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Johann Hückel´s Söhne - Hückel Hutfabrik Weilheim


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Probably early to mid 1950s (after JHS was nationalized as TONAK) like new condition Hückel Zypher Seal Velour. It is an amazing hat but it appears the brim was cut to a smaller size. Hard to believe someone would do such a thing. :( The ribbon/bow, liner and sweatband work are fantastic. It was imported by Saltz's of Washington, DC which is added bonus since I live in the area.









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Fritz Hückel Hutmacher Zephyr Seal Velour probably mid to late 50s and out of Weilheim, Bavaria. This doesn't match the amazing velour finishes as pre 1940 Hückels but the overall quality is super high (unfortunately some moth damage).





















Natural Light



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Johann Hückel´s Söhne Super Sport Trachten style hat. This is one is old and very rare. The first I ever saw of Trachten style from JHS. I didn't bid on it because of the small size and high starting price but it is surely worth posting. It has to be at least 1930s maybe older.













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The TONAK (originally Johann Hückel´s Söhne) factory and surounding villas. They wouldn't allow me to take photos inside the factory. Felting and hat making are done at the same site. They produce ~ 40,000 felt hoods a month. They are only at ~ 30% of capacity. I was told they were bought by a firm out of the Netherlands.




Hückel family grave site with memorials.



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I made some interesting Hückel related discoveries.


Hugo Hückel did a 3 year exchange at Stetson, Crofut & Knapp

and MacLachlan in the first part of the 1920s. Hugo was the last (4th) generation to run the business out of Novy Jicin. Additional proof that there was interchange with American hat companies.


I also found some great information about Hückel Hutfabrik Weilheim, Bavaria. The people that started the company were out of the JHS Ratibor Silesia location and not Novy Jicin. Also very interesting that R. & M. Wegener provided assistance at the start. Here is a very rough translation from Czech of a overview of a article on the founders (Gnabl family) that appeared in Verein heimattreuer Kuhländler e.V. Jan./Febr. 1-2008, s. 20-23. I am in the process of trying to obtain the original article.


"About Fritz Hückel fourth generation family member Hückel, managed to obtain information from the magazine Kuhländchen, which is still based. In remembrance Photos from Rita Gnabl hat we learn about a company that was founded after the war in Austria after the company J. Hückels Söhne in Novy Jicin expropriated and renamed Tonak. Rita Gnabl father was manager of the war in Racibórz. He and his brothers Anton and Rudolph successfully completed a learning the Hückel. Rita Gnabl remembers the time when it was recognized after the war her entire family. They went to Bavaria Ammerskému lake in Holzhausen at Utting, where Fritz had Hückel land on which stood a summer house. The family made contact with Fritz Hücklem, had given him 1000 RM and instructed to try to establish a new company. The family then settled in Weilheim, where she was hired two rooms. They started in very humble circumstances. In Buxbaum store on the square in Weilheim was entrusted to them in the backyard garage and small storage space in the store, which served as an office. Rita Gnabl took all the paperwork. Her father tried to find in Herrsching several associates, who formerly worked at J. Hückels Söhne and now in the hospital waiting for the arrival of their relatives. First came a former associate of Mark and Rita along with her father Gnabl looking for items that would help to clean and shape the hats used. They managed to construct an old iron stove, which could drown. In addition, introduced a wardrobe rack made of wood in the dryer. The remnants zavařovacího built steamer pot hat. Wegener hat factory gave them their stock of old forms of headgear. The store was later set up a reception for the hats used for cleaning and processing of new hats. Rita Gnabl mopped hats and learned works milliner, since the original occupation was clerk. Her father also tried to get additional manpower from the homeland. Meanwhile, aides, like Karl Zenner, who was previously head of a locksmith in Novy Jicin in Dingolfing attempted to produce machines that need to crude production, or to repair the machines used. The machines are then transported to Weilheim. In the hall of the Dornier company pledged to progressively build raw traffic. Meanwhile, several former employees enrolled. The company moved into the great hall of the former company Dornier, expanded production of hats and trade flourished. Fritz Hückel Welheimu commuted to and enjoying the progress of the company that helped establish their financial resources. The company employs around 250 workers and officials. Rita Gnabl left in 1953 to work in a banking house Neuvians, Reuschel & Co Maximilian Square in Munich. Fritz Hückel was a partner with the bank and the last years of his life lived in an apartment house bank. Rita Gnabl father, who helped rebuild the company after the war in Austria, died in 1967. Fritz followed him Hückel in 1973. The new head of operations (the main occupation of a baker), had no experience in this field and led to the operation of the millinery business in the 70 20th century finally closed."

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Yes from the Novy Jicin city museum. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the Czech Republic (about 2 1/2 hours east of Prague). Their hat collections is amazing and Radek Polach who is the curator is a super person. Novy Jicin is also a really beautiful town with many historic buildings.

