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Berlin-Gubener Hutfabrik


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Production of gentleman and lady hats from wool and rabbit/hare as well as from straw.Established under the control of Apelius Von Cohn and Herm. Lewin 1859 in Berlin and 1876 in Guben under the company A. Cohn gegr. hat production business until 29.05.1934 Berlin Gubener hat factory AG. A. Cohn who was Jewish was forced to leave the company and it became Berlin Gubener hat factory AG.



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"From the last chapter of Guben hat industry", exhibition catalog, published by the Museum Sprucker mill Guben 2000 exhibition at LVR Industrial Museum venue Ratingen from 15/06/2014 to 28/06/2015 Germany radio on the exhibition "150 years Hutgeschichte.Chapeau" in industrial museum Schauplatz- Ratingen

In 1925 existed in Guben 11 hat factories, 7 Hutformenfabriken, a Hutstoffwerk and two machine factories Hutmaschinen built. Guben had become the stronghold of the German hat industry and a center of Hutbranche in Europe. Roughly estimated survived including all family members more than 20,000 people in Guben of the hat industry. I discovered the last remaining hat factory in the gas street in Guben by chance in 1992, during the change from the train to a bus. She had been, founded in 1822 as the first hat manufacture in Guben by Carl Gottlieb Wilke in a backyard workshop. 1864 the company moved to the new factory in the gas street. The decline of Guben hat industry began in 3.Reich with the expropriation of some factories, the Jewish factory had heard. In the 2nd World War, production was switched to important war products, some factories closed completely. At the end of the war Guben was heavily damaged by fighting front. After the war, the left factories have been converted into five state-owned enterprises. Together they formed the "VEB United Hutwerke Guben" with a total of 1200 employees, their number dropped to 1990 600th When I came to Guben 1992 still about 70 Hutmacher worked last Hutwerk. I was at this time in the photographic training at the Lette-Verein in Berlin and made ​​a small report about the hat factory. Over the next few years these images illustrated various newspaper articles that dealt with the economic difficulties of the hat factory. I was assigned the job situation in the hat factory to document exactly as there were plans to continue production in a new, smaller manufacturing facility 1999th The huge hat factory, originally designed for 500 workers was simply too expensive to maintain. She had in the previous year have been bankruptcy. When I started in April 1999 to photograph there, there were only 10 Hutmacher, who worked in production. I went regularly to Guben and photographed gradually on all workstations, of which time there was more than Hatter. In December of the same year, the then director took me aside and announced that it would no longer with the move and they probably would close at the end the factory. The staff had not been informed at this stage about. I sat on the same day a little uneasily with two hatters in their break room in front of a Christmas wreath and drank coffee with them. A year later, the first was the exhibition of images mill place in Guben Heimatmuseum Sprucker. Many of the unemployed now Hatter had appeared to do so. The oldest Milliner had just from Australia to visit. She fled as a young woman from the Nazis there. As I had kept in contact with some hatters and me now also interested in the Polish part of the separated from the Neisse Guben / Gubin, I worked the following year in my series Guben / Gubin .



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Berlin Gubener Hutfabrik "Turf", Weather - Proof, Crown Open 5 1/2, Brim 2 1/2 inches, 55cm probably early 1950s. The mixed color felt on this hat is really extraordinary. Also great form and interesting Bow and Over Welt. I am guessing Friedrich W. Schneider Köln (still in business today and own Stetson Europe) licensed the B.G.H. mark and the hats was sold by Jung Augsburg (also still in business today).







Open Crown





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The following is a translated footnote from "Chapeau, Das Westalgäu behütet die Welt, Die Geschichte der Hutprodukrion in Lindenberg und Umgebung, 2015" (This is a great book that I purchased at the Deutsches Hut Museum Lindenberg).  The footnote contains some info on Guben's pre WWII major hat companies C.W. Wilke and Berlin - Gubener Hutfabrik, post WWII  VEB Vereinigte HutWerke Guben, and post unification Gubener Hüte GmbH.   


"In Guben (city law since 1235, known as cloth-maker town) developed the hat maker Carl Gottlob Wilke 1822 waterproof wool felt hat. His sons - especially Friedrich Wilke - made from the hat maker's workshop the largest Gubener hat factory, the C G. Wilke hair and wool felt hat factory Guben. In addition came as another large business, in addition to several smaller hat factories, the Berlin-Gubener hat factory, founded by Apelius Cohn and Hermann Lewin (Berlin 1859, Guben 1876), which employed in 1922 alone 3000 workers and employees. In 1927, the year of crisis in Westallgäu's straw hat industry, Guben had a total of 7,460 people working in the felt hat industry. In the same year, around 10 million hats were produced, of which around 30 percent were for export. For comparison: In 1925, the city of Lindenberg had a total of 5,168 inhabitants, and in 1927 it was probably not much more. In March 1946, the Berlin-Gubener Hutfabrik was dismantled as reparations to the Soviet Union; 1952 developed from the C. G. Wilke hat factory in conjunction with the other Gubener hat factories, the national VEB Vereinigte Hut-Werke Guben with about 1,200 employees; In 1989, 1.2 million stumps and 800,000 felt hats were produced there.


After the turnaround, the state-owned enterprise was privatized in 1990 by the Treuhandanstalt and transformed into the Gubener Hüte GmbH. The number of employees sank to 600; In 1992 there were still 70, the end of 1999 with 10 employees, the operation was closed. In summer 2006, a hat and technology museum was opened in a building of the old hat factory C. G. Wilke."


"Chapeau, Das Westalgau behütet die Welt, Die Geschichte der Hutprodukrion in Lindenberg und Umgebung, 2015"

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"Dogma" "Striegau", Wool, 57 cm, possibly 1930s maybe later 1920s and most likely made by Berlin - Gubener Hutfabrik.  This is based on the Paper Label type and that "Striegau" was located in Germany but after WWII Strzegom, Poland.  The Hat was sold by Hut Köhl Kehl am Rhein** which is directly across the Rhein from Stroudsburg.  The Wool felt is very pliable with high gloss.  The overall condition is very good and the Crown Tip Patch is still in place.  The "Dogma" brand / mark is very unique. I enjoy finding these old German Wool Soft Felt Hats and this one is a great example.








Open Crown



** Might be associated with Modehaus [I]Köhl which was established in 1919.


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Berlin - Gubener Hutfabrik, BGH, "Aquila", Wool, 57 cm possibly WWI era.  There is only one other BGH on the FL and it's also an "Aquila" Stiff Felt although I believe it's later.  Luckily some of the paper label is still present.  It's my feeling that BGH was the source of much of the early 1940s and earlier no company mark Wool Stiff and Soft Felt Hats. 









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