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Tricorn Hat History

Tricorn Hat Development Timeline

Tricorn Hat Development Timeline
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Tricorn, Cocked or Three-Cornered Hats

Perhaps one of the most iconic and easily recognizable fashions from the American Colonial era and extending throughout the Revolutionary War was the Tricorn Hat. Popular in Europe and America throughout most of the 18th century, it was known at the time as a Cocked Hat or Three-Cornered Hat. Worn by men whenever they were outside, they were sometimes worn indoors as well.

17th Century Introduction of the Tricorn Hat

Towards the end of the 17th century, the large wigs worn by some men made it impractical for them to wear the broad-brimmed hats that were then in style, and with the social etiquette of the time dictating that hats should tucked under the arm when entering a building, milliners began to fold up the sides of hats, thus making them easier to carry. This led to various sorts of folded hats, with some being cocked on one side and known as Round Hats, and with others cocked on two sides and referred to as Bicorns. However, the 3-sided hat became the dominate fashion and was seen in many variations of proportion and adornment. This folded style hat also allowed for one to show off the latest wig fashion of the time.

Tricorn Hat History - Military Adjustments

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Adjustments for Military “Practicality”

The tricorn hat was worn by the aristocracy, common civilians and members of the military as well. For all but the military, the point was worn with the point facing directly forward. For soldiers, however, theirs were worn with the point above the left eye, so as not to interfere with a musket or rifle which was typically rested on the left shoulder. These military hats were normally higher in back than in front, being approximately 5″ tall and 4″ tall, respectively.

A Wide Variety of Styles

Styles ranged from plain and simple to extremely extravagant, being embellished with various trims and sometimes even sporting feathers. The brims could be decorated with a wide variety of trims, such as brocades, metallic tapes or various colors of silk ribbon edging; however, the most common form was a worsted wool braid in black or white. The typical hat body color was black, with grey and tan being popular as well. Better quality hats were made of fur felt, while the less expensive types were of wool felt.

History of the Tricorn Hat - Crazy Crow Trading Post

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While beaver felt was the preferred material, others, including wool and camel’s down, were available.

Cockades & Other Decoration

Often, these hats were further enhanced by the addition a cockade, or rosette of ribbon, and button. These were not only decorative in nature but were used as a badge of office as well. In fact, General George Washington issued general orders on August 20, 1776 detailing the use of cockades to serve as identification among military personnel.

Hats for Re-Enactors – Related Products

The following items are used in the above-article, or may provide added reference and helpful information.

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2017-01-30T15:05:54+00:00