A beaver hat is a hat made from feltedbeaver fur. They were fashionable across much of Europe during the period 1550–1850 because the soft yet resilient material could be easily combed to make a variety of hat shapes (including the familiar top hat). Smaller hats made of beaver were sometimes called beaverkins, as in Thomas Carlyle's description of his wife as a child.
Used winter coats worn by Native Americans were actually a prized commodity for hat making because their wear helped prepare the skins; separating out the coarser hairs from the pelts.
To make felt, the underhairs were shaved from the beaver pelt and mixed with a vibrating hatter's bow. The matted fabric was pummeled and boiled repeatedly, resulting in a shrunken and thickened felt. Filled over a hat-form block, the felt was pressed and steamed into shape. The hat maker then brushed the outside surface to a sheen. Beaver hats were made in various styles as a matter of civil status:
the Wellington (1820–40)
the Paris beau (1815)
the D'Orsay (1820)
the Regent (1825)
the clerical (18th century).
In addition, beaver hats were made in various styles as a matter of military status:
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