Friday, October 3, 2014


While flipping pages in my grandfather’s photograph album, I noticed a repeating six or seven photos, all taken around 1910 or so, the boys had the same kind of hat...and they all wore them with the front brim turned up.
They called them “crushers,” and they were all the rage back then. Men and boys wore them for all kinds of activities, from work to play to fishing to sports...

The first photo I found was of my grandfather, Gardner S. Gould, wearing his crusher. He’s got his work pants, belt, white shirt (rolled sleeves), a necktie and his crusher; he was a civil engineer and worked outside most of the time. I remember him looking like this – he was a “putterer,” and used to do small projects around the house on weekends.

These two guys are on a camping trip. I cropped the two of them out of a photo that was framed in a leaf cut-out (the photo was slipped behind the die-cut leaf and then the whole business pasted into the album). The one on the right is my great-uncle Allen, but I haven’t any idea who the one on the left is...

And then there’s another Gould boy (I think it’s Howard), sporting his crusher while sailing on the family boat in East Boothbay. It seems odd to see him in a necktie while doing something as casual as sailing, but that’s how it was back then...

So, I thought, did they all wear just crushers? Or were there other styles popular back then?
I jumped back into my old catalogues, and found some really amazing hats, some of them crushers.
I found a “fur crusher” hat (which hasn’t a single strand of fur anyplace as far as I can see); a finer grade crusher with a narrow silk ribbon band and a “medium curl” in the brim.
They’ve got stetsons: Roosevelt, Railroad, Cowboy, Idaho and Columbia Stetsons.
          Planter and Ranch hats, Cuban hats; Pine Ridge Scout, and Montana hats.
And the sombreros! Goodness, there are Sombreros of many styles: Cowboy Sombreros, Cow Puncher Sombreros, Texas Steer Style, Mountaineer and Mexican Sombreros; Pride of the West, Texas Chief.

I can’t imagine my grandfather in a sombrero, but I love looking at him (and the others) in their crushers.

They all look a little goofy, if you ask me.