What is a Bowler Hat?

The Bowler hat, also known as a billy cock, bob hat, bombín (Spanish) or derby (United States). It is a hard felt hat with a rounded crown, originally created by the London Hat-makers Thomas and William Bowler in 1849. It has traditionally been worn with semiformal and informal attire. The bowler, a protective and durable style. It was popular with the British, Irish, and American working classes. During the second half of the 19th century. And later with the middle and upper classes in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the east coast United States.

About Bowler Hat

Bowler hat is a hard felt with a narrow brim and a rounded crown. It was also known as bob hat, billy coke, billy cock, bombin and derby. It was first made in 1849 for Edward Coke. British soldier and politician and the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester. He ordered it from the hatters Lock & Co. of St James’s as a sort of Hard hat, to be close-fitting and to have a low crown, so it can protect heads of Coke’s gamekeepers so when they ride they don’t hit their heads in breaches of the trees that hang low. Before bowler hat, gamekeepers wore top hats that were too high. Got knocked off a lot and used to damage when they hit the ground.


Bowler hat was designed to solve these problems. Lock & Co. gave the job to its chief hatters Thomas and William Bowler (hence the name). Story says that when it was finished, Coke came to London on 17 December 1849, placed it on the floor and stomped on it two times. When he saw that it withstood the test, he was pleased and paid 12 shillings for it.

Until recently, it was believed that it was William Coke who ordered and designed the bowler hat, but a nephew of the 1st Earl of Leicester presented research that proves otherwise. It is now common belief that it was Edward Coke who designed and commissioned the hat. Lock & Co. called it “Coke” hate (it reads as “cook”) after its common practice to name hats after the one who ordered a custom hat. That explains why, after that, the hat was called “billy coke” and “billy cock”. In years after that it was call bowler hat after the Bowler Brothers who produced it.

Bowler Hat for Women

In 1920, British railroad workers introduced the bowler hat to Quechua and Aymara women of Bolivia, where they call it called a bombín in Spanish, and it is worn there ever since. Bowler hats for Bolivian market were not made locally but in a factory in Italy. Niger Delta in Nigeria is one more place where that cap is worn as a part of a regional costume, with a walking stick as well. British colonials introduced these apparel in the 1900s. Britain stopped wearing it somewhere in the 1960s because the fashion shifted to more informal wardrobe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.