Decorated Tree or Holiday Item
Danbury Crowns Them All
This tree is dedicated to my mom and dad, both cancer survivors.
The origins of Danbury’s hat-making industry date back to the late 18th century.
Danbury proved an ideal location for hat making. By 1809 there were approximately 56 hat shops in Danbury.
By the 1880s, Danbury’s hat factories, including the most prominent, Mallory, Lee and Stetson, produced 5 million hats a year. People called Danbury ‘Hat City. A lighted sign at the railroad station proclaimed ‘Danbury Crowns Them All” (Origin of one hat featured on tree).
What about the tiny hats in tiny hat boxes? After doing much research, the best that I can figure out is that during the 1930’s, 40’’s, major hat manufacturer’s started making miniature hats and hat boxes. I started collecting them and thought they were originally Salesmen’s Samples. I did more research, turns out, they were given as gift certificates (also widely advertised as seen in photograph). The recipient of the tiny box and hat would take them into the shop where the giver had already paid for a real hat (usually $5 - $10). The recipient would redeem them, pick out his hat and happily walk out with a smile on his face and a new hat tipped on his head.
This tree features vintage samples from Danbury’s most famous hat companies, Mallory, Lee, and Stetson. These are becoming increasing rare. The tree topper is a Stetson Hat. The ad is from an unknow magazine from around the 1940’s.