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"Homburger Hat Story" from "Gut behutet" Hat Museum of Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe (1985)


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"Gut behutet" Hat Museum of Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe (1985). I picked up this pamphlet back when I first visited the museum in January of 2016. The following is the section on the Homburg Hat and the company (PH. Möckel Hutfabrik, Homburg vor der Höhe) that first produced it for Edward Prince of Wales. This information is probably more accurate than what has been reported else where so worth taking a look at.




Homburger Hat Story


Since 1960, the Museum, which depicts Homburg's history, has been associated with a special "Hutmuseum." Friedrich Fuhrmann, who has guided the museum since 1949 under difficult circumstances, has "groomed" and increased its stocks : Finally, the name "Homburg" has a worldwide reputation - think of one to the spa town, so the others to the famous hat, the "Homburg".


In the eighties of the previous year. One hundred years ago, this hat, which had become a classic, had been produced for the first time in the Homburger Hat Factory Möckel and had not been successful in its success, but it was considerably increased.


The Homburger hat story is therefore mainly the history of the company Möckel. Although the textile sector, animated by the Huguenot and Waldensian immigrants in the 17th and 18th centuries, was an important economic activity in the city and the country, the hat makers had not yet played a role beyond the borders.


The company Möckel had already been founded in 1806 by Johann Georg Möckel (fig. 1). In 1807 he moved into Dorotheenstraße 8 and existed until the end of 1931. The father and uncle of Johann Georg had already been hat-makers Nothing contradicts the fact that they did their trade in the same modest style as other Homburger hat makers did. Johann Georg Möckel began with 6 to 8 journeymen in a relatively large style. He had had a thorough training in the technically and fashionably leading foreign countries, especially in France.


Fig. 1: Johann Philipp Möckel (1784 -1867), photo museum Bad Homburg. He had founded the company in 1806.


Fig. 2: Johann Philipp Möckel (1821-1894), photo museum Bad Homburg. He developed the factory instead of the modern factory.




Fig. 3: Conrad Wolff, view of Homburg, watercolor around 1820, Museum Bad Homburg. Homburg looked like this at the time the company was founded. You can see the castle, the old town and the new town.


Although the time for the young company was not necessarily favorable, the Napoleonic Wars had a lot of land, which was always in need cost. In 1806 the relative sovereignty was lost. The city (Fig. 3) did not have much more than 3,000 inhabitants (1821 it should be 3475). But the company thrived. Johann Georg's son, Jr. Philipp (fig. 2), before taking over the company in 1846, looked thoroughly in the rest of the world (the nearer began already after a few kilometers). It was the time of all the essential inventions in the field of mechanization of hat production, which had hitherto been an extremely complicated, protracted and, in some cases, a health-damaging process of manual labor.


Special machines, blowing machines, walkers and special sewing machines had been found and already in use in France, Saxony and Belgium. Philipp Möckel stayed on sightseeing trips, To the great and festive productions of technical optimism the world exhibitions - on the runed and bought in rapid, almost yearly succession, what came on the market. He had other things done. The steam engine, which was set up in 1856 to drive the new machines, was the first ever in Homburg.

The craft business had become a modern factory (Fig. 4). The number of employees rose to about 100 in 1890 (Figures 5 and 6), almost half of whom were women. The textile and clothing industry was at that time one of the branches in which an above-average number of women were employed. At "Möckel" they worked - as in today's




Fig. 4: Hat factory Möckel, title page of the "German Hat Maker Newspaper", June 1931. In the course of the 19th century, the factory had expanded from the main building in Dorotheenstraße towards Louisenstraße.


At "Möckel" they worked - as in today's hat factories - mainly in the staffing workshop, where the shaped and dressed hats are provided with lining, ribbons and jewelery. Her male colleagues, sought-after, and certainly self-confident experts, had joined together in a "fraternity".


It was a self-help organization, In 1872, agreed with Philipp Möckel on the establishment of a "disability-sickness and funeral fund for the disabled" in order to provide the workers who were unsecured in emergencies in a manner adopted by other Hessian hat factories.


Fig. 5: Workforce of the company Möckel, 1890. Photo Coll. E. Möckel, Iserlohn. The women from the staffing workshop.

