Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Fore and Aft Hat
While many 18th and 19th century U.S. Naval officers spent a lavish amount of their pay to ensure they were well-dressed, this particular cover took luxury to a different level. According to regulations, the hat only had to have gold lacing on wool cloth. This particular hat, however, used real beaver skin instead of wool, and real ostrich feathers, along with a lavish amount of gold in the lacing. The ostrich feathers by themselves probably cost more than did the lacing.
The use of animal parts--bird feathers in particular--was common in the 18th and 19th centuries in both military and civilian (men and women) headwear.The practice led to a sharp decline in the population of several bird species.