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1860 - John B. Stetson decided to try his luck and venture to Pike’s Peak to seek a fortune
in gold. John used primitive felting techniques to create water repellent blankets and the first
hat to protect him from the elements. This was the original “Boss of the Plains”; a Western hat
that would become the cornerstone of Stetson’s hat business and is still in production today.
Stetson did not strike it rich as a gold miner and so headed back East to start a hat manufacturing
company. With only $60 dollars loaned to him by his older sister Louisa, he purchased tools
and fur, rented a small room in Philadelphia and took on two workers. To differentiate his
products from the competition, he sent a “Boss of the Plains” hat to each South-Western
dealer with a letter asking for an order of a dozen. By the early twentieth century, Stetson
owned the world’s largest hat factory.