started marketing those hats, and also the remainder is history! 

The crease you now discover in cowboy hats would certainly come later, v the Tom Mix hat, called after the silent cowboy movie star who made the popular in between 1910 and also 1930. However the ceo of the plains was the hat that started it all.

Does the ten gallon hat really host 10 gallons?

A rapid glance in ~ the hat tells you the it certainly doesn’t organize 10 gallons (37.85 L). A well known Stetson heralding poster painted by cowboy-artist Lon Megargee the circulated about 1924 may have actually helped spur this claim. Title “The critical Drop from His Stetson,” the painting depicts a cowboy crouched down in front of his trusty steed as that seemingly slurps up water indigenous his ten-gallon hat.

To lend a small Texas phrasing: though “The last Drop indigenous His Stetson” is a well painting, it’s additionally a most hogwash.

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Though you would think the your hat would certainly be destroyed if a horse drank water indigenous it, those initial Stetsons to be as hard as the cowboys that wore them. In fact, as soon as the battleship USS Maine sunk in 1898, then increased 14 years later on in 1912, among the initial Stetsons on board was found. 

They cleaned off the muck, and even ~ 14 years of salt water and nibbling fish, the cap was fine.

The problem with the 10-gallons insurance claim isn’t in the hat’s durability, however rather in its capacity. John B. Stetson himself filled up among his hats and also confessed that it would truly hold only a usually 3 quarts; the is, just 0.75 gallons (2.84 L).

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So just how did the ten gallon hat get its name?

There are two conflicting theories on the origin of the name, both situated roughly the vaqueros, the cowboys of Mexico. One theory is the the name for the ten gallon hat comes from the Spanish indigenous galón, a kind of braid that decorated a hat’s crown. Texas cowboys may have understood the word together “gallon” and also the name spread.

The various other theory is the the names comes from the Spanish tan galán, meaning “very gallant” or “very dashing.”

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Tom Mix to be an American movie actor that starred in beforehand Western movies in between 1909 and 1935. The ten gallon hat was Tom Mix’s trademark. Mix would even help an unemployed john Wayne uncover work shifting props at Fox Studios, helping Wayne beginning his Hollywood career. (Photo: Flickr/Breve Storia del Cinema)In reality, many cowboys wore bowler hats, so photo the Wild West through a whole lot an ext “Clockwork Orange” going because that it than you might be comfortable with. Entertainers like Buffalo bill Cody, Tom Mix, and John Wayne aided to provide the ten-gallon cap its modern association together the cowboy hat.