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6 Unknown Facts About Panama Hats

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6 Unknown Facts About Panama Hats

Panama hats are a great way to keep the sun off your face while ensuring stylish appeal. The hats have been around for more than a century.

When Theodore Roosevelt and his crew returned from Panama in 1906, they proudly wore their Panama hats, having visited the Panama Canal construction.

Later, the glamorous fashion of the 1940s elevated these caps to the next level. People from various walks of life, including presidents, artists, and politicians, have worn Panama hats throughout history.

Famous people who have worn the Panama hat include Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles, Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Paul Newman, and Alberto Santos Dumont, among many more.

Here are five facts about the renowned Panama Hats:

The Panama hat is handcrafted in Ecuador.

This one is at the top of the list of Panama hat facts. Though it is no longer “little known,” it is a fun fact to discuss because most people still assume the Panama hat is created in Panama, which is a simple assumption to make!

Handwoven Panama hats are made in Ecuador by artisans from Cuenca and Montecristi. These hats are known as “Panama hats” because of their huge export from Ecuador to Panama in the nineteenth century, which was encouraged by Manuel Alfaro y Gonzalez and his wife during the Panama Canal construction.

According to legend, Manuel Alfaro y Gonzalez supplied the hat that Theodore Roosevelt was pictured wearing during the Panama Canal inauguration on the condition that he say the hat was produced in Ecuador, which did not take place. To further complicate matters, this hat was shipped globally from Panama, prompting people to link them with their shipping origin rather than their production origin, which was the Panama hat Ecuador.

Toquilla Straw Is Used To Making The Panama Hat

Toquilla straw is made from the leaves of the toquilla palm, scientifically known as “carludovica palmata.” The plant is mostly cultivated along Ecuador’s coast, primarily in the province of Manab.

Farmers cultivate and harvest toquillales before removing the fibre from the outer skin. It is boiled to eliminate chlorophyll before being dried and bleached.

Weavers use this fibre to create the design, crown, and brim of the hat and then finish the process by washing, bleaching, oven treatment, ironing, and pressing. Depending on the quality and finesse, weaving a hat might take anywhere from one day to eight months to make this premium straw hat.

Not All Panama Hats Are Created Equal

Although there are no industry-wide grading systems or criteria for Panama hats, everyone agrees that quality varies widely across stylish hats and dealers.

The quality of a Panama hat is governed by a number of elements, the most important of which are the straw and the weaving.

  • The Straw: In general, the finer, more identical, and more evenly coloured the straw, the better the hat quality.
  • The Weave: The denser and more uniform the weave, the higher the quality of the hat.

Hats are frequently classified as “Montecristi fino” or “Montecristi superfino,” for example. Some manufacturers and dealers provide numerical grades, such as 1-20, however, these are not widely accepted terms.

The Most Common Panama Hat Style Is The Fedora

The shape and size of the brim and crown determine the style of a Panama Hat. During the 1940s, the Fedora style grew to prominence as the hat of choice in a number of iconic films, including Casablanca.

It is still the most common style today and has appeared in a number of more recent films. For example, in the 2001 picture Hannibal, Anthony Hopkins wore a gorgeous Fedora Panama hat.

The Greatest Panama Hat Ever Constructed Is Said To Be Worth $100,000.

B. Brent Black commissioned “The Hat,” the greatest Montecristi hat ever constructed, in 2008. It took master weaver Simon Espinal, who lives in the Ecuadorian community of Pile in the Montecristi Canton, five months to weave it, then another four weeks for five additional craftsmen to complete it.

The Fundamental Weaving Patterns Of Panama Hats Have Remained Almost Unchanged For Generations.

The two primary forms of weaving used to produce Panama Hats are as follows:

BRISA

It is the earliest and most basic weave design, created by crisscrossing straws to form diamond-shaped squares. The interlocking pattern allows the weaver to use finer straws, but the weaving process takes longer (from 3 days to 3 months depending on how fine the straws are).

Hats manufactured with the Brisa weave seem lighter as a result. The Brisa design is frequently used in Montecristi Panamas Hats. The consistency of the weaving and the thinness of the straw are frequently used to assess these hats.

CUENCA

It is the second most often used weave pattern. The Cuenca weave produces hats with a chevron design. Because there is greater space between the weaves, the weaver may use a thicker straw, and it is also faster to create (the lowest grades take 2 days to complete).

This makes the hat ideal for hot days since more air can pass through it, cooling your head. Furthermore, the looser weave allows for greater flexibility.

Hoping that these six facts about Panama hats were excellent myth busters. Now, get ready to update your hat collection with Panama hats!

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