Hats are Hungarian invention. Don’t you believe? You must read it!
Hats are Hungarian invention. In Hungarian opinion of course. During our visit in Mr Mihalko’s Gyula workshop in Balmazujvaros we saw a lot of traditional, male hats, typical for different regions of Hungary.
I was so surprised they were just classical models like bowler, fedora, trilby or pork pie!
I thought (so far) they were made only by Western hatters. Shame of me! They are traditional, folk Hungarian hats!
Let’s talk about bowler for instance. Hungarian name of this hat is Debreceni keménykalap, it means “heavy hat from Debrecen”. Right, bowler is very stiff type of hat. Just like a helmet. It was invented as “a durable headcovering for ghillies and fieldworkers whose soft hats could not withstand the daily punishment of rural life” (McDowell Colin,”Hats, Status, Style and Glamour”, 1992).
Before bowler or trilby became famous in London or Paris they were worn by Hungarian shepherds, farmers or merchants. That story we fount out in Balmazujvaros. Btw: my Hungarian friend, Balazs, says felt became popular in Europe through Hungarian ancestors. Well… what is your respond for that statement, craftsmen from Scandinavia?;)
Back to Hungarian hats’ forefathers. These classical models were very popular among Hungarian citizens and they made up an important elements of male outfit in 19/20th century. The proof: photos from Museum of Ethnography in Budapest (check Hungary’s biggest online ethnological database):
There are specific Hungarian hats with rolled up brim. They are still popular today and worn by many Hungarian shepherds.
This is one of my favorite hat: „Kossuth-kalap”. The brim could be wide or narrow, but is always rolled up.
A hat is like your business card. Width of brim or trimming show people who you are, where are you from and what is your social status. If you are a master you should wear wide brim hat, if you are shepherd – apprentice you should wear narrow. Quality of felt is crucial as well. If you are a boss- Your hat should be made of the best, thick, felt. If you are I.g. learned worker your hat will be made of thinner felt. “Thick or thin” I mean amount of wool necessary to make a felt hat. The quality of felt density of is always the same: very heavy.
Original Hungarian from 19-20th century worn a hat (moustache and smoking a pipe). There was high demand for hatters’ services in that time in Hungary. Part of their heirloom you can find at Museum of Ethnograpy in Budapest.
Well. Reco-tour is coming. Our warehouse is empty so far. Back to workshop at once!