Charlie Chaplin’s silent Tramp wasn’t the one who started the bowler hats era. This story begins in 1849 when the first bowler was created for English soldier and politician Edward Coke, the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester. It was designed by London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowlers for hatters Lock & Co of St James’s. The original purpose for this hat was to protect the gamekeeper’s heads from low-hanging branches, but over the years from functional it became fashionable.
Sense of character
Let’s have a quick look what famous people, besides the tramp and Edward Coke, wore bowler hats and who wore it better. This list includes not just historic people, but some original and unforgettable characters. Because bowler hat gives a sense of character and style.
The hat of leadership
If someone has an idea, that bowler hats are just goofy elements of comedic personalities, you are wrong. It has been worn by world leaders, such as Italian prime minister, fascist party leader Benito Mussolini( Il Duce) and English prime minister Winston Churchill. Those were the days of strong leadership and in those days both Churchill and Il Duce stand out as strong politicians. Of course they had completely different views, but the bowler helped them create some sort of a character.
The hat of slapsticks and silly walks
Well indeed, comedy and bowler hats goes to together for a long time now. From silent film era Tram and Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy slapstick comedy duo in 1920’s to Monty Python’s John Cleese in the infamous Ministry of Silly Walks. This time hat is defiantly the element of goofiness. Same hats are also use in icon animations, such as ‘Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost’, ‘Moon Mullins’, detectives Thomson and Thomson in ‘The adventures of Tintin’, Mr. Patato Head in ‘Toy story’ trilogy.
The headwear of villains
From good and funny characters to super villains and psychopaths. ‘Clockwork Orange ‘extremely violent character Alex, played by Malcolm McDowell in 1965’s Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation. But he is not the only one covering his violently thinking head with a bowler. ‘Superman’ villain Mr. Mxyzptlk, reality manipulating imp with an ability to overcome third dimension laws. Maybe these characters aren’t violet because of bowler hats, but it has something to do with their complicated personalities.
Artistic and literature hats
Some images, or literature heroes and heroines wearing bowler hats stays inside our heads. One of famous Belgium surrealist Rene Margitte’s painting ‘Son of man’ and that bowler hat inspired 1999s’ ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ main character, who used numerous doubles wearing bowler hats to trick people. While in literature characters like Sabine ( Milan Kundera’s ‘Unbearable lightness of being’) uses her father’s bowler hat as a binding element of her love affair with Tomas. Leopold Bloom protagonist in James Joyce’s Ulysses also wears a bowler. In ‘Harry Potter’ the minister of magic Cornelius Fudge is rarely seen without a hat. Maybe we can’t explain why artists and writers choose to crown their characters with a bowler, but we can wonder…
It’s just a few icon personalities, who wore bowl hats. It doesn’t matter that some of them are fictional, because each and every one of them left a mark in bowler hats history. Just remember that a day without a bowler is a day wasted.