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The hat is on the top of everything… Hats and hatter’s craft in the past and nowadays

by Zora Valentová

Although the hat was an everyday part of traditional male clothing in Slovakia, only a very small number of old ones have been preserved. A significant type from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was the well-known wide hat. These were replaced in the first decades of the 20th century by smaller ones with a round top and rim modified to suit to local fashion – up, straight, curled at the back and pointing down at the front, etc. By the time of the First World War, the wearing of town hats had become more popular.

The production of hats from sheep wool and the hair of certain animals was demanding, labour intensive and damaging to health. Production was concentrated in the hands of craftsmen. The oldest hatter’s guild was established in Levoča in 1501. We do not have any documents about domestic production of hats in Slovak folk culture. The factory production of half-finished products from the beginning of the 20th century took over from the hand felting of wool, a labour-demanding task for the hatter.

The tradition of hat production by one of the current producers of costume hats, Ľudovít Púček, continues in the third generation of Púček’s family. Wooden forms inherited from his grandfather allow him to make various types of hats to suit male costumes from various regions. Costume hats are currently used mainly by members of folk groups to suit appropriate types of traditional clothing or individual costume owners.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 01/2001:


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