Steampunk inspiration and resources

Hat’s Off to Bowlers

A big part of the nonfiction Steampunk book I am writing is going to be a series of timelines to help place people, places, events and cultural movements in relation to one another. I am really looking forward to doing this coming up in the Fall, and the first I am working on is about fashion. So as I delve into my research I will be writing a new monthly series that is going to focus on different types of hats. This month will pay homage to the steampunkiest of hats, the Bowler.

found on The Graphics Fairy website

found on The Graphics Fairy website

As with any mention of a Stetson, Bowler should always be capitalized because it is named after a person, or in this case, persons. The brothers Thomas and William Bowlers first created the hat in 1849. Their task was to create a hat that would protect the head of Edward Coke, the brother of the second Earl of Leicester, and other men who pursued horseback riding and other outdoor gaming in their leisure time. According to the story, when Coke showed up to pick up the hat he stamped on it to test its strength. In later years the Bowler became associated with city gentlemen, and beat out other men’s headgear as the most popular in both the UK and America in the 19th century. By the 21st century, we don’t have many examples of Americans still wearing them, but they are still required garb for many men in England. During the annual military parade, for instance, they are part of the military costume.

In Steampunk circles, it not uncommon to see women sporting a Bowler hat as well, or to see tricked out Bowlers that include goggles or other steamy adornments. I compiled a fun gallery of just a few of the many Bowler hat adaptations out there on the interwebs. Enjoy!

 

3 responses

  1. Sadly, the wearing of bowlers is actually pretty rare in England, and I’ve only ever worn mine for costume. But I did buy a Lego set yesterday almost entirely because one of the figures has a bowler hat and that makes it perfect for steampunk projects.

    Like

    July 8, 2015 at 8:00 am

    • Whoa! What set was that?

      Like

      July 8, 2015 at 9:04 am

      • A very silly Ultra Agents one called Toxikita’s Toxic Meltdown. The minifigs have a bowler hat, a hazmat suit and a hat with goggles, so are going to be very handy for my current building project – a steampunk / mad science adventuring town.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 8, 2015 at 9:23 am

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