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J. Hückel´s Söhne 110 Year Anniversary. I was lucky to find this booklet back in 2012 and decided to upgrade the translation.




























From small beginnings, our company has developed over the course of a century to its present size and significance. Founded in the traditional forms of craftsmanship and continued for two generations, it owes its fame. and its flowering, the timely application and exploitation of all technical advances and the commercial prudence and energy of its owners.


The founding of our company dates back to the year 1799. In that year JOHANN NEPOMUK HÜCKEL, born in Fulnek in Moravia, the hatmaker JOSEF HÜCKEL and the ELISABETH GOLD "marital son", was accepted by the hatters' guild in Neutitschein "as an urban master".




Twelve years later, in 1811, his younger brother AUGUSTIN, who had been a milliner in Fulnek since 1808, came to see him. Also he was accepted by the Neutitscheiner Hatter guild on a master job just completed. Each of the two brothers ran the business independently. In 1835, JOHANN HÜCKEL, son of AUGUSTIN HÜCKEL, acquired master craftsmanship and took over the business of his uncle JOHANN. When his father died in 1848, he also took over the business of the AUGUSTIN HÜCKEL and led both together in the previous craftsmanship form on. Manual labor was still active in all stages of production, and the old forms of tools were still in use, which had been in use for manual operation from time immemorial. The finished goods were offered in town and on markets; the shipping and commercial operation remained within the narrowest limits.


But JOHANN HÜCKEL proved his full understanding of the demands of his time. He saw the great advances in technology and realized the need to factory-design his business.





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He sent his sons AUGUST, JOHANN and KARL into the world after the first two had learned the trade in the old way and let them get acquainted with the technical and commercial operating forms in the most outstanding foreign places of the hat industry. Equipped with a wealth of technical and commercial experience, his sons returned home and their own. In 1865 he was the first person in Austria to introduce the mechanical operation of hair felts production. A 3-horse steam engine and some work machines came to the lineup. But soon the system proved insufficient. The brothers AUGUST, JOHANN and KARL HÜCKEL took over, supported by their father for a decade and promoted, on 1 January 1868 under the company J. HÜCKEL'S SÖHNE the young factory. They acquired a conveniently located plot outside the city and built a large-scale factory there, which equipped them with the most modern technical equipment. They soon succeeded in obtaining a product that was equivalent to the most outstanding foreign brands and could successfully compete with them on the world market.




The war, which lasted between Germany and France in 1870, 71 paralyzed the sale of these two countries, which until then had dominated the world market, and thereby offered the company an opportunity. to gain a foothold abroad, especially in the overseas countries. The company understood how to make good use of this opportunity. The successes achieved stimulated new expansions and improvements in fabrication, which enabled the company to retain and further increase the sales area gained through hard work.






In particular, the company was the first hair felts hat factory to introduce mechanical hair cutting as its own business. Although the old master craftsmen, including AUGUSTIN HÜCKEL, had already operated the hairdressing by hand, only with the introduction of the hair-felt hat factory had the production of the raw material become an independent branch of industry that flourished in Belgium, Germany and France but was not represented in Austria at all was. In the same way, with the sole exception of lining materials, tape and leather, the company took over the production of all other aids necessary for the completion and dispatch of its products, so that it was able to produce almost exclusively its own resources Raw materials to produce the product that can be shipped.


Thus, the company grew to its current size, which made it necessary to include the sons of the former sole proprietors, HUGO, OTTO, HANS and FRITZ HÜCKEL (the fourth generation), as employees in the company.


Today, the factories cover a floor area of 44,500 m2 (square meters), the factory and warehouse building alone 18,800 m2.


Two fur magazines store the raw material procured at home and abroad of hares, rabbits and nutrias.




Approximately 16,000 skins are processed every day, and the hairdressing shop, the machine shop, the mill, dyeing, dressing and bar dyeing companies make their way to the packing rooms to leave the factory as ready-made hair felts. Our own carpentry, turnery, locksmithery, foundry and printing works - each company to the extent of a small factory - get the necessary tools. All working rooms are light and airy and with the most proven heating. and ventilation equipment (Sturtevant system). In the walk and dye rooms, the hot air blown in through a wide-ramified pipe system prevents any formation of haze; in the other workshops, suction devices operate with such success that the dust developed in the factory is eliminated to barely noticeable traces.


The machine equipment of the factory corresponds to the current state of the art. The most modern innovations and improvements in the field of machines are in use here.


Twelve steam boilers and four steam engines provide the operational power of 1100 horsepower.


The actual factory operation uniformly procured a steam engine of 600 horsepower, of which 250 are transmitted by electric means of 25 electric motors.






