7.5 in HIGH x 9 in WIDE x 7 in DEEP
(19.05 cm HIGH x 22.86 cm WIDE x 17.78 cm DEEP)
Museum Purchase

"Natives and Settlers," Great Hall, 12-17-1979 to 3-9-1980.

Hat, "stovepipe" very tall From the History Information Station: Object: Felt top hat and beaver pelt. History: For most the 18th century, top hats were worn by men on both casual and dress occasions. The most expensive hats were covered with felt which was made in part from the fur of beavers. The best beaver pelts were sold to farriers, but medium grade pelts went to the hatters. They removed the hairs from the skin, and then separated the wool from the guard hairs. The wool was dyed and then felted, or matted, to produce the desired finish. Part of the finishing process involved the use of mercury, an element that is very toxic to humans. The term "mad hatter" comes from the effect of hat makers' constant contact wiht this toxic substance. The beaver (Castor canadensis) were heavily trapped when California was first explored and exploited, as their fur was highly prized, particularly for beaver hats. They were nearly extinct by the late 1800s, but are now slowly recovering.

Used: man

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