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Meanwhile, we have arrived in the time in which the exclusive atmosphere of the world-famous health resort created a particularly positive climate for the production and the paragraph(sale) of elegant hats full of quality. Illustre guests, known and unknown, young and old appear well protected on old photos always " " (Fig. 7). The factory contemporary fashionably and technically belonged to the sights of the city. The prince of Wales z B - as an Edward VII late English king - insisted on visiting the factory with his frequent stays at a health resort in Homburg. He was considered as fashionably leading, according to his model the elegant man's world orientated itself. With his nephew, the later emperor Wilhelm II, he had seen a hat which inspired him.


Of that become green " court hunt uniform hat ", a hat with high, obliquely running up head and laterally of rolled up brim, produced naturally with "Möckel", it can be created in a more civilian and elegant version in gray felt. This comfortable, light(easy) and casual hat pushed at least in Homburg and in the surroundings of the fashionably leading prince - cylinder and Bowler, the previous favorites on man's mains, to the border (Fig. 8). Under the name "Real Homburg Hats " it brought to its producers new fame and patents as court suppliers of the English and Prussian Royal houses. But for quality and ease speaking logo of the firm (Fig. 9), the pigeon with the hat in the beak, not only the quality of the most famous product characterized. For a long time big outlets had opened far beyond the borders for "Möckel Hats".


Fig. 6: Workforce of the company Möckel, 1890. Photo Coll. E. Möckel, Iserlohn. In the middle of their workers the then bosses, Philipp and Heinrich Möckel.




Fig. 7: Society in front of Elisabethen Fountain, photo around 1897, Museum Bad Homburg. Young and old is "well hatted". Many men wear the "Homburg Hat".


In 1881, hats were delivered to Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Greece, South America, Asia and Australia. August Möckel, one of the sons of Philip, had opened up overseas markets and established a branch in Manila in the course of years in Asia. He died in 1887, only 32 years. His brother Heinrich, who had been a shareholder since 1876 and owner of the company since 1894, was also to witness the decline of the company,


Up to the First World War the company expanded to 120 to 130 employees, war time and inflation could be surpassed, in the twenties the production even doubled.


The number of employees rose to about 250. However, overseas trade had already fallen sharply as a result of customs measures, as the global economic crisis brought the domestic market to a standstill after 1929. Who bought a new hat in the face of mass unemployment, poverty and misery? In June 1931, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary - a celebration was canceled. An article in the German Hat Maker Newspaper (No. 25, June, 63, June 1931) is optimistic, but the necessity of "adapting to the present conditions of time" and of the tradition and the claim of cheaper hats, to produce.




Fig. 8: The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of England and other famous bathers in Homburg around 1890. Photo Museum Bad Homburg. The "Homburg Hat", which the fashionable Prince had raised from the baptism, pushed the cylinder and bowler, the previous favorites on men's heads, in the truest sense of the word to the side.


At the end of that year, on the 31st of December, 1931, the Möckel hat factory had to stop production. Wilhelm Möckel, a son and a shareholder of Heinrich Möckel, worked for a while at a hat-house at Louisenstraße 103. The "Homburg Hat" survived his birthplace, and he was still produced in smaller factories in Bad Homburg and Friedrichsdorf. Today, it is part of the repertoire of the large hat factories. An investigation carried out in 1969 by the "Hat and Cap" in the Rhineland revealed that "Homburg" accounted for 10% of sales in the men's hat business.


Fig. 9: Signet from the letterhead of the company Möckel, 1926, Museum Bad Homburg. The dove with the hat in the beak speaks for the particular lightness of the "Möckel-hats".




Fig. 10: Two "Homburg Hats" from the collection of the Museum Bad Homburg, the old form until 1914, the new form on the right, and the hat of the former Federal Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer.


In its more than 100-year history, it has slightly changed its form and image: its crown is slightly lower and no longer has as much taper. Instead of the original gray, black is the preferred color.


If it was originally a light, casual hat which fitted with the walk on the promenade, in the health-resort gardens and to the fountains absolutely in the society(company) sporting "Canotiers", the "Boater", now it is the classic hat for official and solemn occasions with which preferably diplomats and politician's mains are coy (Fig. 10).



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