Two steam engines of 250 horsepower each serve the electrical lighting and the ventilation systems. The fourth 250 horsepower steam engine is the reserve. Feeding the boiler requires three wagons of coal daily. The factory currently employs 2000 workers and a corresponding number of civil servants and factory managers; It is designed for a daily production of 5000 hair felts. The company has always been concerned with caring for the well-being of its officials, plant workers and workers.

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A colony of workers' houses, which provides cheap and healthy housing for 100 families, houses for civil servants and foremen, as well as the company health insurance since 1868, the already existing disability. Insurance of civil servants and factory leaders, the insurance of their widows and orphans, adequately endowed old age, widows and orphanage fund of workers testify to the care the company devotes to its employees. The company can proudly point out that the good relationship between his and her workers has never been clouded.


The company's achievements have been recognized at a number of exhibitions by receiving the highest honors: in Vienna in 1873 with the Progress Medal, at the World Fair in Philadelphia in 1876 with the highest accolade, at the World's Fair in Paris in 1876 with the Great Golden Medal and 1900 with the Grand Prix. The merits of the owners for the creation and development of their industry in Austria were also highly appreciated, such as the award of the GOLDEN MERIT CROSS WITH THE CROWN to JOHANN HÜCKEL, the founder of








the industrial enterprise, the Order of the IRON CROWN III CLASS to AUGUST HÜCKEL, as the current elder of the owners, and the title of K. U. K. HOF HUTFABRIKANTEN to the brothers AUGUST, JOHANN and KARL HÜCKEL proves. and more recently the awarding of the Order of the Iron Stars III. CLASS to JOHANN HÜCKEL.




Publisher of J. Hückel's Sons, Neutitschein.


Printed by Christoph Reisser's Sons, Vienna V.



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Hückel Durit Velour, size 6 1/2 Point. This is the beat up one with the rivets and no ribbon. I sent it off to Optimo and it came back looking great. As usual the JHS Velour finish is fantastic. It is unfortunate the liner logo is faded because it appears to be customized. I have a few other hats from Brömme Nuremberg. I am pretty sure this pre WWII. Martin Brömme died in 1949 and JHS was nationalized as TONAK at the end of WWII.











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Robert (RLK on the FL) with another amazing find. This is the brother of my JHS Sigma Foulard but with everything still intact.










"A moderate weight relatively short dense velour of amazing quality and consistency. Shapes easily and smoothly. Intensely black. Amazing condition for a hat from before 1939. Same corrugated brow ventilation at front that we associate with Borsalino. One of the finest vintage felts. Maurice L. Rothschild & Co. stores were in Chicago and Minneapolis."

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J. Hückel´s Söhne Alpha Seal Velour. This one is a rare + fantastic light color Velour. I would say 1930s and in very good condition. The felt, liner and sweatband coordinate color wise. I could not find a paper label but I didn't look closely because I didn't want to damage the sweatband.








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J. Hückel´s Söhne Plume Melone, size 6 Point, plus hat case. Feather light, flexible and fits perfect (wears like a soft felt).











Pre 1940 dating information based on  A. Breiter München  locations  on  A.  Breiter München liner logo.

A. Breiter München Weinerstr. 6 location opened Approx. 1925 a previous location at Bayerstr. 53a closed Approx. 1924.  Based on a A. Breiter München advertisement in the "Official guide through the collections with 128 illustrations and 7 plans By Deutsches Museum (Germany), Benno Laskow, Gustav Hofmann, Joh. Bernhard Barkemeyer · 1925".



Zweibrückenstr. 5/7, Schellingstr. 29 locations opened Approx. 1930.  Based on a A. Breiter München advertisement in "Oberammergau and Its Passion Play, 1930 - Page 16".



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J. Hückel´s Söhne Zephyr Seal Velour, size 7 3/8, color black, very good condition, made for the American market, possibly later 1920s early 1930s. This beautiful hat was graciously offered to me by M_Jones (Hollis), a long time FL poster and collector of fine hats. In my opinion JHS produced the finest Velour finishes.









Vent (similar to Borsalino)



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Tonak Hückel Guama Somberero, size 55cm, probably mid 1960s. I believe JHS made these style hats for the Venezuelan market going back to the early 1900s. This is a nicely made hat for the time period but the brim is stiff following the trend of later American Western sytle hats.














Interesting that TONAK was still using the old JHS international size tag at this later date.




The long hair finish resembles the edible fibre like pulp of the Guama fruit.




"An unusual fruit that resembles a giant bean pod, with a sweet, refreshing, cotton like edible fiber on the inside. The pods are generally narrow, straight, and sometimes as long as a person's forearm. They can easily be cracked open to expose the white, sugar-rich pulp, similar to cotton candy, surrounding the seeds. In English they have been called ?ice-cream beans? due to the sweet flavor and smooth texture of the pulp."

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