Who Invented the Bowler Hat, How Did it Get its Name, and When Was the English Icon In Fashion?

The caricature of an Englishman used to include an umbrella, a brief-case, and a bowler hat.

Although this is an outdated image, it still recalls a class system that defines the British character.

The first bowler was designed in the mid-1800s by London hatters James and George Lock as a protective riding hat for Thomas William Coke.

The headgear became synonymous with property owners and consequently the gentry or well-to-do.

The hat got its name from Thomas and William Bowler, the hat-makers who produced Coke’s prototype.

Americans call this hat a derby, probably because it was so prevalent within the wealthy compound at major horse races.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was one of the last of his generation to make the bowler high fashion.

London’s trademark black high-roofed taxicabs were designed so that gentlemen wouldn’t have to remove their bowlers.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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