Back in the day when men wore hats on a regular basis, those hats were often named after really cool things. That is the case with the Stetson Stratoliner, a hat named after one of the most advanced operational airplanes of its time.
|An article about the Stratoliner airplane from Aero Digest, Circa 1940|
|The Stratoliner at the airfield|
|The Stratoliner in flight|
|The Stratoliner hat: It's fun having a high-style husband... for a change!|
The wide body airliner featured a luxurious 33-passenger cabin. It was pressurized, air-conditioned and heated. It had passenger compartments and sleeping berths with windows! It also featured individual reclining sleeper seats, large seat windows (12 x 16 inches or so), men's and women's lavatories with skylights and a galley with a skylight.
|An artist's conception of the Stratoliner interior|
After the War, Hughes' plane was outfitted with a luxury interior, including a bedroom - and earned the nickname "The Flying Penthouse".
|Boeing's Stratoliner factory|
According to one website, it cost $12,000 for passage on one of these planes, and that was merely a small flight to the middle of the country from the Coast. That $12,000 is the equivalent of a whopping hundred thousand dollars in today's money.
The Stratoliner men's hat was named after this amazing airplane. It was produced by Stetson in the 1940s. It had a classic style, and a wider brim than the popular urban fedora. It also featured a lighter, quality fur felt construction made from a thinner, softer felt.
The Stetson company decided to name the new hat after the Boeing Stratoliner, taking advantage of the press from Howard Hughes' purchase of one of the luxury planes and his association with TWA, the airline that flew the Stratoliners.
|A Vintage Stratoliner hatbox|
In 2011, Stetson re-introduced the Stetson Hat using the same hat blocks used for the original. They immediately discovered there was a lot of enthusiasm for this "retro" hat and that there were many collectors that were interested in it.
Enter my brother, the hat aficionado!
Did you know a real men's fedora - even a Stetson Stratoliner, comes without a 'bash' in it? Here it is straight from the factory:
|The Modern Stetson Stratoliner straight from the factory|
|The Stratoliner after shaping|
And then you get a dashing man to model it for you. That's an important part of the equation!
|My handsome brother wearing his new Stetson Stratoliner|
Hey (to quote the earlier ad), a High-Style Brother... for a change? Naw! Not at all. He's always a class act in my book!
Thanks for sharing the history of this very cool hat, Jay!
Thanks to the Fedora Lounge Website, and HistoryLink.org too!