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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Boss of the Plains" to "The Open Road"


"Last drop from his Stetson" by Alonzo Lon Megargee

John B. Stetson Company began in 1865 with a hundred dollar investment and has been devoted to producing some of the finest hats in the world.  In a small rented room with the tools Stetson purchased along with $10 worth of fur, the Stetson Hat Company was born.  A year later the "Hat of the West" or the now famous "Boss of the Plains" hat was born and the name Stetson was on its way to becoming the mark of quality, durability, innovation and beauty.

John's father, a master hatter, trained his son in the hat trade. There, he would applied his learned skills and knowledge that built a legacy. Although, at the time of John's beginnings, most hatters were looked upon as unreliable.  John B. Stetson changed that and built one of America's most well-known and successful businesses. The longevity and history of the John B. Stetson Company is based on innovation and quality!

"Open Road"
His first hat that became known as "Boss of the Plains" was a lightweight all-weather designed that met for the demands of the American west. It was intended to be durable, waterproof and elegant. This design, and the term "Stetson", eventually became all-but-interchangeable with what later became known as the cowboy hat. 

At the turn of the 20th century, Stetson had over hundred different design hats for men and women.  His hats grew so popular throughout the nation, he moved the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania location to St. Joseph, Missouri, with a second factory in Galveston, Texas.   The Stetson hats would grow iconic being worn by celebrities such as Tom Mix, Gene Autry, John Wayne gracing the heads of America's most treasured Western heroes.

Although another hat design known as the "Open Road" had the classic rancher creased crown. The brim, unlike the wide brim of the Boss of the Plains had a shorter cut that bound the edge at a mere 2 3/4 inch. This shorter brim style hat grew popular often worn by the likes of many celebrities and cowboy's as well. Cajun musician Amadé Ardoin wore the stylish hat long before it became famous and renamed after President Johnson often called the "LBJ Hat."  Although, other Presidents of the United States often wore the same styled hat including President Truman and President Eisenhower who both were known to wear the similar stylish fedora.

Today, both hats, the "Boss of the Plains" and the "Open Road" continue production where Stetson hat industry provided the reputation for quality that became the business creed for over 130 years and is
President Truman
stamped inside each hat. The Stetson name and word quality became synonymous.

As a result, world wide, the mention of cowboy hat, often is mentioned as "Stetson" for their classic styling in the essence of the spirit of the West and an icon of everyday American lifestyle.  Today the Stetson hat factory located in Garland, Texas remains one of the largest hat businesses in the country and produces a line of hats in hundreds of different styles and colors.  Stetson through its authentic American heritage,  remains part of the American history handcrafted and made in the U.S.A.

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower
 October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961


Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969)


Bois Sec Ardoin
 cousin to Amede Ardoin

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