19th Century Beaver Skin Top Hat & Original Leather Hat Box, c.1880
This is an original Dunlap and Co. beaver skin top hat with its original leather box by Collins and Fairbanks which was made in New York,1880. The box is engraved with the original owner's initials, "H.H.S." The hat is covered in beaver silk, which is in good condition, showing some wear to the edges of the brim and to the lining. The leather hat box is in excellent condition for its age with minor scuff marks. It has a brass latch, original key, original hat brush and original hand held brush, which are all included.
- CREATOR Dunlap and Co. (Hat)/ Collins and Fairbanks (Leather box)
- DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1880
- MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES Leather, Animal skin, Brass.
- CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use.
- DIMENSIONS H 6.5 in. x D 11in. W 9 in. (Hat)/ H 11.5 in. x W 14.75 in. x D 9.75 in. (Box)
Robert Dunlap received his first job at the age of 12 in 1857 as a general office boy for Charles Knox, of Knox Hats in New York, and soon graduated to the ranks of the hat salesmen. Several years later, when he was refused a raise, Dunlap left to start his own business. Thus began the famed Dunlap hat company.
By the late 1890's Dunlap Hats were known for their high end top hats and bowlers which eventually outsold the Knox in Manhattan. For many years small hat-makers held up their spring lines until they could imitate the Dunlap derby. However, the demand for the style declined in the twentieth century and by 1918 Dunlap was acquired by Knox, though hats under the Dunlap name continued to be produced.