London hatter William Bowler is credited with making the first derby hat in 1850, which is why derbies are often called bowlers. Made of hard, shellacked felt and designed to protect horseback riders from branches scraping their heads (the felt would be of no help in a fall), the hat featured a melon-shaped crown that was much lower than top hats, the traditional riding hats of the day, as well as a rounded brim. Derbies quickly crossed...Continue Reading
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