Top Hats

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Fabulous top hats!

As we arrive closer to the end of this wonderful little album of gem tintypes, we find two spectacular examples of gentlemen’s top hats. The top left image has the distinct sheet of silk on that hat. It is glossy and impressive. Note the fine tinting of his cheeks to give a more “lifelike” appearance to the image. The lower right image also sports a sheet, but more muted, making me wonder what this hat might have been made of. I know very little about hats, so hopefully some helpful visitor will comment to educate us!

We cannot ignore the delightful derby hat in the upper right, nor the wizened whiskers in the lower left. Each man has his version of fashionable facial hair as well. Click on each miniature below to enlarge for detailed viewing.

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Beards, mustaches and youth

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Some fine facial hair and one young face

This next page in the Haberdashers album shows us hats, mustaches, beards and bowties. We have again the gent with his high topped bowler, there in the lower left. He must have been a placeholder on many of these pages being as he is used so often, and that begs the question of just who created this album. If it really was a haberdasher, why would he show the same hat over and over? With the young faces such as the one at the lower right, it seems less likely to be a businessman’s book as well. Maybe it was owned by someone who knew lots of men, in which case that begs the next question of whether these were members of a club, such as a Lodge or the like.

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Hats and bowties

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Back to some fine hats and large bowties

A youngish fellow, a boater, a bowler and a repeat grace this page with delightful details! Note the wonderfully large bowties on the top two gentlemen. They are almost absurd in their size. The ties must be a good 2″ wide to achieve such a dominating bow. While I’m not well versed in the history of neck ties, I do recall seeing these wide bowties on men from the 1840s and ’50s. They obviously made a comeback in the 1870s. The lower left fellow has a skinny bowtie that is almost an after thought when compared with the larger ones. His high crowned bowler compliments his round face nicely. Finally, our repeat image is the doppleganger mentioned a few posts back.

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Ladies?

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Two women and a fellow

Page number 6 of this little Haberdasher’s album has two images missing. I have no idea why, it came to me this way. And instead of all men, we buck the trend with a duo of the feminine persuasion in place of a fellow. I like the subtle smiles on their faces. Note that the woman on the left is not looking into the camera, but is instead looking into the midfield. The woman on the right isn’t exactly looking into the camera either, but her eyes are directed more toward the front. In addition, we have a young man in what I am guessing is a boater or other wide brimmed stiff hat, and this dude has some seriously big ears.

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Ello, gov’na

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One of these faces is not like the others

You must have thought I forgot about you! And, well, I sort of did. We had some upheaval around the homestead, and I had to focus there instead of here. Thanks for bearing with me. Your reward is another fine page from this Haberdasher’s gem tintype album. Being as men were often coiffed and whiskered in the 19th century, it is all the more obvious in a group when one man is the odd man out. Who knows why he did not wear a mustache or beard. It is a personal choice that is also influenced by fashion trends. Maybe his wife didn’t like it. Click each image below for greater detail.

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Doing a double take

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Didn’t I just see you?

Here’s the next page in our bowler hat extravaganza, with three more wonderful hats. Or are they new? The bottom left image is a repeat from a previous page with the high bowler hat. The top left and lower right look like the same person at first glance, but are two distinct faces. I imagine if you were looking for a man in a crowd of men wearing these hats it would be difficult to find the exact one you wanted!

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A missing face and a doppleganger

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Hey, where’s his face?

Not a hat to be seen in this page of the Haberdasher’s book, but there are some nice bowties at least. Note how the top right image is so dark. I can only assume it was due to poor finishing by the photographer and the image has oxidized and faded with time.

The fellow at the lower left immediately made me think of a more modern personage.

Paul Benedict, actor

Paul Benedict, actor

This is Paul Benedict, an American actor best known for roles in The Jefferson’s television show, the Muppet show and movies, and a variety of Christopher guest movies, such as This is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman. The Victorian doppleganger also appears on the first page of the album, wearing a derby hat.

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