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Bowler

Bowler

The distinctively British bowler is a hard felt hat with a low melon-shaped crown and a rounded brim that turns up at the sides. Known in the United States as a derby hat, the bowler had largely replaced the hard-to-maintain top hat as the headgear of choice for elegant gentlemen in the United States and Europe by the end of the nineteenth century.

The first bowler hat was designed in 1850. Tired of his tall riding hat being yanked off by overhanging tree branches while traveling in his coach, William Coke II, a wealthy British landowner, commissioned the renowned London, England, hatters James and George Lock to design a low-crowned hat. The Locks, who called their creation a Coke hat, sent their design across the Thames River to one of their chief suppliers, William Bowler. Bowler produced a prototype and soon began manufacturing the hat under his own name. The name stuck, perhaps because the hat's bowl-like shape made it easy to remember.

Early bowlers came in gray, brown, or black, with black the most popular color. Brims could also be curled up or straight. First worn for casual occasions, the low-crowned bowler became a popular accompaniment to lounge suits among English men visiting the countryside in the 1860s and a slightly taller-crowned version caught on among tourists in Paris, France. However, the declining popularity of the top hat, which was large and hard to keep clean, resulted in the bowler becoming acceptable as town wear by the turn of the century. The hat shape was eventually adapted for women and children and remained popular with British men until World War II (193945). New York governor Alfred E. Smith (18731944) helped popularize a brown version of the hat in the United States, where it was called the derby.

Today the bowler hat is widely associated with Great Britain, due to its adoption by several well-known historical and fictional Englishmen. Silent film comedians Charlie Chaplin (18891977) and Stan Laurel (18901965), and more recently the dashing gentleman spy character, John Steed, of the 1960s television series The Avengers (196169), all sported bowlers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Chenoune, Farid. A History of Men's Fashion. Paris, France: Flammarion, 1993.

Robinson, Fred Miller. The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

[See also Volume 3, Nineteenth Century: Top Hat ; Volume 4, 191929: Derby ]

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"Bowler." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Bowler." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bowler

"Bowler." Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/fashion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bowler

bowler

bowl·er1 / ˈbōlər/ • n. 1. a player at tenpin bowling, lawn bowling, or skittles. 2. Cricket a member of the fielding side who bowls or is bowling. bowl·er2 (also bowler hat) • n. a man's hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown.

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"bowler." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bowler." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bowler-1

"bowler." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bowler-1

bowler

bowler a man's hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown, which since the 1920s has been a symbol of civilian life after retirement from the army; the name comes (in the mid 19th century) from William Bowler, the English hatter who designed it in 1850.

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"bowler." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bowler." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bowler

"bowler." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bowler

bowler

bowler low-crowned stiff felt hat. XIX. f. name of John Bowler, London hatter.

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"bowler." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"bowler." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bowler-2

bowler

bowlerbeguiler, compiler, Delilah, filer, Isla, miler, reviler, smiler, styler, tiler, Tyler •idler •stifler, trifler •recycler • Kreisler • profiler •stockpiler • freestyler • Rottweiler •ayatollah, choler, collar, corolla, dollar, dolour (US dolor), Hezbollah, holler, scholar, squalor, wallah, Waller, white-collar •cobbler, gobbler •Doppler, poplar •ostler •brawler, caller, crawler, drawler, faller, forestaller, hauler, installer, mauler, Paula, stonewaller, trawler •warbler • dawdler • footballer •reed-warbler •fowler, growler, howler, prowler, scowler •Angola, barbola, bipolar, bowler, bronchiolar, canola, carambola, circumpolar, coaler, Coca-Cola, cola, comptroller, consoler, controller, Ebola, eidola, extoller, Finola, Gorgonzola, granola, Hispaniola, kola, Lola, lunisolar, mandola, molar, multipolar, Ndola, patroller, payola, pianola, polar, roller, Savonarola, scagliola, scroller, sola, solar, stroller, tombola, Tortola, troller, Vignola, viola, Zola •ogler •teetotaller (US teetotaler) •potholer • steamroller • logroller •roadroller •boiler, broiler, Euler, oiler, spoiler, toiler •potboiler

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"bowler." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"bowler." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved June 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bowler-0