Showing posts from June, 2018

John B. Stetson in the Gilded Age: Sitting on Top of the World

Portrait of John B. Stetson by Irwin Benoni, 1895. Credit: John B. Stetson Company.
Chapter Eight Sitting on Top of the World 
Note: This sample chapter is from the forthcoming book Stetson: An American Icon

            After conquering the West, the rapid growth of John B. Stetson &Company after 1880 propelled the company toward another accomplishment – becoming the largest hatter in the world. While there are no historic data on the number of hats sold for most of the 1880s and 1890s, available information on earnings growth sheds light on the company’s rapid ascent up the ranks of hat makers. Starting from a net annual profit of $70,136 in 1879, Stetson’s earnings more than doubled to $185,457 eight years later in 1887.         By 1890, profits were sharply higher at $332,624 on an estimated $1,330,000 in revenues.Based partly on those revenues and its ever-expanding factory complex, Stetson would claim in 1891 that it was the largest fur felt hat maker in the United States.In the…