Take a peek at these covers and tell me what you see that they all have in common? Okay, yes they are my romance novels and yes they are all hot, good-looking heroes on the cover, but what else do you see? If you answered, the men are all wearing hats… bingo!! That’s right.
So I got to thinking what’s up with these hats? I know they were once called John B’s. In my books I refer to a cowboy hat as a Stetson nine times out of ten. Fancy that.
Well, John Batterson Stetson, born on May 5, 1830 in New Jersey was the son of a hatter. As a young boy traveling the west, he came to note that ranchers, cowpunchers and the like wore coonskin caps, sea captain’s hats ,fragile hats made of straw or woolen derbies to cover their heads. None of those head toppers seemed practical or served a variety of purpose.
John B was an innovator. And he immediately addressed the need for a hat that would serve many purposes. He created the first real cowboy hat affectionately called, “The Boss of the Plains.” Its high four inch dome and wide brim kept the sun from your eyes and the rain off your head and shoulders like an umbrella. It was stitched so tight with quality material, usually felt, that it could also be used as a bucket to water your horse, and the brim wide enough, to water yourself. Cowboys have also been known to fan a flame or swat at flies with their hats!
Stetson’s waterproof hat became well-known for style and use prompting John B to found a hat manufacturing company in 1865 that grew to become one of the largest hat companies in the world, and famous celebrities like Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, The Lone Ranger and Tom Mix could be seen wearing them. Stetson sold thousands and thousands of hats to the Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry and the National Park Service, as well.
In his later years, John B. Stetson built grammar schools and helped build colleges, including Temple and Stetson University. He also created the first law school in Florida called Stetson University of Law.
The Stetson we know today changed only slightly from the “Boss of the Plains” from way back when and continues to be a favorite among modern day ranchers, cowpokes and country western artists, along with wannabe cowboys!!
Hats Off to John B!!
Here’s another Stetson-wearing cowboy. Meet Logan Slade (hunky, isn’t he?) the oldest brother in The Slades of Sunset Ranch. Sunset Surrender launches Harlequin’s new Rich, Rugged Rancher series in January 2013 and is available for and early release on Eharlequin in December.
Logan Slade wears his hat well, wouldn’t you agree? What do you think about men who wear Stetsons? What about you? Do you wear any kind of hat? If I was a fly on the wall, what kind of hat would I see you wearing?
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