Bowler Hat

Typical English hat. It was called a bowler because it was invented by Lord Stock and manufactured by the firm Bowler and Son in 1850, and later by the factory Lock & Co. Made in black felt, rigid and dome-shaped, tight and raised along the edges, it took the place of the silk top hat and was the most important hat in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is always associated with the businessmen of the City, London’s financial district, where it is jokingly called the Billycoke, after the nephew of the second Earl of Leicester, William Coke, who would wear it while hunting. In the U.S. it was called the Derby, after Earl Edward George Derby, who died in 1948, and who wore a grey model of the hat when going to the racetrack. It was made famous in films by Charley Chaplin and by Laurel and Hardy. It was also “worn” by Liza Minnelli, in Cabaret, when she twirled it on the tip of her foot. The bowler is still the preferred hat of London’s financiers.