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The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

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  • Ambrose Bierce
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Check out the AC Approved Vendor List. There are several vendors who make hats, among other things, and being as these purveyors are endorsed by the AC you will be working with proven providers.

    In your search, look for the reproductions that meet the regs in construction, pattern, and materials. Details often equal dollars, but doesn't always mean that more expensive is better.

    Finally, there are hats available on the used market, both here on the AC and on FB. Bender made a lot of hats and these come up for sale periodically.

    Leave a comment:


  • Thalomen
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Originally posted by robwall1861 View Post
    Jeff,

    If it helps at all, this is a picture of my Tim Bender hat (enlisted). I mainly use it for 1861 NC impression - that's why the left side is turned up (I do both US and CS). I can't speak for officer items though.[ATTACH=CONFIG]53755[/ATTACH]
    Thanks! I appreciate the picture. I think I'm going to end up going with Dirty Billy. I reapply appreciate all the responses.

    Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • robwall1861
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Jeff,

    If it helps at all, this is a picture of my Tim Bender hat (enlisted). I mainly use it for 1861 NC impression - that's why the left side is turned up (I do both US and CS). I can't speak for officer items though.Click image for larger version

Name:	Hardee.jpg
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ID:	225755

    Leave a comment:


  • Thalomen
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Thank you both.

    I have a DB 1838 Forage cap for the Seminoles Wars and I'm very happy with it. Since I have a little extra money coming in shortly, I thought I might treat myself to a good Hardee for dress occasions.

    One last question. I notice the crown of his officer's version seems different than the enlisted. Is there really a difference between the officer and enlisted version aside from the trim and the edge of the brim - the stitching or edging I mean.

    Thanks again,

    Leave a comment:


  • Murph
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Originally posted by robwall1861 View Post
    Back in the day the top two vendors that I knew of were Tim Bender (that's where I got mine) and Dirty Billy (DB). I THINK Tim is out of the Hardee game (someone correct me if I'm wrong) but those would be your top choices. On a side note, Tim, DB and Clearwater are also good for slouch hats IMHO.
    Unfortunately, Tim Bender is out of the hat game altogether. I think he closed up in 2016.

    Leave a comment:


  • robwall1861
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Back in the day the top two vendors that I knew of were Tim Bender (that's where I got mine) and Dirty Billy (DB). I THINK Tim is out of the Hardee game (someone correct me if I'm wrong) but those would be your top choices. On a side note, Tim, DB and Clearwater are also good for slouch hats IMHO.

    Leave a comment:


  • Thalomen
    replied
    Re: The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    Great article. Can the author recommend a good source for better Hardee hat reproductions? Perhaps a very short list of the best mid-prince range hats available? Also what does the author think of Dirty Billy's Hats enlisted Hardee? That one is about in my price range.

    Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • Eric Tipton
    started a topic The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross

    The M1858 Uniform Hat - By Scott Cross



    THE M1858 UNIFORM HAT
    Originally Published in the Company Wag
    By Scott Cross

    One of the most important elements in creating a plausible Civil War military impression is headgear. To achieve a proper 19th century appearance, great attention should be shown in the selection of the proper hat. An examination of photographs of Federal soldiers from Midwestern regiments during the Civil War shows the popularity of the M1858 Uniform Hat. This hat is sometimes also known as the Hardee Hat. Originally intended to serve as a dress hat it is also seen in images of Eastern troops such as the Iron Brigade and several Heavy Artillery regiments. The hat became popular in the West due to its practicality in providing shade and cover from rain. It is essential to have good research in hand before purchasing a reproduction of a uniform hat.

    General Order No. 3 dated March 24, 1858 describes the hat as:

    For Officers: of best black felt. The dimensions of medium size as follows:
    Width of brim, 3 1/4"
    Height of crown, 6 1/4"
    Oval of tip, 1/2"
    Taper of crown. 3/4"
    Curve of head, 3/8"
    The binding to be 1/2" deep of best black ribbed silk.

    For Enlisted Men: Of black felt, same shape and size as for officers, with a double row of stitching, instead of binding around the edge. To agree in quality with the Pattern deposited in the clothing arsenal.

