Homburg (hat)

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Hugo Resinger holding a fashionable grey Homburg hat, 1907. Painting by Anders Zorn.
Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt (1961), both wearing Homburgs.
David Woodard (with William S. Burroughs), c. 1997, wearing a Homburg.

A homburg is a felt hat characterized by a single dent running down the center of the crown (known as a "gutter crown"), a stiff brim shaped in a "kettle curl" and a bound edge trim. It is similar to a fedora hat, since both have a crease along the length of the crown. However, homburgs have a brim with the edge turned upward sharply all the way around. They are made from stiff wool or fur felt and have a grosgrain hatband and brim trim; some also feature a feather. The original homburg shape was slightly larger than more recent versions.[1] Although homburgs are formal hats, they are not as formal as top hats.[2]

They were popularized by Edward VII of the UK (1841..1910) after he visited Bad Homburg in Hesse, Germany, and brought back a hat of this style, which had been used locally.[3] He was flattered when his hat style was mimicked, and at times he insisted on being copied.[4]

Anthony Eden made dark homburgs so fashionable during the 1930s that they became known as "Eden hats" among many of the clothing shops of London's Savile Row.[5] At his 1953 inauguration, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended a tradition by wearing a black homburg instead of a top hat. He also wore a homburg at his second inauguration, a hat that took three months to craft and was dubbed the "international homburg" by hatters since workers from ten countries participated with its making.[6]

Like other formal Western headgear, homburgs are not as common as they once were. Al Pacino gained some renewed fame for homburgs by wearing one for the movie The Godfather[7]

Some Orthodox Jewish, usually Misnagdish, rabbis wear black homburgs, though this practice is also decreasing. It is considered somewhat more traditional and distinguished than the black fedora worn commonly by Orthodox Jews.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kilgour, Ruth Edwards (1958). A Pageant of Hats Ancient and Modern. R. M. McBride Company.
  2. ^ "Hat Museum Bad Homburg". Retrieved 2012-05-18. [dead link]
  3. ^ Chico, Beverly (3 October 2013). Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 245. ISBN 978-1-61069-063-8. 
  4. ^ Donaldson, Frances (1974). Edward VIII. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, p. 42.
  5. ^ Graves, Robert; Hodge, Alan (1994). The Long Week End: A Social History of Great Britain, 1918-1939. Norton. p. 364. ISBN 978-0-393-31136-5. 
  6. ^ Wilcox, R. Turner (2013) [1959]. The Mode in Hats and Headdress: A Historical Survey with 198 Plates. Dover Publications. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-486-31830-1. 
  7. ^ Kramer, Johnny (29 August 2008). "The Courage to Wear Hats". LewRockwell.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 

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