This style has similarities to the TRILBY, but originated somewhat earlier and is made from much thicker, stiffer felt, and is generally larger all over, with a deeply creased crown which runs from front to back, and the brim curled up and inwards at the sides. The edge of the brim is bound in petersham ribbon…the name given to a form of hard wearing ribbon with a finely ribbed surface running across it. It is used extensively in the hat trade as an edging, binding, as a band around the crown, and as flat bows. It comes in a multitude of colours and widths, and is most often used in a colour matching the felt of the hat. The band around the crown of a Homburg is noticeably deeper than that on trilbies and fedoras.
The Homburg became popular in the 1890’s, when Edward, the Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Victoria returned from a visit to spa town Bad-Homburg in Germany, sporting the new-to-Britain design. As still happens, people wanted what the Royals were wearing, and the hat became known as the Homburg because that was where it was first made. Later, Queen Alexandra was also to be seen wearing a hat of the same shape. This picture comes from an old postcard found at an antique fair, for £1, and shows the Prince sporting his new look.
The shape is quite distinctive, having a much more pointed crown than the later models shown above and below. Other well known wearers included former Prime Ministers John Major and Harold Macmillan; Churchill, and Clement Attlee.
It is a hat which has now completely vanished.
Next time…..a look at the STETSON