    A contract dated July 30th also calls for "Inside trimmings to be of the best quality black japanned leather, three inches deep, sewed to but not through the hat, a double row of stitching of the best black silk instead of binding around the edge of the brim¬…"

    Edgar Howell's survey of twenty hats in the National Museum reveals that surviving specimens in the collection had 5 1/2" crowns, 2 3/4" brims, but otherwise conform to the prescribed regulations.

    Paul McKee's research on uniform hats revealed some that conformed to these features, but had 2 1/2" wide maroon leather sweatbands and paper labels in the crown. All of these hats had identical hat labels in the crown suggesting a single manufacturer. They also have no provenance and are found in near perfect condition. This suggests that these hats may have been from a late war contract and never issued.

    A close examination of several identified hats reveals some interesting features. Three of the hats examined for this article are in the collection of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and one is located at the Oshkosh Public Museum. Three are identified to the original owners.

    The first hat examined (V1964.86.1) is attributed to First Sergeant Philander B. Wright. Wright served with Company C, 2nd Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was present at the Battle of Gettysburg and was wearing this hat at the time. The hat retains the original brass company letter and regimental number, which are secured with leather thongs through the back loops. The red First Corp badge and infantry hat cord are also original to the hat. Wright modified the hat by inserting two brass grommets in the front on each side of his insignia and a third grommet in the back. This would presumably create cross ventilation on warmer days.

    The second uniform hat examined was purchased for the collection of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (V1996.54.63) and transferred to the Veterans Museum. The third hat is identified to Lieutenant Colonel Casius Fairchild of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry (V1998.1.336). Warnock and Company of New York City manufactured Fairchild's hat. This firm made the very first M1858 Uniform Hats. The fourth hat is located in the collection of the Oshkosh Public Museum (Accession # 759-3) and is attributed to Private George W. Bedient, Company E, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry. Bedient died of disease on January 22, 1862 in Georgetown, D.C., making this a hat of early manufacture.

    The thickness of these hats range from 1/16 inch to 7/64 inch (Fairchild's hat) and all are made of fur felt. Crown height is consistently 5 1/2" except the Bedient Hat, which measures 7 5/8 inches tall. The brim width varies from 3 inches to 3 1/4 inches (Fairchild). Black silk ribbon is present on the base of the crowns of all the hats except Fairchild's hat. Most have grosgrain ribbon in widths of 5/16 inches to 1/4 inch. The ribbons are either tied in a bow on the right side of the hat or have an applied bow, as is the case with the Bedient hat. All the hats have a double row of black silk stitching near the edge of the brim sewn between 4 inches per inch on the later war produced hats and 7 1/2 stitches per inch (Bedient) on the earlier hats. Two of the hats retain their black leather sweatbands. One is 2 1/2" wide with cross hatch embossing and the other is 3 3/16" wide. Fairchild's hat has an unusual 3 1/8" brown leather sweatband with a red silk ribbon bow tying the ends of the band together.

    All of the labels are constructed of black oilcloth. This is plainly evident in the areas where the label is torn and folded back and the weave of the cloth can be seen. Unfortunately, the crown is damaged in the Wright hat and the label is missing. The other labels vary. In the unidentified hat the crown retains its label, which has the American eagle in flight with flag, thirteen stars, "U.S. ARMY / No. 4" printed in gold leaf. The Fairchild hat has an ornate Warnock hat label that is intact. Fairchild's own paper label with his signature has been pasted onto the label. In the Bedient hat the original label has a simple, "U.S.A. / No. 8 / 7" printed in gold ink.

    With this information in hand you should know what to look for in a reproduction M1858 Uniform Hat. Ideally it should be made of real fur felt as opposed to wool felt. It needs to have at least a 5 1/2" crown and a 3" brim. A 2 1/2" black japanned leather sweatband and 1/4" black silk ribbon around the crown with a bow on the right side. The hat should also have a painted black oilcloth label with a gold printed maker¬’s mark. Two rows of brim stitching and an outer covering of shellac are also essential.

    REFERENCES:

    1. Edgar M. Howell, United States Army Headgear 1855-1902, Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington, 1975. P. 6.
    2. Ibid. p. 8.
    3. Paul McKee, More Than Just Making the Hat Fit, The Company Wag, Volume 3, Number 1, January 1990, p. 1-8.
    4. William Brewster, Interviews conducted from 1997 ¬– 1999.
    5. Howell, p. 5.
    Last edited by Eric Tipton; 10-20-2019, 08:26 AM.
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