Friday, October 3, 2014

CRUSHERS...

While flipping pages in my grandfather’s photograph album, I noticed a repeating theme...in 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.

22 comments:

  1. I don't think I ever saw that style in old photos before, but they look a lot like the boonie hats that are popular now as sun hats.

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    1. I'd never heard of a "boonie" before, so had to Google it--I've never seen one. My grandfather and others had the same look as the SS boys have, though -- the turned up brim.

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  2. I wasn't expecting a crusher to be a hat.

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    1. I'm curious, Bob -- what DID you expect?

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  3. I never even noticed the upturned brims in the theme photo. You've done well to find matching photos. I'll have to have another look through my albums with fresh eyes.

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    1. Those upturned brims in the SS photo flashed me to the shot of the two campers...and in my search for that photo, I found the others. It's interesting how we find our own focus, isn't it?

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  4. I like the crushers. Never heard of them before but I want one. Somehow I think the hat would look better on a woman?

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    1. I actually have a felt crusher that I used when I lived on the dairy farm; it's got bug repellent all over it (smells awful), but keeps those bugs at bay!

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  5. I'm with Lorraine. You made me go back & take another look at the prompt picture & there, sure enough, were those 'crusher' hats! Good show.

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    1. Thanks! We all notice different things, don't we? That's half the fun of Sepia Saturday--all those different perspectives!

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  6. I'm glad you told us what kind of hats they are. To me they look like the one worn by Gilligan in Gilligan's Island.

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    1. You're exactly right, Alex! I didn't make that connection, but I also remember Gilligan in one...or was it a sailor hat with the brim pulled down? The famous LLBean store in Maine still makes crushers -- felt ones. They're great fun!

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  7. II had never heard of "crushers" before and the word makes me think more of "Teddy boy" shoes, crushing something to the ground with their "winke pickers". An inventive "take" on this week's prompt. .

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    1. You got me, Sue! What are "Teddy boy" shoes? And "winke pickers?" Those are clearly European terms!

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  8. I always learn something new on Sepia Saturday posts. I thought Crusher was a cartoon character! Mind you, we are watching ‘Peaky Blinders’ on TV, about a post-WW1 gang who used to hide razor blades in the peaks of their caps!

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    1. Me, too, Nell. A cartoon character? Really? and Peaky Blinders is another one I'm not familiar with...can you imagine all of us SS-ers getting together and trying to understand each other's slang?

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  9. Like everyone else, it's a case of live and learn. I've never heard of crushers. Well done.

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    1. I think they're called "crushers" because you can take it off, crush it up and stuff it in your pocket -- no harm, no foul!

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  10. I'cw never heard of crushers either, but I guess they are easily packed as well. I would probably call it either a stubby or a bucket hat.

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  11. A "stubby" -- I like that term, Jo!

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  12. Crushers, eh? New term for me too. Now I'm going to pay better attention to the hats in my photos.

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    1. "Crushers" is only the beginning, Wendy! Read all those comments and find new words for hatwear...

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